Unless your sole customer is government, you are not in business to serve the government. When you understand this concept, it subtly transforms the way you treat the business-government relationship.
Here’s what you’ll notice…
- Although you don’t put a target on your back by fighting government, you don’t go out of your way to win a pat on the head from politicians and other government officials either.
- If the government burdens your company with regulations, you comply but don’t go beyond compliance in an effort to win brownie points that will never be awarded.
- When the government tries to shut down your business as non-essential (e.g. the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus), you look for ways to keep your doors open legally.
- When there’s paid government propaganda pushing for companies to modify their business practices as part of an undefined “greater good” goal (e.g. “green practices,” paying a “living wage,” etc.), you don’t buy in. Let your competitors waste their time and money on it instead while you focus on growing your company.
- You practice legal tax avoidance (minimizing taxes) but not illegal tax evasion. And you notice those who call for businesses to pay more as part of their “fair share” never actually cut a voluntary check to the U.S. Treasury themselves. They just want to feel good by looting your profits.
- Your business model takes into account the various ways you can get screwed by new laws and regulations. In fact, you actively reduce that risk by diversifying your sources of income.
- You don’t waste money making campaign donations, understanding that you can rent (but never permanently buy) a politician at best. And chances are, a bigger competitor will pay more rent than you can afford to control that business-government relationship.
- If your state (e.g. California) or local government (e.g. New York City) becomes too anti-business, you don’t stick your head in the sand waiting to be crushed by onerous laws and regulations. Instead, you relocate your company to a favorable business climate that encourages capitalism (e.g. Texas).
In short, your business-government relationship isn’t a friendship…and it’s not even an alliance unless you’re living off the taxpayer gravy train through government contracts. Instead, you respect it for what it is, comply with the law, and stay off the radar so you don’t become a target for political shakedowns and destruction.