How to Rally on the Hill

May 23, 2012

Each year, the America’s Small Business Summit ends with what’s known as the Rally on the Hill. This is an opportunity for the hundreds of attendees to meet with their members of Congress and staff and educate them on the issues that really matter to small business.

Understandably, it can be a pretty overwhelming experience. But Bill Cheney, CEO, Credit Union National Association has some pretty good tips in the Huffington Post on five things small business owners need to know about Capitol Hill.

1. Everyone likes to talk about supporting small businesses. — This is your biggest advantage. Small business is as American as mom, baseball and apple pie. “Small business owners fall into that increasingly shrinking bipartisan group of coalitions that are well-received in Congressional offices and on both sides of the aisle,” writes Cheney.

2. It’s not all gridlock. — Sure, a lot of members are a bit distracted right now. They’re focusing on the upcoming elections. But, there’s still a lot of things that can and need to be addressed between now and the end of the year, including expiring Bush tax cuts; extending the debt limit; a transportation bill to fund highway programs in 50 states; changes to the alternative minimum tax; tax credit extenders for renewable energy and research and development; and the expiring payroll tax cut.

3. Congress needs to hear from actual small business owners. — Nobody can tell your story better than you can. Tell your member of Congress how laws and regulations impact your business, your community and your local economy, which brings us to our next point….

4. Talk jobs, not just numbers. — “Job creation is on every member's mind right now. Every representative wants to return to his or her district and demonstrate votes and actions they took to help get people back to work,” Cheney writes. Holding back on hiring because of uncertainty about the future mandates in the health care law? Tell your member how many people you would hire if you could.

5. Band together. You can’t go it alone on Capitol Hill. — That’s why local and national Chamber staff and policy experts will be with you every step of the way. “It's imperative to have like-minded allies,” Cheney writes. The U.S. Chamber is your like-minded ally.  

And above all, smile and have fun. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes. Those congressional halls are very long. 

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