How to Use the Chamber of Commerce to Enhance Your BNI Results

chamber of commerce

Chamber of Commerce – If you already go to BNI, should you also attend Chamber of Commerce meetings to grow your business?

According to BNI founder Ivan Misner, absolutely! Many Chambers of Commerce have a broader scope in what they do than BNI does, and they offer a wide and valuable range of services, so attending the Chamber can be an invaluable complement for your BNI networking efforts.

Today, I’m going to share six ways in which BNI members and other business owners can benefit from attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, as well as how to avoid the biggest mistake that prevents some people from getting results from their membership.

Why should BNI members join the Chamber of Commerce?

BNI is focused on networking and building relationships, while the Chamber of Commerce is both a networking opportunity and a source of resources that you might otherwise miss or be required to pay a higher price for.

In a recent interview between Ivan Misner and Barry Johnson, the president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, they told us about the benefits that members of the Chamber have enjoyed, including:

  1. Saving money on business expenses.

If you’ve been wondering how to reduce your business expenses, a Chamber of Commerce may be able to help you save on things like office supplies, travel, shipping and so forth.

In fact, you can almost get a return on your investment right off the bat by utilizing the services that are available through your Chamber – and that’s not counting the revenue you’ll gain through your networking efforts.

  1. Meeting people from every walk of life, which opens a wide range of opportunities.

Some of the most valuable aspects of the Chamber of Commerce are its staff and members. In the Chamber, you can meet members from a variety of industries and from every walk of life, in both the public sector and the government sector.

Because of this, your Chamber of Commerce can give you access to a huge amount of knowledge and market intelligence that can help you to get more customers, increase your revenue, and get an advantage over your competition.

Chambers are the proverbial center of town when it comes to learning what’s happening in the marketplace, what the demographics in that marketplace are, and what trends you need to take advantage of in order to get customers, so they’re a great one-stop shop when it comes to your business knowledge needs.

  1. Getting more out of our networking efforts with segmented networking.

If you’ve been trying to find your ideal clients and referral partners, only to find that your networking events are filled with people who have no interest in or knowledge about your industry, you can engage in a much more targeted form of networking by participating in your local Chamber’s segmented networking events.

Most municipal and regional chapters are actively engaged in the most fascinating and interesting things in the industries where they operate.

For example, Barry’s chapter once held a healthcare stream called Healthcare Heroes, which was aimed toward doctors, nurses, and other people involved in the delivery of healthcare in their area.

Through this mode of segmented networking, they were able to explore issues and opportunities specific to their industry, and to deliver highly targeted and valuable education to businesspeople by giving them the chance to interact with others who were knowledgeable in their field.

In these special networking events, members can discuss highly specialized and advanced subjects with their clients and constituents, in a way that lets them show their knowledge and authority without fear that they’ll confuse people who aren’t familiar with their terminology.

  1. Tapping into the global marketplace for a wider reach.

Many cities in America are doing more and more international business, and your local Chamber of Commerce can help you tap into that lucrative market.

If you’re looking to expand your business beyond your initial marketplace and into new areas, it’s well worth exploring this chance to reach a broad new audience.

  1. Getting showcased as award winners and subject matter experts.

By participating in the Chamber of Commerce, BNI members have the opportunity to get showcased as award winners and subject matter experts. They can also nominate their clients or colleagues for awards.

Few things are better than being able to suggest and promote a client for an award that a Chamber or other business organization is doing, and seeing them win. This sets you up as a hero in their eyes, much like the work of a professional PR agency or ad agency.

  1. Influencing lawmakers and other key decisionmakers.

The Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce influences important decision-makers on a number of local, state and federal issues that are important to improving the economy and quality of life in the Pittsburgh region, and other Chamber branches do the same in their areas.

If you have an important issue that you believe needs to be addressed, the Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable way to gain strength and influence through numbers and authority.

A Chamber of Commerce membership is invaluable, if you use it right.

As you can see, there are great benefits to be gained by joining the Chamber of Commerce. Like BNI, Chambers are about bringing people together, developing business relationships, and really making a difference through person-to-person exchanges.

And yet, I’ve heard from some people who joined the organization and never saw real results.

When I asked them about their interaction with the Chamber, I found that many of them had encountered the same obstacle to success.

Why do some people not get results from their Chamber of Commerce membership?

Quite often, it was because they joined but did not participate.

Many times, when members told Ivan that they haven’t gotten anything out of their Chamber membership, he asked if they’ve gone to the meetings regularly, and they say “no”.

As Barry points out, the Chamber of Commerce is like a fitness club. It feels good to write the check, because you feel that you’re going to do the right thing – but simply signing up doesn’t get you results. If you don’t make the time to go and participate, nothing is going to change.

If you DO go, on the other hand, you can tap into a wide and valuable range of opportunities, save money on your business expenses, and grow your company in a way that you never could on your own.

Pittsburgh area Chamber of Commerce groups

Here in Pittsburgh, we have 130 municipalities in Allegheny County alone.  And not to disappoint, we have many different chamber of commerce groups in the area. in 2011 the Pittsburgh Business Times did an analysis of the top seven in the area and they included the following:

But a lot has happened In Pittsburgh and we now have emerging areas like East Liberty with its own chamber – the North ShoreSouth Side – and many more.  Outside of the Pittsburgh metro area there many regional chambers such as Armstrong County, Titusville, Somerset, Latrobe area, Indiana Franklin and Beaver.  There are additional local groups in Brentwood Penn Hills and others – for a full list of chambers in Pennsylvania – here is the official USA chambers list for our state.

Ready to expand your business, revenue and influence?

If you want to create a thriving business that increases your wealth, time freedom, and ability to make a difference in the world, I have two special invitations for you today:

The first is to visit our website, and listen to Ivan Misner’s podcast about how to use a Chamber of Commerce membership to grow your business.

And secondly, I invite you to join us at our next BNI meeting!

There, you’ll meet brilliant, like-minded entrepreneurs who would love to support your journey to success, and who have the skills to make that journey faster, easier and more fun.

To find a BNI chapter to visit click this link.

4 replies
  1. Juan Lacey
    Juan Lacey says:

    I honestly believe that Ivan Misner is a genius! I have quickly learned that what he says to do to grow my business I should done it YESTERDAY! I read this idea of joining a chamber by Misner before this blog post came ou and went ahead and join my local group. I imidiately received a connection that is going to alter my business and make my family much better off. I could not encourage all BNI member more to find and join a chamber.

  2. Frederick Geiger
    Frederick Geiger says:

    In reading this blog entry, I was surprised that we did not touch on how to use the chamber as an extension to BNI for getting introductions to “other” Real Estate Agents or other Financial Advisors (or any other category of professional that is filled on our chapters). BNI only allows one of each and these are always filled in our chapters. Many people want to be introduced to additional agents – why not use the chamber for that? As a long term BNI member – I am always hearing people for these introductions. I believe that it is better to look for these introductions at the local chambers of commerce.

  3. education online
    education online says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!


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  1. […] real marketing that I did when I built the coaching side of my business was through BNI and the Chamber of Commerce.  I would recommend that you start at those two places as you try to create your coaching […]

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