Government’s Role in Business

I have a couple of quick disclaimers to this blog post.  First, my blog editor/cousin Eric is now off to Law School at Harvard (hopefully the quality of writing does not drop too much).  Second, this post is not meant to be political but rather philosophical.

I am very grateful to live in America and am a strong supporter of democracy, capitalism, and the constitution.  Having lived, traveled, and done business in various parts of the world I know that our laws, regulations, and enforcement all work to facilitate our ability to build successful businesses.  Without the existence and enforcement of rights, laws and regulations businesses cannot flourish i.e. property ownership, contracts, employee rights, etc.  Lack of proper government involvement often leads to monopoly, black markets, and a struggling economy.

The difficult question is how much regulation and taxes are the optimal amount to allow growth in a free market economy.  We know absolute government control and no government control are both bad solutions.  By increasing government regulation and taxes the government is in essence saying they know how to run a business and understand markets better than business people do. The increased cost to running a business as a result of government makes many of our products and services too expensive to compete in the global market.  I don’t know the optimal mix, but less is more in this situation.   Obviously some industries need more regulation than other, like banking.  I think government should regulate/enforce property ownership, contracts, employee rights, environmental, and national security issues and beyond that the markets/supply and demand can govern.

Why don’t business schools teach sales?

It has always baffled me why business schools (both undergrad and graduate) avoid courses and training on sales.  In my years running and investing in businesses sales has been the most crucial element to success.  When I looked at making an investment in a business I would focus on the team’s ability to execute, particularly its sales team and strategy.  The company’s ability to sell is obviously a key factor to success.  Most business schools have majors for Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain, HR, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and general management.  How many do you see with programs in Sales?  Not many.

I think most academics raise their nose at sales because they don’t see sales as data, systems, and process driven, therefore, not worthy of study.  I think Sales is misunderstood.  The best salespeople and sales teams are successful because of the factors below:

  • They are data and results driven
  • They adhere to strict systems and process
  • They study market and sales data to set strategy
  • They understand human nature and the buying process

Good sales results do not come naturally or by accident, they come through study and application of principles and processes over an extended period of time just like becoming expert at any other activity in life.  The key is both study and application.  I wonder if most academics avoid teaching sales because the application part of sales is difficult in traditional academic settings.  I think it would be extremely valuable to students looking for jobs and corporations hiring to have business schools give more emphasis on sales and find a way to implement both the study and application of sales theory in their programs.