Posted by Pivot.Today, Written by Denise Romanelli
Today’s chamber of commerce provides a more robust venue for business leaders in the community for networking, education, and peer engagement. Chambers foster partnerships and provide tools for commercial and industrial initiatives in the community.
Their purpose is to vitalize and stimulate the economy through business relationships. Their work is for the best interests for the communities they serve as business advocacy and grassroots activists for political and municipal operations in the county.
1. Get Your Name Out There –Once you’re a member of your chamber, your business listing becomes live on the chamber website in the Membership Directory, which also gives you more SEO. On top of that, most chambers will do a shout out post on social media when a business joins. This is what happens just when you sign up to join your local chamber.
As a member, you can also sponsor or speak at a chamber event and advertise on their different platforms. Opportunities range from inclusion in an email blast, printed pieces or publications, hosting an event at your location or sponsoring a large annual event. Typically, these additions have a fee associated to them, but are exclusive to members only.
Most chambers have different tools for members on their website that are free of charge, like a community calendar and discount/coupon page. Each chamber of commerce is unique different so check out which opportunities your chamber has to offer. Getting on a committee is another a great way to gain visibility without spending anything, but your time. This allows you to build a deeper relationship with fellow committee members, which brings us to point #2. . .
2. Meet New People – We are taught at a very young age the idea of “Stranger Danger”. Unless you’re working to instill this in your children, as an adult, it’s not something you think about consciously every day, but is still very relevant. When your air conditioner breaks, you’re making a big purchase, you’re trying something new, when you need anything, where do you go? Most of us go to someone or somewhere we know and more importantly trust. Meeting people and building relationships should be a staple in your adult life.
Chamber events draw many crowds and industries and the number of events a single chamber hosts in a year can make your head spin. Events vary in time and location so that almost all members can attend at some point during the year. Simple networking events are typically free to members, while larger annual events come at a discounted rate the members. The more people you meet, the larger your referral, partnership and customer or client potential!
Taking this one step further, then just doing business with one another. Job-hopping is on the rise, especially for millennials, and average time a one employer is 4.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has slowly decreased each year. As a business owner or someone just on a stepping stone in their career, making connections can only help you along your journey. Whether you can attend every event or only once per year, you are enhancing your name, face and business out there, which circles back to point #1.
3. The Chamber is Your Source - Professionally and personally, a Chamber of Commerce is your resource for all things. Many chambers position themselves to support businesses of all different shapes and sizes. One way to do that is staying on top of current trends and offering educational workshops on different aspects of your professional life. Either learning a new skill, more about social media, business tax changes, etc. the goal is to keep you and your business moving forward successfully.
Your local chamber keeps a pulse on your community and can direct you where you need to go when it comes to your business. The chamber might not be your be all, end all for everything little detail, but can help you along every step and direct you accordingly. The chamber aims to keep you on the competitive edge with resources and knowledge at your fingertips.
Did you know, consumers are more likely to patronize and visit your business if they are aware of your chamber membership? “Fly by night” businesses do not join chambers of commerce, but trustworthy and credible businesses do. Looking for a plumber? Check the Chamber Directory. Need a new storefront sign? Check the Chamber Directory. Not sure where to dine out? Check the Chamber Directory. Need to hire a new accountant? Check the Chamber Directory. Going back to point #2, your chamber already has relationships with these member companies, so use them.
4. In the Loop – As mentioned in point #3, chambers of commerce keep you up-to-date on community news, what businesses are coming to town, Stay on top of your community and about what is going on at the state, federal and county levels that may impact your business, which leads us into the last and final point.
5. Your Business Advocate – Let’s not get too much into politics here, but priority #1 is a flourishing business climate. Most chambers do NOT endorse candidates, but will lobby for legislation that will benefit businesses. Chambers keep track of local, state and federal government and report those issues affecting businesses back to members.
What did you learn?
Learn more about how the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce can be a resource for you and your business by visiting delcochamber.org or contacting a Chamber staff member at 610-565-3677.