Here is a reproduction of my handout for my talk on the Small Business Initiative at the 2005 Libertarian Party State Chairs' Meeting in St. Louis:
Small Business Initiative
Libertarian Party State Leadership Alliance
January 23, 2005
The Small Business Initiative developed out of the efforts and vision of Mark Schreiber, former Marketing Director for the National Party. He proposed small business as a possible constituency, out of many, for us to reach.
While we have many possible constituencies, we are barely large enough to handle one, if that many. Thus, we should concentrate our efforts and go after one constituency at a time.
He proposed three critical questions to be answered:
Know who you are:
"Libertarians are principled individuals, who are self-reliant, and who have reluctantly entered into the political arena in order to restore liberty and our American values."
Know why you exist:
"To move public policy in a Libertarian direction, by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office."
Know who you serve:
"Constituency: a clearly defined group of people who can self- identify and who are easily classified as a member of a group with homogenous characteristics, who have a vested interest, and lend credibility to the successful accomplishment of the organizations goals."
Schreiber also made the following case for the small business owner as a core constituency:
A Case for the Small Business Owner a Core Constituency
Small Business mirrors who we are.
The small business owner is a very good fit with who we are. They are principled, independent, and self-reliant. Many of our best activists are small business owners.
Small business is well liked and respected and has no negatives.
Small business is America. Norman Rockwell has turned the small business into an American icon. They contrast sharply to big business when it comes to being liked.
As a group, small business is large enough and important enough, to be meaningful.
There are millions of small business owners in America and they account for over half of all jobs in America. The NFIB, a lobbyist organization, alone represents 600,000 small business people.
Small business does not have a champion in the political arena:
The small businessperson feels politically homeless. Even lobbyist like the Chamber of Commerce has abandoned them. The Republicans have chosen big business; the Democrats have chosen labor, leaving the small businessperson without a champion.
Small business should have an inherent understanding that our success is beneficial to them:
Free markets are the battle cry of small business and the LP. Less regulations, freedom to choose how they run their business is inherently Libertarian and pro small business.
Small business will bring credibility to the LP:
Small business is inherently credible. No one survives for long as a small business without having successfully served a core constituency of his or her own.
Small business affords us an opportunity to address our issues on their behalf, or from their point of view, or ideally both without alienating non-constituencies.
Our positions on; taxes, regulations, individual liberty, social engineering, free trade, immigration, social security, foreign policy, drug prohibition, healthcare, environmental regulations, and gun rights are all easily presented as a benefit to small business.
We also, can cast our messages from the point of view of: men, women, gays, immigrants, ethnic minorities, and the poor. All these sub constituencies have validated that owning your own small business can have profound positive benefits to the individual and to their community.
Small business brings a base level of support in the form of money, talent and influence to our party and its candidates:
Our best activists and supporters are often small business owners. They have the money, influence, and the other intangibles necessary to enhance our candidates and ensure victory on Election Day.
Indiana's Implementation of the Small Business Initiative
1. Literature: Small Business Brochure
2. Television: Cable
3. Reach out to Small Business groups
a. NFIB or National Federation of Independent Business, Its National Web Site Links to the Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Washington State and National LP web sites as well as the Advocates for Self Government site
4. One on One contact: Visit Small Businesses
5. Small Business Advisory Group
6. Rent Display Booths at Small Business Expositions
7. Run Small Business Owners as Candidates
8. Work to Get Small Business Owners Appointed to Boards
9. Recruit Small Business Owners to become LPIN Officers, etc.
10. Lobby Indiana Legislature on Small Business Issues