One of the greatest things about America is that we all have freedom of speech and expression. We should be able to express our opinions and preferences publicly.

However, when doing so, we also have to be prepared that others may not share those same opinions.

When we do this in our private lives, it can lead to discussion and debate. But in public life, it could impact how we do business.

One thing that I see plenty of in Ocean County is bumper stickers. And, again, I think it's great that we are able to show our support to a candidate or cause without fear.

But is it wise for business owners do the same?

Here's how I would look at it (and how I try to look at it as a marginally "public persona", myself), businesses and public individuals can be most successful by striving to appeal to a broad customer base. They can risk alienating potential clients by proclaiming public opinions on controversial figures or issues.

Let me be more specific - there are some companies who I will not give my business to because of causes that they support. In other words, I don't want my money to possibly end up helping causes or individuals who I find to be distasteful (or worse).

And, if I'm being honest, that could extend to business individuals as well.

By that, I mean that if I were thinking of either hiring a business or patronizing their location, but I saw a sticker or sign declaring their support of someone or something that I can't ethically stomach, there is a very good chance that I would take my business elsewhere.

You'll notice that nowhere in this article did I mention any specific candidates or issues. That's because, as I said above, my goal is to appeal to a wide base of listeners and readers in Ocean County.

Privately, we may disagree on touchy issues, but publicly I want to be able to hold credibility with as many different kinds of people as possible.

So, all that being said, how do you feel about this topic? Would an individual or business publicly supporting someone or something that you strongly disagree with impact whether you do business with them? Chime in on the comments section!


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