Small business owners will all tell you that the key to being successful is to create long-lasting, meaningful relationships within the community. One great way to do this that is oftentimes overlooked is to join the local chamber of commerce. How can membership help grow your business? Chamber of commerce organizations can do this in a number of ways.
Networking Opportunities. Meeting the owners of other businesses should not be viewed as meeting with your competition. It should be viewed as a chance to exchange business or customers. If you meet a fellow business owner that you can build a relationship, you have a created a free referral program. They can recommend you to their customers, and you should in turn do the same. Many chambers of commerce have regularly scheduled networking meetings for exactly this purpose.
Credibility. Customers who see that you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce will see your business as more professional. Chamber organizations dor have rules and regulations that the members must abide by, so membership tells you clients that you are respectable and reliable.
Advertising. Almost every chamber of commerce has a website these days, so having your business listed as one of the members will create more visibility for you. Oftentimes, there is the opportunity to advertise a special discount, either for other chamber members or residents in the community. You won’t need to print fliers or coupons for this marketing opportunity.
Education. Many organizations offer informational meetings and classes to help small businesses succeed. Whether it is a fellow member speaking about their success story, or having a guest speaker come in, there are valuable opportunities for learning at the chamber of commerce.
Community Events. Community events, such as neighborhood block parties or street festivals offer you a unique opportunity to connect with the residents in your community. Whether you set up a booth offering goods or services, or you simply volunteer, the members of the community will get to know the face behind the business. Building a sense of trust between you and your potential clients will go a long way toward helping your business grow.
Community Pride. It is important to many people to see their local businesses give back to the communities that they serve. In many cases, people don’t live in the same area that their establishment is located. It is imperative that your clients see you as someone who cares about the neighborhood that they live in. The opportunities that your local chamber of commerce provide for volunteering will help you gain an image of compassion for the community.
Joining the local chamber of commerce can help your business grow. For all of these reasons, and so many more, you should seriously consider joining. the membership fees will pay for themselves several times over. If your business is in a major city with a few chambers of commerce in the area, consider joining more than one! Membership is an important key to becoming a successful small business.