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.