Chamber of Commerce Businesses: What They Are and Why You Should Support Them
There are nearly 4,000 chambers of commerce in the US with at least one full-time staff person and thousands more that work on a volunteer basis.
Those looking for business assistance should always contact their local chamber. Each chamber of commerce has a database of members (businesses) that offer reliable services.
Chamber of commerce businesses have a history of dependability, so you know you'll find the product or service you need.
If you are a small business owner, you should think about joining your local chamber to enjoy the many benefits they provide.
To learn more about chambers of commerce and how they support communities, keep reading.
What Is a Chamber of Commerce?
A chamber of commerce is an organization of business owners and entrepreneurs. The organization promotes the interests and economic well-being of the business community.
Chambers of commerce can function at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Some chambers cater to a specific neighborhood within a larger community. Others accommodate a group of small communities.
Chambers of commerce vote on a board of directors that helps create and implement policies and run the organization.
Although chambers work with the government, they are not government entities and don't receive government funding. Instead, they operate as 501(c)(6) organizations. This tax code represents business associations.
While chambers promote businesses, they don't generate a profit and don't pay shares of dividends. Thus, they are non-profit organizations exempt from paying income tax.
What Does a Chamber of Commerce Do?
The primary purpose is to promote and advance businesses and provide services to benefit members. Some examples of what a chamber might do include:
Minority chambers will also provide additional resources to minority business owners.
The guiding principles for each chamber can vary. Some chambers focus more on economic development while others focus on local collaboration. The level at which the chamber functions often guides its principles.
- Lobby the government on tax, commerce, and legal issues
- Provide educational opportunities for members
- Assist with business marketing
- Host networking events
Benefits of Joining a Chamber of Commerce
Joining the local chamber of commerce comes with many benefits for small business owners. Let's explore them more in-depth.
As mentioned, the chamber provides businesses with several different resources. These can help your business save money, streamline its process, and find new customers.
For example, you have access to the chamber's membership directory when you join the chamber. This will help you find other businesses to work with. You can also get access to email lists to expand your customer list.
This is true for B2B and B2C businesses.
Many chambers offer discount offers to members. This can help your business save money while collaborating with another local company.
Larger chambers may have facilities your business can use for events. Whether the facilities are free to use or discounted will be determined by your membership tier and fee.
Chambers of commerce can also help businesses access loans since they have connections to local banks. In addition, a referral from the chamber puts you in better standing with the bank.
If you or your employees are looking for more business education and training, you can probably find seminars and workshops through your chamber.
Often, membership with your local chamber of commerce comes with more marketing opportunities. Some chambers offer various advertising options, such as:
If a chamber is hosting an event, they may have sponsorships available.
A chamber of commerce is also an excellent place to find new business prospects. Word-of-mouth marketing is still influential within the chamber community.
- On their website
- In a newsletter
- On social media
- In publications
Your local chamber will offer services that businesses often rely on. Some examples include:
If you require a specific business service, you can speak with your local chamber to see what options they provide. Even if the chamber doesn't offer what you need, they can usually connect you to someone else in the community who can help you.
- HR benefits
- Advocacy or representation
Chambers of commerce often host networking events so local business owners, operators, and industry leaders can meet one another.
Meet and greets, networking lunches, and mixers are all standard networking events chambers hold. Plus, as a member business, you'll be able to attend chamber events for free or at a discounted price.
Why Community Members Should Support Their Local Chamber
Even if you aren't a business owner, there are still benefits to supporting your local chamber of commerce.
For example, if you need a roof repair, you can contact your chamber for a list of local, recommended companies to do the job. Then, when you get references from the chamber, you know these previously vetted companies offer reliable services.
Sometimes, you can even get discount offers when you find a business through the chamber. Discounts aren't always just between companies. As a community member, it pays to ask for suggestions as it could save you money.
Further, supporting your neighborhood chamber of commerce means supporting local businesses. A strong business community is necessary for a robust local economy.
It's the easiest way to promote small businesses and make better connections to those in your community.
Support and Join Your Chamber of Commerce Today for Reliable Services
If you're a small business owner, joining your local chamber of commerce will bring a host of benefits to you. Most importantly, it will let other members and businesses in the community know about the reliable services you offer.
As a community member, you should also support your local chamber. It will provide you with the best business services in your area.
Contact us at Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce for more information about our services. We are happy to help both business owners and prospective customers support the local economy.