Business owners who make a product or provide a service need to get their goods to market in their community and region. Also, business is hard work and owners should surround themselves with a community of fellow business owners. Whatever business you’re in, might I suggest you join the chamber of commerce in your city?
In this post, you’ll discover why I joined mine, and why you should join yours.
I originally joined the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce as a perk of being the first ever participant in the Entrepreviewer program led by the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Frankfort, Inc. Frankfort’s Main Street Program. The program is a single business incubator.
First, Join the Chamber to Get Access
Membership in the chamber gives me lots of access to various programs that I wouldn’t necessarily have on my own. First, there’s access to programs like Leadership Development, Business After Hours, and Lunch & Learns.
Since joining, I’ve met people I normally would not have had the privilege of meeting, from bankers to broadcasters to attorneys and accountants. Chamber membership has really given me access to lots of programs.
Second, Join the Chamber to Gain Authority
Let’s say you have a special skill that you bring to business, you’re a wizard at using an application, or you have an expertise to share that makes you unique to the business community. You should definitely join, so that you can take advantage of speaking opportunities like Lunch and Learns, and business seminars that will help you share your expertise with people right in your area. Many of these opportunities are volunteer, but can morph into paying customers and potential for income. You can hone your speaking business and help others along the way.
For me, I’ve taken advantage of the Lunch & Learns for me to speak on Email marketing, Evernote, Social Media, and Websites. It’s helped me practice public speaking, and share my enthusiasm with others. These events have helped me harvest lots of content ideas for my blog too. Chamber membership certainly has helped me gain authority.
Finally, Join the Chamber to Grow Awareness
Businessmen and women would do well to join the chamber so you know what’s going on in your community. When you join the chamber you’ll get communications from other businesses (hopefully you’ll put your announcements in too) telling you what is going on in the business community. This information may not be readily available to you if you were not a member of the chamber. As a result of going to various events held by the chamber, you will know what’s going on in your community so you can offer new products, work with others, and grow your business.
As a member, I’ve been more connected with the business community in my hometown and made great connections that I probably wouldn’t have made otherwise. With the email communications and newsletters I receive I know more about what’s going on in the business community. I’ve actually grown my network and my knowledge of other businesses as a result.
Conclusion and Caution
While there are more benefits that I could talk about, each Chamber is different. It would make sense to go into membership with some goals and intention behind joining. Be clear on why you’re joining and what you want out of it. Nearly every business can benefit from joining, but it’s up to you to decide. Do your due diligence by contacting current members, former members, and contact the staff of the chamber to make sure you’re making the right decision for your business. I’d say that not all chambers of commerce are equal, too. Finally, with all groups that you join, you get what you put into it.
Frankfort Chamber of Commerce CEO, Carmen Inman, said, “membership helps you stand out from the competition. Research shows customers are 44% more likely to think favorably of you, and 63% more likely to buy goods and services from you if they know you’re a chamber member.”
Question: Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce? What does your membership get you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.