If you are not already a member of your local chamber of commerce, you could be missing out on valuable business exposure and networking opportunities.
In fact, studies by The Shapiro Group and Market Street also show that belonging to a chamber of commerce can boost your businesses recognition among local consumers, who are more apt to view your business as a trustworthy source for goods and services.
Belonging to a Chamber of Commerce is especially important for small business owners. Consider these survey results by The Shapiro Group:
- 44% of small businesses who are chamber members are viewed more favorably by consumers
- Small business chamber members enjoy 51% more brand awareness than non-members
- Small business chamber members enjoy a 57% increase in local reputation
- Small business chamber members have a 63% higher likelihood of obtaining local business
Here are 9 reasons to belong to your local chamber of commerce, sampled from American Business magazine. We have added our own thoughts to these points:
1. Business credibility. Chamber of commerce members are active in their community and concerned about the well-being of businesses and residents alike. This helps foster a positive perception about chamber members by local consumers.
2. Increased business visibility. As a member of the chamber of commerce, you will be listed in the membership directory and be publicized in newsletters and websites. You’ll also have opportunities to be involved in special events and promotions.
3. Networking opportunities. Here’s an example from our own South Shore Chamber, which sums it up nicely. We’ve edited the following for length and clarity:
“Members use our Chamber as their resource for relationship building with other businesses, and with political and community leaders. We provide robust educational opportunities, along with diverse programming, advocacy and advisement on critical business issues. We are proud to be well-respected among our peers and ranked among the top 1% of Chambers nationally by the US Chamber of Commerce.”
4. A voice in local government. Your local chamber stays abreast of issues that can impact area businesses. They communicate with members regarding Federal, State and local-level issues and help members adapt to changes in business climate. In some cases, a local chamber may act as an advocate for the concerns of members regarding taxes, fees, proposed legislation, assessments and so on.
5. Business-to-business boosters. A chamber seeks to generate more business activity for the community. To accomplish this, they offer events and promotional activities that connect local professionals and business owners in an engaging and memorable manner.
6. Chamber newsletters, websites and social media. These channels provide new member information, member directories, information about operating a local business, articles about the local community, a community calendar and details about up-and-coming chamber events.
7. Customer referrals. Local chambers often receive calls from individuals and businesses looking for potential vendors, service providers and specialty retail.
8. Promotion and publicity. With a chamber membership, you can reach potential clients through member-exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity. The South Shore Chamber offers special partnerships for additional exposure.
9. Access to members-only discounts and services. These differ from chamber to chamber. Member-to-member discounts are one of the many benefits of belonging to your local chamber!
Your local chamber of commerce can open doors for you, and help you engage with prominent business and civic leaders in your community. Like any relationship, the more time and effort you put into your membership with the chamber, the more you’ll get out of it. Explore your local chamber of commerce today – or renew your membership!
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