Tag Archive : chamber of Commerce

Joining a local Chamber of Commerce can be a hard decision for many business owners. Some look at it as just another incoming expense, and assume it’s not worth the trouble. But what it all comes down to are the member benefits, which often vary between chambers. However, there are many perks across the board to becoming a member. Keep reading to learn seven advantages of joining your Chamber of Commerce!

1. Publicity
Having your business appear on your Chamber’s website will give your business the extra boost you’re looking for. In addition, word-of-mouth referrals are a timeless form of marketing which should not be underestimated.
2. Networking
Regardless of your business’ size, networking is a key component to a success. Connecting with other business owners through the Chamber opens up a world of advice and camaraderie.
3. Sales
Did you know that in a study conducted by the Schapiro Group in 2012 showed that 80% of consumers were more likely to purchase a product or service from a Chamber member? Sales are an important, if not the most important, part of running a business. Your Chamber of Commerce boosts your reputation and therefore contributes to the sales you depend on.
4. Growth
Are you looking to expand your business, or even form a partnership eventually? If so, joining your Chamber can connect you to potential investors, or even instill the confidence, stability, and experience to expand your business.
5. Community Involvement
Becoming a member is simply a great way to give back to your community. It feels rewarding to participate, and also feels rewarding in terms of your business.
6. SEO
Since most Chamber websites have an authoritative relationship with various search engines, a direct linkage to your business’ websites/webpages will cause those search engines to reward your site just by association. This means your website will be rated higher and hopefully generate more traffic.
7. Member Benefits
These will vary among Chambers, but for the most part, becoming a member is usually worth it. Some benefits may be things like discounts, or connections to trade shows or other events. Not to mention, SLN partners with Chambers all over the USA and Canada, and we have an extensive list of benefits just within our platform! Make sure to inquire about us when you join your Chamber!

As aforementioned, becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce is usually worth it. If you have a small amount of money left over in your annual budget, you should consider joining, so you, too, can reap all the benefits you just read about!

In Summer, many chambers host an annual Sidewalk Sale, giving small local businesses an opportunity to gain new customers, and create buzz around their merchandise or deals. Because some customers wait all year to make purchases until this yearly sale, small businesses need to take advantage of the plentiful foot traffic in order to sell as much product as possible. Easier said than done. Does your town participate in a blowout Sidewalk Sale? If yes, keep reading for some foolproof advice on Sidewalk Sale success.

First of all, pricing is key. Low prices will attract more customers, so think about what your small business can afford to mark down. Also, make sure to buy some bright colored sticker rounds to advertise the reduced prices. Do not just write the new price, instead include the percentage saved. Customers are more likely to respond to a tag that reads “Save 85%!” than one that reads “$10”.

Here’s another idea: use incentives simply to get people to walk into your small business. Offering complimentary refreshments, or even a free small item such as a sticker or keychain, will attract countless individuals who want the most out of your chamber’s Sidewalk Sale. If you contribute positively to their Sidewalk Sale experience, they will probably return the favor.

In addition, an attractive and well-thought-out display will appeal to customers. Represent your small business’ personality, and remain true to your image. Get creative and make some signs to advertise your deals! Still target your primary customer, just like you would with an ordinary display within your business. If they like what they see during the Sidewalk Sale, they will be willing to visit your business again.

You could also play some music to make shopping fun for your customers. According to pyschologicalscience.com, background music influences buying behavior. Therefore, your small business should jump on it and play upbeat, encouraging tunes!

Do not forget to promote your Sidewalk Sale using Save Local Now. Utilize SLN’s email marketing to remind customers about the sale dates, and your business’ hours. Also, design unbeatable deals and promotions exclusive to the sidewalk sale such as Buy One Get One, or a FREE item with purchase.

None of these strategies will work, unless you stay organized. Make sure you and your staff members are punctual during the sale. At least one employee should be indoors and outdoors at all times. Choose a specific set-up and take-down time, and focus on keeping a consistent schedule if your Sidewalk Sale last more than one day. Be more efficient by using folding tables, and a tent for your outdoor display.

Now that you know these strategies, your business can make the most of your annual Sidewalk Sale. Good luck!

