Did you know as a business owner you do not have to serve everybody? I'm sure there are people you can think of where you groan internally when you think about having to deal with them. I know this doesn't sound very Christian of me, but I believe it's absolutely ok and even necessary to be a bit exclusionary. But you don't do it by refusing to work with them, you do it through the way you present your business.
Your colors, your graphics, your fonts, the technology you use and your delivery methods all draw certain people and repel others. But the biggest factor of all is your language.
This language serves to bind people together to create a sense of belonging and deep connection. We don't want to associate with the whole world, we want people who "get us." We want to be around those who "speak our language." I've been a part of many of these subsets and love it. These people are my comfort zone.
Here's a fun fact about me. I traveled with the carnival for 11 years. We definitely had our own lingo and if you knew it you were cool but if you didn't you were not to be trusted. You belonged to the real world.
This can be very subtle, if you've even been on a website where there was industry specific jargon you didn't understand. How quickly did you get out of there in that instance?
You are part of a sub-culture if you are a Christian, and I can even break it down further than that to denomination if I listen to you talk long enough, sort of like distinguishing where a person is from by their accent. Every denomination has their buzz words and clichés they like to throw around. It's a classic Tower of Babel situation. Language divides people and we have immature squabbles, especially amongst the religious, over semantics. I'll try not to Babyl-on and on about how stupid that is.
As long as this is a truth, we can intentionally use our language to attract certain types of people and repel others. On Freedom Flowers, I've found I can repel religious spirits with great efficacy! They are the last types of people I want to deal with over there. Remember the movie "Finger of God" by Darren Wilson? He put the most audacious challenging stuff right up front in the movie, cleared out half the room in the first five minutes and I remember thinking, "This guy is a genius."
I suppose you might feel that you can't afford/don't want to offend/wish to be all inclusive. I believe that if you fail to identify yourself in such a way that attracts some while simultaneously repelling others, you won't win anyone's trust.
So who do you love working with, and who is a big energy drain? Who do you feel called to, and who do you never seem to have grace to handle? Figure this out and then begin the attraction and repelling of the right people.
I believe you can be all inclusive when you are one on one or in small personal groups with people. You do need to be a linguist that can bend to fit any situation, and I strive for that. One of the things I feel my life circumstances have taught me is to be comfortable around a variety of types of people. This is not being two-faced, but more like Paul in 1 Corinthians where he became all things to all people so that he might save some.
But if you are speaking to thousands, or millions - and with the Internet, that is not unfathomable even for a nobody, you need to make some decisions and take a strong stand about who you want to reach.
Donald Trump is an excellent example of this. Love him or hate him, he has used basic marketing tenets of attraction and repellation, (spell check says that isn't a word) to get where he is in the presidential race. He is well aware that sticking to the middle ground would be suicide, and that eliciting strong reactions in people is the best strategy. Marketers understand what's going on while the politicians can't understand the appeal. Being all-inclusive, being politically correct, elicits luke-warm feelings in your audience.
So who are the people you most enjoy working with? Who are those who get the best results from whatever you do? Understand their culture, speak their language, lay out the warm welcome and watch your business bloom.
Who are the types that drag you down, use up your time and energy and no matter how much you work with them, it's like pouring into a bottomless bucket? Deliberately change your presentation to send them elsewhere.
Work with the people you know you can help. You can't afford the negativity and the frustration of helping those who are not a right fit for what you do. It's not fair to either of you.
Image credit © Can Stock Photo Inc. / herminutomo