2020 was a tumultuous year for American businesses – from the pandemic lockdowns to rampant cancel culture. Shareholder activists have taken every opportunity to infiltrate corporations with their political agendas and American investors are on high-alert regarding the power of their dollar and their voice. Although 2021 is upon us, it’s all too clear that small businesses continue to need our help to recover after last year’s hardship. After voicing your vote in the 2020 proxy season, now consider casting your second ballot for American companies with your wallet.
Shareholder activists and those pushing political agendas have called for the cancelling of dozens of businesses based on their differing viewpoints. But instead of cancelling people we disagree with, we should instead show our support for the companies rededicating themselves to the foundational principles of capitalism—building exceptional products and creating loyal customers for the purpose of maximizing the return on investment for shareholders.
It is easy for a company to cave to the pressures of overzealous agenda-pushers and political activists. When companies resist and take a stand for what is best for their customers, their company and their investors, regardless of political motivation or coercion, they should be celebrated. Show your support by being an active and informed shareholder and use your wallet to support companies who stick to their sole purpose: doing good business.
Justin Danhof, Director of Free Enterprise Project, stated, “At the end of the day, companies are responsive to the bottom line, and they’re responsive to the folks that show up and give voice to their beliefs.” More often than not, the demands of political activists are not beneficial to investors. When companies focus on the true foundations of capitalism and their own bottom line, corporations are upholding their fiduciary responsibility to both their employees and investors.
On the other hand, if a company makes a decision in direct contradiction to their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, resist the urge to boycott. “If you have an issue with a retailer, reach out to customer relations or go into a store and ask to talk to the manager,” said Danhof. “Use your dollars where you can vote your values, so to speak, with your wallet. But also use your voice.”
As shareholders, and investors of all kinds, it is imperative that we be engaged in the annual meeting process, in order to make our voices heard in support of ideas that build shareholder value and in opposition to those that do not. Let’s make this our shared goal as we head into 2021.