At the most basic level, buying local ensures that more money stays in our community. In fact, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned store, $45 remains in the local economy. The Chamber of Commerce encourages all residents to shop small and support our locally owned businesses! Shopping locally provides you with the opportunity to discover something different; it’s unlikely that you’ll find the same thing at a local store as you would the mall. Save Local Now, the Chamber’s “Buy Local” program, highlights and promotes Chamber members and the deals and promotions they create. Locals and tourists alike can download the FREE Save Local Now app to access deals, events and accurate business information. Saving money and buying local has never been easier!

Keri Senderak, Director of Marketing and Communications at Save Local Now, was interviewed on the importance of supporting local. See her full interview  here.

Why is buying local so important to businesses and the economy as a whole?

At the most basic level, buying local ensures that more money stays in the community. In fact, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned store, $45 remains in the local economy. By shopping at the local “mom and pop” style store instead of these “big box” corporations, consumers can rest assured knowing that they’re doing their part at keeping their communities unique and thriving.

How does buying local save money?

Buying local saves people money in several ways. These small businesses are close to home, meaning that many people don’t need to travel far to get to them. Products (like fruit and produce) are made or grown at local locations, so they don’t have to travel far to get where they’re going. This means that, in many cases, there is no middle man. This translates to lower prices for the business owner and, of course, the consumer.

What are the current trends you’re seeing in local communities?

Saving money by buying local. I’ve noticed that many chambers of commerce (more specifically those that have partnered with Save Local Now) are encouraging “buy local” initiatives. Now more than ever chambers and their small businesses recognize that when consumers buy local, they are also assisting in the creation and retention of jobs.

Where do you see local businesses in the next few years? Few decades?

I only see communities and their local businesses growing stronger. Many of us concern ourselves with “what’s trending.” These “buy local” promotions are most definitely trending, but I also believe they’re here to stay. People genuinely care about their communities; they want a booming downtown area, safe streets to walk on, job opportunities and friendly atmospheres. Honestly though, who doesn’t? I don’t see small business going anywhere any time soon.

You partner closely with chambers of commerce. What are some things you do together?

We partner exclusively with chambers of commerce to help their member businesses. We discovered that many of these small business owners didn’t have the tools they need to ensure a successful business. We void that gap by partnering with the chamber. The chamber pays for SLN services, and their members get SLN as an added benefit for being a member of the chamber. Currently, Save Local Now is in 27 states, and more than 80,000 member businesses have received SLN as a NO-COST member benefit. Here at Save Local Now, we are all about the small business owner, and will do whatever we can to guarantee the success of that business, the community they’re in, and the chamber of commerce that supports them.

You can follow Keri and Save Local Now on Facebook and Twitter.

I am a huge fan of people watching and I just got back from the Superbowl of chamber of commerce conferences (I dare you to say that last part fast 5 times). The day I got back to my office it just so happens that a serendipitous bit of luck bounced my way. I stumbled across a great blog article by Brittany Leaning about the 12 types of people you’ll find at a conference (original article found here). I could not agree with Brittany more and laughed as I read about each personality and  nodded my head up and down saying “this is soooo true.” The only thing I felt was missing was the addition of a 13th personality (number 12 on this list) titled “the collector” or “swag thief” (hence my efforts to create my own addendum here on our blog). So buckle your seat belts, enjoy the ride and nod you head along with me. Here are your:

13 Types of People You’ll Find at a Conference

1) The Networker

The_Networker

Goal = Meet smart people

The networker aims to meet and make lasting connections with other professionals in the industry. Chances are, they have a lot of connections on social media and have connected to attendees through the conference hashtag ahead of time. You’ll probably see this person chatting up multiple groups of people during happy hour and handing out business cards.

2) The Sponge

The_Sponge

Goal = Learning

This is the person who’s just at the conference to soak up as much information as possible. You’ll probably see this person juggling a laptop, smartphone, and notebook with a pen, and diligently taking notes (or live-tweeting) from each. The biggest struggle this person faces is deciding on which sessions to attend (they’re all so great!!).

3) The Innovator

The_Innovator

Goal = Get inspired

If you watch TED Talks on a daily basis and your favorite book is Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, you might fall into the “innovator” category. These are the people who go to conferences to get inspiration and spark some creativity. Entrepreneurs, thinkers, and problem solvers would fall under this bucket.

