As a small business owner, you are most likely consumed by your dedication to growing your business. In fact, you might wonder if your voice truly matters to Congressional leaders or State Representatives. I can assure you that you are a vital part of the economy and need to be heard on key issues affecting your business. How else will they know how to best represent their constituents?
The statistics speak volumes about the importance of small businesses in the United States. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a staggering 99.9% of businesses across the nation fall into the category of small businesses. With a whopping 33.2 million small businesses spread throughout the country, it is evident that small businesses play a pivotal role in the lives of countless Americans along with making an enormous economic impact.
Small businesses significantly contribute to employment opportunities in the United States. Surprisingly, despite over 80% of small businesses having no employees, small businesses collectively employ a staggering 61.7 million workers, accounting for an impressive 46.4% of all employees in the country. This showcases the significant power that small businesses have, proving that they are the backbone of the nation's workforce.
Some key topics that are crucial to small businesses include:
Specific new laws that impact you
Credit Card Fees
Online and ECommerce Sales
If you have an issue affecting your ability to grow your business, chances are that others have that issue as well. Making time to meet with state or national representatives is not only worthwhile, but it is a privilege that we enjoy in the United States.
Here are some tips for a great meeting:
Requesting Your Meeting:
Make a written request and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler.
Suggest specific times and dates for your meeting.
Clearly state the issue or legislation you wish to discuss.
Highlight that you are a constituent.
Prepare for Your Meeting:
Contact your trade organization (i.e. Florida Restaurant Association) for materials and talking points to support your cause.
Research the representative and what is most relevant to them.
Set clear goals for what you want to achieve during the meeting.
During the Meeting:
Be prompt, patient, and focused on your topic.
Acknowledge any prior support from the elected official.
Present a one page overview including issue, agencies, status and goal
Stick to your talking points, providing supporting materials if necessary.
Use personal and local examples to illustrate the impact of the legislation.
Be honest about not knowing answers and offer to follow up with information.
Confirm the next step (follow up call, meeting, etc..)
After the Meeting:
Each participant should send a personal thank-you letter to the State Representative or Congress member.
Follow up promptly with an email confirming details of the meeting and provide any requested materials or information.
Be persistent and flexible if deadlines are not met.
Share your meeting insights with your trade organization to enhance lobbying strategies.
Remember, meeting with elected officials is an excellent opportunity to advocate for small businesses and make a difference in the world.