7 Principles for Good Government are 7 Principles for Life and Business Too

owlSometimes wisdom is best expressed simply.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson carries his Seven Principles of Good Government in his wallet.

They read:

  1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others. Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions on that.
  2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are willing to tell the truth–regardless of the consequences.
  3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.  You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to maintain your integrity.
  4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.
  5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.
  6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always time to salvage things. There is always time to fix things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.
  7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

What struck me about these principles is that they are not just for good government, they are seven principles for a good, decent and prosperous life.  They are seven principles for all entrepreneurs who wish to be successful.

I guess that is not surprising since Governor Johnson was a successful, self-made entrepreneur before he became a Governor (on his first attempt at politics, I might add). I also am fortunate to personally know Governor Johnson and can say that he’s also a decent human being.

These principles are things that I’ve always tried to do, as a way of living in integrity and living in the present. Honesty in all you do is extremely important. I intentionally choose clients, employees and business associates who are equally forthright in their dealings with me. I have found that my life is much happier and I am more prosperous when I am surrounded by people who value action, integrity and personal responsibility.

I do not have much to add to these 7 principles, as they are transparently wise.  So I submit them for your consumption. If you would like to know more about Governor Johnson, who is running for President in 2016, I recommend his book: Seven Principles of Good Government: Gary Johnson on Politics, People and Freedom

Also, please contact our business law and real estate law attorneys for a consultation, should you have worries or concerns about your current business.

Business Law


Disputes, misunderstandings, and litigation impact the health and longevity of your business. Whether you’re the owner of a sole-proprietorship, a partner in a partnership, a member of a limited liability company, or shareholder in a corporation, it is critical to ensure that your entity’s legal and financial interests are being protected by an aggressive and experienced business law lawyer.

At Bellatrix PC, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with responsive, tactical business solutions.  Through critical analysis of the issues at hand, our legal team has repeatedly achieved favorable outcomes for numerous clients across a diverse range of industries and legal structures.  As a results-oriented firm, we aim to resolve complex disputes as rapidly and efficiently as possible, so that you can resume normal operations with clarity and confidence.

To arrange for a private consultation with the commercial attorneys of Bellatrix PC, call our law offices at (800) 449-8992 today.  The sooner you consult with us, the sooner we can get to work addressing your legal matter.

Experienced Business Law Lawyers

Even outwardly simple business transactions can lead to confusion and uncertainty.  Businesses of all structures are subject to myriad state, federal, and municipal regulations, which collectively encompass matters ranging from workplace discrimination to job site safety to the enforceability of non-compete contracts and other contractual agreements.

Even for highly knowledgeable and experienced entrepreneurs, it can be virtually impossible to keep abreast of the business world’s numerous and ever-shifting laws while busy with the daily demands of running a company.  All too many business owners have been unpleasantly surprised by federal investigations, the imposition of civil penalties, and lawsuits by employees, despite believing they were in full compliance with the law.

At Bellatrix PC, we bring a nuanced practical understanding of the full scope of business law to each and every legal matter we handle.  We will listen to your concerns, advise you with regard to your rights and responsibilities as a business owner, and explain the potential outcomes of the courses you could take on the path toward resolving your issue.

Should litigation arise, we are fully prepared to defend your business all the way to trial if necessary.  However, we are also qualified to function as mediators, to represent your company during arbitration, or simply to act as general counsel for your basic, daily questions and concerns.  We will help you understand the benefits and disadvantages of each available legal strategy as it pertains to your matter, so that you can make an informed decision about what’s right for your company.  When you work with Bellatrix PC, you can feel confident that your business is in capable hands.

Representing Partnerships, Corporations, and LLCs: Cases We Handle

As business owners ourselves, we are personally familiar with the seemingly endless complexities which can arise in business and commercial law.  In order to serve our clients effectively, we handle a wide variety of legal matters throughout every stage of the business life cycle, from formation to sale and dissolution.  No matter which point in its life cycle your company has reached, our dedicated attorneys are prepared to counsel you.

