Picture Winston Churchill’s bulldog face, the characteristic cigar hanging from his mouth, as he bellows one of my favorite quotes, “When you are going through Hell, KEEP GOING!”
I lived by that quote a few years back. More on that in a bit.
Yes, Mr. Churchill, 3Points is fighting the good fight. Our rallying cry champions every small business owner in Illinois.
Since 2011, our company has been an active member of the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC). This Chicago-based organization channels one loud, collective voice for small business through political advocacy, special events and educational programming. When we joined the SBAC, there were 50 members. Today, there are 1,100 and growing, making us one of the largest business associations in the State of Illinois.
So, when you engage 3Points, you invest in more than just technology expertise. We relentlessly work to improve the climate for small businesses here in Illinois. As one of eight people who lead the SBAC, I devote a substantial amount of time to causes important to small business owners. I have visited Springfield and Washington D.C. many times, and fought for small business rights in front of legislators, bureaucrats and lobbyists.
Why am I doing this? Here is the backstory. When 3Points started, Kevin Doyle and I decided to do one thing really well, and that was to provide enterprise class IT services exclusively to small businesses. As we got deeper into the market, we made a startling discovery. Not to borrow too much from Rodney Dangerfield, but small business gets no respect from Illinois legislators, who received an “F” for their small business acumen according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness survey.
3Points felt passionate about standing up for our clients, and ourselves, and we wanted to play an active role in finding ways to improve the economic climate for small businesses throughout Illinois. What we found was a void that was begging to be filled and an organization called the SBAC that was on the front lines of the war. When others were running away from the fight, the SBAC was running into it. We liked what we saw. In 2011, we joined the SBAC and never looked back.
Today, there are 35 other states with like-minded organizations. Uniting all of us is the National Small Business Association (NSBA), which is the nation’s longest running small business advocacy group (78 years young with 150,000 members). Earlier this year, many of us gathered in Arizona for the Small Business Congress where we crafted and voted on recommendations that are currently being pursued in the 114th Session of the U.S. Congress.
Results come when small businesses band together. The power of critical mass behind the SBAC has created an advocacy army with one distinct voice carrying the flag for small business. As a client of 3Points, you are already with us, investing in this fight and empowering small businesses like yours throughout Illinois. Thank you.
As for Churchill’s quote, we poignantly embraced his words when we joined the SBAC. There were no legislators willing to support our ideas or champion our cause. It was as if we were transparent to them, even though we kept showing up with more and more support. Eventually, our voices got so loud they had to be heard.
Now, several years later, we represent the voice of small business for dozens of local chambers, and business associations, throughout the State of Illinois. The SBAC is regularly asked to comment on legislation that is making its way through the halls of Springfield and Washington D.C., and we have authored bills that are now the law of the land. All of these good things happened because when the chips were down, we found a way to just keep going.
You see, we were, and continue to be, a small business. We’re just like you. We “get” it.
In the next post, we’ll talk about three notable SBAC initiatives, underway right now on a federal, state and local level.
Steve Banke is founder and CEO of 3Points, LLC. Stay tuned for future articles on small business topics in both the 3Points newsletter and blog posts. If you want to know more about the SBAC, email Steve or call him at (708) 491-0300.