When joining any networking group or Chambers of Commerce it is a good idea to do some research. The best way to do so after examining their website is to attend an event. Evening mixers are a common type of event to meet business owners and community members. Every team or group has a different vibe and its important to find one that matches your goals. For example, some Chambers of Commerce are political, information hubs, people connectors, and offer hands-on marketing, while others may not.
The differences in Chamber memberships and their benefits vary greatly. Don't waste your time and money in a group that is not a good fit, otherwise, you may be disappointed with the results. Obviously a Chamber that is in the same region, town, or city is best for a local brick and mortar business, but there are other options. In many cases, there are metropolitan, county, and identity Chambers that may fit your marketing strategy.
Another interesting dynamic of Chambers of Commerce is size. It may seem to make sense to be in a larger group for more relationship-building opportunities. However, smaller groups may eliminate competition, be more personal, and have the opportunity for more trusted established connections. Here are some questions to think about when searching for a Chamber.
Who is running it? Who's on the boards and committees? What is there primary focus? How can you contribute to the group and how will it help your business?
Remember, joining a Chamber is not just a place to socialize but an opportunity to grow your business through personal relationships while helping other entrepreneurs grow their business as well.