On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released their small business optimism index report for August. Unfortunately, the Optimism Index dropped for the sixth consecutive month. This report suggests that American small business owners are very pessimistic and uncertain about the future. This doesn’t come as a surprise for many small business owners who have voiced concerns given the current economy.

The report also suggests that small business owners aren’t optimistic because they are facing low consumer demand coupled with new regulations from Washington. High taxation and an uncertain economy contribute to the pessimism. In order to combat the growing problem, the House Small Business Committee announced Tuesday a new interactive online forum, Small Biz Open Mic, that it says gives U.S. entrepreneurs a chance to speak directly with policy makers. The site is a blog-style media forum that invites small business owners to leave comments and share stories.

The site poses the question, what burdens does your small business face? Users are encouraged to comment on government policies as well as Committee news and legislation. General interest stories about small businesses as well as policy news will also be posted on the site.

Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves describes the site as a “… new media forum that encourages blog-type comments and testimonials from small business owners across America regarding government policies, and allows participants to comment on Committee news, legislation, hearings, and news stories that relate to small business growth and development. Comments from participants about legislation and policies that impact small businesses will be used to help the Committee conduct its official business.”

The goal is to encourage small business to speak out about their experiences and their struggles. Chairman Rep. Graves stated “to do our jobs well, we need to hear directly from small companies about how government is helping or harming their business, With their help, we can make certain that Washington supports policies that allow small businesses to thrive and pave the way to economic growth, innovation and job creation.”

The forum provides an excellent opportunity for members of the small business community to communicate not only with lawmakers but also with their small business peers. Reading the success stories and tales of failure of others gives small businesses great way to learn new strategies as well as how to tackle similar hurdles. In addition, the site contains a resources page filled with applicable legislation, articles and FAQ’s to provide small business owners a point of reference.

The small business community has a history of working with and helping each other in order to strengthen the small business presence as well as to help individual businesses. The new Small Biz Open Mic site provides another outlet for small business owners to communicate with lawmakers and legislators in order to make their concerns known.