They don’t call it the “Dog Days of Summer” for nothing.
If you’re a B2B company, I’m guessing you’re like me – torn between wanting the summer to last forever, and avidly waiting for people to get back into town and back to business. Man, my to-do list is filled with things that I’ve taken as far as I can go personally. Only good thing about it is it leaves lots of time for planning!
If you’re finding yourself in limbo on projects, a great exercise that now is the perfect time to take on is preparing for the fall in regards to your chambers of commerce and business association memberships. Like you, your organizations are gearing up for their busy time as well, which means they’re planning their programming, events and initiatives designed to provide you value for the money you’ve invested with them. They can do that best when you’ve told them what you need.
On behalf of our clients’ and our own memberships, we’ve run through a number of steps in the past few weeks to optimize our calendar and further strengthen relationships with the organizations we belong to. I wanted to share a short checklist with you to offer you some easy, but valuable, to-dos for the coming weeks. Because you and I both know that once Labor Day hits, your time is no longer your own. Now’s the time to:
- Check Your Chamber’s Calendar for Events that Will Help You Meet Your Goals
- Make Sure Your Chamber Knows What You’re Looking to Accomplish this Fall
- Explore Possible Opportunities to Contribute Content
- Offer Your Time
- Let Them Know You’re Accessible
Here’s why each of these steps are important:
Check Your Chamber’s Calendar for Events that Will Help You Meet Your Goals
Notice that we didn’t simply say Check Your Chamber’s Calendar for Events. If you’ve followed our blog, you’ll know that we preach incessantly that the first thing you must do when joining a business organization is establish why you’re doing it. With that in mind, you can evaluate your chamber’s events calendar to see what events make sense for you and your team to attend. This year, it’s a safe bet to assume there’s going to be a mix of in-person and virtual events, so think about your fall calendar from the perspective of engagement. Is it the information they’re providing that’s valuable, or the roomful of people? And which events are going to get you where you need to be?
Make Sure Your Chambers of Commerce Know What You’re Looking to Accomplish
We’ve already had either in-person or Zoom conversations with the various chambers we belong to, and we’ve done the same for our clients. Depending on your time (and vacation schedules, of course), getting a bunch of these meetings in might be difficult, though we recommend you make the time. Grab a coffee, set up a Zoom or, at the least, touch base via e-mail with your chamber rep and let them know you’re looking forward to engaging this fall. The chamber of commerce business is plagued by the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” The staff spends a great deal of time building quality, valuable programming, and then promoting and encouraging (haranguing!) people to use it – to their benefit! Chamber staff respond very well to people and companies who support their efforts. Build that relationship, and keep them apprised of what you need from them, too.
Explore Possible Opportunities to Contribute Content
There’s a great deal of chaos in business right now, and people continue to look for answers. Whether it’s pandemic recovery, health and safety, international trade, work-from-home, the regulatory environment or just plain trying to grow your business in a world that’s very different than it was two years ago, there are plenty of areas where what you do on a daily basis can provide solutions. Your chamber of commerce is trying to stay on top of EVERYTHING, and here’s the truth: they can’t. It’s too much. That’s where you come in. Sit down now and look at the next several months. What solutions are you giving your clients that you can share with your fellow chamber members? What’s the best way to get it to them? Is it a panel, blog, podcast, newsletter, op-ed, webinar, LinkedIn post, blast e-mail, video, etc., etc., etc.? Ask the question and see what they say.
Offer Your Time
Nobody has time. We don’t either. I get it. But the goal when you join a business association must be mutual value. Find where you can contribute, and jump in. We’ve found that no matter what your goals are with your business organizations, serving on a committee relevant to your business can be invaluable. Yes, there’s a time commitment – and if you say you’ll participate, you need to do so with enthusiasm – but on a committee, instead of running into people sporadically throughout the year, now you’re meeting and building relationships with like-minded people every month or two. That’s how you build a client list and referral network! In addition, presuming you wouldn’t have joined the organization if you didn’t support its larger cause, you’re also contributing to its success. Chambers of commerce have lots of committees that you can sit on – ask them where you (and your goals) fit in best.
And, Finally, Let Them Know You’re Accessible
Even with all the planning that’s taking place now, things will pop up for the chamber of commerce team throughout the year that will require fast action. Everything from legislative issues to “the governor will be here on Tuesday” to “one of our panelists dropped out” to emergency relief efforts after a natural disaster, there will be times when your chamber needs people and quick. They’ll turn to the people they know are there for them… And then, later, they’ll turn to those people again when opportunities arise. The law of reciprocity works at chambers of commerce, big time.
These are some easy things you can do right now while you’re waiting for the craziness of September to swing into gear. Getting them done now will ensure a stronger chamber of commerce experience for you through the end of the year (and beyond!).
Still don’t have time for this? All of this is what Momentum – The Business Growth Agency does for our clients. Schedule a 15-minute Zoom call with us, and let’s make sure these important relationships are covered for you!