There are many persistent narratives about the adversarial relationship between business and government. The important thing to understand is that the private and public sectors not only can work well together when they communicate effectively, and actors understand how to operate, but due to public development, they must. Neither business nor government are going away. Therefore, if you are in business, it is more beneficial to learn how the government works and how to work with it, than to merely wish it away.

The government can be a tremendous asset to a business if understood and taken advantage of. Most business who want less government have an adversarial relationship with government. If they turn that around, they find access, funding and projects. This way of business relating to government requires understanding, however.

A powerful method of gaining the knowledge of government and public policy that can benefit your business is through an MPA (masters in public administration). Because of the growing importance of the relationship between the public and private sectors, getting an MPA can help any entrepreneur. An MPA will help business people succeed in some critical and valuable arenas. Here are four ways an MPA can specifically help those in business.

Literacy

Businesses are often bogged down by bureaucracy and regulation. However, an MPA can help you navigate the red tape and logistical hurdles by familiarizing yourself with the language and processes necessary to succeed. Understanding where to go, what to file, how to manage certain obstacles, terms to use and regulations to follow can give your business a real advantage, especially when you are dealing with time-sensitive issues.

Being efficient in these situations translates into being effective. When you consider the ease and access to online courses through the internet, gaining a competitive advantage through an MPA makes too much sense these days.

Networking

The saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. Sometimes getting to know the right people can be challenging. Especially if you are on one side of a perceived adversarial relationship. Bridging that relationship can become the ultimate advantage in business. Public and private spheres often overlap.

By networking between these two sectors of our economy, you position yourself in a way to succeed by creating allies. Having an MPA provides insight into how the public machinery works and also positions you to work with public sector workers. This can be vital in permitting, licensing as well as learning the ropes regarding gaining access to projects.

Networking can also come from the fact that you create credentials. Having an MPA means that you gain access to people and organizations which you might otherwise be excluded from. Not merely the knowledge of where to go and how to proceed, but what to expect.

Additionally, an MPA can send a signal that you are legitimate and worthy of access and information. This can not merely open doors but create connections. People of a feather, etc. Your MPA puts your plumes into categories where they wouldn’t previously have belonged.

Public Funds

It is a misunderstanding to think that government spending is confined to government bureaucracies. Public spending is often dispersed into the private sector through private/public contracts. Public money is very valuable for entrepreneurs in certain sectors of our economy. For example, our nation’s infrastructure is publicly funded, but the contracts are filled by private companies.

An MPA can help understand the processes and terminology necessary to bridge the private and public sectors. Gaining public funding as a private company requires knowledge of where the money flows from, the public-sector needs, the bureaucratic processes. If you know these things you gain a critical competitive advantage in an area where large amounts of money can greatly improve your company’s bottom line, gain employment advantages and stabilize business.

Forecasting

Being in business is betting. With an understand of public policy, you can better understand how areas grow, demographics, public concerns (which transfers into business opportunity) what to avoid (like equipment which will become obsolete, not because of utility, but due to regulation). For example, right now, global warming is having an impact on our economy across many sectors. The US Army included measures to account for global warming.

Insurance companies understand that they must calibrate their actuary tables to factor in the effects of climate change. Understanding public policy can help your business access measures and countermeasures. It can avoid sectors or take advantage of change.

If you understand where zoning lines will be drawn you can make better bets with your business. Knowing a certain business location will be surrounded by other businesses and therefore a hub is valuable knowledge. Knowing that a location will likely be near a school might dissuade you from opening a bar. Having an MPA can give you an understanding of how your community is developing and therefore give you insight into how to develop.

Most people consider an MPA a degree for those who want to pursue a career in government. This is not necessarily the case. An MPA can be valuable for entrepreneurs as well. Gaining valuable insights into how the public sector works and specifically works with private enterprise can be very valuable. You can position your company to receive public funds, better understand how to navigate bureaucracy and put your insights into development into an advantageous use.

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