Often businesses aren’t sure how to best use their chamber memberships. They understand that chambers are an advocate for business but how do they work and what specifically can they help with?
You might just be surprised.
Here are 15 questions you can ask to help improve and grow your business:
- Do you have a leads group?
Some chambers have leads groups that can help you connect with mutually beneficial businesses where everyone helps the other out.
- Do you have a mentorship program?
Need guidance on a very specific challenge in your career? A mentor can help.
- What assistance can you give me in learning about social media?
There’s a lot to keep up on when it comes to social media best practices. Many chambers offer lunch and learn sessions and other learning opportunities to equip businesses with the basics they need to be successful. Check with the chamber about their learning sessions. They may have a host of topics you’re interested in.
- Have you seen my business challenge before?
It may be uncomfortable telling the chamber your biggest fear facing your business but it’s worth it. They’ve been around for a while and there’s a good chance they’ve seen your struggle before. They can likely give you a suggestion and connect you with a resource that could help.
- What networking activities do you host?
Even in the virtual world, people do business with others they know, like, and trust. Networking can help you start to establish these vital pieces to getting more sales.
- How can I get more involved?
Building off of the above suggestion of establishing know, like, and trust, being associated with the premier business organization in your community is a good thing. Getting involved will help you become more than just a face at a networking function.
- Do you have a committee for my industry?
Some chambers have industry-focused committees or groups like hospitality or manufacturing. Even if you’re not a company that provides those services, if they are your main market, the chamber may be interested in having you be a part of that group.
- Do you have an online directory?
An online directory can ensure your name gets in front of people looking for your services.
- Can you explain the referral process?
Chambers are always asked for referrals. Find out what your chamber’s process is and whether they will notify you of referrals. Offer them your most up-to-date marketing materials so they can answer potential customer questions like your hours.
- What advertising opportunities do you have in my budget?
Even if you have a very small advertising budget, your chamber may have a program for you. Chambers are well-regarded in their communities and positive associations with them often lend your business legitimacy. A business that joins the chamber cares about the community in which it operates.
- Am I in the right tier?
If your chamber has tiered membership pricing, it’s important you sit down with a chamber pro periodically in order to make sure you’re in the membership tier that is most effective for your business and what you want to accomplish. For instance, with some chambers, social media ads or education are factored in with the dues. This can save you money and time from seeking those services on your own. When you map out your business goals for the year, it’s important you tell your chamber to see if a new tier might fit your goals better.
- What activities can I invite my employees to?
Most business owners don’t realize that chamber benefits extend to their employees. These benefits can be very valuable in the eyes of your team. For instance, if your chamber offers professional development or learning opportunities, you can offer these as a perk of employment.
- Can I produce content for you on a topic I know a lot about?
Chambers need content just like your business does. Ask them about what their needs are. If you have knowledge that could benefit other business owners, they may just be looking for your expertise.
- Can I speak at one of your events?
Just like the content requirements above, your chamber may need knowledgeable professionals to speak to its group. But remember to go into any sort of opportunity like this as a resource for others, not someone pushing their business.
- What can I do for you?
People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Asking the chamber how you can be of assistance may open doors to you and expose opportunities that you hadn’t thought of. Chambers represent and advocate for all businesses in the community but you never know what they may need help with. Being at the right place at the right time can be very advantageous.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.