Shopping with a small business can give consumers a sense of pride. When you buy from a local mom-and-pop shop, you are helping real people succeed in their dreams of running a business. Whether you are acquiring a service from a boutique agency, getting hard cider from your local cidery, or shopping at your farmer’s market, you are helping small businesses become the backbone of your community. 

What most people do not realize is the number of hoops small business owners have to jump through just to stay open, or to even start their own business. All of the hoops are set by the local government, depending on the city or state you are in. Thinking about starting a small business of your own? With Small Business Week occurring last week, let’s take a look at the importance of government relations in small businesses.

Network With Government Officials

For starters, you will need to talk with government officials if you want to open up a business, as they lay out the regulations and guidelines needed for all businesses in the area. Having a relationship with your local government and its elected officials can prove to be useful when it comes to promoting your business, as they will introduce you to other businesses in the area. Also, if you are generating revenue and creating new jobs within their district, who wouldn’t want to meet with a new business? Think of it as a networking opportunity, and who knows, maybe you will get a new customer!

Join a Chamber of Commerce

Getting involved in a chamber of commerce will almost certainly boost your relationship with the government, and it will help all government officials become familiar with your business. For example, John Behrens, the owner of Farmhaus Cider Co., is a member of the Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce. Not only does he get to network with various government officials, but he is also getting the word out about his small business. The Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce even hosted a meet-up at Farmhaus, thus bringing in more revenue while also talking city business. 

At the end of the day, having some form of government relations will benefit you and your small business in the long run. While it won’t give you any special treatment, taking the time to get to know your government officials and seeing how you can better your business goes a long way. Officials can certainly be a resource to help you improve your business. As mentioned before, a small business brings in revenue and new jobs to the area, and during the COVID-19 recovery, that will benefit you, the official, your business, and the community at large. I used to intern at Farmhaus Cider Co., and seeing the number of guidelines they have to follow as the only bar in Blendon Township, it made me realize how much these owners have to go through to achieve their dreams.

While Small Business Week was last week, make sure you shop at your local store and tell them thank you for serving your community this week.

About the Author:

Stephen Szymanski is a fifth-year senior at Grand Valley State University. He is the Community Outreach Coordinator at GrandPR, GVSU’s student-run integrated communications firm, and Marketing Specialist at RED66 Marketing LLC. He is looking forward to continuing his focus areas of community relations, crisis communications, and government relations post-graduation.