OFTEN, IN BUSINESS, we are too busy to be
actively engaged in politics. Sometimes, because we feel strongly about a candidate or
an issue, we do want to become involved.
Then a question arises: “Will I offend
The answer is you probably will offend
someone, but if you are taking the same
position as the majority of your customers
and possible customers, you may actually
benefit by becoming better known and
getting to know new people who may
There are degrees of participation.
You can contact your city council member,
state or U.S. representative or senator,
etc., and/or attend meetings, events and
rallies. You can speak and make presentations to local school boards or at hearings,
contribute money, canvass and register
voters, work in campaigns and hold party
offices. The higher your level of participation
and visibility, the greater the chances for
both positive and negative consequences.
The more involved you are, the more
people you will meet and get to know. Some
of our best lifetime friendships began when
we participated in politics. Contact builds
trust among people.
It’s not unusual to see small-business
people getting elected. The congressman
from our district owned and operated a
delicatessen, Kevin O’s Deli, before embarking on a political career.
On the other hand, if you take a position
at odds with the majority of your community,
you may lose some business or customers.
However, if you have a strong desire to
participate in your community, chances are
you can find nonpartisan, good-government
issues you can become involved in with little,
if any, collateral damage to your business.
Of course, your highest priority is
keeping your business going, which means
keeping customers satisfied. If you can
manage your business, keep your customers
and participate in politics, go right ahead.
You may find you take to it—after all,
businesspeople tend to be leaders and self-assured—and run for office yourself—or
you may decide you’ve had your experience
and it’s time to get on with business. C
PAUL AND SARAH EDWARDS: LIFESTYLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
center) are the
authors of 17
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.”At Online Edition,
IF YOU’RE A business leader, chances
are you’ve either mentored or been
mentored. Now, think about the many
unemployed young people in this country who could use an experienced adult
to take them under their wing.
Mentors can help youths, especially
those in underserved communities, to
find pathways to productive, fulfilling,
sustainable lives. According to Mentor
( mentoring.org), those with mentors
are more likely to be successful in
school, more likely to be leaders in
their communities and more likely
to enter young adulthood with
opportunities for ongoing education and career choices. More
than 60 percent of new jobs
require postsecondary education,
which means mentors can play an
important role in helping adolescents to apply to college and successfully complete their degrees.
A report by a Points of Light
initiative ( pointsoflight.org)
says companies cite numerous
mentoring benefits from a
National Mentoring Month
employee engagement, retention and
•Mentoring enables companies
to develop the future workforce.
•Mentoring supports vibrant
communities, with viable customers.
For more information on mentoring,
and how to set up a mentoring program for you
and your business, go
to mentoring.org. C
How do you
MOST BUSINESSES WITH a public pres-
ence have discovered the value of engaging
customers on social media. But with all of
the platforms available—Facebook, Twitter,
Pinterest, etc.—managing them can threaten
to consume your whole business day, and
then some. So the question is, how do you
manage your social media accounts? Do you
use a social media aggregator? Have you
hired someone to handle it? Do you allot a
portion of your day to post and respond?
Send your social media tips to
email@example.com with “Social
media managment” in the subject
line. We will publish the most
insightful and helpful tips in
a future issue. C