3 Reasons Why Startups Should Work With Government

If you’re an entrepreneur in  today’s political climate, it can be difficult to see why startups should work with government.

Turn on the news and you’re bombarded by a constant stream of political infighting that seems to have little impact on your business.

It’s tempting to tune this out and focus your energy back on fundraising or scaling but this is short-sighted.

There’s value in startups learning to work with their government and there’s value in starting that working relationship immediately.

We’ve seen the alternative play out time after time…

Startups don’t work with government until they have reached a scale that forces the two to interact.

Typically, this interaction is around labor restrictions or some other legislative hurdle that the entrepreneur recently didn’t know existed but now can’t work around.

With money and time of the essence, this first interaction is a contentious one.

Lawyers and lobbyists quickly get involved and, the next thing you know, millions of dollars are being spent as the wheels of progress grind to a halt.

Disagree? Just ask Uber and Lyft after they spent $8 million fighting a battle in Austin that no one won.

Okay, maybe you’re not at the Uber and Lyft level yet, but that’s not an excuse.

So, why should your startup work with government now?

Startups should work with government to influence legislation that affects their business

As we mentioned above, when your startup reaches a certain level of success, you will run into policymakers.

“In the world we live in, government seems to affect every aspect of people’s lives. While many of us think this is a bad thing philosophically, your venture’s success will not wait while you debate philosophy.  Anticipating and being able to influence legislative and regulatory outcomes is critical to the success of any enterprise.  Forging relationships with policymakers is the only way to affect those outcomes.” Said Mike Gatto,  retired Assemblymember, California District  43.

Startups should work with government to build a sense of community responsibility

Approximately 1 in 2 millennials volunteer or donate to social causes that matter to them.  In fact, it is a central pillar of what keeps today’s workforce energized and engaged through the grueling startup schedule.

“Issues like housing costs and transportation gridlock are not only central to many legislative agendas, but they are critical to a startup’s ability to scale within a community,” says Peter Brack of Mucker Capital. “Startups should work with government to understand those issues and motivate their employees to get involved in those discussion.”

Startups should work with government to drive business

Forward thinking governments are regularly looking for innovative ways to leverage technology and data as they plan for the future.

The City of Los Angeles is a prime example of a government looking to incorporate startup technology.

“We have a government here that is not only willing to listen and work together but actually seeking partners to bring innovation and new thinking to government.” Said John Trefry, CEO of 4WT Media.

In short, governments can not only become welcomed costumers, they can also be amazing brand advocates. They can provide that much needed validation to help you scale long term.

Turning a blind eye to governmental workings might feel good morally, but when your success as an entrepreneur is measured by the bottom line, this moral stance is short-sighted.

Reach out to the public sector, you never know what great things might happen.

Taylor McPartland – @TayMcPartland

Taylor McPartland