"A government contract for every small business and a grant for every woman, minority and veteran owned business," is the cry that could get any candidate elected to any office.
But if you hear statements like this from a candidate the best advice is to question that candidate’s honesty and run in the other direction. Because, no matter how pleasing these promises might sound, they are not ones that any elected official can accomplish on their own. As a matter of fact there are many promises made by candidates for national, state and local offices in the heat of the campaign battle that they cannot keep.
Small Businesses, especially Woman, Minority and Veteran Owned Businesses, need to carefully investigate (or "vet") campaign promises before they use them to make a voting decision. A candidate may have the best intentions in making a promise or they may simply be trying to get your vote. But "let the buyer beware." It is up to you to determine if candidates can not only keep their promises, but if they can and will help and facilitate your business.
Here are 8 critical assessments that will help you evaluate a candidate’s ability and willingness to assist your business.
Beware of Lip Service When you listen to or read what a candidate says, pay attention so that you are not deceived because you hear what you want to hear. Be certain that the candidate is not simply repeating phrases and words that are recognizable as "pro" for Small Businesses; for businesses owned by Women, Minorities or Veterans; or for businesses designated as Disadvantaged.
Watch for "I" statements Since we do not live in kingdoms where one person has complete authority, there is very little that an elected official can accomplish on his/her own. So, if a candidate states that he/she will increase tax incentives and credits for Small Businesses realize that there will be other people involved in that decision. When a candidate pledges to decrease the number of bundled government contracts understand that not even the President or a Governor can do this alone.
Look for the details and the hows Always ask how a candidate will bring a promise to fruition. If they claim that they will increase the access to capital for Minority Owned Businesses, ask for specifics. If they announce that they will ensure that affordable health care is made available to Small Businesses ask how. If you cannot ask them, then look for details in their speeches, interviews and websites. If you cannot find the details it may be because the candidate does not know how to accomplish the promise; or it may be that they do not truly understand the issue. If they do share details, be sure the plan makes sense. Be aware that "Robin Hood" strategies rarely work. A candidate simply stating they will tax large businesses and give incentives to small businesses is not a plan; it’s a sentiment – a feeling.
Do your homework If an issue is important to you, then take the time to understand the issue. If you do not understand it, you leave yourself vulnerable to empty promises and campaign rhetoric. Your homework should include research and reading that will tell you who can really make decisions about the issue, how action can be taken and what the obstacles are. Then you can compare that information to what the candidates are saying. Knowledge is the best weapon for making sure your business issue actually gets real attention.
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