Food Truck Follies: 5 Ways To Avoid A Government Caused Issue

The Cupcake Truck is having trouble with the city of Denver. What you can learn.

I love food trucks.  They have cheap, convenient eats that have food that’s often better than most restaurants.  One of my favorites here in Denver is the Cupcake Truck.

Unfortunately they’re having a problem with the City of Denver.  Apparently, the City of Denver doesn’t know how to deal with these food trucks or the temporary traffic that comes with them.

As a result, these food trucks are finding themselves in a crisis situation that may or may not be of their own doing.  Because there is a gray area here, however, no one is sure who is to blame for this problem.

Now, I’m not here to take sides, but this dispute can serve as a lesson to every business on how to minimize the possibility of  a clash with your local government officials.  Here are 5 tips to help you avoid a crisis situation involving city government.

DOT YOUR I’s & CROSS YOUR T’s

If you want to do business in a city, you need to get down to city hall and talk with more than one person about what forms and licences you need to operate legally.   When picking up forms, make sure to ask as many questions as possible. Get a name and number of someone you can contact whenever you have further issues you need to address.  You see, the more informed you are about how city government deals with your profession, the better able you are to handle interactions with government official in a positive manner.

JUMP THROUGH EVERY HOOP NECESSARY

Generally speaking, governments solve problems by making new rules.  These rules may seem frivolous to you, but to other folks they might be essential.  Make sure you follow every rule and regulation.  Anything you ignore, or miss opens you up to getting in trouble with your city.  You don’t want that.

KEEP CURRENT

A judge once told me that “ignorance isn’t an excuse.”  I hated hearing it, but it’s true.  Laws don’t happen overnight.  If you don’t pay attention to how a government is dealing with your industry, you will get burned.  Keeping current on your industry’s regulations will ensure you don’t run afoul of your local government.  Keeping city officials happy will make you happy.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

Look.  No one likes to deal with government bureaucracy.  It is tedious, repetitive, and time consuming.  The problem, however, is that if you want to work in a city, you have to deal with it.  The quicker you understand this, the better off you’ll be.   Make sure you deal with everyone in a positive manner.  If you are in a positive mind frame when dealing with people, even bureaucrats, they will be positive.  And positive people tend to be more helpful, which is nice when your dealing with a government agency.

HAVE A PLAN B

Keep your options open.  You never know what may happen when dealing with local government.  They may have a good reason for shutting you out of operating in their city.  If you have a backup plan, the frustration of running in to that brick wall won’t be as devastating.  Additionally, a good backup plan might give your local officials a reason to rethink their policies toward your type of business.

Now, I’m not saying that the Denver food trucks didn’t follow these steps.  What I’m telling you is you can never do too much to satisfy a bureaucracy.  So follow these 5 tips and avoid those government hassles.

Hope this helps you out.

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here to access my resume.)

Public Relations Fail: How Not to Prepare for an Interview

You just did what?

As a former reporter and current public relations professional, there are situations that come up that just make me shake my head and wonder, “what were they thinking?’

This is one of those examples.  (Apparently it was taken down by Clear Channel, but you can see more here or here, and for a picture of the sent email go here.)

You see, KOA Radio is a large radio station here in Denver and every politician wants to be on their airwaves.  Needless to say, the reporters and hosts know their business and how to conduct an interview.  The last thing these professional reporters want is to have the P.R. people for a guest to suggest questions for them to ask, particularly when they are similar to these…

Q. In what ways are you a better choice for this seat?

Q. What do you bring to the Senate

Q. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Q. How’s life on the campaign trail?  Are you having fun?

Yikes!

So here is a bit of advice when preparing your client for an interview.

DON’T SEND QUESTIONS TO REPORTERS!!!!!

You see, the vast majority of reporters are professionals who really do take their business seriously.  Feeding a reporter questions does five things.

1.  Gives the reporter the impression that you think they aren’t good at their job, that you feel you have to help them, and that you have no respect for them.

2.  Gives the reporter the impression that your client is so stupid that they can’t even have a conversation without being given the answers ahead of time.

3.  Ensures, without a doubt, that the reporter will ask tougher questions then they normally would have.

4.  Ensures, without a doubt, that none of the questions you give them will be asked.

5.  Ensures, without a doubt, that you will be mocked publicly.

Here’a a better way to get ready for that interview.  Spend your time prepping your client.  Put the hardest questions you can think of to your client and then critique the answers.  This will do more to make sure your client looks good than trying to rig the interview.

So next time you have an interview planned, take my advice.  Save yourself from an epic public relations fail.  Prepare your client and not the reporter.   Believe me, you’ll thank me for it later.