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October 10th - 11th, 2023
INTERESTED IN JOINING A COMMITTEE?
5. Advocacy for Business Interests:
The Chamber of Commerce is an organization that represents the interests of local businesses within a community. It aims to promote economic growth, networking opportunities, and business education. Becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce can offer significant advantages to both new and established businesses.
What are the key benefits of joining your local Chamber of Commerce and why it's important for your business?
1. Networking Opportunities
One of the primary benefits of joining a local Chamber of Commerce is the opportunity to network with other business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in your community. Regular events, such as meetings, workshops, and mixers, provide an excellent platform for members to connect, exchange ideas, and forge lasting relationships. These connections can lead to strategic partnerships, increased referrals, and new client acquisition.
2. Credibility and Trust
Being a member of your local Chamber of Commerce adds credibility to your business. Consumers are more likely to trust and patronize businesses that are associated with a reputable organization like the Chamber of Commerce. A study by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives revealed that 63% of consumers were more likely to purchase from a company that is a Chamber member, showcasing the trust and reputation that comes with membership.
3. Access to Business Resources
Your local Chamber of Commerce can serve as a valuable resource hub for your business. Members often have access to workshops, seminars, and training sessions that cover a range of topics, such as marketing, finance, human resources, and technology. These resources can help you develop new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices. Additionally, Chambers may offer members access to research and market data that can assist in making informed business decisions.
4. Advocacy and Representation
As a collective voice for the local business community, your Chamber of Commerce represents your interests and advocates for a pro-business environment at the local, state, and federal levels. By becoming a member, you have a direct influence on the policies and regulations that affect your business. Your Chamber works to ensure that the needs and concerns of its members are heard and addressed by key decision-makers.
5. Cost Savings
Membership in your local Chamber of Commerce can lead to cost savings for your business. Many Chambers offer exclusive discounts on products and services, such as office supplies, insurance, and advertising opportunities. Additionally, members can benefit from reduced rates for attending events and educational programs.
6. Community Involvement
Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is an excellent way to get involved in your community and make a positive impact. Chambers often organize community projects, charitable initiatives, and local events that contribute to the overall well-being of the community. By participating in these activities, your business can build goodwill, strengthen its reputation, and foster a sense of unity among residents and fellow businesses.
Becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce is an investment in the success and growth of your business. It offers invaluable networking opportunities, enhances credibility, provides access to essential resources, and serves as a strong advocate for your business interests. Moreover, membership allows your business to save on costs and become an active member of your community. Don't miss out on the numerous advantages that come with joining your local Chamber of Commerce; take the step towards expanding your business horizons today.
It’s obvious to mention that you’re losing money if you’re not using your chamber membership, but it’s more than just being out the membership dues. If you’re not using your membership to its fullest, you are losing potential customers, revenue, and you’re out significant cost savings. Here’s what you’re not taking advantage of:
Member to Member Discounts
These discounts are exclusively offered by members for members. The chamber works with businesses to bring savings to its members with exclusive deals. Depending on your spending, you could recoup a sizable portion of your dues with this program.
Even if you’re not interested in saving money, being a part of this program will also expose your business to members and discounts could bring you new customers that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This not only brings in new revenue on whatever they spend, but they also may tell friends and family and may return to your business in the future.
The Sticker on the Door
If you have a brick and mortar space and a chamber membership, you likely have some sort of physical designation of your membership. In today’s world where “know, like, and trust” is essential to getting more customers, that designation helps you establish trust before the potential customer has any interaction with your business. The same can be done through an icon on your website.
People often view chamber membership in the same light as a listing on the better business bureau. Their confusion can be a boon to our business. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t trust and that designation helps illustrate your dedication to the community, which makes you trustworthy.
The chamber has a local membership directory. This resource is used by citizens, visitors, and those new to town. These lists are smaller than a phone book so you get more exposure. You can upgrade to be featured to get even more views. Your chamber can tell you what their readership or web hits are for their directory but it’s not uncommon for chamber web traffic to be quite large each month because the chambers is widely recognized as the local resource for business.
Being seen by people in a small segmented list, means more customers and you don’t want to miss out on being part of the community list.
