Unless you are my husband, sometimes getting yourself out and networking your heart out can be intimidating. For reference, my husband can network his way around a room, while I am much happier behind a computer all day.
You may notice colleagues on LinkedIn at networking events, socializing, and getting connected with local businesses. And you think,
“How do I get involved with one of these business groups?”
To be frank, it’s more straightforward than you think. Whether you are a new or a seasoned town resident, a local chamber of commerce might be the next place to make a business move.
What is a Local Chamber of Commerce?
You’ve heard of a local chamber of commerce, but what do they do?
A chamber of commerce is an organization of business owners and entrepreneurs who promote the interests of their local business community. Source: OMBA
Essentially, it’s gathering all of the local businesses in town, sharing resources, and networking with each other. A chamber of commerce hosts many events throughout the year to promote community, fundraising, and education for its members.
A chamber of commerce operates as an individual organization and does not receive government funding. There are over 4,000 chambers of commerce in the United States with many different categories. Each chamber varies with its own guiding principles, but the vast majority stick to goals of economic development, employer community, and prosperity.
Benefits of a Local Chamber of Commerce
One of the top benefits in a chamber of commerce is the ability to network with other business owners. Here are a few other benefits you can receive from a chamber:
To get the most out of your membership, attend events hosted each month. Networking and educational workshops include business breakfasts, luncheons, and the occasional after-hours party.
During education workshops, you can hear from a keynote speaker, typically one of your fellow chamber members. They get to present their product or service and how it benefits the chamber/community. A keynote speaker can also present valuable information on marketing resources, how-tos, and leadership education.
After-hour networking events include a fun couple of hours after work to network and exchange information with other chamber members. They also offer some after-hours events to non-members free of charge. Contact your local chamber to ask about any upcoming non-member events!
If you are a new business, they offer a ribbon-cutting ceremony for your business as recognition and welcome into the local chamber! This is a great way to showcase your business on full display for other members and get the community involved.
Did you know…
Who gets involved with a local chamber of commerce?
Business owners and representatives take up the vast majority of the chamber. The easiest way to start making connections is by attending events, collecting business cards, and exchanging information.
Most chambers have a board of directors and an executive committee, they are also vital individuals to connect with!
What to Present
As I said before, there are many educational opportunities for chamber members. One of the best ways to introduce your brand is to present!
What can you present to a local chamber of commerce?
When presenting to a group of business owners, keep your promo items in a universal setting. Show how promo items are great connectors and relationship builders. Include items like employee recognition gifts, awards, office supplies, blanks, and travel promo in your presentation. View my Travel Promo Guide here if you need some suggestions!
By presenting universal products, members can envision your products for their business or client.
Here are a few pointers to include in your presentation:
- Discuss the power of using promo items in mailers or in-store campaigns.
- As we know, staying in touch with employees and customers right now can be key to keeping clients.
- Include games and interactive presentations to get people involved.
- Include sample kits with random items, etc. Keep it fun!
Keeping Up with Connections
Make sure to keep up with your contacts and build a good rapport with members. Get to know local businesses by sharing your experiences and why you can be a valued resource.
One of the best things you can get from a chamber is to be a topic of conversation. So when Sally Su is talking with her friend that needs some promo product for her fitness center, she can confidently say, “I know of someone that can help you! Here is their contact information. Give them a call!”
Find your local chamber of commerce here to get started!