- By: Matthew Rosenfeld, President & General Manager KSEE24-NBC, CBS47-CBS & Chairman of the Board of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Anyone who knows me knows I love technology. I’m proud to be an early adopter and take it as a term of endearment when I’m called the ‘gadget guy.’ Being in business is tough and an investment in technology is one way to stay ahead of your competition.
Many people run out to buy the latest and greatest as soon as it’s released. They are hoping to arm themselves with the newest and most powerful features that money can buy.
There is one flaw in that mentality – most people understand and utilize very little of the technology they have. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe Steve Jobs. Consumers today “Don’t have a lot of time to learn how to use a washing machine or to use a phone – you get one of the phones now and you’re never going to learn more than 5% of the features.” I believe the context of his quote is that he believed his products needed to be really easy to use.
As the technology guy, I often feel obligated to share articles like “25 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do.”
My point is, it’s likely that whatever technology you own (smart phone, computer, washing machine, etc) probably does a lot more than you know. If you take some time to learn and understand its features you’ll maximize your investment and perform better. That’s the goal, right?
As the Chairman of the Board of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, I feel that many businesses can more fully utilize the features of their Chamber membership. It’s the same philosophy: Maximize your investment.
So now I find myself sharing “Seven Reasons to be a Member of your Chamber of Commerce” by Tony Rubelski. (www.MindCaptureGroup.com)
1. Visibility. Yes, you’ve heard it said time and time again, out of sight means out of mind. This is not a smart strategy for any business, especially when times are good. A market can change quickly. While good is the enemy of great, complacency and short-term thinking is the enemy of sustained marketing breakthroughs.
2. Access. Unless you’re crazy or like consistent rejection, no one enjoys making cold calls all day long. When you join a Chamber and actively get involved, you’ll discover that meeting prospects who can refer you to the key contacts you’re trying to reach is a huge benefit of membership. You’ll soon find yourself in situations where you can identify and meet decision-makers face-to-face.
3. Ongoing Training & Education. Unless you have the luxury of a training budget or can afford to bring in local, regional or nationally known experts on different topics, I firmly believe that there’s no other organization inAmerica that delivers timely programs at such an affordable price as a local or regional Chamber of commerce.
4. Networking. From seminars, leads groups and luncheons to business expos and various business and community committees, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being able to meet new contacts, referrals and people who can help you with ideas and additional ways to grow your business. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind,” is so true in networking. In addition, doing business with fellow members who offer wonderful products, services, and ideas is also a big plus.
5. Low-Cost Advertising Opportunities. As far as visibility at the local level, a Chamber offers a wide range of free or affordable advertising options and sponsorship packages for just about every business or non-profit, regardless of how big or small their budget may be. This is a wonderful way to hold your marketing dollars accountable and see them working hard right before your eyes.
6. Advocacy. A Chamber researches, lobbies and routinely discusses with local and regional government units, politicians and the media to keep people up to date on central issues of importance pertaining to their membership and the community. What happens to your local employees and customers does have an impact on your business, even if you’re a national chain.
7. Money-Saving Discounts. If you fully leverage the cost-saving discounts — ranging from health insurance, to office supplies, to discounted phone service, to other items your business currently uses or will need — it’s not uncommon for a small business to easily find enough savings in the first 30 to 60 days upon joining with endorsed providers or member-to-member discounts to recoup most, if not all, of their membership dues.
The smartest investment you make this year may be the Chamber membership you already own.