Entrepreneurial politics

taskmasterEarlier this week, I read the news that Marcia Griffin is running as a candidate in the Stonnington City Council elections in the inner-southern suburbs of Melbourne.


Griffin is a well-known figure in the start-up world. Aside from growing Pola Cosmetics into a multi-billion dollar company as its CEO and launching skincare range griffin+row in 2008, she is also well known as a motivational speaker and contributor to StartupSmart. I wish Griffin all the best in her campaign.


While Old Taskmaster is far too cynical about politics to make a similar run, if you’re toying with the idea of standing as a political candidate, there are good reasons to go for it.


The fact is, as an entrepreneur, you have many valuable skills to contribute to public office. Managing people, completing projects with tight budgets, working to deadlines, innovative thinking, a competitive spirit and being able to sell ideas are all skills needed in public life.


That’s without mentioning the patience to put up with meetings that drag on forever.


Truth be told, if you’re reading StartupSmart, you’d probably do a better job than half the clowns currently in Canberra.


Running as a local, state or federal candidate can benefit your business life even if you aren’t successful in winning office. Aside from boosting your profile in the community, it’s an opportunity to communicate your values and build your personal brand.


Of course, there’s a big problem with all of this, especially in the early stages of launching a business: Time.


However, even if you don’t have the time to run as a candidate, there are other ways to get involved. Political fundraising events are a valuable networking opportunity for entrepreneurs keen to meet fellow businesspeople with similar values.


If party politics is too cynical for your tastes, there are also a range of community and business advocacy groups out there you can get involved with.


So stop sitting on the fence. If you have the time and inclination for public life, go for it.


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