Smaller businesses can gain clout by joining forces and forming a small business trade association. Such a group can put together legislative task forces, offer educational programs, and disseminate local publicity for members.

If you want to start a trade association but don't know where to begin, the Small Business Foundation of America in Waltham, Mass., has published a useful manufal, How to Start and Continue a Small Business Trade Association. The 63-page loose-leaf binder covers startups, staffing, financing, legislative task forces, communications, and membership and educational programs. It's available for $25 prepaid from the Small Business Foundation of America Inc., 69 Hickory Dr., Waltham, MA 02154.