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Contact us for more information or to learn about how you can be part of a Chamber committee.
October 10th - 11th, 2023
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5. Advocacy for Business Interests:
Navigating Missoula's Charm: A Guide to the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce's "Living in Missoula" and "Relocating to Missoula" Website Sections
Nestled in the heart of the breathtakingly beautiful state of Montana, Missoula is a city that effortlessly combines outdoor adventures, cultural richness, and a strong sense of community. If you're considering moving to Missoula or simply looking to explore this charming city, the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce's website is your go-to resource. Their "Living in Missoula" and "Relocating to Missoula" sections offer a wealth of information and insights to help you make the most of your Missoula experience. All the information you need is just a clock a way!
Living in Missoula: An Insider's Guide
The "Living in Missoula" section of the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce's website is a treasure trove of information for both newcomers and long-time residents. Here, you can find everything you need to know about daily life in Missoula, from housing and schools to healthcare and recreational opportunities.
If you're considering a move to Missoula, the "Relocating to Missoula" section of the Chamber's website should be your first stop. This section is designed to make your transition as smooth as possible. Take the Chamber's Relocation Survey to get information and offers from our many member businesses excited to welcome you to our amazing community.
Missoula, Montana, is a city where natural beauty and community spirit converge. The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce's "Living in Missoula" and "Relocating to Missoula" website sections serve as invaluable guides to help you explore and settle into this wonderful city. Whether you're looking for a new home, a job opportunity, or simply a vibrant community to call your own, Missoula welcomes you with open arms, and the Chamber's website will be your trusted companion on this exciting journey.
Have you ever attended a chamber event? If you’re not a member, you’re missing out. Before you think you don’t have the time to attend events, it’s important you know chamber life is not just mixers and ribbon cuttings. Chamber membership is one of the best-kept secrets for free or nearly free business resources like webinars, lunch & learns, and written collateral. Plus, a whole lot more. Chamber membership is one of the best business investments you can make for the money and return.
Is Chamber Membership Worth It?
Not if you don’t know why you’re joining. In this article, you’ll learn all the benefits chamber membership can give you professionally and how it is a worthwhile investment in your business. But before you sign up, for maximum benefit, you should be very clear about what you want out of membership.
Because you want to communicate that to the chamber staff when joining. When they know what you want, they can help get you on the right track. The chamber offers many benefits, and to get what you’re looking for, you need to ensure the chamber knows what that is.
Perhaps you’re not clear what you want out of chamber membership. That’s okay because after reading this list of why membership is a great investment you should have a better understanding of what’s important to you.
What Will I Get with Chamber Membership?
It’s always best to begin at the beginning. If you’re not sure what you need from the chamber, look at a list of member benefits and make a mental note of which of these things are the most important to you/your business:
1. Networking Opportunities: Let’s start with the obvious. Chambers offer various networking events, such as mixers, business expos, speed networking, and industry-focused lunches, where businesspeople can connect with other professionals, potential clients, partners, and mentors. Building relationships is one of the best ways to help your business grow.
2. Visibility and Exposure: Membership often comes with a listing in the chamber's directory, both online and in print. This can increase your business's visibility and credibility in the local community. Your chamber may have additional opportunities for your business like being listed on a business map, featured in their visitor’s magazine, or being invited to participate in a Wine Walk or other member-exclusive exposure opportunity.
3. Credibility and Trust: Being a chamber member can enhance your business's reputation as the chamber is generally seen as a credible organization that supports businesses. Membership shows your community you care about the area and have made an investment in it. Becoming a chamber member can also help people get to know your business (and show you’re connected) if you’re new in town.
4. Advocacy and Representation: Chambers represent the interests of local businesses to government bodies and policymakers, giving you a voice in local economic and regulatory matters. Being a member makes you part of something larger and thus amplifies your voice and business needs.
5. Business Education: Chambers organize seminars, workshops, and training sessions to help members stay updated on industry trends, business strategies, and best practices. Members and guests can learn from top-notch thought leaders for just the cost of membership or a token expense to cover the meal. It’s one of the most affordable (and best-kept secrets) in business education.
