Have you ever thought about joining your local chamber of commerce? This topic came up recently in several entrepreneur discussions. The comments were varied and interesting.
All About Networking
A chamber of commerce is like a basket of businesses. It’s designed to connect local owners so they can collaborate with and advocate for one another. A well-organized, active organization provides education, marketing assistance and overall support. But like any such network, what you put into it determines what you get out of it.
Based on the comments I mentioned above, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for joining your local chamber of commerce.
- Builds Relationships: Getting to know and regularly hobnobbing with fellow business owners is invaluable.
- Establishes Credibility: Most chambers maintain membership directories, online listings, and tourist guides. Such exposure is a great marketing tool and brings credibility to your business.
- Expands Resources: Chambers work directly with government and educational organizations. They have access to business loans, legislation, discounts, advertising, and so much more than one might have on their own.
- Being Bigger Than Yourself: Chamber membership is an opportunity to be part of and contribute to your community. It’s a chance to advocate for what’s right for everyone, not just a few.
- Requires Membership Fees and Time Commitments: Upfront costs and time commitment are cause for consideration, especially for new or small businesses.
- Not Relevant to Everyone: If your business is not brick and mortar or your target market isn’t local, a chamber membership may not feel useful. Also, if networking isn’t your personal bag, you may not enjoy the social aspect of chamber meetings.
- Focus is We, Not Me: An ethical chamber of commerce works for the good of all its members and the community (this is actually a good thing). If you prefer a self-focus for your business, this may not be the organization for you.
- No Quick ROI: Just like any networking, the return on what you put into the chamber will need time to develop and grow. Patience will be key.
What I’m Working On This Month
Earlier this month I was proud to present my Ice Age Trail poster, a segment-by-segment checklist of hiking Wisconsin’s 1200-mile geologic wonder. I was amazed and humbled by the positive response.
Stepping into the eCommerce world requires me to step out of my comfort zone (which for the most part is quietly behind the computer). Sales taxes, shipping labels, and trips to the post office are now daily activities. I’m learning so much!
Want a poster? Shop here!
What I’m Tuned In To This Month
- The Power of Planting Seeds: Community gardens have immensely broadened the availability for healthy food. We’re well into the gardening season, but acting now enables next year’s possibilities.
- The Lidice Massacre: Please, let’s not compare COVID vaccines or wearing masks to the Holocaust. This story shows humanity at its worst.
- Bacon-Wrapped Kielbasa: Fourth of July is coming! We made these recently and they were delish. We’re making them again next weekend!
- Part 1 and Part 2: Do we shake hands? Can we hug? Gathering post COVID leaves so many questions. Priya Parker is excellent.