With only about 2 and a half months until the 2012 elections, it’s almost impossible to turn on the television or the computer without stumbling upon Obama, Romney, or some sort of campaign rhetoric. While it may sometimes seem like the only thing we can learn from the candidates is how to throw the other under the bus, there are a few business lessons we can take away from the campaign.
Always put your best face forward. You’ll never see a politician with a five o’clock shadow and an untucked shirt. It just doesn’t happen. Every person on the campaign trail is freshly laundered and pressed and ready to do business, even if it’s 4am. Treat your small business the same way. Make sure your website or Facebook page is presenting your business in the best light and make sure your employees look the part.
If you screw up, always apologize. It sometimes seems like politicians spend at least 90% of their time apologizing for something or another. Sure, nobody’s perfect, but a screw up in the public eye can do some serious damage to your reputation. If you make a blunder, whether it’s on social media, or just on a one-on-one customer call, own up to it and apologize. In a presidential campaign and in business “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
Know who you want to appeal to. Politicians always know whose votes they need long before they set foot on the campaign trail. Don’t set out your small business marketing in an attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator, instead find a narrower niche and aim there. You’ll waste far fewer marketing dollars and see a much greater return.
Put up a good fight, but be a gracious loser. Everyone wants to be the best, but sometimes the other guy is going to sneak right on by you and take home the prize. When this happens, it’s always in your best interest to put your pride aside and avoid bashing your competitor, even if they deserve it. Though politics can sometimes get ugly, you’ll almost always see the loser humbly shaking the winner’s hand on election night.
What have your learned about business from the 2012 elections?