Deb Brown Explains: What is a Chamber of Commerce?



What’s a chamber of commerce and the way can it assist your small enterprise? Based on Deb Brown, former Chamber Govt and Co-founder of Save Your City, you’re in all probability asking the mistaken questions. As a substitute, she says to search for methods you’ll be able to assist your chamber enable you.

On this episode of Small Biz in :15, Deb sits down and talks about that and rather more concerning the chamber of commerce with Shawn Hessinger, Govt Editor for Small Enterprise Developments.

You’ll be able to meet up with Deb Brown at her website in case you want extra data after watching this episode.

Shawn: Why ought to a small enterprise be a part of a chamber of commerce within the first place?

Deb: The plain solutions are fairly easy.

A chamber:

  • Promotes your companies
  • Hosts group occasions
  • Helps develop the native economic system
  • Markets outdoors the county
  • Advocates for your corporation

That alone is motive sufficient to affix one.


Deb goes on to say that she desires to inform companies “to assume a bit bit extra about it than that as a result of in case you are simply becoming a member of to have your identify on a listing someplace, why hassle?”

She provides:

You wish to work along with your chamber. Can they supply referrals to you? To ensure that them to do this, you need to inform them learn how to refer your corporation in order that it means some issues like:

    • What will get you excited to get away from bed within the morning and go to work?
    • The place do you see your organization in 5 years?
    • What do you want essentially the most in regards to the city you’re in?”
    • What sort of merchandise do you make now or promote and what would you wish to make and promote?
    • Is there one thing lacking in your corporation that the chamber will help with? Then they may be capable to provide the good referral to your corporation.
    • You also needs to speak about your staff. 

I feel that you need to begin there.”

Shawn: If we had been to encapsulate the sort of companies that the chamber gives, what would possibly a few of them be?

Deb: There’s an outdated saying, “in case you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber.” Historically, they will present some advertising and marketing help or host some occasions to carry extra individuals downtown in entrance of your corporation.


And a few chambers foyer, which implies if their designation is a 501C6, and that’s the construction for many chambers, it permits them to foyer for you and your corporation.

And never each chamber lobbies with authorities officers. If yours does, I all the time advocate doing all your analysis and seeing if they’re asking for the issues that matter to you. Be a bit extra actively concerned in what it’s they’re lobbying for.”

Shawn: Whenever you’re trying to be a part of a chamber, what sorts of high quality do you have to be on the lookout for if you end up deciding whether or not to affix? Whether or not you might be deciding whether or not it is a good concept or not, what questions do you have to ask about what they’re doing and the way they’re doing it?

Deb: Nicely, right here’s the factor: what sort of particular person are you? Are you the sort of one that, when you be a part of the chamber, goes to be lively; you’re going to be useful, and you’re going to give referrals?

It’s a two-way road; it’s not a one-way road. You wish to construct a relationship between the chamber and the enterprise the place it creates the chance, recognition, gross sales, and pleasure that each events have to work collectively and achieve success

So, in different phrases, take a look at your chamber and ask: is there a spot for me right here? Can I volunteer? How can I become involved? How can I make a distinction? It would make your chamber stronger. It would strengthen your corporation, as properly.

There’s a easy reply to that query. You wish to make sure that your chamber is concerned in your group. That’s the most important factor: that they’re lively, they’re revered, they usually signify the companies pretty.


However you wish to go additional than that you just wish to see the place you match into the chamber.”

Shawn: Are you able to and do you have to be a part of a couple of chamber. Are you able to, to begin with, if they’re small-town chambers?

Deb: I’ve but to fulfill a small city that may not let an individual be a part of their chamber. So sure, you’ll be able to. Significantly, in case you work regionally or in case you are in a couple of space, you would possibly wish to be a part of a couple of chamber.

However, once more, step again and have a look—perhaps it could be more practical in case you be a part of the state chamber than an area chamber. And wherever you reside, become involved in the place you reside, after all. However in case you are working outdoors of that space, check out these chambers, as properly.”

Shawn: Are there different enterprise organizations that you just would possibly wish to be a part of if there isn’t an choice to affix an area chamber?

Deb: Completely. I feel each group of shops in a group ought to have some form of downtown retail affiliation in the event that they don’t have already got one throughout the chamber. And repair organizations can do the identical sort of factor.

Why would you wish to try this? To begin with, you wish to share concepts and also you wish to ask questions. And also you wish to study higher learn how to help one another, however you additionally need to have the ability to stretch your advertising and marketing {dollars}.


So how will you companion along with different retailers and promote your area higher, promote your city higher, and promote your group of shops?

That’s why you wish to be concerned in some form of downtown retail affiliation.

And…you already know me—I’m not the person who tells you to type committees and enroll, and assign officers and all people has to do sure issues each month. Neglect all of that. Simply get collectively. Have a dialog. Begin speaking in regards to the issues that matter.

Must you do it each month? I don’t know, does your city require that you just do it each month? You would possibly do it each three weeks; you would possibly do it each six weeks.

However work out learn how to go have espresso or perhaps a beer, and discuss in regards to the issues that matter to you and your different companies which can be comparable.”

Shawn: Are there the reason why you would possibly select to not be a part of an area chamber of commerce?

Deb: I used to assume there have been causes to not be a part of, however now I’m not so positive. I’m a former chamber government director. At the moment, my enterprise has me serving to different small cities take sensible steps in direction of a brighter future. So what can my native chamber do for me? I don’t even work in my city.

To begin with, I get referrals from different enterprise homeowners. It additionally gives me a chance to serve my group.


And I consider we should always all volunteer in some sort of approach and make our group stronger. It additionally offers me the chance to fulfill new individuals in a extra structured setting.

As a substitute of working round city looking for who the newcomers are, wouldn’t it’s nice if I might simply go to the newcomer breakfast in order that the chambers already accomplished the work for me, the preliminary legwork, then I can take it from there.

So sure, I feel you need to be a part of your chamber, whether or not it matches with your corporation mannequin or not.”

Steps to Becoming a member of Your Native Chamber of Commerce

Don’t miss the remainder of the video the place Deb Brown discusses the steps you’re taking to affix and turn out to be concerned in your native chamber or if it’s a good suggestion to begin your individual chamber of commerce.

Additionally, in case you are occupied with becoming a member of and turning into concerned along with your native chamber after watching What’s a Chamber of Commerce? tell us about it within the feedback.

Hearken to this episode on SoundCloud, too:


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