At the municipal level, governments can be the best friend of your business or a complete roadblock. The procedures and red tape that surround launching a business don’t end once you open your doors to customers. Every event, addition and new venture is going to require some sort of approval from your town’s council. I learned this lesson long ago and besides working for decades in the restaurant and music industry in Seattle, Washington, I’ve also been deeply involved in government program efforts. The experiences learned here are one’s I’d would like to share with readers who may consider themselves entrepreneurs but are unprepared for the hurdles ahead.
Currently, I’ve been steering my establishment through the COVID-19 epidemic. The financial gains to be made in the restaurant sector are already razor-thin and are only going to shrink from here with state-mandated shut-downs. I’ve only owned the restaurant since 2019 but will be part of the picture for years to come so I’m closely following decisions made by politicians in Washington State and DC. This way, his eatery is compliant with orders and will be able to re-open as soon as it’s safe to do so.
We know that millions of Americans are currently out of work are worried about making rent and mortgage payments. As such, the thoughts of long-term poverty have also probably crossed their minds. The plight of individuals who are struggling through chronic unemployment or poverty was exactly what the LEAD Community Advisory Board sought to solve. I was a member of this board in 2011 and helped steer the community-based diversion program. In this role, I relayed information to social services and law enforcement groups about problems in the community and how to best utilize available resources to help these individuals and improve neighborhoods.
On a more proactive front, I’ve been able to champion the causes of Seattle-area businesses. This has been accomplished by serving on a number of advisory boards and committees, including: The Seattle Film & Music Office Advisory Board, City of Seattle Music Commission and The Mayor’s Economic Opportunities Task Force. These efforts span decades and as someone who has worked in music, food, travel and entertainment, I know how important it is to have a say in decisions that are going to impact the lives of entrepreneurs across your city.
- David Meinert