The upcoming marriage equality debate will have material financial costs for Australian businesses, with half of SME owners admitting they boycott other businesses that don’t share the same values.
A recent straw poll on the My Business website asked readers: “Would you boycott another business that did not publicly share your values?”
Half (50.5 per cent) of respondents admitted they would do so, while just over a third (37.1 per cent) would not. The remaining 12.4 per cent were undecided.
Such activism flies in the face of another My Business poll which suggested most business owners want to stay mute on important social issues.
If the results of this latest sample poll were replicated across the country, SMEs could collectively be losing millions – if not billions – in revenue by playing up values which don’t align with the broader business community.
On the flip side, though, SME owners who condone values-based boycotts may find themselves supporting a campaign that actually harms their own business, as others holding different views may take their customers elsewhere.
The results suggest that price is no longer the key motivating factor for people when deciding which business to spend their money on – either as consumers or for business-to-business transactions.
With the American-style public ballot on marriage equality set to commence shortly, business leaders will need to be rational and considerate over their approach to the vote in order to avoid alienating customers and causing long-term damage to their business.