Thanks to the recent court rulings allowing same sex marriage in certain states, some businesses are dealing with the repercussions of their decision not to serve those couples. We've seen everything from boycotts and sit-ins to the closing of an Oregon bakery. There's no hiding biases any more. News hits the internet in minutes and this is just one example.
In our digital world, shoppers want to know about a business before they buy. How you appear to a potential customer is just as important as your product and that includes reviews, comments and links, even your religious affiliations, charitable efforts, social media relations and personal opinions. After all, from the outside, you are your business. All of these things add up to how potential customers see you regardless of your intentions, so it's important to be aware of what kind of impression you're making.
This doesn't mean you can't be bold, stand firm in your convictions, but knowing your target audience well allows you to decide whether you may have to suffer the consequences of your personal ethics by clashing with theirs. In the words of Ricky Nelson, "you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Just be aware that your decisions can and will impact your business.