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Maximize Your Membership

by Ken Abrahams of FUN Enterprises

Are you getting the most out of your United Regional Chamber of Commerce (URCC) membership?

Many people believe that joining a chamber of commerce or other business-networking group is a great way to increase or enhance their business and I don’t disagree. But just writing a check and waiting for the phone to ring doesn’t work. Most people that join a Chamber don’t go through the membership directory the week they join and start doing business with other members, so why would you expect other members to immediately contact you?

So what is the value of your membership? Like any good chamber, URCC provides a wealth of opportunities to improve and enhance your business:

  1. Networking Opportunities
    • Business After Hours are a great way to meet other members, share information, make contacts or connections and build your professional network
    • Join a Networking Group – We currently offer two different groups a business to business group and a business to consumer group. Both groups meet twice a month. They are not only great for leads exchanges and building a referral network, but many people that belong to these groups view their fellow group members as trusted advisors.
    • Go to Other Events – Along with the Business After Hours, visit several of the many event URCC holds. Although for most membership levels, there are extra charges for these events, they are well worth attending. Some of the events include The Taste of the Region, Spotlight on Education Breakfast, Annual Meeting and Luncheon, and of course, the Golf Tournament.
  1. Professional Development
    • Brown Bag Workshops and other seminars– Several times during the year the Chamber hosts a series of educational programs. The Brown Bag Workshops are held during lunchtime, while other programs are in the morning or afternoon. These one-hour sessions (sometimes longer if needed or warranted) can be on a wide range of topics such as:
      • Using Social Media
      • Writing Your Own Book
      • Personal and Business Finances
      • Researching and Applying for State and Federal Funding
    • Executive Express-o – Each month a group of business owners or high level executives get together in round table format to discuss business trends and/or specific challenges facing them today. Usually this group meets the first Friday of every month at the URCC office.
    • Best Practice Sales Summit – Once every month, sales professionals discuss their best practices on a variety of sales topics.
    • Coaching from Fellow Chamber Members– Although not a “formal” program, the wide range of skills and experiences that others have can prove to be extremely valuable as you navigate your own business. You will find that chamber members are more than happy to provide guidance and share resources with others.
  1. Health Insurance – For many small businesses and sole proprietors, Chamber membership is a great way to obtain group health insurance. By being a Chamber member, you have access to this benefit.
  1. Regional Influence – Chambers have influence with local and statewide politicians and have access that many individuals will never enjoy. The URCC is no exception to this rule.
  1. Get Involved – There is no better way to meet more people and find out what the Chamber has to offer than by getting involved. There are lots of ways to do that:
    • Become an Ambassador – This group recruits members and works with new members to get the most out of the Chamber. They often come to the events and introduce new members to people they know and do business within the Chamber.
    • Join a Committee – With a number of new committees like Membership and Events there is always a place or a group for you. We also have a number of other committees that work on things like the Annual Golf Tournament and the Taste of the Region. There is always room for one more on many of these committees.
    • Host a Business After Hours – Bring people to your business and show them what you can do. We offer up to two of these per month and it is a great way to showcase your business. If you don’t want to do it alone invite other members to co-host. This is a great way to connect with other businesses and members. There is a nominal fee for hosting a Business After Hours.

If your Chamber membership is not working for you, try getting more involved and contact the office to be paired up with a longtime Chamber member. These individuals can provide great information as well as helping you get the most out of your membership.