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Partner News: How to know if your lobbying is really working?

By Peter Strong, CEO, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA).

If you’ve started advocating with Government, how do you know if it’s actually working?

I get asked this often.  

My answer: You don’t.

If your only goal when advocating with Government is to make a short-term change, then you might struggle to prove it’s working, especially over the last few years when we have had an unsettled and changing Government. You may even need to re-evaluate your advocacy objectives as a business.

Advocacy is about the long-term, seeing change come about because of the evidence, influence and concern you’ve expressed about a topic.

I know most will say aim high, well I say aim for the middle, it’s most likely where you will have the greatest influence and impact for your cause.

When starting off, it’s important to have a clear goal and be realistic about what you can and can’t influence. Don’t make it your goal to completely overturn a Governments ruling, instead perhaps you can seek to amend a Rule or legislation around it. Be consistent in your messaging and be vocal – share with your members, community and media, what your position is, but remember to be polite and real. Authenticity goes a long way.

Build your profile, work with the other representatives in your industry and establish a stable network of supporters – with politicians, your industry ombudsman and with fellow Associations who might have the same cause.

Advocacy is relationship building.

The COSBOA National Small Business Summit, 29-30 August will be held in Melbourne, if you are an Association leader or CEO, this is an opportunity to hear from the regulators, Ministers and key members that can impact small business in Australia.

What role can an Association provide? This session will aim to drive awareness within the Government and business communities regarding the untapped value of Industry Associations and the role they play.

If you want to be a powerful Association advocate, be there - register now:
www.cosboansbs.com.au

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