Be Your Own LobbyistAlison Stein Wellner
Entrepreneurs do a lot of complaining about ineffective government. But politicians can't address your issues unless you tell them what you want.
CASE IN POINT
Mark Sincavage, president of Sincavage Investment & Development Enterprises Corp., a Blakeslee (Pa.) land-management company, was fed up with "overwhelming regulations." So every month, he sends an impassioned message to his representatives in Washington and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, about topics such as ergonomics regulations. He even testified before Congress during the recent debate over the estate tax. He got some measure of satisfaction when Congress voted to repeal the levy. "As a business owner, I feel I have an obligation to give something back to the community--and my community is small-business owners," he says.
About.com Inc.'s "Letters to Congress" page provides lobbying dos and don'ts and links to congressional-contact information and a calendar of legislative activities (usgovinfo.about.com/newsissues/usgovinfo/library/weekly/ aa020199.htm). MrSmith.com lets you simultaneously send a message to all of your representatives for free with a click of the mouse. At e-thepeople.com, create a petition and use the site's tools to circulate it online, also free of charge.
The National Federation of Independent Business (www.nfib.com) publishes a political-action manual, Grassroots Power 2000, which includes tips on everything from faxing legislators to running for office. If you want to put your money where your mouth is, check with the Federal Election Commission (800-424-9530 or www.fec.gov) to make sure you're on the right side of the law.