Colorado’s 2019 legislative session was anything but boring. One party had strong control of all three branches and legislation that had been in gridlock for several years came rushing out of the gate. Engaging in the process with more intention was not thrilling in a good way, but I quickly learned how much is at stake.
There is so much to explore and discuss
It all happens so fast. To be fair, there are many pieces of legislation that pass through without much fanfare. But the few deeply contested laws that pass and the rulemaking that follows, are destined to ripple through Colorado’s economy for years to come. What is most disturbing is the declining humility in policy-making in the face of complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change.
I have always been attentive to our business and economic climate, once as a small business owner and employer, and for years beside my spouse as he navigated his journey as an entrepreneur. And now as a solopreneur, because I just cannot walk away. Not yet.
Any business owner tries to recognize and be vigilant of his/her main risks. Resilience is evasive and can be especially challenging for small businesses. Managing cash flow and the day in and day out struggles to remain competitive and meet customer expectations in a rapidly changing environment is not for the faint of heart. For my first business, it was technological disruption – a roller-coaster ride. But those are the rules of the game that we all acknowledge when we play. Some businesses are remarkably agile and manage to survive the challenges, emerging even stronger and often in an environment with fewer competitors.
What is alarming is the rate at which the government is interceding in the economy. The resulting uncertainty is consequential. Government Policy Risk has become the elephant in the room. Not only the policies themselves, but the uncertainty as well can decimate an industry, destroy capital, and reroute planning and projections abruptly. Most disturbingly, it threatens to eliminate the brilliant, messy space where growth and learning begin.
“I wouldn’t do it again“
How many conversations have you had with seasoned entrepreneurs who look on with concern at our younger generation – our kids and grandkids, and admit that they wouldn’t do it again – start and run a business if they had to contend with today’s business climate and challenges. Regulations, uncertainty, norms, expectations, attitudes toward business, work ethic and community have all experienced paradigm shifts that do not bode well for commerce and growth.
Yet there is an opportunity to change the narrative and with great effort, with collaboration and sharing information more effectively, we may be able to address the unique problems we face today, build and restore community, and revitalize a healthy space for innovation and sustainable growth.