After enduring weeks of holiday messages and late-night comedians’ jokes about New Year’s resolutions, now is the time people decide just what they will accomplish in 2016. Jokes about losing weight, getting in shape or giving up bad habits can yield some laughs, but they often don’t result in action. Still, it’s important to look at the New Year as time for a new beginning and a renewed dedication. As small business operators, it’s important that you have a voice – an effective and informed voice – which can be heard by those who have the power to impact your bottom line, like governors, senators and representatives. Often times, that voice belongs to a “hired gun,” a lobbyist or other business professional who is familiar with the workings of government and knows how to best position an issue for consideration by elected officials. As one of those hired guns, I know well how the legislative process works and how to effectively influence legislative deliberations