Okay, so maybe your dad never told you anything about chamber memberships but I’m sure between one of your parents you learned the following lessons. And you might be surprised how they apply to chamber memberships.
You Are the Company You Keep
Do you remember this one? Your parents likely told you to be careful who you associate with because people assume certain things about you based on your peer group. So, let’s see. If you hang out with business-focused, civic-minded people at the chamber, what does that mean for your business? Only good things. Your parents were right. The company you keep says a lot about you.
One Day You’ll Thank Me
The day you join the chamber, you’ll be exposed to a lot of incredible knowledge through member connections and a deep resource within the chamber and its programming. But the information doesn’t find its way into your brain through osmosis. You need to meet the people who can help your business succeed and attend the programming or watch the videos. If you do, your business and network will grow and you’ll thank the chamber one day.
If All Your Friends Jumped off of a Bridge, Would You?
The chamber isn’t a cookie-cutter organization offering a one-size solution to your business problems. It’s not an equation. The help you can find at the chamber is personalized to your business. It’s not about following the crowd, unless you consider personalized best practices or listening to experts in your field as following the crowd.
Manners Don’t Cost a Dime
Manners don’t cost a dime and neither does making the most of your chamber membership. Whether you make lifelong connections that will help your business prosper or you never do anything with your chamber membership, the fee is the same. So, what do you say? Why not get involved as much as possible or use those resources to maximum advantage? You have everything to gain and nothing more to spend.
Watch the Other Guy
Keeping an eye on the competition is important. But in today’s global economy it doesn’t need to just be your competition you keep an eye on. Many successful business people become that way by applying a business’ success in another industry to their own. Seeing those possibilities and connections can help you grow in a way your competition isn’t. The chamber can assist you in keeping an eye on the other guy but will also help you discover valuable lessons from other business professionals, things that may just help you solve a challenge in your own business.
Life Is Better When You Have a Good Time—and Bring Others Along for the Ride
Chambers aren’t stodgy business groups like some people believe. They’re comprised of professionals who want to achieve business success and help the community along the way. They advocate for pro-business legislation and bring innovative ideas to the town. They also can throw one heck of an event and they love bringing people along for the ride.
While today’s chamber is not your dad’s, or even your mom’s, chamber it still benefits your business. While their programs and offerings have changed with the times, their value is as beneficial as your parents’ advice. You may ignore it at first, but ultimately it leads to your growth.
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.