- By: Fresno Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Al Smith
This month’s Connect features the topic of education. Obviously, an all-important element that has the ability to address poverty, crime and the economic well being of our community.
That same educational effort is important for the strength of a Chamber of Commerce. We probably don’t do enough of informing our members and the community what the Chamber does each and every day and why that activity is so important to the health of the organization and, by extension, the area in which we live.
In my early career of selling broadcast time, my Sales Manager always advised that I should visit each one of my advertising clients every year and tell them the story of the virtues of our radio station as if they had never heard it before. He would state, “Start from the beginning and explain it to the end.” His theory was that we assumed the client knew as much about us as we did, but in reality it was not true.
So, as I did then – I want to do now. Begging your indulgence, let me start at the beginning and detail the virtues of your Fresno Chamber.
What are we? We are the largest trade organization representing business in the Central Valley. Our voice is large by virtue of the gathering in excess of a thousand businesses, which employ over a 100,000 employees who live and play in our neighborhoods. This large gathering has an intense interest in maintaining a healthy community and a great quality of life.
- One of our ever growing missions is to represent those businesses in front of government. Due to the fact that most of our members are so busy operating their own business, they look to us to continually inform our elected officials of the value of private enterprise and search for ways to smash the obstacles that prohibit them from being profitable and able to hire employees which will in turn make a positive contribution to the tax base and enhance the economic well-being of Fresno.
- We also bring business together – B2B, as they now call it. Through multiple programs, members find exposure to others which can increase revenues.
- The Chamber seeks out opportunities for its members to enjoy discounts on items such as advertising, office supplies, financial services and conference facilities. Many times these services will offset the cost of their Chamber membership.
- Our Small Business University assists members on furthering education and developing knowledge regarding issues that are key to thriving in today’s ever-changing world.
- We promote the community and the creativity of its leaders through awards such as Leon S. Peters, Entrepreneur the Year, Agriculturist and Ag Business of the Year.
- We help our citizenry stay informed through events such as State of the City, State of the County and our Eggs and Issues Breakfasts.
These are but a sampling of the many things your Chamber initiates each year. I assure, you, there are many more paragraphs that could be added. Through this educational effort, if I bored you, forgive me. If, by chance, I piqued your interest, give me a call. Because, our Chamber does those things that many people think “just happens.”