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    5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 11, 2008 8:20 AM by Bemore

    Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?

    Lighthouse24 Ranger

      Several members of this community frequently recommend that new or struggling small business owners join a local chamber of commerce. Personally, my experiences have not made me an advocate of that (although I have seen communities where minority chambers of commerce were very helpful to small business owners in those groups). Anyway, I'd like to start a thread to discuss the costs and benefits experienced by anyone who owns a small business that actually does (or did) belong to a local chamber.

      Obviously, there is no correct answer for this, but I'll give the helpful points to those who offer the most specific examples of how a chamber helped or didn't help your business. Thanks for your comments!
        • Re: Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?
          CEO Space Scout
          I think it depends on the city. I have some businesses in our network that I've been working with
          who have very good small business segments and activities in their chamber.

          I have found that if they have networking and things geared particularly for the small business
          it is well worth the yearly fee.

          If they are only geared toward big business and business legislative projects, then don't bother.
            • Re: Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?
              NatOnline Tracker
              Great question LightHouse24,

              When I had my graphic design firm (mostly catalogs, layouts, photos and print brokering) I had a Score conselor, and I was memeber of the chamber of commerce. Neither one bring me important information, or something I needed.

              It was a waste or money and time period. Now I have different businesses, I don't see how a Score conselor or a chamber of commerce can do something for online businesses. Score conselors are retired, perhaps did not followed the technology of internet as it is a new generation of business compared to brick and mortar or corpo.

              These organizations: the chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau are just old fashions ways to connect and too expensive for what you've got in return.
            • Re: Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?
              msdee2604 Newbie
              I will be the first to say that I have not invested the fee to join this group. However, in my opinion, like most things you get what you put into it. I would imagine time put into the committees, forming relationships is the key to making the investment of dues worth it.

              I think it is a way to network with others in businesses. After all, businesses are made of people and people buy from people that they like.
              They may think buying from a colleague chamber member brings added security.

              Dr. Talley-CEO
              Honeybee Security
              www.honeybeeindustries.com
                • Re: Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?
                  altoids Newbie

                  I'm involved with several chamber organizations from the picayune to state-wide and beyond, and I view them simply as an opportunity to extend your personal and professional network. As with all things, they require a commitment of time and effort commensurate with your expectations. I do suggest that before you decide to join, find out who will be acting as your liaison and spend some time talking with them about what those expectations are. That individual has a lot to do with how good or bad your experiences will be.
                • Re: Chambers of Commerce - Worthwhile Investment?
                  Bemore Adventurer

                  Since opening my company I have been involved in several chambers, large and small with the intent of networking and marketing to members. I have had mixed results and I believe some of it was based on the culture of the chamber. My first experience was with a large chamber and not a good one. It was very much a good old boy network and one very difficult to break into. Really felt like an outsider. The one of 3 smaller chambers I joined that I remain a member of today, has been very proactive in creating a culture of networking. When I first attended one of their meeting - 10 people attended - it was run by educators not business people - Not Impressed. Since then it has turned around. We get 100+ attendees at regular meetings and they really create a forum for open networking.

                  With that said, maybe I have become better at networking.