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Five Rules for Doing Business in Today's Political Environment

No matter which side of the political fence you call home, the United States of America is in for a time of tumultuous debate and discord. And how does that affect your business, you rightfully ask? Here is a list of five rules to help you navigate the maze and ensure that your business is not affected by your politics.

1. Do not assume you know who someone voted for or what they believe is best for this country. One thing we've learned during the past year is that there are a lot of silent thinkers out there who do not see things the way others do—as is their right. When it comes to your work, do not discuss politics. No matter how certain you are that your client or your co-worker sees things the way you do, steer clear.

2. Leave party politics out of your business. That doesn't mean walk away from the ideals you believe in—you should continue to support them. You can put your company's resources to better use for a cause you believe in than for political party affiliation. Rather than attacking President Trump, say, "I am dead set against Muslim registration in the United States and will speak out on that issue when I can." Our society requires discourse and debate, and since the workplace is intermixed with the personal space, you can't ignore it … nor should you have to.

3. Bumper stickers and other signage in the workplace? Nope. If you're going to do pro bono work (as Blue Shoe is for some issues I believe in), then be sure to ask the team you assemble if they are okay with your project. If they are not, then do not penalize them, nor question them. A good way to avoid them having to come out of the closet is to send an e-mail asking who would like to work on your project. Let them opt in, rather than forcing them to opt out.

4. Your vendors are your choice. If you are finding a vendor difficult to stomach because of their insistence on telling you why their candidate was the next Messiah or Goddess, change vendors. Do business with vendors who make you comfortable. That's another reason to leave party politics out of your business conversation—to avoid offending others. Make a change if you want. This is America; and free choice is what it's all about on both sides of the aisle.

5. Be respectful of stressful times. Don't send out an e-blast on Inauguration Day, no matter what you think about who is being sworn into office. "Go dark," as they say. Feelings about this election will come spilling out on days like January 20th, and not being on your client's radar that day is a good thing. Staying silent never hurt a business in chaotic times. Mum's the word on stressful days.

That's it. Five simple rules. And God Bless America.

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