Social Media Followers and Connections
The chamber provides its members with exposure on its social media channels. Often the following of these pages is quite large, even in small towns. Being a member means an expanded audience that you don’t have to pay for by buying followers. They’re also more likely to be engaged with you because they are people you know.
If you’re not a member, you’re missing out on this nearly free exposure. Exposure and engagement can bring new customers to your business.
Are you interested in the latest tools to grow your business? Look online. What will that kind of learning cost you? The chamber provides free resources and best practices to its members. It may also provide meeting room space for businesses that don't have dedicated conference room.
Businesses succeed when they grow “smart.” If you want to expand but aren’t quite in the place to move to a larger office, go to that social media conference, or purchase the office equipment, a chamber can fill those gaps for you and still allow you to grow. Or you could continue at the level you are and miss out on that additional revenue.
The chamber can provide you so much for a very small dues payment. But it’s not just the dues payment you’re out when you don’t use the membership to the fullest. It’s all the additional revenue you can generate through participation. Are you willing to throw that away?
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.
The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with one of its members, DemocracyLab (Mark Frischmuth), have created a FREE statewide advocacy tool for businesses, organizations and citizens of MT. The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Latrielle spearheaded the fundraising for the project via all Chambers in the State of MT. This new advocacy tool was financially supported by six Chambers who raised enough money to cover the hard costs to launch.
The new digital engagement tool (linked below) that will enhance all Montanan's "Right to Know" about the upcoming state legislative session. DemocracyLab, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to empower people who use technology for public good, is deploying an instance of the Council Data Project for the Montana state legislative session through its Open Montana initiative. This tool will help our members and the general public understand and react quickly to developments in the legislative session by creating a searchable interface for the 9,000+ hours of video that are expected to be produced.
This tool was sponsored by the following Chambers (Missoula, Helena, Big Sky, MT Chamber, Kalispell, Great Falls) and provides every citizen, business, state agency, organization in Montana the following:
2023 Montana Legislature is fast approaching. The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce in looking forward to collaborating with the Montana Chamber of Commerce, 70 local Montana chambers and the U.S. Chamber all in support of business.
Look for more information on how Chamber member businesses can be part of this year’s legislative session.
If you need help bringing a legislative concern forward refer to The Chamber blog article "How to Bring Advocacy Issues Forward to the Board." to familiarize yourself with the process.
Check out our Advocacy page for city, county and state engagement links.
Have a Goal: Ask yourself "Why am I going?" and set two outcomes you want to accomplish.
2. Dress to Impress: First impressions mean a lot.
3. Bring Business Cards: Don't waste the opportunity to exchange information - bring more cards than you think you will need.
4. Have a Good Introduction: Make eye contact when you introduce yourself, giving your first and last name and a firm hand shake.
5. Listen then Speak: Engaging someone with questions will get their full attention, then share about yourself.
6. Show Sincerity & Interest: Ask open ended questions about the other person's background and work.
7. Be Clear & Concise: You can always share more later but keep people's attention by giving succinct answers.
8. Take Notes: Use the back of a person's business card to jot down information you want to keep.
9. Follow-Up: After a few days email people you met to build the connections you've made.
INTERNAL REVIEW FORMAT
Any Information and Position paper submitted to the Board of Directors,
should meet the following Guidelines for Action:
1. Does the issue comply with the mission and values of the Chamber?
2. Is the issue business oriented, having an impact on the conduct of business in the Missoula area?
The Missoula Chamber represents the general business community and not specific business or industry interests.
3. Is involvement with the issue cost effective?
The Missoula Chamber may act on an issue if required resources can be justified, and if an obtainable goal may
be reasonably expected.
4. Is involvement with the issue a duplication of effort?
The Missoula Chamber may act on an issue individually or in cooperation with other organizations if it may be
demonstrated that its participation will enhance the efforts but should avoid being duplicative of other organizations or individuals
Advocacy Consideration Timeline:
Government Affairs Committee reviews requests, discusses and makes recommendations for the board of directors monthly. Board of directors discuss at regular meeting and take action if desired. With appropriate time to consider the issue, representatives from both sides of the issue may be invited to attend the board meeting and share with the board.
Send time sensitive advocacy consideration requests to Bob Homer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Government Affairs Committee contacts
Chad Bauer, Republic Services
Steve Clawson, Northwestern Energy
Bob Homer, Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber