Legislative Knowledge Makes Good Business Sense
By Eileen Rodriguez | September 21, 2017
It seems like everyone is talking politics. National, state, local – you name it. That’s all people are talking about at your favorite breakfast place, standing in line at the supermarket, and of course, in the media, both traditional and social.
We’re so bombarded with it that many turn a deaf ear. But business owners need to pay attention to what’s going on. While some, if not most, may find it tedious, changes in legislation can affect your business.
I owned an environmental consulting business back in the 90s. At that time, the Florida governor signed a bill that affected the environmental industry. People in the industry are still talking about it today, more than 20 years later, because the ramifications were wide spread. Many large corporations went out of business, so imagine what happened to a lot the smaller firms. But it’s not all gloom and doom. A lot of excellent legislation has been passed in recent years that has helped small businesses. Are you taking advantage of it?
It’s hard enough to run a business without adding politics to the mix. Take it from the voice of experience, you need to be aware. I’m not saying you should become an expert or a lobbyist but you should take a few minutes and do a Google search if you don’t know who your state and federal legislators are. In fact, I’ll save you a step. Go to these links, type in your business zip code, and you will find them all there.
Take just 30 minutes a week and find out what’s going on in Tallahassee and Washington, DC, which may impact your livelihood. You spend so much time doing the best job you can to make sure your customers are happy and keep them coming back for more.
You should look for legislation that can affect your business, your customer base, or the resources you need to continue to grow your business. Then contact your legislator. One email is all it takes. Tell them you are their constituent and why you agree or disagree with the legislation. It’s their job to listen to you, and they do. The more people that speak up for or against a legislative bill, the more impact you will have on the outcome. Sign up for your legislator’s e-newsletter which will tell you what initiatives they are working on and will inform you about upcoming events being hosted in your business community.
Exercise your rights and make sure our small business community is strong because of it. You’ll be glad you did.
Regional Director, NASBITE Certified Global Professional (CGBP), Certified Trainer, Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa
Specialty: International Business, Women/Minority Business
Eileen Rodriguez began working with the Florida SBDC at USF in 1997, providing one-on-one confidential consulting and teaching seminars in English and Spanish in the areas of starting a small business, international trade, and women and minority certification. Before joining the FSBDC at USF, Rodriguez owned her own business for four years. She has more than 21 years of experience as a professional businesswoman. Prior to working at the Florida SBDC at USF, Rodriguez owned a geological consulting firm for four years. Rodriguez has received several recognitions, including the MED Corp’s Minority Business Advocate Award in 2017; Hispanic Leadership Class Award in Business from the Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. in 2013; and the Status of Latino Staff Award from USF in 2013. She obtained her bachelor’s from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master of Science and an MBA from the University of South Florida.She is She is active in many organizations including the National Minority Supplier’s Development Council, Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Corp. of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Women in International Trade, Fifth Third Bank’s Florida Community Advisory Forum, and the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators.