I was working on a business plan today for a client and it hit me. We are in one of those times when it takes very little originality to create a HUGE business. It’s a big, scary idea and it sets my heart beating faster and my fingers trembling when I think of the possibilities and the repercussions.
Here’s the TLDR. Every business out there that used to serve all of us is ripe for a competitor to come on the market and eat half of its lunch.
We are so politically divided that I believe any business could generate significant customer traffic and sales simply by putting a philosophical stake in the ground. The proprietor or company would have to be willing to put up with (and budget for) MASSIVE publicity, especially if they chose to be the ‘conservative’ version of the business.
And when I say any business, I mean any business. Even accidental exposure of political or religious viewpoints drives traffic and anti-traffic. Look at Chick-fil-A. They make a fine sandwich. Is it better than Popeye’s? I don’t know. They’re both great. Haven’t tried Wendy’s yet but…wait, this isn’t about chicken….I’ve been in Mobile too long. OK. Back on track. They make a fine sandwich. But do you think their sandwich is so good that people wait in line a half hour (or more sometimes) in a drive through to purchase one? The customer is getting more than a sandwich. They’re getting to support a Christian company that has been manhandled by the LGBTQ (note to self, revisit this article periodically and change letter salad to whatever abbreviation is currently accepted) Twitter mob. At least that is what they feel like they’re doing. It takes a little longer, but it’s for a good cause, they think, so they sit in their Hummers and destroy the environment over an overrated sandwich, their alters on the left think. Who’s right? Doesn’t matter. Chick-fil-A wins.
I’m not cherry picking. The AARP was the only game in town until 2007. Why was AMAC founded? Politics. AARP is a liberal organization, and they support liberal causes. (They also sell insurance, and against the best interests of their members, supported the Affordable Care Act because it would benefit the company at the expense of their members, but that’s a whole other story). I don’t want to support ‘The Squad’ so I belong to AMAC. Not me personally, I’m not old enough. Just the generic conservative. Cell Phone companies have been started because AT&T & Verizon donate to Planned Parenthood. If you’re conservative, check out Patriot Mobile. They’ll bribe different sets of politicians and/or donate to different charities. Even pillows are political. If you’re a Sean Hannity fan you sleep on Mike Lindel’s ‘My Pillow’ and probably Giza Dream Sheets as well. (Full disclosure, I have a ‘My Pillow’. It’s all right. No Dream Sheets, although I do have Boll And Branch sheets which absolutely live up to the hype and got their start on Rush Limbaugh, and a Simplisafe alarm on my house, which was also first sold on AM talk radio.) The point is political beliefs are being leveraged at an incredible rate for successful businesses. Black Rifle Coffee. Marriott Hotels. (Trump Hotels now I suppose as well.) Hobby Lobby instead of Michael’s. Even Vegas isn’t safe. If you’re really conservative you stay at Las Vegas Sands properties, the Venetian and Palazzo. Well, not me. You have to be rich AND conservative to stay there. I’ve never been willing to pay the rate. OK, I think I’ve made my point. Except for social media.
Social media is for all practical purposes a Blue Ocean (read Blue Ocean Strategy) for conservative platforms. There are a few startups, but they don’t really have traction like Facebook and Twitter. But one will. It could be yours if you jump in aggressively. And look how much the Zuck and
Gandalf — I mean Dorsey — are worth. A conservative with guts, determination and style could own half of America’s clicks in short order. DuckDuckGo is trying to be nonpolitical to counteract Google’s partisanship, but why not a conservative search engine? There are several conservative news sites, that area is getting crowded, but only because conservatism has been practically banned from old media, and more or less completely banned from social media. Jump in. The water’s red, but still blue. (That works on a couple levels.)
Even accidentally revealing your political views can gain or lose you your entire business. Refusing to bake a cake for one group, not opening on Sunday, posting that you think people should immigrate to this country legally, whatever. It could all drive business your way, or away.
You do have to stay away from certain stances though. For instance, you could not have a business and not allow African Americans. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t have a business and not allow Caucasians, but I’m not certain. You can look it up. Some things are protected. Race, color, religion, national origin. Gender was added. There has been some effort to add gender identity and sexual orientation. Not sure if it’s been successful.
But this is about political beliefs, primarily, and how to profit. Most companies are racing to the left, so if you start an organization and race to the right you will almost automatically1 pick up 30% of the customers. The particular example that put me on this train of though is the National Association of Realtors. They’ve recently updated their…I don’t know, some sort of compliance document. If you’re a member of the NAR and you post something they deem offensive they’ll kick you out of their club and report you to the realtor police to get your license revoked. Joe McCarthy would be super proud. If you’re interested in the specifics look for Article 10-5 associated with the NAR. I’m not. I’m interested in the business opportunity. If I want to be a realtor (I don’t) and if I want to post bible verses on my social media (I don’t) they can bully me into shutting up, or take away my ability to earn a living. So why not start another anti-NAR? It worked for AMAC. It even worked on the NRA. Yes, the NRA was too liberal for many of its members (and had massive malfeasance, but again that’s another story, and one I’ll probably never tell). Along came the National Association for Gun Rights.
What other businesses can be politicized? My guess is all of them, if done properly. I’ve seen coffee shops, antique malls, restaurants, and many others. If you see a business you like, copy it and add political spin, and you can siphon off part of their customer base, whether or not you add value. It’s not pretty, but I bet it’s effective. There’s an old saying that a town which can not support one lawyer can easily support two. I’ve always thought that was sad, and a commentary on lawyers. It is sad, but I don’t think it says much about lawyers. I think it says more about us.
And that’s why this is the saddest business opportunity of my life. All we’re talking about when we talk about political belief is segmenting the market by one one component of its psychographic profile. (For those of you not mired in business stuff, your psychographic profile is just like your demographic profile, except instead of being made up of what you make, how old you are, and so on, it’s made up of what you think and how you feel.) And should it matter AT ALL who you think stole what election from who when you’re buying a chicken sandwich for lunch instead of eating the celery sticks with hummus that you conspicuously brought from home so your wife would see? No, it shouldn’t. But it does. And the market gets what the market wants. So, as long as these divisions exist, I would be remiss in my duty as an entrevangelist if I did not make you aware of this exciting opportunity, no matter how personally distasteful I find the situation that created its existence.
- No business is automatically successful. This is an exaggeration for effect. You will still have to work your tail off to make any business successful. However, I do believe that this component, as part of a competent overall business strategy, will help to make your business more likely to be successful, at least until we get over this partisan madness. But you can cross that bridge when you come to it.