Please take a moment to read this great article written by AMIBA – the American Independent Business Alliance on the topic of diversity in our businesses.
Why We Suggest Small Businesses Take the Lead Locally
First, of course, is the moral imperative: We all should take responsibility to ensure everyone can walk the streets, do business and live their lives free of discrimination or concern about receiving verbal or physical abuse.
But small business’ own well-being also is at stake. For one, a negative experience at one independent business can degrade a person’s perception of others – especially within that community. And if a person doesn’t feel safe from bigotry in your neighborhood, they’re far more likely to travel to one where they feel more welcome to shop or dine – or simply shop online.
Sending a clear message to anyone entering your establishment can help, but educating employees also is essential. While we hope overt bigotry from an employee or business owner is a rarity, businesses should cultivate an environment in which all customers receive welcoming treatment, not merely an absence of hostility. A friendly verbal welcome and a smile always is good business, but especially so for people who stand out from others in your community. Small businesses also should consider educating their staff on how to protect customers in the event of harassment in or around their business, without endangering their own safety.
Finally, we suggest business owners strive to hire and develop a diverse staff, including leadership positions, not only to model inclusivity, but for their business’ success. Non-ideological studies have found businesses ranked in the top quartile for diversity in gender and race generate greater profit than more homogenous ones!
“… (These challenges are) not new. But it is happening. And we’re in a position where it’s being modeled that it’s ok. Show support. Make your businesses even more welcoming than they already are. You welcome everyone who comes through your door, also make sure to display it outwardly. Let people know it is safe to come inside. Let people know not only is it safe, but that you want them to be there.
Let your staff know they can talk to you. Give your staff the resources they need to intervene if a customer is being harassed. Encourage other businesses to do the same. Reach out to business owners who have done so in creative ways.
(These resources are) not only for storefronts. We can utilize our web presences and take this as an opportunity to look at the way we present ourselves online and in print. Get involved. Your voice and perspective is more important than ever. Join a committee or apply to be a board member to help lead our organization in continuing to advocate for a strong local economy. And, as we rely on our relationships, continue to seek out and patronize places that align with your values.”
Molly Glasgow, Owner, Point Acupressure, President, MetroIBA
Content Source: https://www.amiba.net/welcome-signs/