6. Marketing Opportunities: Chambers offer an array of advertising and sponsorship opportunities, allowing businesses to market themselves to the wider community. They often have large audiences/good traffic, name recognition, and a strong reputation—all helpful when looking where to spend your marketing budget.
7. Access to Resources: Members can access resources such as business development guides, market research, and economic data to help them make informed decisions. (Chambers also give away a lot of free information to the community including blog posts, newsletters, articles, etc.) Some chambers also offer extensive leadership programs for interested members to help them achieve their leadership goals.
8. Discounts and Exclusive Offers: Many chambers negotiate discounts on products and services for their members, ranging from insurance and office supplies to software and event tickets. Some offer exclusive member-to-member discounts as well.
9. Community Involvement: Being part of a chamber provides you with business-directed volunteer opportunities to contribute to community development and philanthropic activities, which can foster a positive public image for your business.
10. Referral Network: Chambers often refer their members to others who are looking for specific products or services, increasing your business's chances of gaining new clients. Check with your chamber as they also might offer referral groups that can be free with membership or a fraction of the cost of a BNI group.
11. Partnerships and Collaborations: Connecting with other businesses through the chamber can lead to partnership opportunities, joint ventures, and collaborations on projects.
12. Business Support: Chambers can provide advice and assistance to businesses, especially startups and small enterprises, on various aspects such as funding, legal matters, and growth strategies. Some offer business incubators, pitch contests, and other opportunities to launch and grow.
13. Government Relations: Chambers can help businesses navigate government regulations, procedures, and other challenges, as well as provide insights into legislative changes that might affect your operations or the business climate, in general.
14. Access to Influential Contacts: Chambers attract a diverse group of professionals, including local leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs, which can open doors to valuable contacts.
15. Brand Building: Active involvement in chamber events and initiatives can help build your brand within the local business community.
16. Market Insights: Chambers have access to economic and demographic data that can help businesses make informed decisions about their target markets.
17. Professional Development: Chambers may host training sessions, workshops, and leadership development offerings to enhance your professional skills. Your chamber may also have opportunities to help you step into a new skill or business. For instance, if you wanted to add the title of professional speaker to your resume and launch a speaking business, you may be able to start with the chamber. By speaking in front of members at a special event, you could build clientele and experience.
18. Local Support Network: Joining a chamber can provide emotional support, because you’re part of a community of business owners who face similar challenges. As well-meaning as friends and family are, if they’re not involved in business or your industry, they may not understand your challenges and triumphs the way your fellow chamber members will.
19. Access to Business Services: Some chambers offer their members business services such as mentorship, business incubation, space rentals, marketing, and consulting.
20. Membership Perks: While the chamber helps all businesses in the community, many chambers provide special perks to members like access to exclusive events, VIP receptions, ribbon cuttings/celebrations, and members-only resources.
Ultimately, the decision to join a chamber of commerce depends on your business's specific needs, goals, and offerings of the local chamber. Knowing what your biggest challenge is in business can help you see just how impactful a chamber membership investment can be to your business.
It's estimated there are about 310 million monthly active users and 900 million account holders worldwide. According to Linkedin, of that 900 million users, 199 million are in the US. The number of the site’s registered users has almost quadrupled in the past decade.
9 Ways to Leverage LinkedIn for Your Business
There are several ways you can leverage LinkedIn beyond job searches to drive growth and reap the numerous advantages the platform has to offer. Use it to:
1. Build an Engaging Business Profile
A well-crafted LinkedIn company page is the foundation for success on the platform. Ensure your profile showcases your brand's unique value proposition, mission, and offerings. High-quality images, a compelling description, and relevant keywords will attract potential customers and help strengthen your brand's online presence on a site that’s removed from a lot of the social media noise.
2. Target Prospects
One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is its advanced search capabilities. You can use filters to identify your target audience based on industry, job title, location, and more. This allows for highly targeted prospecting to find potential customers and decision-makers within your niche, increasing the chances of successful conversions. You can also use it to research someone who’s going to a networking event you’re attending.
3. Improve Your Content Marketing and Thought Leadership
Have something to say about your industry, line of work, or process? Position yourself as an industry expert or approachable guru by creating and sharing valuable content on LinkedIn. Posting articles, industry insights, and thought-provoking or helpful posts can establish your thought leadership and build credibility among the platform's professional audience. Engaging content encourages likes, comments, and shares, broadening the brand's reach and attracting potential customers.
4. Join and Engage in Relevant Groups
LinkedIn groups provide an opportunity for you to interact with your target audience directly. By joining and actively participating in relevant groups, you can share your expertise, answer questions, and showcase your products or services (as allowed in the group). Provide value to the conversations. Don’t engage in overly promotional activities.
5. Gain a Wide Audience with LinkedIn Ads
With LinkedIn's advertising platform, you can reach your target audience with precision. By defining specific demographics and professional characteristics, you can create ad campaigns that appeal directly to your ideal customers. Sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and display ads can be used to drive traffic, generate leads, and ultimately increase sales. However, because of the professional users on this site, you’ll be paying more for the exposure than you would on Facebook or Instagram.
6. Strengthen Partnerships and Alliances
LinkedIn is an excellent platform for fostering partnerships and collaborations with other businesses. By connecting with complementary brands or potential affiliates, you’ll expand your reach and tap into new customer segments. Building a strong network of strategic partners can lead to fruitful collaborations, joint ventures, and shared promotional efforts.
7. Showcase Products and Services
Showcase your products and services directly on your LinkedIn company page. Utilizing multimedia elements like videos, infographics, and product images can help potential customers understand the offerings better. Customer testimonials and case studies will reinforce the credibility of your business.
8. Measure Analytics and Insights
LinkedIn's analytics tool provides valuable insights into the performance of your business content through engagement levels. By analyzing data regularly, you can identify what content resonates most with your audience and fine-tune your marketing strategies for optimal results.
9. Engage Employees
According to LinkedIn, 30% of a company’s LinkedIn post engagement comes from their employees making it an excellent way to connect with employees and provide valuable content for their networks. Your posts and presence on the platform can also help instill pride in employees as they share the important things your business is doing.
LinkedIn is not just a platform for job seekers; it's a goldmine for business owners looking to expand their customer base, engage with employees, strengthen their brand, and foster valuable connections. Embracing LinkedIn as a multifaceted tool for business growth can lead to increased visibility, heightened credibility, and, ultimately, a thriving and prosperous enterprise. And best of all, it’s not owned by Meta.
Recently, the May NFIB Small Business Optimism Index results came out.
While they were certainly not surprising, if you’re feeling concerned about your business, you’re not alone. Seeing what others are struggling with (and what they’re doing in the face of these struggles) can be helpful. This article gives you the highlights of the Index results for May.
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index May Result Highlights
To be more competitive in hiring, many small businesses are increasing what they pay.
Funding isn’t a large problem for 96% of small businesses polled.
Most businesses are still finding it difficult to hire.
Perhaps you’re viewing these results and feeling like this is stating the obvious. Workforce challenges are the main concern for most businesses, and it appears that raising salaries isn’t the panacea many assume it to be. That’s why it’s more critical than ever to become a part of your chamber and lend your voice to the issues.
What the Chamber Can Do for Your Business
The chamber can:
These are all things the chamber does behind the scenes that most people don’t think about. Whether you are a member or not, they are advocating for a pro-business climate in your area and beyond. But if you’re not a member, your specific needs aren’t being heard.
Contact your chamber today. If you are a member, let them know your challenges. Ensure your voice is heard. If you aren’t a member, consider joining. Your local chamber has a plethora of resources that can help you and your employees navigate these difficult times. There is no reason you should be alone, nor is there a reason that you should have to start at square one when there’s an organization that is already in place and ready to help with advocacy and education.
