President/CEO, Napa Chamber of Commerce
,Vice President, Riechers Spenceand Associates2011 Napa Chamber of CommerceChairman of the Board
In a world loaded with marketing optionsand inormation overload I’m oten askedby new and existing business owners or asimple, inexpensive way to increase their localvisibility and marketing eorts to producemore opportunities and sales. Without a doubt,I always ask a stunningly simple question,Are you a member o your local chamber o commerce? I get one o three answers:
1. Yes2. No, but tell me more3. We used to be a member
Now I know every person has opinionsbut I’d like you to take a moment to read thisbrie article to discover seven reasons whyI strongly eel that every business and non-prot organization should be a member o their local chamber regardless o the size o their organization, marketing budget, years inbusiness, or even i they’ve heard or possiblyhad a negative chamber experience in thepast. In light o the current challenges in theeconomy, this article is even more relevant thanwhen I rst wrote it two-years ago.
Yes, you’ve heard it said time andtime again, that out o sight means out o mind.This is not a smart strategy or any business,especially when times are good. A market canchange quickly. As Jim Collins says, good isthe enemy o great. This is a great statement,but I’d like to add to it as it relates to marketing.While good is the enemy o great, complacencyand short term thinking is the enemy o sustained marketing breakthroughs.Let’s look at a real world example o chamber complacency in action. Havingworked with hundreds o chambers throughoutNorth America, I’m simply bafed that withinmany communities how ew real estate agentsand automotive sales reps are either non-existent or barely active within their localchamber. In these two highly competitive andcrowded markets you’d think these olks woulddo anything to stand out rom the competitionand ully leverage the chamber to get an edge.Nope. It’s as i they have no idea the localchamber exists and how it can benet theirbusiness.
7 REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD BE AMEMBER Of THE CHAMBER Of COMMERCE
Unless you’re crazy or likeconsistent rejection, no one enjoys makingcold calls all day long. It’s a painul, tediousprocess that oten wastes ar too much timeand mentally drains even the most upbeatand riendly person ater a while. When you join a chamber and actively get involvedyou’ll discover that meeting prospects whomay have an interest or who can reer youto key contacts you’re trying to reach, is ahuge benet o membership. From being oncommittees, serving as an ambassador, orattending specic events where prospects arelikely to be, you’ll nd yoursel in situationswhere you can identiy and meet decisionmakers ace-to-ace versus making cold calls.3. Ongoing training and education.Unless you have the luxury o a trainingbudget or can aord to bring in local, regionalor nationally known experts on dierenttopics, I rmly believe that there’s no otherorganization in America that delivers timelyprograms at such an aordable price as thelocal or regional chamber o commerce.By spreading costs among ellow membersthrough registration ees and sponsorships,members can stay updated, inormed andeducated at a bargain price.
From seminars, leads groups,luncheons to business expos and variousbusiness and community committees, there’sabsolutely no excuse or not being able tomeet new contacts, reerrals and people whocan help you with ideas and additional waysto grow your business.The old adage, out o sight, out o mind,is so true when it relates to networking. Thechamber gives your several dierent venuesto meet new people. My entire career I’veutilized the power o networking in my homechamber’s ranging rom serving as co-chairo the ambassador league to sponsoring andspeaking at dierent events. The positiveoutcomes on the bottom line and great peopleI’ve met have been great. In addition, doingbusiness with ellow member who oerwonderul products, services, and ideas hasalso been a big plus.
June 2011 | COMMERCE | Page 3 | napachamber.com
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5. Low cost advertising opportunities.
As aras visibility at the local level, a chamber oersa wide range o aordable advertising optionsand sponsorship packages or just about everybusiness or non-prot, regardless o how bigor small their budget may be. I’ve bought andsold traditional media and I can tell you it’snot cheap. For the price o a ew ads within amajor media outlet, you can oten sponsor anentire program with the chamber, give a shortcommercial about your company, meet newprospects and ollow up with the list o attendeeswho may have a need or your oering. This isa wonderul way to hold your marketing dollarsaccountable and see them working hard rightbeore your eyes.A common area to get low cost or reeadvertising is submitting updates or news briesor possible inclusion within the chamber“Member News’ section o the newsletter oreletter. Amazingly, a lot o members do nottake advantage o this wonderul ree marketingopportunity provided with their membership.The chamber is always on the lookout ormember related news. I make it a goal to getover a small news update or announcementat least every two to three months to my localchambers because I know many times it will getprinted and read by key people in the businesscommunity.
A oolish belie among largecompanies, especially national retail outlets, isthat they’re too big or not local enough to careabout getting involved or joining their localchamber o commerce. A ew things they shouldthink about: Are their employees and customerslocal? Are taxes and school systems importantto nding and retaining a high quality work
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