We are equipped to handle the full spectrum of commercial matters, including but not limited to the following:

Breach of Contract

  • Contracts act like blueprints, setting clear expectations for all parties to any business agreement.  When a contract is breached by one or more parties’ improper actions or failure to act, the other party or parties can suffer significant financial harm.

Business Formation and Dissolution

  • Selecting the right legal structure is critical for the long-term success of any business.  Likewise, proper dissolution ensures that debts and assets will be distributed appropriately when the company changes hands or reaches the end of its life.

Commercial Litigation

  • All types of disputes can lead to destructive lawsuits.  Whether your company has been accused of breaching a contract, engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, or other alleged misconduct, our attorneys will vigorously defend your business in court.

Contract Drafting and Negotiation

  • Contracts are the foundation upon which all business transactions are built.  We will prepare, review, revise, and aggressively negotiate your contracts with employees and other businesses, ranging from licensing agreements to commercial leases.

Employment Law

  • Whether your company has been named in a gender discrimination lawsuit, needs assistance determining overtime classification and fair payment of wages, or you simply have questions about drafting an employee handbook, our employment law attorneys are here to help.

Trademarks and Intellectual Property

  • Databases, recipes, software, and related information can be a company’s most valuable assets.  We work to protect your intellectual property and trade secrets with clear and enforceable contracts.

Our other areas of practice include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Business Insurance
  • Creditors’ Rights and Debt Collection
  • Hiring, Firing, and Layoffs
  • Independent Contractors
  • Leasing Property and Equipment
  • Libel, Slander, and Defamation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Minimum Wage and Wage Disputes
  • Non-Competes and Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Payroll, Salary, and Bonuses
  • Permits and Licensing
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Stock Options
  • Tax Compliance
  • Unfair Competition and Unfair Business Practices
  • Whistleblower Lawsuits
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Wrongful Termination

Whether you’re thinking about starting a company, need assistance resolving a stubborn dispute, or have already been named by a commercial lawsuit, the attorneys of Bellatrix PC have the skill and knowledge to help your business reach its goals.

To schedule a private appointment, call our law offices at (800) 449-8992 today.

What’s Your Problem?

Maybe We Can Help. Request Your Consultation Today.

Alicia Dearn

Alicia I. Dearn is the founder of Bellatrix PC, a woman-owned law firm with offices in Missouri and California. Bellatrix PC handles lawsuits and business transactions. We advise in business, employment, real estate, intellectual property, civil litigation, and election law.

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The articles published by Bellatrix PC are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal issue, please get competent advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Use of Bellatrix PC's site is subject to our Attorney Advertising Disclaimers.

Defamation (Slander and Libel)


The act of defamation occurs when a person or entity makes an untrue or inaccurate statement that harms the standing or reputation of another person or entity. A defamatory statement can target a single individual, multiple people or an entire group or organization. What matters when determining whether a communication is defamatory is whether the statement is truthful and causes damage to another’s reputation. The experienced litigation lawyers of Bellatrix PC handle all forms of claims and defenses due to defamatory communications. Our attorneys can address allegations of defamation for businesses, not-for-profit corporations, charitable organizations, and individuals.


woman singer overlooking empty theater next to piano

What types of defamation exist?

There are two main types of defamatory conduct recognized by the law: defamation through spoken communication and defamation through written communication. When defamation occurs through oral statements, during a conversation or through a public speech it is typically referred to as slander. In contrast, when defamation is transmitted through the written word — such as a newspaper article, a posting to an online forum, or displayed on a sign — it is considered to be libel. While many people believe that the apparent anonymity of the Internet provides them with a license to speak untruthfully about other people, this is far from the case. In most cases an experienced and knowledgeable investigator or forensics professional can uncover the IP address that was used to make the written statement online. This IP address can then  be used to subpoena your internet service provider (ISP) to force them to turn over the identity that is associated with the IP address.


When can a false statement be considered defamatory?