About the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is a monthly economic indicator that measures the sentiment and confidence levels of small business owners in the United States. It is published by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The index is based on surveys conducted among NFIB members, who represent a diverse range of industries and regions across the country. The index provides insights into the current and future expectations of small business owners regarding various aspects of their businesses, including sales, hiring plans, capital expenditures, and overall economic conditions. It is considered a key indicator of the health and outlook of the small business sector, which plays a crucial role in the U.S. economy.
First, you’re probably thinking if everyone in the chamber (and beyond) reads this article and follows the advice here, no one will be unforgettable because we’ll all be following the same instructions. But in the words of the famous Dr. Seuss, “There is no one alive more youier than you” so being the same isn’t possible if you’re true to who you are.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how you can begin to standout and make worthwhile connections, even if you hate networking.
Why Should You Attend a Networking Event?
You either love networking or hate it, right? But networking events can be invaluable opportunities for you to expand your professional network, forge valuable partnerships, learn of opportunities before anyone else, and ultimately grow your business and/or career. Plus, they can be fun.
Still, when there are so many people in a room all trying to do the same thing you are—meet new connections—standing out in a crowd and making a lasting impression can be a challenge. But a necessary one because you want them to think of you when they need something.
Let’s explore the best ways for you to be memorable at the next chamber networking event, so you can meet potential clients, collaborators, and industry influencers.
6 Ways to Be More Memorable When Networking
Before we get into being memorable, it’s important to set a goal. Don’t go in hoping to meet “someone good.” Good means a lot of things. Do you want a good customer, a good business partner, a good influencer, a good friend, a good caterer…you get the idea. Knowing who you want to meet will help you devise a plan to be more memorable. Just as you would use different bait to attract a shark versus a deer, you’ll want to decide who you want to meet before working on how to be more memorable. Keep your goal in mind as you:
Shift the Focus
It can be awkward walking into a group or up to a person you don’t know. Most event hosts (especially the chamber) will be glad to introduce you to someone. Once they do, avoid awkward moments by focusing on the person you’ve just been introduced to. Asking someone what they do is good but often elicits a very short phrase, “I’m a lawyer,” for instance. Then you might say, “Wow. Great. My cousin’s a lawyer.” This conversation isn’t very memorable. On the other hand, if you ask them “What are you working on that you’re really excited about?” They’re going to open up. Another great hot topic is AI. Ask them if they’re using it or what they think about it.
Get them talking about themselves, their preferences, their knowledge/experience and listen. Speaking of…
Be a Genuine Listener
One of the most effective ways to be memorable is by being an active and engaged listener. Show genuine interest in the person you're conversing with, and ask thoughtful questions about their business, challenges, and goals. By listening attentively, you can demonstrate you value their insights and build a meaningful connection. People remember those who make them feel heard and understood.
Craft a Memorable Personal Story
Stories are powerful tools for connecting with others on an emotional level and they’re easy to remember. Develop a personal story that highlights your journey, passion, and the impact your business has made. Share it in a concise and engaging manner, leaving a lasting impression on your listeners.
Remember, a well-crafted personal story is not a monologue. The story may be about you, but it must have a broader appeal. You want someone to hear your story and be inspired to do something in their own lives, not feel like they’re watching a one-person, off-Broadway show.
Dress the Part:Follow the event's dress code but wear something you love. Your appearance reflects your brand's image, and wearing a favorite item will help you appear confident, credible, and approachable. Wear something that showcases your style and is memorable without being silly (unless your business is silly, then go for it). For instance, a consultant I know always wears a hat; the kind of hat is dependent on the occasion. A dog walker may always wear dog jewelry. An author of a pirate book may wear a chain with a gold doubloon. These branding elements help them be more memorable.
Use Creative and Memorable Marketing Materials
Stand out from the crowd by designing unique and memorable business cards, marketing materials, or giveaways. Incorporate your brand's visual identity and ensure that the design aligns with your overall messaging. Add a personal touch, such as a handwritten note or a relevant quote, to leave a lasting impression. People often keep creative marketing materials, making them a powerful tool for staying top-of-mind.
