Remind Them Who They Work For (You!)

As this week ends, Members of Congress will be packing their bags and heading home with just one thing on their minds: Getting re-elected in November.

They will be home for the entire month of August for what used to be called “recess” but is now, we hope more aptly, referred to as the “August Work Period.”

No matter how you label it, they’ll be working, alright – working to connect with you, their constituents. Will their work be driven by the desire to win in November? Sure. And that is something that every small-business owner must take advantage of.

There is no better time to contact your Representatives and Senators than this month. They know that you are a voter and, as a business owner, that you are a leader in your community. They realize that your view can have an impact on a lot of other voters.

There are a number of ways you can reach out and make your elected officials accountable – from calling their district or state office to attending a town-hall meeting or parade – but the approach I recommend most strongly is inviting Members of Congress to actually visit your business.

Personal meetings are a great opportunity to build relationships with your lawmakers. We have tips and information available to help you schedule a successful meeting while they are back in the district.

Spending some time in your place of business will give elected officials a much-needed reality check, a refresh of their constituents’ perspectives. After all, they will be seeing the environment of a business owner and employer, but also of the men and women who work for you.

It will give you a chance to tell your representative – but more importantly to show them – what’s important to you. There is no more powerful way to tell the story of your challenges as a small-business owner than by doing so in the surroundings of your actual business.

Connecting issues like health care, regulations and taxes to the faces of you, your family, your employees and your customers is important. It gives you a chance to leave an indelible impression, something your Member of Congress will carry with them back to the halls of Congress in September and on the campaign trail between now and November.

An elected official who has his or her priorities straight will accept your invitation, listen to you and give you the respect you deserve. They’ll recognize that you built your business; the government did not. And they’ll know that you are their boss. After all, your tax dollars pay their salary.

To stay up-to-date on small business issues and have legislative alerts delivered directly to your mobile device, text NFIB to 64274. With that information in hand, I hope you’ll be calling your representatives this month with a friendly-but-serious reminder that they work for you.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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