Chambers of commerce have been around for decades. In fact, the history of the chamber movement dates back to 1599, when the term “chamber of commerce” appeared for the first time, in Marseille, France.
Moving beyond individual interests to that of a collective group, the establishment of chambers provided merchants, traders, craftsmen and industrialists a public forum to discuss issues facing them as a business community. This representation of common interests became, and remains, the foundation of chambers of commerce worldwide. We are proud of our growing advocacy efforts; of serving as the voice of business.
Chambers are also often the first point of contact for people considering visiting or relocating to any community or region. From time to time the question of relevance of this service comes into play. With the Internet and social media, some do not need a chamber to serve as the “front door to a community.” Potential visitors and new residents can surf the web to get information on our area.
But regardless of where or how potential visitors, new business owners or residents get their initial information, the Chamber often serves as the first personal point of contact. Even if they have already done research and determined they might like to visit the area, there’s a good chance they will call or visit the chamber.
For those that make the wise decision to become a member business, joining a chamber of commerce has a cost associated with it. For a new business just starting out, the outlay of dollars and lack of time may deter the owner from joining the Chamber. The dollar cost of the actual membership should be viewed as an “investment,” and the potential cost of time to attend meetings and/or networking events to build relationships is an investment as well.
Your business may have a website. You may be aggressive in your advertising and/or social media marketing. Regardless, there is nothing like the personal touch of meeting potential new customers and clients face-to-face and one-on-one, in an established, credible business setting. Our 5-star accredited Chamber offers plenty of those types of opportunities. Our Chamber also offers increased exposure for your business through our online membership directory, online and email advertising, event sponsorships, and our still-somewhat-new but ever-growing Save Local Now website and mobile app.
Even if your products or services are something a person might not need on a regular basis, being a member in good standing and having a listing in our online membership directory helps validate your business.
I often preach that you have to make things happen in your business! Being a member of the Chamber by itself is not going to make or break your business. But it can be an important part of any business’ marketing plan, and as many of our loyal members will testify, a tool to help you make things happen, a tool to bring you more customers, a tool to grow.
So when time comes to consider joining or renewing membership, please support the organization that supports you, your community and your business throughout the year and throughout the decades.