Be “On” at All Times
Have you ever watched a video that shows a celebrity or a VIP when they don’t know there’s a camera or mic on them? Sometimes it ends badly, and they say (or do) something that is out of character for how the rest of the world perceives them. The same can happen in a networking event. Don’t have a great event exuding graciousness, then step into your car and lean on your horn only to find out the person you’re making rude gestures to is the individual you thought you had a great connection with only minutes earlier. Remember, as a businessperson, people aren’t just looking to do business with you at the event. They want to see that you’re the same person on the clock and off.
Networking events provide you with a platform to showcase your expertise, expand your connections, and leave a memorable impression. By getting others talking, being an engaged listener, sharing a compelling personal story, using great materials, and staying “on,” you can create lasting relationships that will benefit your business. Be authentic, be memorable, and let your passion shine through. Those types of actions are infectious.
Chambers of Commerce are organizations that play an important role in promoting economic growth and development in their communities. One area where they can have a significant impact is in workforce development training and education. In this article, we will discuss the importance of Chambers of Commerce focusing on this area and how it can benefit their members and the wider community.
Firstly, it is important to understand the importance of workforce development training and education. In today's rapidly changing economy, employers are looking for workers who possess the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their industries. This requires ongoing training and education to keep up with the latest technological advancements and industry trends. Additionally, a well-trained and educated workforce can help attract new businesses to the community, as companies are more likely to locate in areas with a skilled labor pool.
Chambers of Commerce are uniquely positioned to help address these workforce development needs. As community-based organizations, they have a deep understanding of the local labor market and the needs of employers. They can work with their members to identify the specific skills and knowledge that are most in demand, and then develop training and education programs to meet those needs.
There are several ways in which Chambers of Commerce can focus on workforce development training and education. They can partner with local schools and colleges to develop programs that provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in local industries. They can also provide training and education opportunities for current employees of member businesses, helping them to upgrade their skills and stay competitive in the workforce. Additionally, Chambers of Commerce can work with government agencies and other organizations to secure funding for these programs, making them accessible to a wider range of people.
The benefits of these efforts are significant. By focusing on workforce development training and education, Chambers of Commerce can help their members attract and retain a skilled workforce. This can lead to increased productivity and profitability for local businesses, which in turn can help drive economic growth and development in the community. Additionally, these efforts can help reduce unemployment and underemployment in the area, creating more opportunities for residents to earn a living wage and improve their quality of life.
In conclusion, Chambers of Commerce play an important role in promoting economic growth and development in their communities. By focusing on workforce development training and education, they can help their members attract and retain a skilled workforce, drive economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life in the community. It is important that Chambers of Commerce prioritize these efforts and work collaboratively with their members and other organizations to develop effective training and education programs that meet the needs of local employers and workers.
Member-to-member discounts can be an essential feature of a Chamber of Commerce as it promotes networking, growth, and loyalty within the business community. These discounts encourage members to support each other's businesses, leading to increased sales and revenue for everyone involved.
Offering member-to-member discounts is a valuable benefit of a Chamber of Commerce membership as it provides an incentive for businesses to join and remain active in the organization. The discounts can range from a percentage off a product or service to a flat rate discount or even exclusive deals only available to members. These offers can also be tailored to suit the needs of different businesses, making them more effective and valuable.
The discounts can also create a sense of community and collaboration among Chamber members, encouraging them to work together and support each other's businesses. It can lead to referrals and new business opportunities, building relationships that may not have been possible otherwise.
Moreover, the discounts can be promoted through the Chamber's marketing channels, such as newsletters, social media platforms, and event promotions, providing additional exposure and visibility for member businesses. This exposure can lead to increased customer traffic and overall growth, benefiting the entire community.
In summary, member-to-member discounts play a crucial role in the success of a Chamber of Commerce. It helps to build a strong community of businesses that support each other, leading to increased sales, referrals, and growth. The benefits of these discounts extend beyond the individual businesses and contribute to the overall economic development of the region.
If you are a member of the Missoula Chamber and would like to offer a discount to members or the general public, all you have to do is sign into your member profile and under "Additional Resources" drop down menu, Click "ADD A COUPON".
