Small businesses struggle to post profits but they are not alone. Professional Service Organizations like the Chamber Of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, and others are feeling the squeeze on small business. The Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau, along with many others, must invent new and unique services to keep their members happy. That way those members will maintain their status and the organizations can collect their fees; our advice is to make sure the services you’re getting meet or exceed your policy for profitable associations, in other words these organizations should help your bottom line in a way that’s measurable.
I am a firm believer in the Chamber, BBB, NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), and many more. However, I am repeatedly surprised by the lack of quality and quantity of services some of these organizations bring to their members. I’m asked repeatedly by my clients; “How do I best maximize my membership in XYZ Organization?” My knee jerk answer is to get involved.
All of these organizations provide opportunities for its members to get involved in events that are free or are included in your membership fees. Make sure you understand what your membership includes and that you get involved. If your organization touts events or perks, make sure you let them know you want to be involved. Also, it’s not too much to expect them to keep you informed of events and not just events they want you to pay for.
Another way to get involved is to communicate with the organization staff. Let them know what is going on in your business. Ask how you can get involved beyond any regular events and don’t let them blow you off. Too many times these organizations become political or “cliquish”. If you’re a paying member, and the organization is using a “favorite” and you’re as qualified, make some noise and let them know you want and expect them to let you be involved.
Each business person should know what their business needs to be successful. From exposure, to operations, to financial controls, business owners and managers face a myriad of challenges. These organizations are supposed to support your company’s viability, so that means you should hold them to a higher standard. If the organizations you belong to are not helping you to become or remain profitable, move that investment to something that will help your business become more stable, grow, or at least offer you an opportunity to gain some meaningful civic recognition.
What are some ways that you have gotten more involved with your Professional Service Organizations?