Small businesses and even larger ones outside of a major metro area are often faced with business issues arising from new regulations, such as legislation from the state or provincial level, and are tired of not having their voice heard in the political process.
The problem is that the urban core’s voice is well represented because they have large organizations like one or more Chambers of Commerce, various associations, and personal contacts with legislators. Smaller firms and more rural companies simply are not plugged into the information flow nearly as well since they lack affiliations with similar associations causing their views and concerns to get overlooked.
That’s why legislation that makes no impact or produces a positive impact on big constituencies are almost the only voices a representative hears. A bill can advance through a committee or rule-making process without small or rural firms being aware of what is going on. Their perspectives and voices are not heard so they are unable to inform the process and change the outcome.
But there are solutions and one is to join an organization in your state or province such as the Georgia Small Business Council (GSBC) who’s mission it is to represent smaller and less urban businesses in the state political process. They represent their members at the Georgia Statehouse and stay on top of new legislative initiatives and rule-making that impact their members. They do two important things for underrepresented businesses:
- Keep their members informed of the rules and legislation that will impact their business either positively or negatively, and
- Advocate for their members in the state legislative processes.
They also support laws and existing rules that are beneficial and help make sure that what is working, is helpful, and makes sense to the rural and small business owners, continues to do so.
Several times a year, the organization holds regional meetings for its members where they meet, ask questions, tap into educational programs, and get advice from various experts in financial planning, legal, taxation, business growth and management.
Maybe the real surprise is that in these meetings, members learn about things that otherwise only the urban companies would hear about. Laws, tax strategies, financial wealth building, business continuation insurance and planning for passing on family businesses are just a few of the areas where owners are likely not as up to date as they need to be.
It’s not purposeful, it’s simply more profitable to have sales offices where many prospects are concentrated. Moreover, making calls is easier. So, the more rural and smaller firms don’t get exposed the opportunities that most urban firms do.
As a member of an association like the one in Georgia, you may find you are able to take advantage of insurance and employee benefit plans that save you and your employees thousands of dollars. All of this is good news because it creates happier, more loyal and less stressed employees, which leads to less turnover and a fatter bottom line.
If you’d like to know more about the GSBC, contact Scott Chapman at 478-521-0856 or Kevin Parker at 912-293-7336. You’ll be glad you did.