We are 5 months into a new year with new opportunities to grow and renew. But it’s also a time to look at expenses and re-evaluate where we’re spending our resources of time and money.
Among the decisions that many local area business owners will face this year is whether to join or renew their membership in our local Chamber of Commerce.
If you don’t want to support a local organization that supports you, your business and community year round then don’t join the chamber of commerce. If you don’t want to support the group that is often the first personal point of contact with an opportunity to make a positive first impression for people considering visiting or relocating to our community or the surrounding area then don’t support the The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chambers of commerce have been around for decades. You might say that with the Internet and social media a chamber of commerce is not needed. You might say it is not always the first point of contact for information because potential visitors and new residents can surf the web to get information on The Dalles and surrounding communities.
While it is true that people can gather a lot of details on the Internet it is also true that information may have been placed in prominent digital locations with the help of the local chamber.
And, regardless of where or how potential visitors, new business owners or residents got their initial information, the chamber often serves as the first real personal point of contact for those folks. If they have already done research and determined they might like to pay the city a visit there’s a good chance they may pick up the phone or make a point to stop by the chamber offices on their first visit for a more personal contact.
On the down side, like most investments, joining a chamber of commerce has cost associated with it. There is the cost of a membership and the potential cost of time to attend meetings and show support at public events by helping out.
Each of us needs to weigh the positive and potential negatives of joining or renewing our membership. We need to evaluate whether money spent or the time invested in going to ribbon cuttings, helping out at events like the annual NW Cherry Festival, the Starlight parade or other events is worth our time.
That is one of the positive attributes of supporting our chamber. It offers a wide variety of networking opportunities and we can pick and choose which ones to participate in. If we want to get full value for our investment we will get involved in at least some of those events and activities.
For a new business starting up the outlay of dollars and lack of available time may deter the owner from joining the chamber. On the other hand, what good is investing in a new business if there are no customers and if you are not taking full advantage of marketing opportunities.
Your firm may have a web page. You may be aggressive in your social media marketing. You may know people in town already. Regardless, there is nothing like the personal touch of meeting potential new customers and clients face-to-face and one-on-one.
The chamber offers plenty of those types of opportunities. The organization also does a lot to help support its members with publicity.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce offers increased exposure for your business through its Website, its Social Media Posts, Membership Directory and through other avenues both online and offline such as photos and mention of new member’s ribbon cuttings published in the pages of local newspapers.
Even if your products or services are something a person might not need on a routine basis just the fact that you are a member in good standing of the chamber helps validate your business to potential customers. For visitors and residents alike, being a chamber member can give a business the needed boost for having people make contact when the need does arise.
Networking can be a pain if you’re cold calling. But if you’re in the same place, whether it’s the annual membership meeting, a chamber hosted ribbon cutting or monthly meeting, it is easier to make those contacts.
Being a member of the The Dalles Area Chamber of Commence by itself is not going to make or break your business. But it can be an important part of your business’s marketing plan.
When time comes to consider joining or renewing membership please support the organization that supports you, your community and your business throughout the year and throughout the decades.