Chamber of Commerce for small Business ?

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  • Chamber of Commerce for small Business ?
  • nealglover
    Member

    A few people have recommended I join the local Chamber of Commerce, and I’ve looked at it a few times but never got further than looking at the website.

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience of it personally, what benefits they offer etc.
    will it help me build my business and gain customers.
    what sort of help do they offer.

    And generally, is it worth joining for the the cost ?

    Also interested in this

    uwe-r
    Member

    They vary locally. Can be a bit old school – network type set up for the pre internet world. I would say they are good if you need or provide professional services there will be lots of lawyers, accountants, bankers, in attendance. I have been to a few over the years from when I worked for a big Bank. We would be there with a view to doing business but nothing you couldn’t do from just booking an appointment and going to see someone. All depends what you want to get from it.

    The CoC in your area will really depend on who is running it, you can get access to training courses and the like on the cheap which is useful for small or under resourced business, they can lobby the council etc for stuff and help you with grant applications. They are alos a good source of local business intelligence and if networking is important to you then its a good way to meet people. Speak to exisiting members and ask them but beware the CoC membership people as i have come across some real tenacious ones.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    A lot of businesses just use the CoC membership list as a mailing list to try to drum up new business – my one was really bad for this at one point but they have cracked down on this a bit now. I’ve probably never used the membership to it’s fullest potential but they do offer free advice/consultations with their solicitors which is quite handy (used that on a few occasions).

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    I used to work at the London version. Odd place full of wannabe politicians – that was just the staff. Useful people seemed to dish out advice on exporting regs, legislation etc. Membership did provide meeting rooms in town which I can understand the value of.

    nealglover
    Member

    To be honest, networking would be the most useful part for me.

    It’s difficult getting in front of the right people at medium/large companies and thought it might be a good introduction.

    I’ve been to a couple of different local BNI networking things and didn’t think much of them, so thought finding out about the chamber of commerce would be good.

    globalti
    Member

    We use the local Chamber for legalising documents but for anything else our experience has been dismal. With the internet and a bit of resourcefulness you can find out anything you need without having to wait for the “official” wheels to turn agonisingly slowly; you have usually researched an issue and found the answer and moved on before they even get back with an acknowledgement.

    As for using British Commercial Attachés at overseas missions to get commercial information and contacts…. hahahahahahah!

    johndoh
    Member

    Can be a bit old school

    Very much this. We have been members for 9 years and nothing has ever come of it in terms of work – tend to find everyone is a member in the hope another member will ‘do them a favour’.

    We are a digital agency and we even offered to do the local Chamber a *free* email design, template etc so their messages would look more professional than the *really* bad system they use (ie, an email comprising of a huge embedded .jpg file and nothing else).

    They turned us down because someone else (that happens to be on t’committee) already does it for them.

    Then they wanted to do a new website to encourage inward tourism and again nepotism won over – all the work was awarded to inappropriate businesses and (despite it being meant to have gone live 6 months ago), it is still not live.

    I am not renewing membership this year.

    nealglover
    Member

    As for using British Commercial Attachés at overseas missions to get commercial information and contacts…. hahahahahahah!

    I don’t think that will be much of an issue for me to be honest 😉

    cupra
    Member

    In my experience you get out what you put in with them. It can be a good way to build an extended network and profile in a local context. Standrads vary greatly as they are all pretty much small businesses themselves.

    globalti
    Member

    A pal of mine who was a professional indemnity insurance broker told me that incompetent professionals who can’t get regular jobs end up working for local authorities. Does the same hold true for incompetent business people and Chambers of Commerce?

    As has been said above, we left ours Notts & Derbys as it ceased to be relevant – same advice with this and the BNI thread – go to a few meetings/events and check them out.

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