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The Real Value of Chamber Membership

August 8, 2014

Like everyone, I am always looking for the value in belonging to the organizations I find myself involved with. I recently took out an individual membership for our local chamber, Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI). While looking for a new opportunity, I know how important it is to maintain my status with GSI. There are a tremendous number of businesses that belong to a chamber of commerce and there are many reasons to do so. The TJE American Business Magazine offers a very comprehensive list of those reasons here.

Businesses sign up and they do experience some immediate positive outcomes. And they feel good about supporting the business community. However, who benefits the most? The participators of course. There is an old saying, “the world is run by the people who show up.” That indeed is the case in most communities. Chambers have many opportunities besides events, including committees and boards.

The opportunities available during those times when you can connect with other businesses are the times when your dues seem trivial. One of my friends who is a GSI member, has taken his business from being general and local, to specialized and national because of his GSI contacts and showing up at chamber events. This story is a frequent occurrence for participators and Spokane businesses have gone worldwide using the same strategy.

The logistics of doing this are pretty straightforward. You ask about the needs of others and question what if any help they might need. I was reminded of this today while meeting with Fred Pollard, an entrepreneur of great success. An engineer by trade, Fred looks at a machine and immediately tries to improve upon its function. I suspect that he has given away a great deal of information over the years but eventually like Karma, it comes back to him and it will to you as well.

Think of yourself as being shy or even introverted? The people who do show up want to talk to you or they wouldn’t be there. Stick out your hand and three people will try to shake it. I am amazed at the willingness of these folks to listen and talk…

I have used my GSI connections to promote the businesses I worked for by providing volunteers, hosting events and assisting in any way possible. Along the way I have had plenty of fun and saw real business increases. The event of summer is coming up in Spokane, the 6th Annual Roof Deck Rendezvous at the Spokane Convention Center! If you don’t go to anything else, you must go to this. The view is great and probably 300 people will show up. You need to hurry and register here before it fills up!

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