When I speak to small businesses about their local chamber, the businesses that have let their memberships lapse often make it sound like a gym membership. “I didn’t really use it.” What they’re missing when they make comments like that is the behind-the-scenes benefits of chamber membership. Just as your investment grows in a savings account in a bank, your business investment in chamber membership is growing even when you aren’t actively participating. Here’s what you’re getting that you may not even realize:
7 Ways a Chamber Membership Is Always Working for You
Even if you never attend a single event, the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce is advocating for the needs of business. They work with local, state, and federal governments to influence policies and regulations that impact businesses. This advocacy often leads to favorable business conditions, tax incentives, and regulatory changes that benefit businesses without the members having to actively lobby for them. Chambers are also instrumental in protecting businesses from harmful legislation and “job killers.” During COVID, local leaders turned to the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce to learn more about business needs. Many chambers were essential to helping businesses remain or reopen by advocating for more outdoor dining areas and other protocols.
This advocacy is occurring behind the scenes, but you will get more out of it if you work with the chamber in promoting your own voice and industry/business needs.
Chambers often offer valuable educational resources and workshops on topics like business management, marketing, and regulatory compliance. Members can benefit from these resources to improve their skills and knowledge, ultimately enhancing their business operations. The Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce often shares upcoming options available that are of interest to members.
Even if you never attend a single session, chamber membership (and thus, the learning opportunities associated with such) extends to all your employees.
Marketing and Promotion
Chambers frequently promote their members through directories, websites, social media, and events. This exposure can boost a business’s visibility and reputation, attracting potential customers or clients who might not have discovered the business otherwise.
Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in fostering a sense of community and social responsibility among businesses. They often support local causes, events, and community development projects. When a business is part of the chamber, it indirectly contributes to these efforts, enhancing the overall quality of life in the area and potentially improving its reputation.
Infrastructure and Grants
Chambers often advocate for improved infrastructure, such as better transportation options, the development of tourist-friendly amenities, and the preservation of natural or historical landmarks. These efforts can enhance the overall visitor and resident experience, making the area more attractive to tourists, relocating businesses, and resident retention, while boosting local commerce.
Chambers may also get involved with bringing money into the area for quality-of-life projects through grants and other forms of funding. Their ability to work with the public and private sectors is unparalleled. They can easily act as a bridge between groups and bring leaders of all areas together for the betterment (and funding) of the community.
Chambers of commerce provide a range of benefits to businesses beyond what may be immediately apparent. Even if you don’t have the time to give to chamber membership activities, the chamber is working on things like advocacy, economic development, marketing, community engagement, and tourism initiatives to improve your quality of life and add to your business’s potential for growth. Chambers work tirelessly to create a more favorable business environment, helping their members thrive without requiring them to take individual action on these fronts.
Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and wonders how she will ever sleep again when her kids get their drivers’ licenses next month.