By Ashley Sinclair
Most towns or cities have a chamber of commerce with a variety of levels of involvement. If you pay membership dues to your local chamber, you might feel like you are not getting much return on that investment. However, the benefits that you reap depend on the effort that you put in – it takes time to build relationships with other working professionals.
There are several benefits of working with your local chamber, you just need to take a few steps in the right direction. Follow these steps below to get involved and grow your business!
The first way to increase the value of working with your local chamber is to attend one of their events, meetings, or networking events. Many chambers host frequent events to engage and educate their members and community. These may include monthly luncheons, bi-weekly networking groups, and fun social events. Look at the upcoming events and pick out some that interest you and fit them into your schedule!
When attending these events, start by getting a feel for what they are like. You might be surprised by who you meet and what others get out of these events. You need not be ready for a hard sell at these events. However, it would be beneficial to come prepared with business cards and an elevator pitch so that you can speak professionally with those you meet.
Get Information About New Member Experiences
You can always jump right into the events or meetings, but you may also benefit from getting to know the chamber staff first. Some chambers host monthly or quarterly new member experiences. This experience is usually a meeting to explain what the chamber does and how business owners can get involved and benefit from that involvement.
Attending new member experiences can also introduce you to other business owners trying to gain their stability with the chamber and community. This option can feel less intimidating if you are not sure your level of involvement. It is a great way to familiarize yourself with your local chamber staff.
Get Involved, Join Committees
Once you get an idea of how your chamber operates, you can take steps to get more involved. Consider what committees interest you and that match your skill sets. If they have availability, you can join these to support the chamber and advance in the business community.
For example, chambers will likely have a committee for each event they host that coordinates the event. They may also have events like young professionals or women in business that both have a goal to provide networking and social events.
Each committee will have different needs and goals, so look for one that will be a good fit for you and your expertise.
Start Supporting Your Local Chamber
Ask yourself what you can do for your chamber instead of what the chamber can do for you!
A great way to get involved is to give back to your local chamber and provide value to the organization. For example, if you own a local coffee shop or restaurant, you can cater a luncheon or host a networking event. You could also consider sponsorships for events, if it is something that aligns with your business and is a good business decision.
These options allow you to step into a leadership and expert role, attracting other members to talk to you!
Follow Up With Connections You Make
The local chamber will put together fun events and valuable networking opportunities; however, it is up to you to make the most of them.
Determine Your Time Availability
As you get more involved with the chamber, you might realize that you could spend hours each week working to advance the business environment of your town. However, it is always important to establish boundaries. Engaging with the chamber is one way to network and grow your business, but you may need to allocate time to other projects.
Establish boundaries for how much time you can commit each month. This might mean that attending 2 events monthly or joining 1 committee. This can help you avoid burnout and stretching yourself too thin.
To summarize, chambers provide you with many tools to help grow your business; all you have to do is dedicate a little time to cultivate the opportunities. Get involved in your Kernersville Chamber of Commerce and take ownership. To learn more about making the most of your membership, explore our website (KernersvilleNC.com) or follow us on Facebook or Instagram!