Entrepreneur Seeks Government Assistance
A recent TV roundtable discussion, on a major news network, was fielding questions from viewers. One question, from an aspiring entrepreneur, asked the group for their advice on starting a new business. One panel member responded to the question by first congratulating the entrepreneur on their desire to start a business. She remarked that it took tremendous courage, and she encouraged them to pursue the dream.
She then suggested the entrepreneur get to know her state’s representatives, going on to say that they would have no idea what her needs might be if they don’t hear from her. The person offering the advice is suffering from a common misconception about the relationship between entrepreneurship and government.
“Government Assistance is an Oxymoron –
There's a mistaken perception that the government, whether Federal, State or local, can be of some assistance to startups and small businesses in general.” – The Startup Survivor
It’s true that big business (e.g. lobbyists and major donors) and green business (e.g. loan guarantees and federal grants) find ways to leverage government relationships into their business models. For almost everyone else, an introduction to your state representatives means little more than an assistant adding you to their mailing list – which will be followed by solicitations for her reelection campaign.
Can it hurt? Probably not, but I think it’s prudent not expect that it will help. To paraphrase JFK, don’t ask what government can do for you, ask what you can do for your business, then roll up your sleeves and do it.