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What is it called when you know where you want your organization to go and the steps to get there?

Do you know where you're headed? How do you define success? How do know when you've arrived at your destination? 

You might have great clarity around the answers to these questions, but the problem is your board may not. And the bigger problem is that your staff doesn't either! 

I'm working with chamber teams all over the US and Canada and it's pretty clear to me who has a clear mission and who is unclear. Some new folks come into this work and see a mission statement without a strategic plan as an invitation to change the mission. That's when we lose continuity in the chamber. 

If I'm a board member of your chamber, I don't go to one more board meeting unless you provide me with the strategic plan that outlines how we answer the questions I've asked you. 

Where are we headed? How do we measure progress? Who is in charge of what? 

Now when I mentioned strategic plan just now, did you roll you eyes at me? Some people do back flips over the idea of a strategic...

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Who owns your domain?

Who owns your domain name? You know, that URL thing in your browser window up there? Mine is and yours is likely or or something like that. I've been alarmed to learn that you might not have control of your own domain name, which speaks to EITHER a great amount of trust in your website partner, or a great amount of apathy on your part. 

I've built a lot of websites for chambers and other businesses. In fact, when I was learning website development back in 2001, I volunteered to intern for one of our chamber member web companies so that I could better understand the commercial side of web development... all of this while I was still working full time for the Chamber. 

It concerns me when chambers feel that they are being held hostage by their website contractors and it happens more than you think. So I have three simple tips to get control of your own domain. 

  1. go to and type your...

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What's the most important thing in marketing?

There's an old saying that goes something like this: I know half of my marketing works, I just don't know which half! 

Lots of factors contribute to the marketability of your organization and it's offerings. The problem is that you just don't know which is the most important.

Is it the ratio of members to the number of businesses? Is it a great sales team? Great business advocacy or business climate? Could it be an approachable brand or a hip logo? 

Like many of the businesses you serve, the most important thing in marketing isn't any of these things. The most important thing is not a beautiful burger; it's a hungry market. 

But hungry for what? 

Here are three steps to finding out what your market is hungry for: 

  1. Schedule a meeting with a business, member or not. Ask them to tell you about their business and what keeps them up at night.

  2. Take good notes one what keeps them up at night. These are the...

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How can you prioritize the million things you have to do? 

If you want to be the  go-to organization in your business community, you've got to get  things done. The problem is your to-do list is growing faster than you can keep up. You need a system for prioritizing. Here's how you can prioritize like an army general and take command of the demands of your time and attention. 

Check out this handy tool called the Eisenhower Matrix, or the Urgent Important Matrix as it's often called. The Urgent Important Matrix shows you exactly how to prioritize your tasks. For example, tasks that aren't urgent or important shouldn't be done at all... delete it. If it's important but not urgent, you should decide when to do it and schedule it. If it's urgent but not important for you to do it, you can delegate it. And if it meets your criteria for both important and urgent, do it now. 

To build your own urgent-important matrix, follow these simple steps. 

  1. Get yourself a white board or a glass board. I like mine about thirty...

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How can you change the world if you don't know how to...

I've notice that the world is being changed by people just like you. In fact, this world and everything in it was created by people who are not smarter than you are. So you can change the world, but only if you know to sell. 

Oop! I just lost you! You don't like to sell. You don't like people who sell. And you've already made up your mind about this but selling is serving. Selling is influencing. Selling is finding common ground. Selling is having an open mind. 

The world is changing because of people who know how to sell. Maybe not a product or a service, but an idea or a solution. 

Before people buy your product or service, they buy into the transformation in their business or the community. 

If you want to get more sales, I have some tips: 

  1. Learn to negotiate. There are some attorneys who are really good at this but they don't call it sales. It's sales. And read the book by Chris Voss called Never Split the Difference. It's a great book on negotiating.

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Are you sharing information? Or Intelligence? 

Information is everywhere now so what's the value of the information you provide to your members? If information is content, the chamber filter is CONTEXT. 

Context is the timing of the right information from the right source for the right intention. If you have content AND context, you're not sharing information... you're sharing intelligence. 

The problem is you have to consider the circumstances of hundreds or even thousands of members in order to have the right context. What's intelligence for one member could be white noise for another. 

One of the simplest ways to do deliver intelligence is to segment your members by interest. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to ask them about their interest areas in an online survey that logs their responses in your member management system. 

This way, you're sure to never send information about your weekly meetup to the member who wants to partner with you but already told you that they aren't interested in your...

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