ALPHA Small Business


Advice, From The Archives

Keep it to yourself!

August 24, 2019 by Chad Segers

With the election only a few weeks away I thought it was time to share some advice my Dad gave me a long time ago.

Nothing can get people more fired up than a political discussion. Everyone has at least one or two issues they are very passionate about, myself included. However, voicing these opinions at the wrong time can be professional suicide.

There are people who take their opinions VERY seriously. So seriously that they may be inclined to take their business elsewhere if they discover your opinion opposes theirs. Small business owners should be completely neutral.

We have to be very much aware of the conversations we have, not just with clients but any conversations we have. The old saying “Loose lips sink ships” still applies. You never know who may overhear what you are saying. Across the desk from a client, at a restaurant or even at the sports field, there could be any number of people listening to you.

Even if you are 100% positive you share the same opinion as one of your clients, it is best not to talk about them publicly. Just because your client agrees does not mean their assistant manager, or spouse does. One wrong word could upset that assistant or spouse enough to spoil your relationship with your client. Never underestimate the influence of anyone.

It's not easy to dodge a question, which is why we have to stay focussed. If a conversation starts to drift in a dangerous direction subtly change the subject, with practice it is as easy to drift away as it was to drift there is the first place. If a question is asked directly, simply reply with something like “I’m sorry, I don’t discuss that.” It may seem harsh, but I can assure you very few people who are willing to ask a direct question will get offended by such a direct answer.

Any business person is a public figure, even if you don’t realize it you are in the public eye as soon as you hang out your shingle. As you develop a client base those clients will want to get to know you. Be friendly and get to know them too, but leave a little mystery.

With over 25 years experience in Small Business across Southern Ontario we have done and seen it all.


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