Joining your local chamber of commerce comes with a lot of benefits for you as an entrepreneur as well as for your brand. However, you need to be proactive in terms of taking advantage of these opportunities and benefits. There are costs associated with membership, most prominent of which is the annual fee. To get the most out of this investment, here are five tips.
Attend Events Regularly
One of the most important, if not outrightly the most important, functions of a business chamber is to provide members with opportunities to network and connect as entrepreneurs. You get to do this by attending chamber events consistently. Numerous successful entrepreneurs chalk up their success to making the right connections when they were starting out. Any event held by the chamber is always an opportunity to network.
Take Advantage of Affordable Advertising
By merely being a member, even if you are on the more basic membership plans, you get some exposure to the market by being included in the chamber’s directory. Members also get a much-discounted rate when they advertise on the chamber’s website or newsletter. Sponsoring events gives you another affordable avenue to spread your brand awareness within your target market that is not available to non-members.
Sign up for Seminars and Training Courses
Business chambers often bring in industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs to hold seminars and run training programmes. These are a godsend for inexperienced entrepreneurs, especially those without any formal business management training. They usually cover issues facing business owners such as budgeting, effective marketing, customer engagement and financial management. Identify the areas where you struggle, and attend the corresponding seminars or courses. Better still, use your platform as a member to suggest that the chamber cover these problem areas in future seminars/courses. You can also request experts from within your field. For example, getting experts from unibet can be valuable if you are in the gambling business.
This is the first step towards getting into a leadership position. It is essential to be a proactive member, regularly contributing to the decision making process. Committees give your voice a better chance to be heard. Achieving any position of prominence within a chamber, no matter how ‘junior’ lends you, and your business, some level of credibility in the community. It also gives you better access to the experienced entrepreneurs in senior leadership positions from whom you can learn a lot.