Story banking: A Powerful Tool

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Dec 12, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


Presentation by Rhett Buttle

National Outreach and Government Affairs Manager

Small Business Majority

Story banking:

A Powerful Tool

About Small Business Majority

Public policy advocacy organization

and run by small business owners


based in California

offices in
Sacramento and Washington, DC

Research and advocacy
on issues of top
importance to small businesses (<100 employees)
and the self

Over the past 5 years created
powerful, non
ideological voice
for America’s 28 million small
businesses, with focus on finding solutions to rising
healthcare costs.

Our Work to Date


opinion and economic


in 2009 developed detailed policy
recommendations driven by research, currently working
healthcare implementation; our advice sought
nationally on state insurance exchange framework.


extensive network of healthcare advocacy
and small business orgs on national level and in 30
states; DC “Fly
in” and CA “listening tours.”


communicate research and other work to
national and state media

Why Do We Story Bank?

Putting a face on the issue

issues become personal
and “real” when a small business owner speaks about
how it affects them.

Powerful message

real small business owners carry
tremendous credibility with policymakers, the media
and the public; they deliver a powerful message.


policymakers, media and the public want
to hear from voters and ordinary people, not from
“groups with a specific agenda.”

Small business owners are a critical population
when communicating about the Affordable Care

The Affordable Care Act has tremendous benefits
for small business owners

Small business transcends political barriers

Small business can make strong economic and
jobs arguments

Why Small Business is an Important
Constituency in Healthcare Reform

Know Your Constituency

Our constituency consists of small business owners like
Tammy Rostov
of Richmond, VA.

Tammy employs 9 workers and provides health coverage
through a high
deductible PPO; the high cost of insurance has
forced Tammy to continually decrease coverage to her
employees but pay more.

Tammy’s story highlights the need to lower healthcare costs
for small employers and their workers.

Tammy owns Rostov’s Coffee & Tea,
a small coffee roasting company her
father founded in 1979.

Know Your Constituency

Walt offers his employees a PPO, but due to increasing
premiums has been forced to pass some of the costs to his
workers. Walt told his story in the NYT, recounting how

a 160% premium increase forced him to switch plans. This
meant time and money spent changing health plans instead of
running his business.

Another example of our small
business constituency is
of Columbia, PA. Walt owns
Susquehanna Glass, a 30
decorative glass factory his family
founded in 1910.

Finding Your Constituency

Often a small business owner is quoted in an article or
submits an LTE or OpEd on an issue.

We contact the employer directly if they hold a point of
view similar to ours.

Those who are willing to speak out

are prime targets for potential

spokespeople for our organization.

Using the Media

Finding Your Constituency

Attend events

local meetings, etc. are filled
with like
minded people; they
are a great way to connect
with others.


Allied and partner organizations

they share a similar
advocacy agenda or cause. This is especially true when
we are seeking spokespeople in a particular area of the
country, or among a particular constituency, that we’d
otherwise not regularly engage.

What We Look for in a Small
Business Owner

employed or the owners of a small business
with fewer than 100 employees

it’s critical they
have firsthand experience in running a business; those
in the nonprofit world aren’t helpful in this regard.

What We Look for in a Small
Business Owner


geographic location is often a vital
component of our search, as we can use a certain
spokesperson to sway a member of Congress,
local state legislator, or to earn a media hit in a
particular market.

What We Look for in a Small
Business Owner


we want people who:

Understand the issues that affect their business

Have a good grasp of their particular sector/industry

While not a policy wonk, know enough on current
events to hold their own in an interview or advocacy

What We Look for in a Small
Business Owner


important, as we want small business
owners who really care about their success, their
employees and the issues that impact their bottom line.
This quality also makes it easier to know you can rely
on a spokesperson

to lend a voice to

the policies you


Examples of How We’ve Used Our

The New York Times prominently featured Betsy and Small
Business Majority in an article on Sept. 18 regarding the tax
credits available to small business owners through the
Affordable Care Act.

Betsy has been featured on the White House’s website,, and attended an intimate backyard get
together with President Obama.


Betsy Burton

owns a
bookstore in Salt Lake City
and has benefited from
certain provisions of the new

Examples of How We’ve Used Our

Heidi Kallet

on Sept. 14, Small Business Majority CEO
John Arensmeyer spoke at a press conference on Capitol
Hill in support of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act.

Press Conferences

John elevated her story to show how the legislation would
impact real people like Heidi.

John shared Heidi’s story:

As the owner of a stationery
and gift store in Vienna, VA,
she has had extreme difficulty
in finding a loan to expand her

Maintaining the Relationship

Keep in contact with spokespeople so they feel valued
and engaged in our work.

Prominently display
stories on social media
platforms, including our
website, blogs, etc.

Making these individuals feel like they have a part in
our work benefits everyone involved, and allows us to
use them for future needs.

Working Together

We want to collaborate!

Small Business Majority is committed to educating
small business owners about the new law

Access to our SBO network for media

Training: helping you identify small business
owners in your community

Resources: our tool kit can help you communicate
and provide resources for your community


Rhett Buttle

National Outreach and Government Affairs Manager


(202) 547