4) The Superfan

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Goal = Meet the keynote speakers

You’ll find this person all over social media before you even arrive at the conference. One superfan conference habit includes excessively tweeting to the hashtag that you’re “so excited to meet @speaker.” Superfans never forget to include a speaker’s Twitter handle in hopes that he or she will retweet or reply. If there’s a book signing at the conference (or maybe even if there isn’t), the superfan is first in line with every book the author has ever published in hand.

5) The Job Seeker

The_Job_Seeker

Goal = Get a job

Job seekers might have a few different goals for a conference depending on which stage of the job hunt they’re in. If this person is in the awareness stage, he or she might simply listen and learn about companies, jobs, and people they’d like to work with. If this person is beyond that awareness stage, he or she may have already made connections with people ahead of time via LinkedIn or Twitter, and wants to give them an elevator pitch in person, along with a resume or portfolio.

6) The Deal Maker

The_Deal_Maker_2

Goal = Establish a business partnership

Similar to the “networker,” the deal maker attends a conference with the goal of creating business partnerships. This could be for co-marketing, co-branding, sponsorships, speaking opportunities … the list goes on. This person might even take a tip from the networker, making lasting relationships first and doing business sometime after the conference.

7) The Blogger

The_Blogger

Goal = Write high quality content

This is the person who attends a conference specifically for blog (or other content) fodder. You’ll see this person listening to keynotes and breakout sessions while writing down an outline or quotes on a laptop. When meeting bloggers in-person at a conference, watch out because they might be wired! Just kidding … but they might try to write down some quotes from your conversation (after asking for permission, of course).

8) The Teacher

The_Teacher

Goal = Relay knowledge to teammates

I don’t mean teacher in the traditional sense, but rather the person you send to the conference who will come back with awesome takeaways. The teacher should take excellent notes and relay them back to his or her team. This person might even write up a wiki page or create a presentation to show your team when they return.

9) The Thought Leader

The_Thought_Leader

Goal = Stay successful

These are generally the conference speakers. These folks talk specifically about a subject matter they know almost everything about. They’ve probably written books and countless blog articles on the same topic and have loads of followers on social media. It might seem like they have a buzz on, but really they’re just riding the adrenaline from taking the stage.

10) The Spy

The_Spy_2

Goal = Competitive intelligence

This is the person who goes to a conference solely to check out the competition. This person might ask: What does the competition’s presence look like at this conference? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Then, this information is compiled, analyzed, and turned into a plan of action. Attending a conference as a spy is actually a popular sales enablement tactic and can give your sales team the soundbites they need to close more deals.

11) The Salesperson

The_Deal_Maker_4

Goal = Make a sale

Similar to the deal maker, a salesperson aims to close on a deal. The difference here is that salespeople are usually only interested in selling their company’s core products and services. This interaction could happen during the conference, or sometime after the conference when the prospect has thought the deal over.

12) The “Collector” or (even worse) “The Swag Thief”

thief animated GIF

Goal = Bring home booty to fellow team members

There is always someone hitting up each and every booth for their giveaways. Just look for the over stuffed convention tote jammed with USB adaptors, stress balls, pens, handfuls of breathe mints, stuffed animals, and those nice soft cloths for wiping finger prints off your tablet, phone, or computer (my personal fav). I am not just talking about stuff you can fit in a bag. God forbid someone is giving away free drinks or food. You will inevitably see some one pounding Jack and Cokes while stuffing their face with Icecream or popcorn (I’ve got pictures to prove it).

13) The Partier

The_Partier

Goal = Have fun

Finally, we’ve reached the inevitable. You know, the person who rages at all the parties, dances with everyone at the concert, and seriously takes advantage of the free drinks. It’s okay to have a little partier in you during a conference. In fact, it could be a great way to break the ice! However, I’d suggest attending a conference with some of the first eleven goals in mind — you’ll be a lot more productive that way. 😉

Save Local Now’s commitment to inspire people to shop locally is near and dear to our hearts. We know how challenging it can be to try and get your community fired up about buying local. You might think you are just one business and nothing you do will have any impact, but I beg to differ. Here is a quick list of things you might want to try out this year that will really make a difference in your communities efforts to buy locally.

