For all businesses, getting a customer is tough. It can be tougher when you are a small business. It can be even tougher when your very right to own and run a business to get that customer is also challenged.
While it may seem unthinkable, there are businesses today that are blocked, threatened, or harassed just for existing. Special interest groups and associations who have a vested interest in keeping their members happy and everyone else out.
Who is everyone else? Included are street vendors, hair braiders, and interior designers. They represent small business owners and entrepreneurs who often find limitations and red tape that make it unusually hard for them to start and maintain business. As a small business owner, you may not think it can happen to you.
You might think your street side shop or hair braiding salon is immune from red tape and rules. Think again!
The Institute for Justice, a public interest law organization that fights for economic, free speech, and school choice issues, recently authored a short guide (approximately 50 pages) entitled The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed in Your Fight for Economic Liberty.
The Guide offers advice and recommendations for business owners who are facing extreme hurdles while trying to operate their business. One example of those hurdles includes proximity bans on food trucks. As shared in The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide, the Institute for Justice utilized strategies shared in the book to help food truck operators fight restrictions on their ability to run their business.
Understanding How to Defend Your Small Biz Rights
As shared in the first few pages in The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide, the focus is a ‘David and Goliath’ battle against protectionism (defined as using government power to protect one business from another). Small businesses represent “David” with their apparent lack of competition against “Goliath”, who represents the big businesses with vested interests. Through the guide, readers are taken through a brief look at some of the tools that can be used in battle. These include strategies such as:
- How to obtain more information about a potential ordinance or law that could affect your business.
- How to find other supporters and use their support to develop an organization.
- How to raise funds and market your online presence for greater awareness and members.
- How to work with the media.
- How to influence and fight against policy and laws that negatively impact your small business.
Is The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide Worth Your Time?
The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide definitely offers something of value to small business owners. It speaks to two issues that are faced specifically by small businesses, barriers of entry and competition from bigger companies. Many small business owners bemoan the high fees and licensing requirements that it takes to start a small business. This guide, however, offers a potential way for small business owners to address it collectively.
The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide also details how small businesses can communicate with and negotiate with the media and government in ways that may have hesitated with in the past. The book’s tone is positive and upbeat, motivating readers to become advocates of the change they want to change.
That being said, The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide doesn’t cover everything. The abbreviated steps leave out many of the bigger issues that can impact the campaign building process. There are many different variables that can affect a campaign that are not addressed. The guide also neglects one of the most powerful members in the organizing and influencing process, the customer. Customers can be used as an effective broadcasters and advocates for a small business, in addition to forming a coalition, to address the issues.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide offers several ways to approach threats (such as new zoning laws or ordinances). If you are a large business, this guide offers some advice that could be helpful, although the tone might get particularly discouraging.
About the Author
The Institute for Economic Justice is a public interest law firm that fights for economic liberty, free speech and school choice. Their website can be found at ij.org and on Twitter (@IJ) . This review was based on a freely available copy of the book.