According to a recent poll conducted my Morning Consult, 4 in 10 Americans are unlikely to buy Trump products due to his presidential campaign. Combine that with 46% of Americans who said they'd refuse to stay at a Trump hotel. Combine that with the news that 6 in 10 women would refuse to buy Trump products or stay at Trump hotels (or the less than 25% who would buy products connected to his daughter, Ivanka). Now, none of this is in the least bit surprising given during the Trump campaign, which has been a circus at best, we've seen accusations of sexual harassment, tax evasion, racism, and prejudice. None of these are real signifiers of empathy and, with all of the evidence for Americans to rifle through, it's becoming clear that his businesses are not as bullet proof as the magnate would like to believe. So, the real question here is how do we draw a line between businesses and personal beliefs?
We put so much of ourselves in our businesses. Our biases, in a lot of ways, help lead us into the conclusions which influence the how and why we run our businesses the way we do. If Chipotle founder Steve Ells didn't care so much about having fresh food, he may have wound up running his business like McDonald's. If American Apparel didn't care about having quality clothes ethically made in America, they'd be made in Malaysia and we wouldn't be complaining about a basic t-shirt that costs $25. It's important to acknowledge our world view and how it intersects with our business practices.
In the case of a Donald Trump, however, it's not so good. Sure - we live in a country where we are lucky enough to have protections which allow us to have privileges like free opinions and public forums to discuss our beliefs. But when those beliefs go against the tide, is it smart to share them with the public? Is it bad business practice? Is it dishonest of you if you stay silent?
This is all with the assumption that our personal biases are a reflection of how we run our businesses or how we are influenced in running them. In the case of a Donald Trump, we've now seen how he is in a private setting and we'd be naïve to believe that his personal beliefs doesn't bleed into how he approaches business or who he does business with. Or, what could potentially be more dangerous, is he leads those he does business with that he doesn't believe those things when he secretly does which shows a manipulative, insidious aspect to his character.
Now that we, the public, have seen this on display, is it a shock that it's now impacting his businesses? Again - no, not really, but in today's political and sociocultural climate, it does bring into question what we should share with others as business owners, personalities, etc. Because there is a bleed - we'd be stupid to believe there isn't one. We can sit here and say "what if" this and "what if" that, stir the hypothetical pot so to speak, wonder if we'd ever learn about Trump's "locker room" mouth if he wasn't running for president in a country where slinging garbage and dirt digging is enthusiastically supported, but that will get us nowhere.
Part of being a smart business owner is knowing when to share your piece and when to show tact and restraint. Or, bluntly, understanding when you're out of your element.