What the Local Chamber of Commerce Can Do for Your Small Business
In this day and age of online advertising and email marketing campaigns, joining your local chamber of commerce may seem out-of-date. However, there is a very good reason why these organizations continue to attract new members every year: they offer valuable benefits that you cannot get online. After signing a commercial lease and setting up shop, your next step should be joining your local chamber of commerce.
What is a Chamber of Commerce?
According to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, a chamber is “an organization of businesses seeking to further their collective interests, while advancing their community, region, state or nation. Business owners in towns, cities and other territories voluntarily form these local societies/networks to advocate on behalf of the community at large, economic prosperity and business interests.”
Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways a chamber helps business owners.
Membership Brings Your Business Credibility
Active membership in the local chamber lends credibility to your business. The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, conducted a study among 2,000 adults and found that a majority believed that association with a chamber of commerce indicated good business practices, an admirable reputation, customer care and community involvement.
In addition, just knowing that a small business belongs to the chamber makes consumers “49 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 80 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.”
Thus, the cost of chamber membership is likely to pale in comparison to the increase in sales for your business. And considering that most chambers offer memberships based on the number of employees working for a company, the investment should be well worth the return.
Market Your Business Through the Chamber
Typically, chambers of commerce have newsletters, websites and Facebook pages where your business can be highlighted along with the products or services offered. Local residents as well as other members of your chamber view these venues. Therefore, a chamber has a wide audience and can give your business exposure that you might not otherwise be able to obtain.
Network and Make Business Contacts
Membership in the chamber affords you many opportunities to network with other member businesses. You can serve on committees, develop relationships and have a group of advisors to turn to for help.
Similarly, you’ll be able to collaborate with other professionals on efforts to support the business community that range from leadership development to government advocacy on issues such as regulations and healthcare.
Chamber of Commerce Member Discounts
Chamber members commonly offer discounts to one another. Whether you need office supplies, a restaurant to host lunch for your team, a new phone system, or even credit card processing, there may be a chamber member who can give you a discounted price. Needless to say, these savings will add up quickly.
Learn and Teach
A local chamber of commerce will not only educate you in ways to improve and grow business, but may also offer you the opportunity to teach others about your specialization. In this way, you establish yourself as an expert.
Then, when another member needs your product or service—or if they have a customer looking for a referral to someone in your industry—your name will likely come to mind first.
Becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce is a great way to establish a good business reputation and expand your exposure. Furthermore, you’ll be more aware of issues affecting your community and you just might be able to help solve problems or advocate for favorable changes.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice. As with any financial or legal matter, consult your tax advisor and legal counsel.