BY HALSEY BESHEARS
Lobbyists are most often hired by a business when there is an issue needing to be solved or a situation needing to be changed. How severe the issue and the timeliness of the changes are subjective in nature, yet a lobbyist can find the best strategies to get your business back on solid ground during even the toughest of times.
Numerous government laws, possible policy changes, and the constantly changing legislative environment affect businesses in many sectors, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller mom-and-pop shops. The one beneficial thing to any company, no matter the size, when faced with regulatory challenges, is hiring lobbyists to identify the best solutions to navigate the complicated world of policymaking to make real change. They are highly knowledgeable about the legislative process and their ability to navigate the process while finding real-world practical solutions is maybe most significant.
An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of topics lobbied on by food and beverage companies include taxes, trade, agriculture, transportation, the environment, federal budget/appropriations and labor/antitrust issues also have been priorities in recent years.
- Tax credit – pays dues
- A major deal that comes with working alongside a lobbyist is their ability to create effective change that benefits you in a real way. A popular topic often lobbied by businesses going through tough times are tax credits. Sometimes this win is big enough to cover lobbying efforts while providing a monetary cushion for support.
- Empower your business: Ad hoc groups
- You don’t have to go it alone. Businesses are stronger in numbers! Create an ad hoc group alongside other businesses to raise the funds to hire a lobbyist. Look to join your industry association to create bigger change than you ever thought possible.
- Protection against new potentially damaging rules
- New rules set by government officials may have unintended consequences that can sometimes be damaging to businesses. Your best protection from new rulings and laws that are enacted is hiring a lobbyist to be part of the legislative solution discovery process.
- Keep moving forward not backward
- One reason we have so many laws and regulations is that not enough are engaged in the political process as they should be. Lobbying can help shape laws and regulations that govern the operation and evaluation of the business sector itself.
- Small-business owners become stymied
- Some businesses should just promote deregulation to remove red tape. Free markets will dictate whether a business will survive or not, without rules and restrictions. According to the National Small Business Association, the average first-year regulatory cost for small start-up enterprises is $83,019. This is a difficult number to overcome for any brand-new business. Lobbyists can use their institutional knowledge to help eliminate rules and give businesses the fighting chance they need during tough times.
- Investment in your company
- The quote “If you’re not at the table, you might be on the menu” heavily applies to American business owners when discussing involvement in governmental relations. Lobbying services are an investment companies use to push their issues to the top of legislative agendas. A government identity represents how the audience views a company and how those perceptions affect their future behavior, just the same as consumer and employer brands do.
- Lobbyists are educators, Politicians are generalists
- Lobbyists hired by businesses are committed to giving the right info to legislators on complex and intricate industries that can accidentally become marginalized with new rulings and laws. Government officials use lobbyists to educate them on specific industry issues to ensure they see the bigger picture. Retaining a lobbyist puts your business and issues at the forefront of not only current agenda items, but also future ones.
About the Author:
Former Secretary of the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Halsey W. Beshears, is the Governmental Relations & Lobbying Team Leader at Spiritus Law. His focus includes legislative and regulatory matters to establish strategic public policy platforms and propel legislative remedies for pandemic-stricken business owners, new business owners, and larger companies seeking legislative solutions.