Young Men in Business Battling the Good Ole’ Boy Network

There are two ways to do business in a city or town in the United States. You can go with the flow and work with the establishment or your can take your entrepreneurial talents, hard headedness and will and ram it up their ass. What do you mean you ask?

Well lets take any city in the US for instance, there are folks in business, good ole’ boy networks established and they work hard to make sure they get the juice. It is the same way in Nationally run businesses with lobbyists, associations and political favors.

Adam Smith warned us of this, it is not a new thing. It is pretty disgusting if you ask me. You would think that companies with all the juice and power grew their businesses to that size by competing in hard fought markets and industries. But they grow old and tired and why work hard when you can pay your government to run interference or run block from your competition so you can continually score goals. Why bother working hard if you don’t have too? Indeed, isn’t that human nature?

This is the way it has always been done, it is the reality and the way things are. If you think it is anything else you are full of shit. It is what it is and you will have to deal with it or risk being pummeled from out of the blue. Before you start a business you should probably check who your competition is, which clubs they belong too and who their friends and relatives are in a community. If they are too politically connected you need to be extremely careful while risking your capital in a business.

Let me tell you a story; You see when first starting out in business I was into car washing. And I found just such a competitor well connected in the city. Well it was an Owner of a carwash in Thousand Oaks CA in 1990. I had taken clientele from him due to better quality, lower prices and quite frankly better service. Although I must admit, as good as we were, the car wash owner was really no competition, the service was mediocre at best.

When we did a car wash fundraiser across town he went to the city and complained about these kids polluting. He could not complain about us, we were helping for free. The wash water run-off never made it to a storm drain as it flowed into the grass. But that did not stop him from shutting down the operation and immediately the code enforcement the next day came to our business and started going through the book looking for something to get us on? As you know CA is always like WA, MA, MD and FL first to implement environmental legislation and CA is the worst state to do business in with all their over regulation on everything from ridiculous labor laws to fines for ascetics.

The well-connected car wash owner gentleman’s name was Jack Galley and he is now dead. He was getting older and probably our competition and refusal to submit to his attacks finally killed him. So what, he cheated, and used his connections and abuse of power to attack us, we were a great company back then, we deserved the customers, so screw him. As his health started to fail him he sold his car washes to Wash Depot, a car wash consolidator, because he could not maintain volumes during illness and competition increasing in the area, mostly from us.

During that time, I watched the local carwashes from fifty miles come together and form a small association and go after our company during a 2-year battle with City Hall, planning commission, council, city attorneys office, public works and court room. We finally won, in the media, courtroom, city hall and in the Market Place.

We refused to give up, never give up. So suffice it to say; “You can go with the flow and work with the establishment or your can take your entrepreneurial talents, hard headedness and will and ram it up their ass!” We choose the second option. Most who try this lose. Personally I am not into losing. But I advise small business owners starting out, to be a little less hard hitting and go a little more with the flow.

You see often “discretion is the better part of valor” but if you are forced to, sometimes you have to fight to be a man. Think on this in 2006.