I resisted the temptation of putting my thoughts on the relationship between business and politics to paper for so long that I am beginning to feel guilty about so many mistakes that people now make about business and politics.
Many business owners have closed shops due to their wrong involvement in politics. There is no doubt that both disciplines co-exist but when a novice tries to exploit this relationship, he or she will get burnt. Tools meant for the ears cannot be used for eye treatment otherwise, there will be serious consequences.
This is even more severe in developing countries where transparent governance is not yet where it should be. Imagine what a corrupt government will do to the business of it’s opposition when angered.
Factors to consider as a businessperson before getting involved in politics
- Nature of business / products: the number one thing to consider as a business person aspiring to get involved in politics of any kind is the nature of your business and the product you offer. I don’t think it is advisable to meddle into politics if your business offers non essential products with low margin – you will simply not get the desired result.
- Level of financial muscle: politically involvement is not for newbies in business. You must have established your financial muscles for you to be able to play what I call the bizpolitics game. From where I come from, there is a saying that ‘Surugede dance is not for the faint hearted’.
- Geographical location and the political ideology: political ideology and perception is strongly tied to the geographical coverage in consideration. People in some parts of the world easily conclude that one is evil as soon as they see you get involved in politics. Imagine being a businessperson in such places.
Is politics a risky business for business owners?
It depends on the individual and the country he/she is coming from. Some countries are inherently highly politically volatile while some are relatively politically milder. Politics for business owners in politically volatile countries or region can be very risky. The best that a business owner under unstable circumstance can do is to be completely apolitical.
The future of business and politics relationship
From the medieval time, there has always been some sort of relationship between the business world and the political world. I don’t see that relationship fading away anytime soon. What we will witness once in a while is a period where there will be soured relationship between contemporary business people and politicians.
Politicians and government will struggle without the assistance of business men and women and vice versa. There is always an optimal point which must be strived for at all times.
Customer base impact
Well, he who fetches insect infested wood should be ready to dance with ants. You must have an opinion as soon as you get involved in politics. This view of yours will definitely go public one way or the other. Guess what; the public must react to your opinion and customers who are not in agreement with your political ideologies will simply shop elsewhere.
What about the opportunity to lobby?
Government policies affect businesses world over. Hence, it wont be a bad idea for business owners to have influencing power over government policies.
Is as much as the relationship between business and politics can be exploited for the betterment of all stakeholders, care and caution must be the watch word of anyone who wishes to get the best out of the two interesting worlds of business and politics. Know the difference between decision making and sentiments.
Do you have any experience in getting involved in politics as a business person? Please share your experience in the comment section for other members of Accountant-next-door community to benefit from.