“It is time to stand up for fair and equal rights for all by letting our leaders know that we demand Marriage Equality!” the popular ice cream chain Ben & Jerry’s announced in Australia last month.  And in order to make their views known, they banned two scoops of the same flavor in their 26 Australian stores until this became a reality.

This push for push for marriage equality Down Under was a bold and potentially unpopular statement that had nothing to do with ice cream — but nevertheless it spoke to what the company believed was a core value. They risked losing customers, although they did admittedly stand to gain an enormous amount of press from the move.

Is there anything that you believe in strongly enough to want to take a stand?  Being a small business owner means that you have the opportunity to put your beliefs into action. There are several arenas in which you can do this:

  • your choice of products
  • the way you treat your employees
  • where you advertise
  • what organizations you donate to
  • how diverse you make your workforce
  • your involvement in the community
  • the environmental impact of your business

In order to make Ben & Jerry’s marriage equality protest effective, the company placed postcard boxes in their shops for customers to send written protests to their representatives. Their decision to get involved in this issue was consistent with the core beliefs that Ben & Jerry’s has held since its inception in 1978.  What core beliefs does your shop hold? It’s a subject worth discussing with your staff if you want to use your position in the community to be a force for good.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder 

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