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Need to Contact the Government About Small Business Issues?

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Need to Contact the Government About Small Business Issues?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: March 12, 2009

While browsing the message boards on this community, I stumbled on a seemingly simple question posed in the forum by a small business owner - 'how do I contact the government?'

With

so many agencies, regulatory bodies, and elected officials across

federal and state and local government, knowing where to start can be

time consuming and frustrating. Just try Googling 'how do I contact the

government?' and you’ll get an idea of what I am talking about.

There

are many reasons why small or microbusiness owners would need to

contact the government. Aside from lobbying your congressman on local

legislative matters, small business owners often have very specific

questions about business operational issues such regulatory compliance

and tax laws.

To help better serve small businesses in their

quest for answers, below is a breakdown of government points of contact

- specifically established to service small business needs.

Contacting the Government about General Small Business Issues

From

counseling to training to business development advice, the government

offers many ways for small business owners to get direct advice and

support on general business matters. The Small Business Administration,

for example, operates a Small Business Answer Desk that addresses small business issues and concerns. You can also contact an SBA District Office

in your state.

Other

resources include SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, and Women-

and Minority-Owned Business Centers. Get links to all these resources here.

Alternatively

you can reach out to other small business owners and industry experts

via the Web by posting a question on one of Business.gov’s Community Message Boards.

Business.gov is the U.S. Government's official website for small

businesses and the community is a great way to get a fast response to

general business issues.

Contacting the Government about Regulatory Compliance

If

you need help about more specific legal or regulatory issues that

impact your business, you can contact the federal government and your

state government directly.

1) Contacting the Federal Government - The good news for the small business owner is that the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002

(SBPRA) requires that each federal agency establishes a point of

contact to act as a liaison between the agency and small business

concerns. In addition, the SBPRA requires that a list of compliance

assistance resources for small businesses be published on the Internet.

Access the list of federal compliance contacts here.

More than just a list of contacts, you can also find resources by

agency on topics ranging from DOE grant application procedures to I-9 employment eligibility verification from the Department of Homeland Security.

2) Contacting Your State Government - Here is a list of contacts and resources to help you stay compliant with regulations across all 50 states.

Filing a Complaint about Unfair Regulatory Enforcement

Is

the government regulating your small business unfairly? Need to file a

complaint about repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines,

penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action by a

federal agency?

Small business owners who feel they have been

subject to unfair or excessive regulatory enforcement by a government

agency can turn to an Ombudsman for help. An Ombudsman is an impartial

government official charged with representing the interests of the

public by addressing complaints reported by citizens, including

business owners.

Most Ombudsman staff reside within a specific

federal agency or state government level that handles complaints

against any regulatory agency within its jurisdiction.

Contacting an Elected Official

If

you need to contact an elected federal, state or local official about

small business issues or proposed legislation in your community, follow

these links:

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

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great article. Can be a tricky thing for many business owners
It's so important that the Government receive and listen to user feedback and this site will help small business owners communicate better with the Government.
You're right it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to contact the government and if I'm honest I wouldn't know where to start. Your article certainly helps with this task and I hope small business owners take note of the information you've supplied here.
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I use my local SBA website / office to get information. The internet is a good resource, but sometimes for specific issues, it's best to just give the folks over at the SBA a ring Omer A.Best MMO Racing Games and RPG Music Site OwnerVG Alliance LLC (New Jersey) Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-30-2009 11:34 AM I have to agree Steam Shower
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