Ahead of the coming federal elections, the Smaller Manufacturers Council Business Councils and National Small Business Association have launched a joint campaign to raise awareness of small-business issues among lawmakers, candidates and voters.

"Small Business: 70 Million Strong … and Voting" seeks to focus more attention on the small business market, while encouraging owners and employers to speak out on issues that impact their businesses, organizers said.

"We want to let people know that the small-business community is a force to be reckoned with," SMC Business Councils President Lee C. Taddonio said in a statement.

According to MSBA Chair Marilyn Landis, small-business concerns are often treated as an afterthought by lawmakers and politicians, despite their economic importance.

More than half of the U.S. private workforce is employed by small businesses, which have generated 93.5 percent of the nation's net new jobs over the past 15 years, according to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy and the U.S. Census Bureau.