• Innovative
  • Applicable


If you’re a small business owner and think you have to endure a mind-numbing civics class to lobby effectively, here’s good news: Author Amy Handlin shows you how to contact and educate your local and state elected officials so you can enlist their support. Using the simple formula of “target, tools and tactics,” she shows business owners – or anyone who needs to lobby – the best ways to reach lawmakers. Her guidance is written for people in the United States, but she shares broadly applicable methods. The book includes an appendix chock-full of writing samples and resources. This manual is basic but interesting, and it doesn’t talk down to its audience, though you might quibble with some of the author’s stylistic choices. Still, getAbstract believes that because it removes the mysteries behind lobbying without being dull, and because it offers a practical step-by-step lobbying process, this book is well worth a small business owner’s time – especially any small business owner with a regulatory ax to grind.


“Getting Ready to Lobby”

What should you do if you are a small business owner with a problem that requires action from someone in government? Because many people compete for the time and attention of elected officials, you must prepare yourself to lobby effectively. Employ the “three building blocks” of lobbying: “target, tools and tactics.” Your target is the person (for example, a mayor) or the group of people (say, a zoning board) with the ability and authority to resolve your problem. Your tools are the ways you communicate with those people. Some tools are written, but not all. Your tactics are the methods you use to craft your message to penetrate the clutter so your target hears you.

First, learn the basic structures of your state and local government. Will you be dealing with a strong mayor? A county commission? A city manager? To determine where to start, ask three “guidepost” questions: In which jurisdiction does your problem have the biggest impact? Does it involve a “money trail”? And what can you find out in public documents? As you perform this research, you are preparing to exercise a right that appears in the United States Constitution: to petition ...

About the Author

Amy Handlin has worked in state and local government for more than two decades. She is deputy minority leader in the New Jersey General Assembly and an associate professor of marketing at Monmouth University. She also wrote Whatever Happened to the Year of the Woman? Why Women Still Aren’t Making It to the Top in Politics.

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