Former U.S. Congressman & former TechNet CEO Rich White said in a recent NSCA webinar that it’s not the smartest, most efficient, or even the most ethical person who succeeds in Washington D.C…. but no matter who represents them, pro AV integrators aren’t paying enough attention to politics.
It may be tempting to dismiss government as an inept body that we all pay our taxes to, but doing so dismisses real business opportunities and, even worse, critical involvement in policymaking, White says.
“It’s a good thing to keep in mind where as you get into this digital process and are dealing with big technology players who are proficient in politics, you need to respect the process,” White says.
“In a situation such as we have now — where we have lots of Big Tech players who live and breath to disrupt everyone’s industries — you really have to be competing at a 100% level every day. You’ve got to be plugged in to what’s happening with new tech, since something important will likely pop up soon.”
Smaller IT companies had to survive among the big giants by being the best they could be in their particular niche, and White says that’s something integrators should be focused on, too.
But when they’re not busy running their businesses, pro AV integrators should also ensure their businesses aren’t being hindered by policies set by those bigger than themselves.
Make sure your industry and your opinions are represented in Washington.
“If there’s a big problem that no one industry player can solve themselves, sure, Congress can solve it… but it won’t be a great solution that’s as informed as you’d want it to be,” White says.
“You need to spend a certain amount of time dealing with the government even if you don’t want to.”
From an individual company standpoint, introduce yourself to your local Congressperson, meet your senators, meet your mayor, develop a personal relationship with your local representatives. Be a known commodity so that when things come up, you won’t have to introduce yourself.
In your approach to the government, approach these topics with a good-faith, respectful tone.
Suggest a viable solution to any particular problem you have. You need talk to these people about it and suggest a solution early.
Technology people have been so unwilling to deal with the government that they don’t take advantage of great opportunities they already have.
“The R&D Tax Credit, for example: I’ve been amazed to find technology companies are distrustful of the government and leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.”
What is the Research and Development Tax Credit?
A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes paid or taxes payable.
A reduction in taxes that normally generates an immediate source of cash, this can be very important to technology companies, especially in today’s hostile environment.
It’s not as though pro AV integrators need to be inventing a new product or service to qualify, however.
Your company’s daily activities and projects might qualify.
Three areas of qualification:
- wages – paid staff like programmers creating new network software or helping clients architect a new network
- supplies – anything that is used to help create new equipment
- 65% of contract research – you don’t have to have full time W2 folks on staff to take advantage of this
Learn more on the NSCA’s website.
This article was originally posted on Sep 2, 2020