Your business should not be alone
It’s always hard to write articles about businesses because they are focused on being more general as opposed to being specific. For this article, let’s focus on being specific. Let’s say you own a small restaurant and it has been around for almost a decade. You barely have problems and business is doing well. Every week, you always achieve a full house at least a couple of days. You’ve probably even thought that you don’t need to adjust to any new marketing schemes or advertising to rake in more customers because you’re doing well against other restaurants. Even with all this success, your business should not be alone nor will being alone guarantee 100% success most of the time.
A club with other businesses
As mentioned, your business should not be alone. You can always opt to join a local Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber of Commerce is an affiliation of different local businesses through voluntary membership. Some Chambers are also associated within your country’s tourism industry. The main function of a Chamber is to promote and protect the interests of local businesses and its owners. This is also an alternative to getting the information on the basic products and services offered within a particular area. For example, foreign investors looking to secure a business in a local state can consult with the respective Chamber and the latter will provide them with a vision of what the businesses are within the area, how they fare, and the current situation of the different industries.
What a Chamber is not
Business owners make the mistake of signing up for their local Chamber and instantly rake in the customers. Members have to be active in the monthly meetings or gatherings in order to really take advantage of what the Chamber has to offer. A Chamber is like a fraternity, without the hazing and initiation rites. It’s a long term business relationship between different business owners who are eager to help each other grow. Affiliation is more than paying your monthly dues. It’s about doing your part in the Chamber too.
Why you should join
Local Chambers can help you generate sales and customers, and this is a fact. For a minimum amount, you can enjoy tons of benefits from joining your local Chamber like:
-Helping the country and helping each other
-Better exposure and networking
-Continued learning and growth through seminars and conventions
-Improvement in your business’ public affairs
Helping the country and helping each other
Local Chambers make it a point to have a gathering of business owners and their consumers every month. This is a way for Chambers to build the reputation and brand of the different members, minus the cutthroat competitiveness. The Chamber is not about making the sale or who rakes in the most customers. It’s about helping the community and the different businesses grow together. You are a restaurant owner, so what can you give to the community? You can boost the Tourism and Hospitality industry just by being there and the local Chamber will do their part in providing you with exposure as long as you do your part. Some local Chambers also hold job fairs for their members as a way to give back to the community. This will give other people a chance to make an honest living while helping the business grow in the process.
Better exposure and networking
When you’re affiliated with your local Chamber, you have a chance of being able to display your business cards and brochures in their office. For example, a local Chamber in Sydney can average up to 100 visitors a day. What are the odds of them looking for your business? I can guarantee that the chances are not slim. Local Chambers will also have websites that come in the form of a directory. Whether you have a website or not, your local Chamber will be able to point customers towards you and your fellow business owners. One interesting goal of some local Chambers is to promote local products and business and they make it a point to convince people within their area to shop locally. You can add exchange mobile phone numbers and even ideas on how to make your business better, like the best brand for business telephone systems.
Continued learning and growth through seminars and conventions
Believe it or not, Chambers are often affiliated with other chambers within the country. For example, the local Chamber in Sydney may be affiliated with the Chambers in Melbourne or NSW. If one of the affiliates hold seminars and conventions for business owners, you can get a chance of being invited simply because you are affiliated with your local Chamber. Business owners can learn from other experts and different business owners within their industry. Let’s say Sydney has a seminar for restaurant owners on how to handle and manage kitchen staff more efficiently. You can’t say NO to this kind of education, plus, attending these conventions or seminars can also help your business’ exposure or network.
Improvement in your business’ public affairs
Local Chambers are geared towards helping the community and not just through helping the business owners. Chambers also take part in community activities like home-building, fundraising, and other charitable activities. You can take part of these activities which will help improve your business’ public affairs. Your restaurant can cater the food for those who are taking part in the fund-raising. Not only are you helping, but you are also making a point to your customers that you value them outside the restaurant too. This kind of exposure is way better than paying for a 30-second TV commercial. Local Chambers are also known to work with different charitable organizations, both local and international, so there’s also a slim chance that you’ll get international exposure. Trust me, your business telephone systems are going to go off like crazy once you.
Joining your local Chamber has its perks, but it also has its disadvantages. Regardless, you should make it a point to join them. The benefits would still outweigh the disadvantages and you have nothing to lose if you don’t do anything in your Chamber. Try to be proactive in the Chamber and watch how people will recognize you and your business as one of the most powerful authorities in the community.