TBA.12.17.15We live in a world where entire groups of people are suddenly classified, by some, as the enemy, or personas non grata, but if we can get over political classifications we realize that everyone is our customer at some level. The real question is, will they buy our goods and services?

For brand builders there is only one way to look at others, regardless of race, religion, or national origin, and that is as prospects. Everyone is a potential customer. If not for your products, for your customer’s products, if not for their products, for your customer’s customer’s products and so on. In other words, we are all economically interdependent. Marginalizing groups of potential customers is just, well, bad business.

This holiday season let’s recommit to an age old refrain, “Good Will to All!” Only this time let’s put some economic teeth into it. After all, self-preservation and self-betterment seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. What better way to achieve those primary goals than to wish the same for others, especially when you depend upon them for your own?

Today, and for the foreseeable future, we are in a period of great instability and political upheaval in various parts of the world. Families seeking that same self-preservation and betterment that you and I are seeking are coming here for survival and opportunity. They will get jobs, buy products and services, and add to our economy – which will enrich us all! Our duty is not to marginalize them, but to welcome them as new tax payers, new customers and new contributors to our very standard of living. Where will the next great innovator come from? Will the next Steve Jobs be the son of Syrian immigrants?

Most of us are the sons and daughters of immigrants. In fact, the vast majority of Americans is made up of immigrants. This resulting melting pot has produced the greatest economy of all time. So it’s obviously working. Immigration is the engine that drives ingenuity, employment, and a higher standard of living for everyone. Why stop now for fear of the very elements these immigrants are running away from. They not only disapprove of those elements, they are voting with their feet. Let’s welcome these new employees, customers, and innovators!

When we think about it, many of the refugees seeking immigration are doing so because of our own spending patterns. Consider the consequences of the concentrated wealth we created in undemocratic regimes every time we filled up at the pump. And now we have a national interest in those countries to protect our fuel supplies. And then we arm the regimes that promise stability by whatever means. Don’t we have an obligation to at least receive the victims of our own spending patterns?

We think we do. We also think they will be a big benefit to us in the long run. So let’s not look at them and other marginalized groups as strangers. Let’s reject rhetoric based on fear and at least think about our own businesses which can only improve with more customers!

Let the spirit of truly enlightened self-interest, which welcomes new immigrant customers, prevail this holiday season and throughout the year!

Happy Holidays Everybody!


Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at www.thebarefootspirit.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.