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Small Business Challenges Are Our Challenges Too

I’m no James Carville or Lou Dobbs, so I don’t want to turn this into a blog about politics. But, over the past several weeks, we’ve seen quite a bit of debate in Washington that affects our industry’s core customer – small businesses. From the healthcare bill to tax reform and trade policies, the outcome of issues being debated on Capitol Hill directly impacts Yellow Pages advertisers.

I think it’s critically important for all of us in the Yellow Pages industry, whether you’re the CEO of a major publisher, a CMR, or a sales rep, to follow and understand the debate. Ultimately, any legislation that affects our advertisers will affect us too. If our customers are worried about an increased minimum wage or how they’re going to pay new taxes to fund a national healthcare program, we may find their appetite for advertising spending to be less. Or on the flip, we may find them even hungrier to find new ways to increase sales to cover costs.

Two sources to watch for how the small business community might be thinking about healthcare reform and other legislation are the major associations that represent them: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

I follow these associations pretty closely to get into the mind of our small business customers, and so it definitely got my attention this week when both organizations independently announced their opposition to the recent healthcare reform proposals. If you haven’t gotten background yet, I’d strongly recommend that you take some time to review the sites and understand where small business constituencies are coming from.  We can expect that issues like healthcare will continue to make headlines well into the fall session, so it’s worth it to check those sites frequently for the latest.

We all have our personal opinions on politics in Washington. But as representatives of the Yellow Pages industry, and trusted advisors to small business advertisers, it is our professional responsibility to fully understand the debate and the perspectives of our customers. Their business challenges are our business challenges, so when they are talking to Washington – let’s be sure to listen.

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