Most towns and regions have local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce that support local businesses and work to attract new business to the area.
But not every small business out there knows about them – or the value of joining as a member.
The truth is, though, chamber of commerce membership can be a great investment for SMBs and is not something to miss out on.
Learn about the benefits of joining your local chamber of commerce and the success we’ve personally seen as an organization through our chamber of commerce memberships in today’s post!
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” You’ve probably heard that quote before, or part of it. This was written in the 1600s by English poet John Donne and is still popular because what he wrote rings true today.
Whether or not your prospects and customers are local to you, being part of your community is extremely important for business owners. And joining your local chamber of commerce provides the perfect opportunity to get to know your community.
You’ll meet other businesses – some that you may work with, others you can learn from, and others that you can form potential partnerships with in the future. But you’ll also find out about local resources that you may not have heard about before like grant opportunities, government incentives, and more.
Moreover, you’ll be able to expand your network, strengthen your reputation in the community, and capitalize on friendships and resources that you may not have known about or been exposed to without joining your local chamber of commerce.
As a small business owner, you probably have gotten advice from different sources throughout the years: school, Google, YouTube, podcasts, books, or the tried-and-true method of talking to friends and family. But don’t underestimate the value of a mentor.
Getting to know other business owners, learning from what they’ve learned, and bouncing ideas off companies who’ve been in your position can yield many positive results. A local chamber of commerce membership is one way you can find mentors to grow your business.
You can also give back as well. Want to help mentor a new entrepreneur or a flagging SMB? This is easily achievable through your local chamber of commerce. You can learn and teach, get advice and give advice, and help your town or region.
Let’s go back to that John Donne quote. No man is an island; we’re all interconnected. It’s the same with businesses. Replace the word “man” with “business,” and you’ll see a similar sentiment: “No [business] is an island, entire of itself; every [business] is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
The success of your business is often tied to or directly influenced by how your community is doing. If your community isn’t doing well economically, local businesses suffer, and outside companies are reluctant to invest in opening new facilities or relocating to your area. This affects the workforce. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can be affected by a “brain drain” or a lack of local talent to fill whatever positions you have open (or will in the future).
The objectives of most local chambers of commerce are to strengthen businesses that are there already and bring in new businesses. Both objectives go hand-in-hand. Joining your local chamber of commerce helps you to directly influence the community you are in, work together on retention and workforce initiatives, and grow your own business.
In short, the better you’re doing, the better your community is doing – and vice versa.
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks. Most memberships aren’t free, which is why some people hesitate to join. But the truth is, your membership will essentially pay for itself. The fees usually aren’t that high when it comes down to it, and the benefits you can take advantage of far outweigh the initial cost.
This is especially true for the buying power and discounts available to many chamber of commerce members. For example, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce offers several through its membership buying power including competitive health insurance programs, energy savings programs, and discounted office supplies. The potential savings you can get are phenomenal and equal to (or more) than your membership fees.
For these reasons and many others, APTUS is proud to be a member of three local chambers of commerce in northwest Ohio: the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Since we’ve joined, we’ve enjoyed getting to know local businesses, working together to grow northwest Ohio, and providing financial advisory advice and mentorship as members of the small business councils in the Toledo and Bowling Green chambers of commerce.
We look forward to continuing to be part of these chambers in the future and helping SMBs with their bookkeeping, accounting, forecasting, and financial operations!