By Meredith Turney, Senior Director of Leadership Development and Strategic Communications
The entire world is going through something unique: The shared experience of a global shutdown due to the coronavirus. It’s a once-in-a-century experience, which means we and our leaders have no experience to call upon in navigating this situation. We’re acting on instinct and what we believe are best practices right now. The only thing we know for sure is that we will come through this crisis and we will experience a new world in a new way.
As public policy organizations, there is a huge opportunity in this crisis to provide leadership and policy ideas that will guide following generations. Part of that leadership is how we talk about this crisis and our free-market policy ideas. As free-market advocates, a huge area of opportunity is to clear the way for entrepreneurship.
During times of crisis or economic downturns, America’s creativity thrives. There is ample opportunity for those who have lost their jobs and are sitting at home in quarantine to think about potential businesses. They have time to introspect about their dreams of building a product or company.
This provides a golden opportunity for state think tanks to share why entrepreneurship will help bring the economy roaring back and create even more innovations that will better serve society. As a recent Entrepreneur magazine article noted, recessions are fertile ground for disruption.
During this time, focus on telling the stories of entrepreneurs and their impact. Talk about the policy ideas government leadership can implement that will clear the way for entrepreneurs to quickly and efficiently launch new businesses. This is the time to inspire creativity and then remove barriers.
Even in dark times, there is hope and opportunity. Now is the time for state think tanks to put into practice the principles we preach by working with government leaders to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses. Government affairs can work with policy to provide a package of policy ideas to implement as soon as legislative sessions reconvene, or with governors who are exercising their authority to restart state economies. Communications can work with policy to share these ideas with media and citizens to build public support for the policies.
Position your organization as the champion of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Tell their stories, champion their cause, and provide as much support as possible. They will appreciate your advocacy and they won’t forget it once they create success.