Sometimes, joining a chamber of commerce isn’t about networking. In fact, an increasing number of businesses and organizations are joining chambers of commerce for advocacy; for a voice. Networking was once the king of chamber involvement, but with the proliferation of specialized groups offering exclusivity, socializing and industry targeting, the concept of a networking-only chamber has long since gone by the wayside. Those constant business after hours are a thing of the past, and I’m relieved that their time has gone.

Your membership is WAY more valuable than networking. In fact, I’ll suggest that networking isn’t even a top 3 or top 5 benefit of joining this chamber – or any other chamber for that matter…if the chamber is worth its investments. Let me explain…

Have you ever done business with another chamber member? You know, looked them up and called or emailed them because you might need their help? This is basic chamber benefit number one…a built-in database of available help. Next up…how much are you promoting your business? The chamber is doing it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and not just in Conroe but all over the world. Do you honestly think that people who are looking for your products or services simply stumble upon you? Statistics have proven time and again that many customers start their search for a company at – you guessed it – the chamber of commerce.

Your networking group isn’t going to keep you informed about legislative issues, but your chamber does. A networking group won’t provide access to workforce development, a talent pipeline or educational initiatives, but your chamber does. Most networking groups can’t offer the impact of large scale e-marketing, focused social media or up-to-date demographics, but your chamber does.

Don’t get me wrong…networking groups are an effective way of building your business; however, before you think that the chamber isn’t doing anything for you, stop and reconsider. The benefits to membership go above and beyond and we’re ready, willing and able to help you get connected and stay connected.

By: Brian Bondy, President, Conroe Chamber