Why the Chamber | Miramar Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce

Why the Chamber

Chamber Membership: Getting Out What You Put In

There’s a saying in chamber circles that a chamber membership is like a gym membership. You get out what you put in. You can’t join a gym, never go, and expect to have abs like Ryan Gosling. But is a chamber membership really like going to the gym? That depends on whether you like going to the gym or not.

Getting Out What You Put in to Membership

First, even if you never go to a single chamber event, unlike a gym membership, you will get value from joining. By investing in your chamber you’re helping pro-business legislation get passed, improving business advocacy for your area, and investing in your business community.

But while you’re undoubtedly a distinguished member of this community, there’s more to a chamber membership than these levels of advocacy. Because let’s face it, if you’re trying to pay bills every month, advocacy is not something that’s first and foremost on your mind. So, let’s talking about the other things you get from a chamber membership.

Connections

Okay, for this part you will have to do the work. Whether you attend chamber events or simply advertise in the directory, it’s difficult to use the chamber to build relationships and increase sales if you’re not present in some way. The chamber has dozens of ways to get involved. Just like with exercise, you can find the one that best suits you and that you’ll enjoy.

A Platform

The chamber has a formidable reputation in our community. Through membership their platform is extended to you. You may have options for presenting your knowledge at a lunch and learn, writing an informative article for their blog or website, or mentoring another community member. The chamber is generous. They will share their platform because they want to see your business succeed.

Learning

There’s an app called Blinkist and it sums up books the way Cliffs Notes did for classic literature (but even shorter). These condensed versions take about 15 minutes to read or about 45 minutes to listen to. The synopsis helps busy people learn from books and digest more than they would’ve without the service.

Your chamber probably offers very similar services. While they’re not likely to summarize a business book for you, they do consistently monitor business marketing to keep up with the best ways to market, the newest social media techniques, and ways to use digital marketing to improve your brand recognition.

Most businesses don’t realize the kind of assistance the chamber can provide in these areas. Many staff members have or have had their own businesses. Plus, they’re in your community so not only can they offer business expertise, they know what works in your town, and they can place you in contact with others who can help as well.

You don’t have time to do it all yourself. Rely on them to figure out the best practices and then take advantage of the information they’re providing. Use the chamber staff for what they are—experts in business—to help grow yours.

A Final Takeaway on Your Membership

No, chamber membership is not exactly like a gym membership because with chamber membership, it’s not all or nothing. It’s not a decision between the couch or working out. You can never attend an event and still get value from the membership. You can gain a little exposure or a lot. There’s no one-size-fits-all experience. But if you do participate, your membership will be a much more inspiring and lucrative experience.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

 

 

 

How to Make a Difference with the Chamber of Commerce

The chamber offers volunteer opportunities, networking possibilities, help with marketing and so much more. If that’s not enough, joining the chamber is also a great way to make a difference in the economic development of your community.

Whenever I think of the work of the chamber and its importance, I always think of the Bruce Springsteen song “My Hometown,” particularly the lyrics:

“Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back”

Without the work of the chamber, this would be the scenario facing a lot of towns out there. The chamber works very hard to help keep existing businesses stay open and lure new ones to town but they can’t do it on their own. One of the most valuable reasons to join the chamber is to make a difference in your community.

Your dues go to supporting their economic development efforts, while your time can help inspire others who are considering joining. But there are many other ways in which you can help make a difference. These include:

How to Make a Difference with Chamber Membership

  • Become a business mentor. You can help an individual on their career path or guide the efforts of a start-up or new business.
  • Have a say in the economic development issues of your town. If your town is considering charging for downtown parking, for instance, and you think that will hurt small businesses downtown, you can voice your dissent with the power of the chamber behind you, which is a much stronger position than going it alone.
  • You are supporting programming that is helping the business community become more knowledgeable in things that matter to the success of your business like social media and digital marketing.
  • Join a chamber mastermind group and grow your business.
  • Share your knowledge with the business community through the chamber.
  • Help establish a program of work with the chamber or a legislative agenda that allows your business concerns and growth desires to be heard.
  • Remember what it’s like to be part of a grassroots effort.
  • Know that large business provides the tax base. Small business provides the flavor of a town. All businesses provide jobs. Figure out a way all sizes of businesses can come together in town for mutual benefit.
  • Sit on a committee and explore something of interest to you.
  • Help recruit volunteers for the chamber causes.
  • Get your employees involved in the community.
  • Help launch a chamber bucks initiative to boost sales for local merchants.
  • Get involved with the shop local movement.
  • Speak to students on behalf of the chamber to instill hometown pride in the businesses that serve the community.
  • Get involved with creating a scholarship or foundation with the chamber. Help decide how it will be rewarded.
  • Help shape national politics by getting involved in pro-business initiatives on a local level.
  • Contribute your knowledge to a chamber blog post or the newsletter.
  • Participate in a “Get to Know the Candidates” night and make sure they understand the importance of being pro-business in your community.
  • Talk with a business reporter about your efforts with the chamber. This gives your business some PR and helps more people understand what the chamber does.

If you want to make a difference in the community, joining your own voice and talents to an established organization like the chamber of commerce can help amplify your message and your reach. If you want to do something for your town and the business community, there’s no better way to do that than through chamber membership.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

 

 

 

5 Ways Your Customers Win with You as a Chamber Member

A chamber membership is an investment in your business. As an investment, you undoubtedly expect a return. While it’s easy to look at what you paid for membership and how many new customers were sent you way through the chamber and calculate your return that way, there’s more to it than just that. For instance, did you know that your customers receive multiple benefits from you being a chamber member and those benefits can increase their loyalty? Here are 5 examples of how they win with your chamber membership:

1.      You’re in the Know

When you’re a member of the chamber you know what’s going on in the business community. You can pass this information along to your customers and look like a hero. For instance, let’s say you own a bakery. Your customer comes in for her morning coffee discouraged that she can’t find a job. As a chamber member, you’re plugged in to the businesses that are hiring. You not only tell her about the position but you’re able to give her a referral to the owner who you know through the chamber. You’re helping both her and him and they both love you for it.

2.      You Have Inside Knowledge (and Tickets) for Events

Chambers host some of the best events in town. As a member, you may be able to purchase tickets earlier or bring an interested guest. Again, you come off looking like a rock star to your customer or vendor.

3.      You Know About Legislative Initiatives

The chamber is busy working behind the scenes for all businesses in your area. But most people don’t know what the chamber is lobbying for. If you’re a member of the chamber, you not only know but you can share that information with your customers as it may apply to their businesses as well.

4.      You Become a Resource

If you use your chamber membership to become a resource for your customers and share that information with them, you become very important to them. Not only does this make them like and trust you but it also makes you invaluable as they begin to know you as someone who is plugged in. You become a connector in the community and someone they patronize to get the inside scoop. This type of standing is much harder for your competitors to replicate and will make your customers more loyal. Loyal customers are long-time customers which means more sales.

5.      You Hire the Best

Earlier, I mentioned as a chamber member you know who’s hiring. But there’s another employment benefit to you being part of the chamber. You can find very skilled professionals for your business. As a chamber member, you get to meet a wide variety of people and expand not only your sales networking but your career network as well. You also have an entry to the hidden job market, those valued employees who aren’t actively looking for work.

A chamber membership is an investment in your business but there’s more behind it than simply what you pay out versus how many customers are referred to you. The chamber offers many benefits to your business, the least of which is helping you establish yourself as a resource in the community and that improves your visibility and customer loyalty.

And those things are invaluable.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

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