April 18, 2019
By Matthew Groves, House District 6 Co-chair
For this week, I want to step out of politics completely and talk about entrepreneurship. In the years of the first Obama administration, during the rise of the fiscal hawks, we as a party decided that the only way to stop outrageous growth in the deficit and national debt was to run our country like a business. While the national security staffer in my may tell you that this was a terrible idea from the start, for better or worse, the branding was successful. This gave rise to candidates like Mitt Romney and Donald Trump after years of public servants like George W. Bush and John McCain.
With the politics-as-a-business model being successful, we are now reckoning with the confines of this construct. In the minds of voters, business leaders mean a good economy a profitable – or at least break even – nation. On the upside, this successfully turned thousands of self-reliant Democrats into Republicans over the past 8 years. On the downside, if the economy is not working in your favor, there is a very short leash for a leader.
I will let this week’s article say the rest. It comes from Fast Company magazine, designed for people motivated to run and grow their own enterprises. Most successful companies rely on venture capital for start-up funding these days. They quickly realize investors are not putting money in their business plan, they’re investing in a person and a story. If they believe in the company’s leader, they will give freely to the business. The key then is learning to develop and communicate this story in the very short time your busy venture capitalists will allow you. Most people call this the elevator pitch, or a value-based narrative defining how you got to where you are today and why they should join you.
I would submit that this pitch is not just for leaders/candidates. Everyone who will be walking or talking to voters this cycle should give a moment to think about their story and why they believe it is compelling enough to convince your neighbors to join you. This story develops over time. Even the best stories have had doors slammed in their face repeatedly. You will be lucky if a voter opening the door or answering the phone gives you a full 30 seconds. So be brief, and lead with your ace.