Not long ago, I received an e-mail from a business owner claiming that he has always served everyone and doesn’t see why he should have to purchase a sticker.
Honestly, I didn’t have an answer for him at the time. So of course I had to think about it, and listen to peers that may have another perspective.
Is Open For Service needed? I definitely think so. And here’s why:
1) There is a growing consumer base that is interested in supporting businesses that will not turn them or others away. I hope that we can provide that information.
2) Many local businesses do not have the marketing budget or social media presence to, “raise their hand” and support people of all walks of life. My goal is to provide that channel. (I’m still figuring out how we will do this . . more on that in another blog.)
3) Politics. One of the, (in my opinion), unintended consequences of the RFRA debacle here in Indiana, was that there is a huge potential loss that businesses would incur due to decreased visitor and convention traffic. How do we mitigate this reputation? How do we, (regardless of political legislation decision), form a community that is set out to support each other? The answer is Open For Service.
4) **MOST IMPORTANTLY** It's welcoming. Believe it or not, there are people that are not comfortable being themselves in establishments due to fear of backlash. While these situations are not always in the news cycle, you and your business are going the extra mile to, "shake the hand" of another person and reaffirming that you value them equally.
So who is profiting from Open For Service? Well, Stickermule - in that they print and ship the stickers. We used Stickermule to significantly decrease the manpower and financial needs of Open for Service. The rest of the funds from sticker purchases has gone to SCORE ($30,000!! raised at this point). As I try to plan out the sustainability of Open For Service, we may have to look at new ways to get funding. (If you have any ideas, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
Not convinced yet that you need a sticker? Well, we don’t have the budget to send them out for free, but we will add you to the directory at no charge. We want this ecosystem to thrive and help facilitate this open door economy I mention from time to time.
Soon, you will be seeing some big things from Open For Service that hopefully will excite you as much as it has us. The potential of it enhancing this community is HUGE!
PLEASE keep hanging out with us. Tell the stores or online sites that you appreciate them for supporting this organization and our mission. Take pictures, share everything, send us e-mails, and stay the course. We are honored to have you as part of the Open For Service community.