If you thought dissatisfied customers and unstable economies were the only threats to businesses, think again. Many companies deal with special interest groups, i.e., groups that further their agenda by lobbying for environmental or human rights causes. While the idea of a special-interest group may sound appealing, many of them, such as PETA, are militant bullies. Here are some tips so that you can be better prepared to interact with them:
1. Think ahead. Figure out if there are any reasons why lobbyists or local groups would have a problem with your company. Conduct some research to find out who these groups are and what they do. Be prepared for any attack, no matter how unlikely it may be.
2. Speak to your customers and stakeholders and demonstrate your understanding of the problem. Some special interest groups may try to spread misinformation about your organization to discredit it. Keep everyone informed about what is going on, what lies are getting spread, and how you plan on handling the problem.
3. Stay calm. Militant groups will resort to lies, insults, jabs, and other nasty techniques. Don’t stoop to their level. Keep calm and maintain an “agree to disagree” stance. That will discredit your opponent by making you look like the calm and rational side while making them look like the loud and nonsensical side.
4. Don’t give up. Special interest groups can be a huge hassle, but they will most likely not be the end of your business. Keep your head up and stay persistent. Like all annoyances, the fiasco will eventually fade away, and you will be able to continue with your business.
It’s a somewhat unlikely scenario, but it never hurts to be prepared. Knowing is half the battle, after all. With so much controversy these days, it feels impossible not to find a group outraged at something else.
How Small Businesses Can Handle Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups
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