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Chamber of commerce benefits: How they work for your business

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With budgets tightening, workloads growing and expenses being cut, businesses are being forced to ask tough questions as they try to maximize their company’s efficiency and dollars.

Free marketing options online are more widely available than ever before, leaving some businesses to abandon the traditional marketing strategies of the past. While online networking and marketing is extremely effective -- and it’s recommended that businesses maintain a large online presence -- it will never replace the value of face- to-face interaction that a chamber of commerce provides.

The most recognizable way that chambers of commerce provide face-to-face interaction is through events. The Poway Chamber of Commerce, specifically, offers a variety of events for its members to participate in, covering all levels of involvement, price and frequency. Large events, such as street fairs and business expos, are held only once or twice a year and deliver the best return on investment for the member’s time and money. Though these events are a full-day commitment, they give the member the most exposure -- sometimes 20,000 attendees in a single day.

Not all businesses have the marketing dollars, or staff, to participate in large events such as street fairs or business expos. For these businesses, the Poway Chamber of Commerce offers small, networking-based events that are more frequent -- weekly or monthly -- but are very inexpensive to take part in. Monthly networking mixers are popular with Poway Chamber members, as they are open to everyone and cost less than $15 to attend. Attendees have the chance to network face-to-face with 100 fellow chamber members and business professionals.

Weekly Connections meetings are another low-cost benefit at the Poway Chamber of Commerce. These groups meet weekly for referral-based networking. This program is free to all Poway Chamber members and provides participants with a strong support system of fellow business professionals.

For other businesses that lack the time and money necessary for participation, it may seem impossible for them to take advantage of chamber benefits. For these members, the Poway Chamber offers many free benefits that require little to no participation.

The most basic of these benefits is the member’s business listing on the poway.com website. The business directory automatically links the member’s listing to their business’ website, improving their Web presence and search engine optimization. Members also have the ability to post online coupons on the chamber’s website, further boosting the member’s Web presence and providing consumers with enticing offers and discounts from chamber members.

Another way businesses can get involved without a large time commitment is through social networking. The Poway Chamber has a Facebook page on which members can network, post information and stay updated on business news, keeping them informed and connected without having to leave the office. The Poway Chamber is also currently working on setting up an “online university” in which members will have the ability to partake in educational webinars.

Whether the business is large or small, the Poway Chamber offers benefits that will work for its members’ needs. In today’s busy world, it is the unique face-to-face interaction that sets businesses apart, builds trust and encourages a support system that will sustain the business community.

The Poway Chamber of Commerce is a private 501(c)6 not-for-profit membership organization that works to provide leadership, education and advocacy to strengthen and enhance economic prosperity for its members, businesses and the region.

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