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If you’re a young entrepreneur starting a local business, a big part of your success will depend on engaging your community.
And while you might be inclined to engage locals through social media or email, there’s one offline method that deserves another look: your local Chamber of Commerce.
Young adults and Chambers of Commerce actually value a lot of the same things:
- Prioritizing local business
- Building relationships
- Sharing knowledge
Despite this, it’s often difficult for Chambers to recruit and retain younger business owners. Discover why local Chamber membership may be the missing ingredient to your business’s success, plus how to calculate the ROI of your membership, below.
Why Young Business Owners Should Join Their Local Chamber
You might be surprised by how much you stand to gain from Chamber membership. Discover our top 5 benefits below.
1. Educational Resources and One-On-One Help
Sure, the internet is a great educational resource. But there’s no replacement for intimate, personalized help from real people, in real life. That’s where Chambers come in.
A big draw of Chamber membership is the educational resources they offer, usually in the form of workshops, economic development summits, and even 1:1 mentorship.
Members can expect resources on a wide range of topics, from workplace safety regulations to local taxation to city permitting – info that’s crucial for avoiding hefty fines.
2. Dedication to Local Businesses
Despite being known (and critiqued) for their heavy phone-usage, young adults show an unrivaled enthusiasm for small, local businesses. And it’s not just a hunch – a study conducted by Vistaprint offers the stats to back it up:
- 45% of millennials would spend more on a product or service if it supported a small business (compared to 27% of consumers age 55+)
- 61% expect to shop more with small businesses during the year, compared to 15% of those 55+
- Millennials spend an average of $197.32 at small businesses per month (Boomers spend about half that: $85.99)
Bottom line: Because Chambers of Commerce depend on prioritizing small business, young adults are likely to fit right in.
3. Networking and Collaboration
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. When you join the Chamber of Commerce, you’re connected with a diverse group of people who can help grow your business.
You may meet the local banker who helps you get that small business loan or a graphic designer that ends up creating your company’s logo. There’s even a good chance you might even meet your first customer.
These local business owners can be an invaluable resource for advice and can even help you avoid common mistakes. This can be critical, as 8% of businesses fail due to a lack of this kind of support.
4. Visibility Offline and Online
Most Chambers hold community events like 5ks, local restaurant showcases, meal programs, and benefits for local charities. They also set up info booths at seasonal fairs or sports events.
And while it’s easy (albeit misguided) to assume that all business advertising can be done online, these in-person events go a long way to reach offline customers. Plus, by providing offline opportunities for promotion and volunteering, they can help reinforce your online branding.
And get this: If a consumer knows that a business is a Chamber member, they’re 49% more likely to think favorably of it, and 80% more likely to patronize that business in the future.
5. Better For Your Budget
Starting a business has a lot of overhead. You might need commercial space, office supplies, accounting and payroll services, IT services, and marketing – just to name a few.
So it’s no wonder that the most frequently cited challenge for young business owners (36%) is lack of capital, according to a survey conducted by Guidant Financial.
Because of this, Chamber members will often extend discounts to their fellow members. Not to mention, hiring fellow members helps keep money in your community…