Chamber of Commerce gives valuable benefits
By Yesenia Frausto, Intern, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
Today the Chamber of Commerce is seen as the largest not-for-profit business organization in the world and is still rapidly growing - creating an environment where businesses can thrive and are seen as not only a place to network but also assist in community, education and workforce developments.
The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce consists of businesses, individuals and nonprofits from all type of industries. Small businesses representing the largest segment. “The role of Chambers has changed greatly in the last 20 years, Chambers are no longer viewed as a social organization but as a business advocacy,” said C. Wayne Mitchell, President/CEO, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. “In the past, Chambers were viewed as a social organization where business members would meet with each other for social interaction, but have since grown into being an important part of a chance business marketing strategy.”
The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta based strategic consulting firm surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that a consumer is more likely to purchase goods or services from a company that was a member of a Chamber of Commerce. In fact, 80% of consumers will highly consider to do business with a company in the future if they are Chamber of Commerce members.
This study also found that the more business involvement with the local Chamber of Commerce, the greater the results in implementing and achieving its long-term objectives.
“Today Chamber membership is an investment. Our members expect us to provide network opportunities and we must deliver,” Mitchell said.
The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce offers assistance in keeping business owners ahead and on top of important issues and trends within the community. Benefits offered by the Chamber of Commerce include being involved in the community, building important relationships and effectively marketing a business or organization - increasing the well-being for a stronger local economy.
To fulfill its mission and provide valuable membership benefits, the Nacogdoches County Chamber operates under the leadership of a board of directors chaired by Scarlett Sloane, Smith & Partners Financial Services, LLC.
“I joined the Chamber because I recognize the many ways in which the Chamber can be a great resource for small businesses," Sloane said. “From business development seminars, providing a voice for our members, to networking with other businesses, the Chamber opens up doors and provides resources I would not have access to alone.”
Perhaps the largest networking advantage gained from membership in the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce is participating in a working committee. Committees are grouped under one of the following Nacogdoches County Chamber’s four divisions: Membership Services; Business Development; Community Development; and Special Projects and Fundraisers. Within each division extensive research is made of the community’s needs and a strategic plan is developed.
Attending educational seminars offered by Chamber members will not only introduce you to a diverse group of members but also an opportunity to influence each other with ideas and develop opportunities. These represent how small business can market themselves, gain advice and network. The programs establish assistance on how to be more successful and to effectively use social media and technology as an advancement.
“Our business name is known by so many people in this town and surrounding area because of the exposure Glass Castles receives through our local Chamber of Commerce,” said Teresa Darby, Glass Castles Stained Glass Studio & Gift Shop. “The business we have gained from attending workshops is what has kept our doors open for 35 years and volunteering for our Chamber is a rewarding experience and is greatly appreciated.”
As Nacogdoches is known as the oldest town in Texas and is one of the first Texas Certified Retirement Communities, the Chamber of Commerce is recognized as the main resource center for newcomers, visitors, and businesses seeking information and guidance. The prosperity of each business depends on the growth of the community, as success in the community reflects back to the economic welfare of local business owners.
“I hope in the next year the Chamber can work more cohesively with the other community partners, like the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Main Street, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation and the City of Nacogdoches on common goals to make Nacogdoches even greater than it already is,” said Scarlett Sloane, Smith & Partners Financial Services, LLC.