Specht: Chamber membership matters

Specht

I recently visited with a former employee who not only left my company but changed industries. Our discussion was lively and informative as we talked about everything from the good old days and how the newspaper market is changing to the importance of branding and graphic design.

As the discussion went along, we came to realize that there is just no substitute for a relationship. That simple sentence opened up a whole new discussion about how relationships are the key to success for any business, regardless of what industry it is in.

Relationships can take many forms. With technology today, a relationship can begin via email or social networking. In fact, that relationship can be just as significant as any face-to-face one out there. The world has truly contracted to a smaller place.

That being said… There is still no better way to cultivate a relationship than in person. Looking someone in the eye and sharing your ideas has a dramatic impact.

In sales, it is the person with the best relationship who garners the business over the long term. There is always a cheaper price somewhere, but not everyone has the best relationship. When times and budgets get tight, it is the person with the best relationship that tends to keep the business.

Relationships help communities move forward, attract industries and survive setbacks. It is almost impossible to band together during tough times without other like minded entities to band with.

As business leaders, we should take advantage of opportunities to cultivate relationships with one another.

This edition of BIZ. Is a reminder of the importance of trade organizations and their opportunities to form relationships. The Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce recently held their annual meetings to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments.

These events, and the chambers themselves, provide plentiful opportunities for forming new relationships and reforging old ones.

Businesses have plenty of trade organizations out there to choose from, but the Chambers are a wonderful resource and I encourage my fellow business owners to take full advantage of them.

The valuable services they provide to the members they represent — everything from lobbying efforts at all levels of government, to training and networking opportunities — bring a great return on dues invested.

In our world of watching every penny, we might be tempted to avoid investing money and time in our various associations. This would be a short-sighted mistake. Your business is what you put into it. Recognizing a chamber membership as an opportunity to form relationships should be a priority for you and your business.

It is an investment of time and dues that you will be glad you made, and we all will benefit from it.

David A. Specht Jr. is publisher and editor of BIZ. and President of Specht Newspapers, Inc.

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