I would have never thought that not talking to policymakers could have a negative impact on my turnover! Now I know…
Based in the center of France, ThanaSoins is specialised in embalming dead bodies, and intervenes just a few hours after death. The company has four employees, and its business growth is not threatened : since death is inevitable, there is no bad economic situation in this sector.
Discussing with public authorities? Enhancing a better understanding of their business line by policymakers? Anticipating a potential provision which would impose more constraints? ThanaSoins sees strictly no commercial nor financial interest in it. It is even convinced that neither the government nor the parliament or even the European Commission, will seek to further regulate a profession that is already constrained a lot! It says the topic is far from attractive and politically without any interest. Moreover, with an average of 15 deaths per day in its region, none of the employees or managers would have time to meet public decision-makers! On the contrary, it would be a waste of time… which would benefit competitors. ThanaSoins wants to increase its own turnover, not facilitate the growth of other companies to its own disadvantage!
A few months later, the company learns in a fortnightly specialized magazine that formaldehyde has just been banned by the Health Ministry, by a decree. However, formaldehyde is an indispensable product for professionals because it does slow down the decomposition of the body during the period it is exposed to family and friends. After inquiries, the Ministry states that this substance is highly carcinogenic . Any use by professionals is now subject to a very heavy fine, and exposes offenders to possible legal proceedings.
ThanaSoins does not worry about this provision and is looking for an alternative product. But none of the substances it considers has yet been validated and authorized the French or EU authorities. On top, several tests have not even been done yet . The regional company is therefore facing a highly sensitive problem: using a banned product and exposing itself to heavy fines, or temporarily interrupting its activity in order to comply with the law without knowing when an alternative product would finally be authorized. In one way or another, the growth of ThanaSoins’ turnover is severly threatened.
If ThanaSoins had dedicated some little time to a dialogue with the French government, it could have foreseen this decree and its negative effects. In addition, it would have been able to work with the government – and the health authorities – on a transitional arrangement allowing the company to continue practice. Acting as soon as it had the opportunity was a sort of insurance which it unfortunately refused. The company has learned from all this, and nows keeps and nurtures excellent relations with the French lawmakers and public authorities: since that episode, it has never been caught off guard!