It’s no secret that networking is a vital part of business growth. Whilst not all opportunities are free, it’s hard to know which is worth the money and which isn’t.
One of the most popular ways to find new opportunities and meet other likeminded businesses is your local chamber of commerce.
What is it? And What does it involve?
There are currently 53 chambers of commerce across the UK, each accredited by the British Chamber of commerce. Each providing a hub of trusted businesses, places, and trade. Each specific chamber of commerce is an independent non-profit SME and is owned by its members.
The goal of each chamber is to help its members grow their market, protect essential services (for example, HR) connect them to other businesses in the area, help them save costs, and feedback any issues to local government.
It’s important to note that Chamber of business is not a government department.
How much is a Chamber of Commerce membership?
There is no set price for a membership as each individual Chamber of Commerce is an individual non-profit organisation. You can find your local chamber here.
So, what are the benefits of a Chamber of Commerce membership?
We know that as a business it’s important to ensure your budget is being spent in the right place and you are getting a return on investment. In order to ensure your membership is cost effective, it’s important to make use of all the benefits available.
Being part of a community means you’ll be able to speak to other likeminded businesses. You’ll be able to find mutually beneficial opportunities that may lead to sales or collaborations that will ultimately help your business grow.
Whilst the specifics of each membership is different, you’ll at least be able to boost your exposure to the other members within your chamber, this could be through articles, newsletters, social media and more.
With your Chamber of Commerce membership, you’ll have access to exclusive deals which will ultimately lead to you saving costs. You can find the full list of discounts here
Is there a downside to the Chamber of Commerce?
There are two sides to every story… and although there are many benefits to a membership, it’s also important to discuss the potential downside.
While you may have access to various business networks, so do the other members. You might not be the only company within your industry vying for the same business and making the same connections. This limits the business opportunities and leads you may have access too.
Similarly, each Chamber of Commerce varies in size, so whilst others have a bigger networking pool others are substantially smaller.
Time and Effort
You’re return on investment won’t be immediate. It’s important to note that although you have access to all the marketing and networking benefits, it is up to you to use them. So, it’s only as beneficial as you make it, if you’re to do list is never ending – it may not be the right time.
Whilst the benefits are great, it’s not free. Therefore, it’s another expense you may not need.
There are pros and cons to a Chamber of Commerce membership and ultimately, it is only you who can make that decision. The network is ideal for SME’S and startups who are looking to grow their networking however it may not be as cost effective for established businesses who have a particular niche.
Looking for more business advice? Take a look at Chamber of Business’ full resource centre here