Voting is one of the most important rights that America was built on.
In just a few short weeks, people all across the country will have the opportunity to cast their vote for who they’d like to represent them. Not only is the president of the United States up for election, but so, too are many senators, representatives, local government officials, and propositions.
As Election Day approaches, you have a lot of power and responsibility as a small business owner.
Election Day is a great opportunity for a small business owner like yourself to serve as a leader in the community and participate directly in the country’s future.
But what exactly do you need to do on Election Day? Are there any things you are required to do by law? How can you show your patriotic spirit? Can you boost your business on this day?
Keep reading to find out!
|Table of contents|
|1. How do elections affect your small business?|
|2. Your business during the elections|
|3. Your employee obligations during Election Day|
|4. Boost your sales during Election Day|
This year, Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many states have expanded vote-by-mail programs as well as options to vote early in-person.
The Importance of the Election to Small Businesses
Elections are critical to all small business owners. The people who are chosen to represent you in government can have a huge effect on not just your personal life but on your professional one, too.
How would each candidate up for election affect your business specifically?
Some of the biggest areas that can affect you as a small business owner are the following:
1. Tax policies
Some candidates prefer cutting taxes to business, while others prefer imposing higher taxes.
Government officials also have control over things such as regulations and reporting requirements for small business owners. While these may not have directly associated costs with them, they can certainly change the way you are allowed to do business.
3. Economic relief
Let’s not forget about government grants and relief programs, like the PPP.
The elected candidates (be presidents, governors, etc.) have a lot of power over these business relief programs and how much money business owners can access. These could make the difference between success and failure.
Finally, one of the most talked-about issues today is the future of health care.
As a small business owner, you know just how important health care coverage is to you and your employees. You also know how expensive and burdensome it can be to provide it to your employees. Different candidates will have different views on how this should be handled.
You have the power and the platform to remind people in your community about the importance of voting, and the potential outcomes that could happen.
Beyond the issues themselves, there are also ways you can help your business on Election Day.
Your Business and Election Day
The great part about the United States is that it’s truly a melting pot. It doesn’t matter where you were born, but where you live and where you grow your business.
Latinos are currently the largest eligible voting minority group in the United States.
Over the last 20 years, the number of eligible Latino voters in America has grown substantially, especially in Southwestern states and Florida. This year, they amass to 13.3% of all eligible voters. That is 32 million eligible Latino voters, according to the Pew Research Center.
The power of the Latino vote is undeniably strong.
Even if you can’t vote, you can still let your voice be heard and create a positive impact in your community.
As a small business owner, you can show your support for voting and the country in general on Election Day. In addition to encouraging customers to vote, you can decorate your business in patriotic colors, adorning your storefront with an American flag, for example, as well as signs that remind people to vote.
Show how patriotic you are with these decorations, and you don’t have to put them just on the day. You can show your American spirit for a complete week (or more!).
When you’re doing this, it’s important to focus on promoting voting and American patriotism in general. It’s advisable to stay away from promoting one political party or one candidate over the other.
As a small business owner, it’s a good idea to not promote your own particular viewpoints on an election—even if you have strong feelings on a candidate or political party. Expressing these feelings could actually serve as negative PR and turn some people off from your business if they don’t share your same views.
It’s a better idea not to contribute to what can be a very divisive issue in the country today. Instead, focus on the positives of America and the right to vote.
Employer Obligations on Election Day
As an employer, you may have certain legal obligations on election day. Each state has different laws in this regard, so make sure you are informed about your particular state’s laws.
- Some states require employers to allow their employees to take time off from work if they cannot vote before or after their working hours. You may need to give employees from 1 up to 4 hours off so that they can vote. Those hours are considered paid time off in some states.
- Other states still don’t have such requirements that allow employees to have time to vote.
Regardless of your state’s actual laws, though, it’s important from an HR perspective to be as flexible and accommodating as possible to your employees. Allow your employees adequate time to exercise their right to vote if they so choose.
This is part of being a good corporate citizen.
Each small business owner will have to manage this process a little differently, based on their specific industry. You will need to consider not only your employees’ right to vote, of course, but also how you can effectively still run your business on Election Day.
This is a delicate balancing act, but one that is well worth it.
- You may need to ask extra employees to work on Election Day so that you can have staggered shifts to cover for those employees who need to leave for a period of time to vote.
- You could expand your business’ hours of operation for that day to compensate.
- You could also go the other route and close your business during the day or for a few hours to allow everyone to exercise their right to vote.
Remember, the specific measures you take on Election Day will depend on what works for your particular business and what the State’s law requires of you as a business owner.
Your Sales During the Elections
You shouldn’t let Election Day pass by without trying to help your business thrive. Of course, you don’t want to turn something as important as the election into a salesy promotion. Instead, you can employ some marketing strategies that will accomplish three things, all at the same time:
- Encourage people to vote
- Reward them for doing so
- Boost your sales
This is what can be referred to as a win-win-win situation for everyone.
1. “I Voted” promos and discounts
Many small business owners have done this in the past by offering special discounts to people who have voted.
On Election Day, many polling places give out “I Voted” buttons or stickers. This can be used as the “coupon,” in essence, for the specific discount you offer.
With the pandemic changing the nature of voting this year, you may have to somewhat alter your approach. People who vote in advance or vote-by-mail may not get a sticker or button. One alternative is that you could rely on their word.
What this strategy does is it encourages people to take advantage of their important right to vote while at the same time helping your small business attract customers.
2. “Choose your preferred party”
You can allow customers to express themselves by offering two special products, one that represents the Republican Party and another for the Democratic Party. Then, customers can buy the one that they endorse.
For example, if you own a café, you can have blue and red cupcakes representing each political party.
This allows for a fun and creative way that allows clients to express themselves without the heated arguments that sometimes happen when politics are discussed.
Of course, if you still don’t want to get political, you can just offer that same product but with a general voting theme.
3. Information hub
You can also make your small business an information hub for the elections. Make sure you inform yourself about the elections and everything your local ballot will include. You could either print some flyers with this information or explain it to any interested client.
Then, create a poster where you let people know that you can offer them non-partisan information about the elections to stay informed. This will cement your role as a community leader and could drive some extra foot traffic to your business.
Curious bystanders might end up receiving much-needed information and maybe buying some of your products, too!
You must keep the information neutral. People will want to know more about what they’re voting for, but they don’t want you to try to convince them to vote for a certain party. This would end up being a turn-off and would drive customers away.
It’s Time to Vote!
Voting is one of the most important rights we have. As a small business owner, you have the power not to exercise your right to vote and encourage employees and those in your community to do the same.
At Camino Financial, we do our best to play our part. This is one way we live up to our motto, “No Business Left Behind.”
We also provide educational information to all our customers. If you want to learn more ways you can move your business forward, continue reading: