Dealing with Controversy in Business

business tips Jun 12, 2020

There have been a lot of events taking place here in the States recently. Sadly, several black American’s have been killed by police in rapid succession these last few months and these events have essentially become “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. This has been a long time coming and I believe that in combination with Covid-19 and many other issues happening recently we, as a country, created a perfect storm for change to some of our policies. Now I will try not to get too political because that is not what you are here for. 


The reason I bring up these events is because as a business owner you have to find ways to work around what is happening and not appear tone deaf. This was something I dealt with both in my own business and in my client’s businesses. So what do you do when things are happening in the world around you that are controversial, but you are a professional and a business? 


I read a quote from Janelle Monae the other day that read, “embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable…”. This quote really spoke to me and seemed very fitting during this time. As a business owner it’s important to be a professional and not intentionally cause divisiveness, but you need to also express your views in order to remain authentic to who you are! How can you be an authentic brand when you don’t speak out against things you feel are incorrect?


Being controversial sometimes is okay in business because it helps you weed out people who are not your ideal client. For example: if you believe in Chistianity as a religion you probably wouldn’t want to work with someone who believes it’s a cult. Just because you are a business doesn’t mean things are always sunshine and rainbows. People get tired of the fake facade and more so now than ever consumers are becoming more and more aware of brands that say one thing but do the opposite. This is why being authentic and being controversial sometimes is actually a good thing. 


People often talk about identifying your ideal client, but rarely do people tell you to also find your unideal client. Knowing who you don’t want to work with (your unideal client) helps you avoid keeping them in your circle. If you don’t want to work with people who are racist, it’s important to make that known. Part of making that known means being a bit controversial and turning people away. THAT’S OKAY! You want to turn people away so that you don’t end up working with people who don’t fit your values and your brand.


Take the opportunity to think about who you DON’T want to work with, write it down! This will guide you and help you make decisions when it comes to speaking out on controversial topics and making sure your brand aligns with your values.



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