Some business owners might say their schedule is demanding enough at the moment, and the thought of adding one more activity to their busy calendar is unbearable.
So why should they try to cram time into their already hectic schedules to join and actively participate in their local chamber of commerce?
Because membership in the local chamber offers numerous benefits and keeps business owners on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within their community and local marketplace.
Not only that, but research points out that consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local chamber of commerce.
According a research study by The Shapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street Services, when consumers know that a small business is a member of their local chamber of commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.
If you still don’t think you have time to join and participate in your local chamber of commerce, consider the following:
How does all that sound? If your business is a restaurant or an insurance company, isn’t it fantastic to hear the news that consumers are more likely to choose your business over a competing, non-member business because you’re a member of your local chamber of commerce? Are you convinced yet that you should join your local chamber if you aren’t a member already?
If not, read this top 10 list of reasons why you should join your local chamber of commerce supplied by 10 local chambers across the United States.
Small businesses represent the largest segment by number of most local chamber membership rolls. Results in the research study by The Shapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street indicate the impact of local chamber membership on small businesses is very powerful. If a consumer knows a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 44 percent increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 51 percent increase in consumer awareness, a 57 percent increase in its local reputation and a 63 percent increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.
The table shows the impacts among key demographic and geographic subgroups.
Research indicates that chamber membership stimulates business-to-business commerce in the local community. Other businesses in town are more likely to do business with you and your company if you are a member of the local chamber. Because a major part of a small business typically comes from business-to-business services, it is essential to maintain a positive standing within the local business community.
But it takes time for a business to establish its image and reputation in the community, says Dr. Craig Shoemaker, a marketing professor and the chair of the marketing department at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He says people like doing business with companies they like and trust, but that trust must be earned.
“The more a firm is networked with its community, the quicker and easier it is to establish a trust bond with customers,” says Dr. Shoemaker.
Prior to his time at St. Ambrose, Dr. Shoemaker owned and operated a marketing services business in Phoenix, Arizona, which was a member of the local chamber of commerce. He says chamber membership was very beneficial to him and his marketing business.
“The chamber was a great place to network and meet people who shared a common interest in serving their community and their customers,” he says.
Dr. Shoemaker says all companies face common opportunities and problems. He found the chamber-sponsored “president’s roundtable” to be quite valuable.
“In these forums, you could discuss your challenges and problems to a group of people who understood and had faced many of the same issues,” he says. “There was a comfort in knowing that your situation was not unique.”
Ready to join your local chamber, if you aren’t already? Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just be a member of the local chamber to reap the benefits of chamber membership. Paying your annual dues just isn’t enough. You must also make an investment of time and effort in chamber activities and become involved. Simply put, what you get out of chamber membership is directly relative to what you put in.
“If a firm is to gain maximum value from membership, it must
be an active participant in chamber-sponsored events,” Dr. Shoemaker
says. “Chambers plan events so that its members benefit. Only by
participation, can a firm get maximum benefit.”