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The Business of Choice

  • As consumers, we are faced with choices daily. What products do we want to buy or need to buy? Where do we buy them? How do we buy them: online or in person? What services do we need? What about food? Do we cook ourselves or buy prepared meals? Carry out or dine in? So many choices.

    When making these choices, we take into consideration what is most important to us. That could be price or convenience, amongst other things. Maybe you prefer supporting locally owned businesses. It could also be doing business with a company that has values that are like yours. For example, perhaps animal advocacy is important to you and you prefer products that are certified cruelty-free. Or, environmental causes are important and you prefer buying from companies that have environmentally friendly policies.

    In a pandemic, safety also becomes a priority in those choices. Is the method safe? Does it create or lessen any anxiety? Do I trust the business?

    By giving our money (and potentially our feedback, like reviews) to a business, we are making a choice. Our choices do matter; if enough people spend money, the business has a better chance at continuing. If enough people spend their money elsewhere, the business may not remain in operation.

    As business owners, we should be aware of these choices that consumers make. What are they thinking when choosing to do business with us? Is there something we can make more clear to help them decide? Is there something we can do better? Is there something potential customers are seeing or hearing that will make them decide not to do business with us? Are we operating our own business in alignment with our own values?

    Especially in terms of pandemic-related safety, your customers and potential customers will absolutely take what they see and share it with others and it will shape their decision making about spending money at your business again. A great example is a recent experience I had at a winery. They developed COVID-related protocols, the protocols were clear, they were easy to find on their website and social media, and I therefore felt safe visiting. When we arrived, they followed these protocols and enforced them. And, they also had the protocol that guests had to wear their masks when staff was at the tables. This demonstrated to me that they went above and beyond to not only care about the safety of their guests, but of their staff as well. Not only will I visit again, but I also took the time to write a great review for them so others can visit, too.

    Make sure you are taking the time to consider these choices when you are spending your money as a consumer and if you are a business owner. Our choices as consumers and business owners do matter, perhaps now more than ever.