One of the most valuable returns on investment for your business is chamber membership. Chambers are a strong source for business referrals, advocacy, networking and referral groups, as well as an affordable place to learn. If you have considered chamber membership in the past, now is an ideal time to revisit what the chamber can help you do for your business.
A chamber of commerce is the Voice of Business in your community. But while you may have some understanding of what it does, today's chamber is a lot different than one your parents or grandparents may have joined. Let's explore how chamber membership can be one of the best returns on investment you make this year.
Best Chamber Benefits for the Value
Every business owner must master resource allocation, especially when it comes to time as a resource. No business professional can oversee every aspect of the business indefinitely. Eventually, it becomes evident that parts of the business are better left to the insights and care of others who can do it more efficiently. Chamber membership may be a good substitute for individual contractors you may have hired, saving you money. Some chamber services also do things for you that you’re not in a position to do yourself.
Remember as you're reviewing the following member advantages that chamber benefits apply to all your employees. Many small business owners use this as a perk of employment passing along chamber benefits as additional company benefits in partnership with the chamber. That’s a smart way to offer more with less.
When most people think of networking, they think of chamber coffee events. But many chambers offer more referral opportunities. Some have formal referral groups where membership is limited to one person from each industry; while some chambers offer niche social-based referral groups within the chamber such as a young professionals or women’s group. Participating in a chamber referral group can not only help you get more customers but also connect with professionals in the community who may help you with mentoring or other business partnerships.
Businesses that were chamber members during the pandemic may have witnessed the power of chamber advocacy firsthand as many chambers lobbied for a return to business. Many chambers also advocated for additional business exemptions on a municipal level to help their members through the challenge of shutdown orders such as increased outdoor dining or the request to temporarily transform parking lots into retail space.
Now that we're moving past the pandemic, business professionals may not think about the advocacy their local chamber is performing. The chamber is the voice of business and creates legislative agendas and initiatives every year that focus on creating and sustaining a pro-business environment. This is an incredible benefit if you do not have the means to work with a lobbying firm. Chamber members can offer their opinions and guidance to their chamber so that that organization may advocate on their behalf at municipal, state, and federal levels.
Access to Leaders
As an individual business, your voice is only as loud as your connections. Joining the chamber helps you and your business by amplifying your voice. Chamber members are part of a strong tradition with many inroads into the community. By joining this group, you are seen as a contributing member of the area.
Chamber membership affords the ability to meet with local leaders through the backing of the chamber, lending more credibility to your cause. Being a chamber member can also improve your standing in the community. There are many altruistic functions and roles you can play as a member of the chamber. You may decide to volunteer as a board member or to host a committee charged with A cause that's important to you.
In addition to formalized referral groups within the chamber membership, chamber staff is often asked for their opinions on local businesses. It's not uncommon for visitors to stop by the chamber office. When they do, they often inquire about different types of businesses in the area. A member in good standing may receive several referrals throughout the year depending on the industry. But it's not just tourists doing the asking. Often members ask the chamber leadership for referrals to help them grow their businesses as well.
Since the chamber is highly thought of in the community, referrals from this organization are very valuable. Depending on the price of your average sale, one chamber referral that evolves into a sale may pay for your annual membership dues.
Chamber membership is one of the best investments you can make in the growth and reputation of your business. For a minimal outlay, you can grow your network, enjoy the benefits of advocacy for your business, and be a part of something larger than yourself.