Learning from a government shutdown

In Washington, keeping the federal government open is all about negotiating, give and take, and getting a deal done for the people you represent. The problem is if you can’t compromise, like in the case of a government shutdown, services are cut, members of our military don’t get paid and national parks will close.

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January 20th, 2018
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Up until the time of this writing, negotiations were still underway to avoid a shutdown of the U.S. Federal government. It’s the first time in five years that this could or has happened. As a numbers person, who balances books and budgets all of the time, it’s unfathomable to me that this is where our government is today.

Well, unlike running your own business and balancing your own books, an impending government shutdown has more to do than just numbers. In Washington, keeping the federal government open is all about negotiating, give and take, and getting a deal done for the people you represent. The problem is if you can’t compromise, like in the case of a government shutdown, services are cut, members of our military don’t get paid and national parks will close.

So in my blog this week, I want to talk about the things we can take away as small business owners and learn from a government shutdown:

  • LEARN TO NEGOTIATE – Have you ever talked a potential buyer into a lower price? Have you ever gotten a good deal? Well, neither of these two things could happen without learning how to negotiate. If you’re a small business owner, negotiation is key to possibly inking a deal or opening the door to new business.
  • DON’T PASS UP A POSSIBLE DEAL – Speaking of negotiations, don’t pass up a possible deal. President Trump invited Democratic New York Senator Richard Schumer to the White House Friday to hear what he had to say. Senator Schumer arrived with a reported list of demands he could use to negotiate with. Even though they didn’t make a deal personally, as a small business owner keep this tactic in mind. Make a list of your needs (or demands) when entering negotiations.
  • WORK WITH YOUR COMPETITION – If you watched any television network coverage of the government shutdown negotiations, you may have noticed one thing all the channels had in common, the shutdown talks broke down because Democrats and Republicans refused to work with their competition or just couldn’t come to an agreement. Keep this in mind when you’re frustrated by your competition. Consider collaborating with a competing business or at least bring up the idea if you ever have the chance. You never know could result from a collaboration.
  • LEARN TO COMPROMISE – One of the reasons we are in the middle of a government shutdown crisis is that both sides have an agenda they want to pass, but can’t seem to compromise. This is a great takeaway for small business owners. A stalemate may mean no profits for your business. Learning to give in once in awhile and compromise is a good business lesson.

So while we wait to see if a deal gets done, we should learn our lessons and remember to avoid stalemate and mistakes in our own businesses in the future.

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