1. Meet your neighbors (and tell your customers about them) – From my own personal experiences with the communities I’ve lived in, as well as from the communities we work with, I’ve learned one thing. The more businesses promote their neighbors, the better and more thriving the community is as a whole. You should make friendly suggestions to your customers on other businesses they should check out. This will reassure them that you are a trustworthy business owner and not just out for your own profit, and it will also inspire people to keep checking out local businesses and keep returning to your town. Your neighboring businesses might return the favor and send people your way, and soon your whole community could become a giant web of local networking. I’ve seen this happen-there is nothing more powerful.

2. Join (or help out) local organizations – Aside from your local chamber of commerce, there are probably a multitude of other small organizations you could become involved in. Some might say they don’t have the funds or time to join all of these, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved.

  • You could reach out to organizations and tell them you would like to volunteer once a year for their big event.
  • You could tell YPO’s they may host their next networking event in your business space.
  • You could offer a discount to any member of the local book club.

However you want to do it, my bet is you will see some more business coming your way by word of mouth. Local organizations are usually just that: organized, and helping them out once in a while could mean extending your marketing efforts 3 fold!

3. No brainer: Buy Locally – Make it a point to frequent other businesses not just as a business owner but as a customer. Other business owners will appreciate it and will often return the favor. Use local suppliers, local farmers, and local services for all of your businesses needs as well as that of your personal life. It will show the rest of your community that you are standing behind them, so they can in turn, stand behind you!

4. Take local global – Register your community in national, or even world wide competitions or write into travel magazines to tell them about why they should check out your town. Sometimes there is only so much you can do locally and you need to let the rest of the world know why THEY should come to your town. Highlight the things that make your town unique and don’t underestimate how weird quirks can attract attention. I promise you there are people out there looking for just the kind of beautiful little town that is your community.

5. Create $LN awareness – In order for Save Local Now to have it’s affect on your community, you need to get people using it! I know I say this a lot but the bottom line is, being a free service to both consumers and businesses, we aren’t the ones who will benefit from people using $LN, YOU will. So tell your friends, family, community, organizations, newspapers, and schools. Tell them to try Save Local Now and stay up to date with everything local.

The madness of Black Friday may be over but there are still many consumers running around getting last minute Christmas gifts. Here are some tips to help spread holiday cheer and get more shoppers this year.

1. Decorate the store and show how festive you are!

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2. Put together a holiday gift baskets for shoppers to buy

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3. Crank up that Christmas music and get people in the holiday spirit!

4. Offer gift wrapping with purchase

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5. Offer small stocking stuffer items
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6. Decorate your businesses Christmas tree
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7. Plan a fun holiday Event and upload it on $LN
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8. Don’t forget to smile!
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9. Post a Christmas Deal on $LN to get them excited!
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10. And of course, wish all your amazing loyal customers a Merry Christmas!
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It’s that time of year again, the best time for you’re members, Small Business Saturday. Chambers, this is your time to shine. Let your members know you care by rallying your community for Small Business Saturday and encouraging customers to shop local. Lucky for you, you’ve got the best tool around to help you do just that and we’ve got some tips to maximize awareness.

Hold an event: What better way to get people excited then throwing a party? Host a community block party or an event in the middle of town.  Showcase your businesses and motivate the community to participate in supporting local dollars that go back into the community. You can use Save Local Now’s platform to build excitement and spread the word by creating an event or sending our email invites.

Offer free parking to make it easy for customers to shop.

Decorate your town with banners and balloons. Put up signs everywhere you can to remind people about Small Business Saturday. Make it festive and get people hyped!

Give out free things: Hand out tote bags with your logo on it. Not only is it environmentally friendly but it advertises your chamber as well!

Most importantly, engage your businesses. Have them put window cards in their stores and encourage them to put up special Small Business Saturday deals on the app. The more businesses involved, the bigger the day will be.

Spread the word. Talk about it every chance you get and get as many people as possible to download the app so they can see all the deals on Small Business Saturday. Spread your excitement to others and they will do the same!

This is the biggest day for local businesses and they need as much help as they can in making sure it’s a success. Save Local Now makes it easy to spread the word and build awareness in the community. Let’s work together and make this the biggest, most prosperous Small Business Saturday yet!

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