You may pay attention to the headlines of national news and know the inner workings of D.C. politics but have you paid attention to your local government?
Getting to know the people within your local government can provide you c-store with some different benefits and having a healthy relationship with the right people can help you in the long run.
Here are the people that you should build a relationship with in your local government, the benefits that the relationship can bring to your c-store, and how you can go about creating the relationship with them.
It’s All About Who You Know
Just like in any business relationship, it’s all about who you know. Identifying the right people to talk to in the local government can seem overwhelming depending on how large your city is. If you can get to know higher-up people like the mayor, treasurer, and city council members will go far but in most cases, just getting your foot in the door with people from their office can go far in the long run.
You need to identify your goals with the relationship; what are you trying to achieve? Do you want to secure financing options for your business? Would you like to influence local zoning policies? Do you want to apply for a new license? Figuring out your motivations for developing the relationship will help you in making your approach.
So, what can local government do to help out your business? Let’s look at some common benefits working with local government can bring your c-store.
How the Local Government Can Help You
Local governments want to see the small businesses in their community succeed. To promote this success, many local governments will offer low-interest loans for businesses to improve their storefronts, become more energy-efficient, and more.
These loans are more likely more of a value than the loans that your local bank would offer, so it is in your best interest to try and secure them to help improve your business.
Additionally, most cities have a Small Business Administration office that can provide small business owners with additional tools and resources to help them thrive. The government harps on the fact that small businesses are the back bone of the economy, so they ensure that they provide all business owners with the tools they need to succeed.
How to Connect with the Local Government
Just as with any business partnership or really any relationship in life, it's best not to approach with only your benefit in mind. You need to be genuinely interested in local policy and the inner-workings of the community. One of the best ways to stay in the loop with local government and potentially have your voice heard is to attend city council meetings. They hold these quite frequently, and the public is usually invited. There, they will discuss issues facing the community and proposed changes to statutes and ordinances.
You can also just send a nice friendly note to the chosen local official detailing your c-store, how you provide value to the community and any of your future goals. Forming a profitable relationship takes some time so don’t rush to the point so quickly. Correspond back and forth before asking for anything.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you. There is no harm in getting to know your local government, and you'll be much more informed in your business decisions.