When you go into business it seems like there are suddenly more ways to spend money than to earn it. Sooner or later the local Chamber of Commerce (C of C's) comes to mind and you have to decide whether to join or not. C of C's come in a variety of sizes, depending on the local offerings and membership. In Canada C of C's are locally operated, often work together in geographical areas and are, themselves, part of a larger organization at the Provincial level and the federal level.
But what does a Chamber of Commerce do for you? At the Federal level they lobby for laws and changes to laws that will help you. When you write a letter to government it represents one voice, when the Chamber writes a letter it represents the views of thousands of people.
The provincial and state Chambers offer the same political clout but at a different level. Do you think your business is being treated unfairly in some way? i.e. levied taxes, development permits? Maybe you aren't alone! Your Chamber can connect you to other Chambers and businesses dealing with the same issue. Chambers are your spokespeople for legitimate business concerns. They are often instigators of changes that help businesses adapt and adopt businesses practices which have been proven effective elsewhere. Some Chambers prefer to be thought of a stewards of the local business scene often conducting events featuring business speakers or politicians.
Even if your business is running well you may be able to take advantage of some of the perquisites of membership. For instance, if you don't have a website, being in the Chamber Directory for your area gives you a web presence. A lot of small companies join the local chamber to access their employee benefits plans.
Here are some other typical reasons to join.
- member discounts
- networking and events
- often liaise with other business boards and business development agencies
So check out your local Chamber of Commerce - they have a lot to offer!
Thanks to George and staff at www.vernonchamber.ca for all the info for this blog.