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Setting the Stage
“It gives the business a stronger voice,” Hale says. “It gives the business an opportunity to be an important part of the community.”
Strength in numbers comes with membership in a local chamber of commerce. Small business owners can give input on issues important to them through serving on various chamber committees. Committees offer a great sounding board for ideas and a venue for problem solving.
A typical chamber can feature multiple committees devoted a wide range of issues. The Utah Valley Chamber, for example, has 11 committees that work on things ranging from business advocacy to charitable causes.
Walker notes that some committee volunteers in the Salt Lake Chamber have been contributing their time and energy for more than 25 years. They love being a part of a committee where they can make their voice heard and where they can put their own expertise to good use.
“This is the common ground where people can collaborate,” Walker says. “They can come together. They can put aside their differences when they walk in our doors. Industries come together and ask us to help.”
Working from a common ground allows business owners to band together to address issues that matter to their local community and find solutions that will help their businesses prosper. On a practical level, serving on committees or volunteering in another way at the chamber makes it easy for a business owner to give their business positive visibility.
That’s one reason why Taylor has continued to take an active role in the Sandy Chamber long after joining up as a member.
He admits it would be easy to simply pay the membership fee, hang a plaque on the wall and move on. But that route isn’t the right one to get the best value out of a chamber membership. For him, and other active chamber members, it is all about getting the best value from membership by giving back to the chamber.
“They encourage people to get out,” Taylor says. “They encourage people to be visible. They encourage people to be an active participant in their community and not just hide in their basement and do whatever it is they might be doing. It helps to create a more visible presence for small businesses in the community.”