As a small business owner, it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day operations of your business. You're constantly juggling tasks like managing inventory or staff, paying bills, and dealing with customer service issues. It can be challenging to find time to think about the big picture, let alone act on it. However, it's essential to think bigger if you want your business to grow and thrive. Now’s as good a time as any.
How Thinking Bigger Can Help You Grow Here are some reasons why thinking bigger is so important to your small business.
Thinking bigger helps you:
So, how can you start thinking bigger as a small business owner?
5 Ways to Think BiggerTry these suggestions:
Thinking bigger is essential for small business owners who want to grow and thrive. Growth requires change and big efforts are more likely to yield big returns.
There are several reasons why businesses should consider sponsoring chamber events:
Uniting for Success: The Collaborative Power of the Chamber of Commerce for Local Businesses and the Greater Good of Montana
n an increasingly interconnected world, the power of collaboration cannot be overstated. Local businesses, as the lifeblood of state economies, rely on strong support networks to thrive and contribute to the overall well-being of their communities. The Chamber of Commerce plays a crucial role in fostering collaboration among businesses and stakeholders within each state, working tirelessly to create an environment conducive to growth and prosperity. This article highlights the importance of the Chamber of Commerce in promoting collaboration for the benefit of local businesses and the greater good.
The Chamber of Commerce: A Catalyst for Collaboration
The Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, membership-based organization that represents businesses of all sizes and industries within a specific region. Its primary mission is to create a thriving business environment through advocacy, networking, and support services. By bringing together businesses, local governments, and other stakeholders, the Chamber of Commerce fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose, leading to more effective and sustainable outcomes for all parties involved.
Supporting Local Businesses through Networking and Shared Resources
One of the key ways the Chamber of Commerce promotes collaboration locally is by hosting networking events, workshops, and seminars. These gatherings provide businesses with the opportunity to connect, learn from one another, and forge lasting relationships. The power of connecting Chambers across MT are the relationships in combining efforts that can lead to joint ventures, strategic partnerships, or even informal mentoring, all of which contribute to the success and growth of local businesses.
Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce offers a wealth of resources to help businesses navigate the complexities of government regulations, taxation, and workforce development. By pooling knowledge and resources, the Chamber enables businesses to focus on their core operations while ensuring compliance with necessary requirements.
Advocating for a Business-Friendly Environment
The Chamber of Commerce actively advocates for pro-business policies and legislation at both the state and federal levels. By working with government representatives and policymakers, the Chamber helps create a business-friendly environment that encourages investment, growth, and job creation. This collaborative approach ensures that the needs of businesses are considered, and that the resulting policies benefit the economy as a whole.
Strengthening Communities through Economic Development
By supporting local businesses and advocating for pro-business policies, the Chamber of Commerce contributes to the overall economic development of the state. When local businesses thrive, they create jobs, generate tax revenue, and stimulate economic growth. This, in turn, contributes to a higher quality of life for the community at large.
The Chamber also recognizes the importance of corporate social responsibility and encourages its members to give back to their communities. By partnering with non-profit organizations, businesses can contribute to various causes and initiatives, further enhancing the well-being of their communities.
Promoting Sustainability and Innovation
The Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in promoting sustainable practices and innovation within the business community. By encouraging the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies and practices, the Chamber helps businesses reduce their ecological footprint while contributing to the overall sustainability of the state. This collaborative approach to sustainability benefits not only the environment but also local businesses by improving efficiency and reducing costs.
The Chamber of Commerce in the great state of Montana play an indispensable role in fostering collaboration for the benefit of local businesses and the greater good. Through networking events, advocacy efforts, and support services, the Chamber enables businesses to thrive, create jobs, and contribute to the overall well-being of their communities. By working together with local governments, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders, the Chamber of Commerce ensures that businesses are well-positioned to adapt to the challenges of an ever-changing world while remaining committed to the greater good. Remember to always think bigger than our communities about how our united effort can benefit all business in MT and demonstrate the relevancy of chambers.