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Small Business and Social Causes: Should You or Shouldn't You?

In today's very competitive world, one way that some businesses choose to stand out is by supporting social causes. After all, most customers will happily support businesses that are helping out those in need around the world. But many businesses today are taking this trend a step further by supporting social causes that have a strong political lean, whether it's banning legally-carried concealed firearms, allowing trans-gender use of bathrooms, supporting pro-choice or pro-life organizations or similar hot topics.

How do these stances impact the company's bottom line and should you follow this trend?

Though the common stance in the past was for business owners to keep their support of social causes separate from the business to avoid alienating customers, that position is rapidly changing. A recent study by Cox Business found that 71% of consumers would spend more at a business that supported social causes, so long as those causes were helpful to the environment or supported positive change. But who decides whether change is positive or not?

Unfortunately, adopting a social cause that is politically charged can cost your company revenue. Concerns over potential issues with voyeurism and even sexual assault may have been part of the slide the retail big-box giant has seen with its revenues over the past few years following the announcement of its support of the trans-gender movement through its bathroom policy. Both the liberal and conservative press are claiming victories in Dick's Sporting Goods' decision to remove assault-style firearms from its line of products sold to the public, though a clear winner has not yet been determined.

With these potential issues, it's often better to choose a social cause that is less politically charged. Except for the very fringe of the political spectrum, almost all customers will be happy to spend a little more at your store if you support organizations focused on those in need. Though the decision to support politically hot social causes is entirely your own, you may want to take the time to think through how that decision will impact your company's bottom line in the long run. If you need help developing a long-term strategy for your company's growth, including avoiding any politically-charged potholes, AccountRely can help. Please feel free to contact our experienced associates today to get started.

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