Chambers exist to serve their members and help them to be more successful. They are supported by membership dues, which are usually based on the size of your business. Your dues are tax deductible as a business expense.
Most businesses benefit in some way from membership, and small businesses often benefit dramatically from the power of joining together with their peers as chamber members. Here are some of the things that local Chambers do for the business community, along with a few suggestions for getting the most from your membership.
Chambers represent the viewpoints of their members in front of governments and advocate for their business interests when necessary. Your dues support the efforts that the Chamber makes on your behalf to make your community a better place to do business. This alone is a reason to become a member!
For many of us, it's important to be visible. Chambers sponsor social events and networking groups that are designed for members to meet and do business together. If your business depends on local-business generation, this is an opportunity that you shouldn't pass up. Even if your customer base is not local, the connections you make can be an invaluable source of local goods and services for your business needs.
When you're a member, you'll be listed in the Chamber directory, but your opportunities for promoting your business don't stop there. Chambers have websites, newsletters, brochures, and more. They sell advertising in most of these, and you have to be a member to advertise. The costs are generally modest, and if your target market includes other Chamber members, the ROI can be fantastic.
Businesses and residents that are new to a community frequently call the local Chamber of Commerce for referrals for the goods and services they need. Guess what? If you're not a member, Chamber staff can't refer you. Take the time to get to know the staff of your local Chamber, and make sure that they have the information they need to send business your way.
I encourage you to find out more, and if you are a member, take another look at what your Chamber offers. You may be pleasantly surprised! If you know about other businesses that are not members, I would ask that you share with them the benefit of being a member.