NNBW Editor: With your business, sometimes nothing is more (Voices)
Sometimes, as the saying goes, less is more. As for how to handle your business during the current state of this nation’s affairs when it comes to racism and equality? Well, sometimes nothing is more.
Amid civil unrest, protests and some rioting in the wake of the senseless death of George Floyd at the hands and knee of a Minneapolis police officer, many companies and corporations have shared strong messages of support and unity in an effort to rally around the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
In my view, these companies are to be commended for taking an important stance.
However, I’ve also sat back in shocked amazement and watched on social media as businesses small and large across the country keep putting both feet in their mouths.
Take, for example, the case of Greg Glassman. The founder of fitness giant CrossFit announced June 9 his resignation, days after his company was hurled into turmoil thanks to the beyond-tone-deaf comments he made on social media and to staff.
As has been well publicized, Glassman on June 6 responded to a tweet that said “Racism is a public health issue” with the following foolhardy response: “It’s FLOYD-19.”
Hours earlier, according to the New York Times, Glassman held a Zoom call with various company staff to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts to Crossfit gyms, saying, remarkably (and I don’t mean that in a good way): “We’re not mourning for George Floyd, I don’t think me or any of my staff are … Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than it’s the ‘white’ thing to do. I get that pressure, but give me another reason.”
Talk about an incredible instance of not being able — or, perhaps, not caring to or not wanting to — “read the room.” The fallout was swift. Major money-wielding sponsors like Reebok cut ties, public furor intensified, apologies were issued, etc., leading to Glassman’s aforementioned resignation.
It’s one of countless examples of business owners, CEOs and others — some here in Northern Nevada, too — who have, for some head-shaking reason, been unable to keep their hands out of the cookie jar.
Here’s some advice: If you’re a racist, or even if you’re one of those people who “thinks” you’re not a racist, but then say things and do things that are inherently racist and/or imply that you’ve unknowingly operated your life or business under a cloud of systemic racism — just be quiet about it.
Let’s be clear — I am in no way condoning racism or anything of the sort. I support #BlackLivesMatter, and I endeavor each day to listen and learn about the movement so I may best understand and support it.
But from a business perspective, all I’m saying is if you are an owner or CEO or board member and you do not want your company to lose money and/or receive negative PR because of dumb things you feel compelled to spew on social media (regardless of your personal beliefs), then … just, don’t. You can literally say nothing, and your business will not be impacted.
After all, the first rule of business is always to stay in business, right? Sometimes, the easiest way to do that is to simply be quiet.
More than $3,000 donated in NNBW’s support Your Local Business Sweepstakes
Moving on to a different topic, as I’ve written about previously, back in early April, the Northern Nevada Business Weekly launched the Support Your Local Business Sweepstakes.
In a nutshell, we partnered with several regional businesses and companies who offered prizes valued at $50 or more for various goods and services, like restaurant gift cards, gym classes, photography packages and much, much more.
“Because of the pandemic, we saw the negative impacts on our local businesses. We started the sweepstakes as an innovative way to give a helping hand to these businesses, while connecting with our readers in a fun way,” said Melissa Saavedra, business development manager for the NNBW. “A lot of local businesses bought gift cards from other local businesses as a way to support. It’s nice to see the community come together, especially during a time with so much uncertainty.
“We appreciate the businesses supporting the NNBW as well.”
Over the past several weeks, we devoted space and time in print and online for special Q-and-As with our amazing partners — in all, 40 businesses and nonprofits participated, and we’re pleased to announced the grand total of all the prizes donated during the effort came out $3,260.77. Turn to page 7 to see more about the contest and who all participated.
One last update
We are also pleased this week to launch a monthly column from Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
As I shared with Ann leading up to her first submission, as this uncertain year progresses and we continue to weigh concerns about trickle-down effects of the COVID crisis on the economy and small businesses, it’s more important than ever for the Chamber — which represents almost 2,000 businesses and nonprofits — to have a recurring voice in the NNBW in order to shed light on the region’s small business community, in addition to highlighting challenges and successes.
Go here to read Ann’s first “Commerce Matters” column, which published in the June 17 edition of the NNBW.
Be sure to email her with any feedback. And of course that goes for me as well. Have an idea for a Voices column or any other future NNBW story idea? Email me or call me (775-850-2145) — I’d love to hear from you.
Kevin MacMillan is editor of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The unanimous approvals Wednesday came despite state leaders promising to tighten up requirements for Nevada’s tax abatements and incentives for future companies.