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If you own your own independent business, there are two organizations that hopefully your are already aware of. They are doing great work promoting small, locally owned independents by promoting community and government involvement. It takes all of us, working together, to improve our communities and the local business environment.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses helps individual business owners with planning, taxes, and legislative matters. They have representatives in all 50 states and in D.C. I visit their site often for advice and articles. I guarantee that you will find several useful items of information within their site.

The American Independent Business Alliance, based in Bozeman, MT, promotes independents buy helping business owners form IBAs, or Independent Business Alliances. These alliances in turn promote community involvement, the best example being the annual America Unchained Day, which takes place every November, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They show their communites the power of "putting your money where your house is".

I urge all independent business owners to join NFIB and look into starting an IBA. I am in the process of doing both. We need to team up for our communities and independent business owners.

Make a difference as a consumer as well. You do have choices. A good place to start is by watching Independent America, a documentary about a married couple searching for Independent America and filming the results. It's a real eye-opener.

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