Sometimes working with the government or working around government regulations is just a part of doing business. If you are involved in an industry that sometimes has to interact with government officials or respond or adjust to new government policies, it might be to your benefit to add more organization to your day-to-day process. Here are some tips to help your firm formulate a long-term government relations strategy that will reward you with a stronger bottom line.
Start a Conversation Before There Is a Problem
One of the worst ways to go about interacting with government officials or politicians is to only speak up after there is a problem. These officials take time to carefully formulate their policies, and once they go public with their plans, their planning and research is usually pretty far along and it can be hard to get them to make a last-minute adjustment or change. Your government relations strategy will be far more effective if you start reaching out to officials and politicians when there isn't any current issue or problem to deal with. In other words, people will be more willing to listen to your concerns when you are not standing in the way of what they are trying to accomplish. Get involved early and you won't be met with as much resistance if you do need to speak up later because the official or politician already knows you.
Pick Your Battles
There could be a wide variety of different issues or policies that might affect your business, but it's unlikely that you are going to be able to create change (or prevent change) everywhere at once. You will be much more effective if you hone in on just one or two key issues, the ones that are affecting your business the most. This will allow you to hire lobbyists or a government relations consulting team who will help you achieve your goals in these key areas.
Also, consider that government officials and politicians sometimes don't want to be viewed as caving to lobbyists or outside forces. You will have much better success if you focus on a pet issue or two instead of demanding that they adjust to meet all of your needs across the board.
Talk with Other Businesses
You could also possibly be more effective if you are not the only voice speaking out. This is one case where networking with your competitors in the industry might actually be beneficial. Form a coalition of businesses who have the same goals and then hire a consulting firm to speak on the entire group's behalf.
Reach out to a government relations consulting firm today for more information