A false  statement can be considered defamatory when certain legally defined characteristics are present. A false statement can be considered defamatory when all of the following are present:

  • An oral or written statement has been made about another person or entity;
  • The statement was transmitted or communicated to a third-party;
  • The statement was made either negligently or with intent to injure;
  • The statement caused harm  to the individual or entity it was targeted at.

A defamatory statement is, by definition, an incorrect statement of fact. For instance the claim that, “Jim stole $300 worth of paper supplies” would likely be considered to be a defamatory statement if it were untrue and communicated to a third party.  It is a factual statement that causes harm to Jim. However, statements that merely express an opinion are not considered defamation. For instance, if a co-worker was to say, “I think Jim’s pranks are childish”, such a statement would merely be expressing the speaker’s opinion. This would not be considered to be defamatory and Jim would be unlikely to have a viable cause of action.


When will a statement be considered to have caused damage to a reputation?

A statement is considered to have caused damage to an individual’s reputation if it reduces the perceived standing or worth of the individual in the eyes of others. However the determination as to whether harm was caused is a particularly context-sensitive inquiry. For instance, writings or statements made in a forum where  hyperbole or sarcasm are prevalent would be analyzed under a more forgiving light than official statements or contexts where a non-embellished factual statement would be expected. We can advise your business as to how statements are likely to be perceived in a court.

Put our defamation litigation attorneys to work for your business

If your business is being threatened with a defamation lawsuit, or if your business is a victim of defamation, Bellatrix PC can help. Call us at (800) 449-8992 or contact us online to schedule your confidential legal consultation.

Are there any laws I should know about when advertising my business?

Advertising Laws Video YES! Advertising laws are complicated. There are a lot of them. And there are even more urban myths about what rights consumers have (or do not have). But the consumer and advertising laws have a dominant theme: don’t screw your customer and trick them into buying stuff from you. That seems like common sense, right? It isn’t always, though. I have seen many a good company get bit by things like “ladies night” (illegal in California, for example). Anyone who has been reading my blogs for a while knows that I am not a big fan of government regulations. Ladies Night is a perfect example of a regulation having a perverse effect (it’s illegal because it’s gender discrimination!). That being said, I have experiences that make me understand why they exist. For example, I was recently approached by Covington Who’s Who for inclusion in their book and on their website. I said no. They pressed on and repeatedly lowered their price. Finally, they offered me plane tickets as part of an online-only membership for $200. I asked, “what’s the catch?” They told me that the tickets have some restrictions but that was it. Since I fly a lot and can always use plane tickets and networking links into my website, I said “OK.” In retrospect, I shouldn’t have. First off, the catch on the plane tickets is that they require a 5-day hotel stay. Then they processed an order and billed me more than they represented and for the book that I specifically declined. (I never even got the book!) I immediately called them up and protested. The response: “We don’t have a recording of you saying ‘no’ so we will not refund it.” I say, “Do you have a recording of me saying, yes?” Well, of course they don’t. Hey, guys, that’s not how you make an enforceable contract! I’m annoyed. I will prevail because I’m abnormally stubborn. But it wastes my time. (Bonus Advice: if any of you get a call from Covington, tell them your lawyer advises against you affiliating with them because they suck.) All my clients are awesome people and ethical businesses, so I don’t need to tell you to not be like Covington. But I still made a video for you on general things to keep in mind when selling your products.

Are there any laws I should know about when advertising my business? YES! There are several, in fact – too many to list in this video. As a good starting place, keep in mind that the laws embody some general principles:

  1. Whatever you say about your business or products, be honest.
  2. Deal with your customers in good faith.
  3. Don’t send anyone anything they didn’t explicitly ask for.
  4. If it is unlawful discrimination in a shop, its unlawful discrimination online and in advertisements. Be very cautious when engaging in gender or race specific promotions and pricing.
  5. You should have fair and clear contracts governing your business affairs, including on your website or in advertisements.
  6. If you are advertising to children, control your content.
  7. Don’t copy other people’s work.

If you have any questions, ask a business law lawyer before putting out an ad that costs you more than it makes you. You can also see this video and others on Alicia Dearn’s YouTube Channel.