Self-Respect in Entrepreneurship

In the past, I have often gotten this question: “Why don’t you use your civil service connections to get business from government?”

As an entrepreneur, this is the thing I would hate doing the most.

So much so that whenever I have had discussions with investors in the past, I have made it clear that I will never do any business with government. Here is why:

First of all, it is nearly impossible to deal with government honestly, while keeping your dignity intact. The process is soaked in corruption, dishonesty, and middlemen. Even if the top officials happen to be honest, there is a huge machinery you have to deal with.

How many infrastructure companies do you know that do business honestly? Practically zero — exceptions could be counted on fingers.

Furthermore, you can’t do business with dignity. In the olden days, the legend is that Dhirubhai Ambani would have to wait outside the offices of Joint Secretaries and be extra polite to tickle their egos.

This has probably changed a bit but many officials still feel like they are doing favors to everyone.

When we make it impossible for people to do business honestly, we will only attract crooks. Is it any surprise that no self-respecting entrepreneur wants to deal with government?

– Rajan

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