How to Make People Like an “Unlikable” Business

August 29, 2017

People generally don’t roll out the welcome mat when they learn about a clean and sober recovery home in their neighborhood. That was certainly my experience when I launched Clean & Sober Transitional Living in 1989. Twenty-eight years and 6500 residents later, I’ve boiled down my recipe for success in working with people who don’t initially embrace my business. I’m proud to say that I’ve converted many skeptics who now understand that sober housing helps people rebuild lives. At times, yes, that concept has been a tough sell. That’s why I think these seven top tips to convert skepticism can work wonders in any industry: How to Make People Like an 'Unlikeable' Business

Educate the community about the valuable work you do. At first, my neighbors were very leery of my business model and prospective residents. Over time, they’ve learned that my recovery housing helps people return to work or school, reunite with their families, and become tax-paying citizens, all at NO taxpayer expense. They view my recovery homes as valuable assets in our community.

If your work is worth doing, sing your song proudly. My area of expertise involves helping people embrace recovery from drugs and alcohol. I find purpose in helping our community understand and deal with a perplexing problem that people simply don’t know how to approach. What are you passionate about? If you believe firmly in your work, you’ll have the conviction and drive to surmount any obstacle you might encounter.

Demonstrate integrity in all you do. Pay your bills on time, purchase services from local businesses, be a good employer, keep your place of business neat as a pin. Be honest and fair. Those practices help build any business.

Have and hold high standards for business operations. Members of the Clean & Sober recovery community sign a code of conduct, which is essentially theprice of admission” for living in our community. First and foremost, drug or alcohol use are grounds for eviction. We don’t allow any verbal or physical aggression. We have high standards for diversity and inclusion. We don’t tolerate intolerance. Residents can only smoke cigarettes in a designated area that keeps smoke away from the neighbors. Non-residents can’t congregate on our property or loiter in the street. Wouldn’t you be happy to say the same about your neighborhood?

Contribute to your community. Three times a year, our residents volunteer to support community events in Fair Oaks. How can you help build your community?

Get to know your elected officials. Over the years, I’ve introduced myself to the Board of Supervisors, my congressmen and assembly members, and other elected officials. If elected officials understand how your business works, they can refer business to you or help you find solutions for legislative logjams you might encounter.

Embrace your community with a smile and a warm heart. You never know who is struggling with a health issue or grappling with one of life’s curveballs. A smile for a customer, sincere interest in a neighbor, an open ear to the concerns of a business partner…these will help them while helping you. And that’s a big win for all, no matter what kind of business you have.

Article submitted by Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

Disclaimer: Views expressed on this Blog are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BBB Serving Northeast California.