Getting the Most From Your Chamber Membership

successYou’ve heard the term (or is it slogan) “Membership has its privileges,”, and with a Chamber membership that’s certainly true. With a membership in the Louisville Chamber, you get the advantage of connecting with other business professionals; taking part in on-going events and gathering; and of course, getting more exposure for your business. That last one seems to be an overlooked piece of the membership “pie” when it comes to members leveraging their profile on this very website.

Recently, we, along with Goozmo, embarked on a journey to update the Louisville Chamber’s website from top to bottom. Goozmo had the “fun” task of moving all the previous content of the old site into the new one and setting things into a WordPress environment, while we had the joy of putting a new face on this site, and building in a newer membership feature. For members of the Chamber, this latest feature has many things that are designed to help you get greater exposure for your business, and create more reach to potential customers and clients.

First Things First: Sign In to Your Profile

If you haven’t already, make sure to login to the Member Only area. When you do so for the first time, you’ll need to go through the typical steps involved with passwords and user names, keeping in mind whatever email is associated with the Chamber account is the one an email will be sent to. We’ve put a pretty good tutorial here that can help answer many questions you might have.

Once you’re in the profile area, you’ll want to pay special attention to your Profile Description and Business Card blocks; these two places are what help populate the member profiles that are seen by the public.

Beyond the Profile

This new site will give your business some extra opportunities for both exposure and advertising reach. Note the block at the bottom footer area titled “Your Ad Here”; these are spots “for rent” by members, and allow for a small image to be placed there, along with a link to your offer. Also new is a blog, which is what you’re reading from now. If you have an article that would be of interest to the membership community and beyond, contact the Chamber and ask about providing a blog for publication here. (Please note: The blog is not an advertising platform or political platform, so content is restricted to items that would be of benefit/interest to business owners, members, and the general public.)

Finally, Make Friends!

I’m not sure about you, but events and things I do are much more fun when I meet neat people, people who aren’t trying to sell me something, but are genuinely interested in connecting. If someone in the Chamber seems like someone you might want to meet or talk with, do it! Sometimes we’re all so busy running our businesses that we forget to just stop, shake hands and exchange some conversation with someone new and have some laughs without the discussion of business at all.

Not everyone is a good chatter or networker, either. As gregarious as I might seem, even I hit my times of bashfulness (or maybe I’m just tired!), as others might do. Those are the times I appreciate a kind word, smile or introduction to others. It’s at these moments that you build lasting relationships, not only with people you might do business with, but who you might refer to someone later on.

2015 and the Louisville Chamber

Well, somehow I feel I’ve been here before. Of course, it’s not only the start of another great year for us in Louisville, but after a long break, it’s the second time I’ve had the honor to serve as Chamber President. That may be a good opportunity for jokes about my age. It’s also made me think about the way the Chamber has grown and changed, and what seems to be important to our success. Spreading the work around the active memberships seem to me to be one of the ways we’ve kept going strong. So, this year I hope we can make this happen by first, bringing in more members and second, by encouraging more participation by all members, to the extent it’s feasible for each of us, of course.

2014 was another good year for our activities. The Taste of Louisville, the Half-Marathon, and our Spaghetti Open Golf Tournament all continue to draw good crowds. With better weather the Parade of Lights was especially well attended this year. Our new event Pints in the Park was very successful and you all know we will hold an expanded event this summer.

The Chamber has seen good growth the last couple of years, but I want to emphasize my belief that we can’t maintain momentum in our programs without continuing to increase membership. That’s why I ask “Each One” of you to “Reach One” person and bring them to the Chamber as a visitor and then, we hope, a member. I suggest offering invitations to our After Hours and other activities to allow your visitor to network and meet with other Chamber members. This will also encourage participation from our current members, the second step in growing and keeping membership. I ask each member not only to attend our activities as often as you can, but also commit to assisting at a minimum of one of our major events in the coming year. In any organization there are always some core activists, but no organization moves beyond competence to excellence without the broad engagement and support of the entire group.

Thanks again for allowing me the honor of serving as President. If you think I have done a good job for you at the end of the year, perhaps you will consider having me back in office in another 20 years or so.