What's The Chamber's Role in the Community?

Have you had this discussion with your board lately?

It's a great place to start the next time you conduct that strategic planning session.

I'm not here to tell you what that role is, your members should decide.

There are studies out there that could help you decide or give you some direction on what areas to focus on.

In a recent study by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE) they identified the following four areas based on their 2012 study of 15 western states.

  • Advocacy
  • Economic Development
  • Networking
  • Community

I am a firm believer that you can't be all things to all people.  So don't try and do it, you're just setting yourself up for failure.  Just from life's experiences you know you can't make all people happy all the time.

In fact I wrote about it HERE before.

Focus on what your members want from their chamber and be the best at it!

Killing Sacred Cows - Just do it!

How many of you are still doing the same programs, year after year, and you don't know why or you've been told we've always done them?

Are they well attended?

Are you making money?

If not, let's kick those programs to the curb. For a blog post talking about program based budgeting go HERE.

Are you loading all costs towards your program? In other words are you counting the:

  • Staff costs;
  • Marketing costs (printing, postage); and
  • Food and beverage costs or meeting space fees in your final calculation?

...or are you just comparing the receipts at the door (registration fees) vs. food and beverage and room rental at the venue?

Do the full arithmetic and if it's not making money -- kick it to the curb!

Remember, we can't be running chambers that lose money.

We need to run our chambers like a business and run it in the black.  Identify your core programs and make them better.

For a blog post on the Hedgehog Theory go HERE.

The theory suggests you should focus on:

  • What you have passion for;
  • What you do best or can be the best in; and
  • Where you make money.

Where those three meet are the programs you should be doing.

Now that's a recipe for success!