Be Your Own Lobbyist by Amy H. Handlin - Book review

Be Your Own Lobbyist

How to Give Your Small Business Big Clout with State and Local Government

By: Amy H. Handlin Ph.D.

Published: July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 211 pages
ISBN-10: 0313381550
ISBN-13: 978-0313381553
Publisher: Praeger

"Here is the good news: to lobby effectively, you do not need political power or an 'inside track'", writes Deputy Minority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly and Associate Professor of Marketing at Monmouth University, Amy H. Handlin, in her very practical and outcomes oriented book Be Your Own Lobbyist: How to Give Your Small Business Big Clout with State and Local Government. The author describes how the lobbying process is an essential survival skill for small business, and is a technique that can be learning the basic rules and tactics of working with elected and appointed officials.

Amy H. Handlin, as a member of the New Jersey legislature, understands the political process from the inside. She recognizes that lobbying is an important part of the political process, and is not just the sole domain of large corporations and special interest groups. Instead, the concept of lobbying is about building relationships with public officials to ensure that small business is not harmed, even in an inadvertent and well intentioned manner. Amy Handlin points out correctly that while it's usually unreasonable to demand a certain vote, action or legislation, but it is reasonable to expect clarity, honesty and respect from public officials. The author removes the air of mystery and secrecy that surrounds lobbying and opens up the concept to the light of day, as part of the political process in a working democracy. To that end, Amy Handlin dispels a number of myths that have grown up around lobbying, and share both ethical and honest techniques for helping the voice of small business be heard.

Amy H. Handlin (photo left) begins her discussion of lobbying for small business with the basics that all citizens should understand. They include knowing which level of government is responsible for the issue, which elected or appointed official is charged with that responsibility, and the appropriate action to take to be heard. The author presents a three pronged approach to small business lobbying:

* Target: Analyzing and connecting with the right person or body to assist you

* Tool: Identifying the best and most appropriate communications devices and channels

* Tactics: Crafting a message that gets heard and achieves the desired result

These tactics are essential, but the small business person or non-profit association representative must make sure that they approach is based on a clear understanding of the ethics involved, the procedure for approaching officials, and knowing how government operates at the state and local levels.

For me, the power of the book is how Amy Handlin puts her experience in state government to work is sharing how small business and non-profits can best get their message heard in the halls of government. She guides the reader through the critical steps that must be followed to achieve the desired outcome of the lobbying effort. From the very beginning of the process, the author shows the small business person how to prepare for lobbying success before beginning the actual campaign. Identifying and building relationships with the appropriate people, and understanding what they can and cannot do, are crucial to success.

Amy Handlin recommends lobbying the right way, through maintaining strong ethical values, and presenting the message openly and honestly. The book contains some valuable exercises to help the reader learn the insider methods to achieving lobbying results, before attempting the same tactics in the real world. The author also points out that there is no guarantee of success, but if the reader follows the advice offered in this helpful book, the playing field is indeed leveled for small business people and their message.

I highly recommend the helpful and informative book Be Your Own Lobbyist: How to Give Your Small Business Big Clout with State and Local Government by Amy H. Handlin, to anyone in small business or non-profit organizations who is seeking a reliable guide to achieving success in lobbying government officials. This book, written by a a legislative insider, shares tips for connecting with the right people at the proper local or state level, through open, honest, and ethical means.

Read the valuable and idea filled book Be Your Own Lobbyist: How to Give Your Small Business Big Clout with State and Local Government by Amy H. Handlin, and discover the techniques and tactics for getting the small business message heard both in the halls of government and through the various media channels. This book teaches how to work with governments the right way, and to avoid the pitfalls that have hurt so many other small business lobbying efforts in the past.

Tags: Be Your Own Lobbyist: How to Give Your Small Business Big Clout with State and Local Government, Amy H. Handlin, Ph.D., small business lobbying, business book reviews.

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