Whether you are a 200 member Chamber of Commerce or a 2000 member chamber is irrelevant in terms of the value you bring to the table. Naturally, you have a larger pool of resources, both financial and human, if you have a larger chamber, but it’s not a statement on who you are and what you offer. Just as we are taught to “live within our means” in our personal life, we have to do that in our chamber as well.
So……..should I grow and how????
There are a number of questions you can ask to determine not only your organizations capacity for growth, but whether or not that growth is sustainable.
- How many businesses are in your service area and what is your market share or penetration? Use that to determine your capacity for growth.
- Is your program of work manageable? Your quantity of programs should only be what you are capable of handling. Look at each one. Honestly look at whether it has value or not, and don’t forget that employee cost needs to be factored in. If the answer is NO then get rid of that “sacred cow”. Engage your Chamber of Commerce members in this process; ask them what they find valuable. These responses give you the support you need if you do eliminate something that has been around for a while.
- ARE you the “voice of business” in your community, or is that just the fluff you throw around to sound meaningful? You have to stand for something that matters to business locally. These will be different in EVERY community and only you can determine what those issues are. Again, engage your members in the process. Ask them what matters and build your platform from there.