GS Logo
The Green Sheet, Inc

Please Log in

A Thing
Issue 02:10:01

Americans Are Writing Fewer Checks, But They're Still Writing Lots of Checks
By Patti Murphy

ISO Governance
By Jay MacDonald
Reprinted with permission from Transaction Trends, July 2002 issue

Company Profiles



Resource Finance Co.


CEO Wimsett Resigns from NPC

What is Australian for 'Big-Time Clout?'

RDM Corp. Files Suit against Ingenico

Q2 Economic Growth Stronger than Expected

Do the Wash with the Web

New Products

A Snappy, Colorful Sell for ISOs

Credit Card Processing from a Desktop

It's All in the Wrist (Band)


Leading the Way

How to Conquer Commitment Phobia




Resource Guide


Be a Civic Booster and Boost Your Business Profile

As ISOs, in the course of a normal business day, you deal with merchants, shopkeepers, bankers and various members of the business community. Most likely, they're also members of the chamber of commerce. Are you?

Chambers of commerce represent all business needs in communities. Speaking as one voice for diverse members, chambers offer a broader base and economic framework than individual businesses or politicians could. They often are the primary source for businesses and individuals seeking information on business climates.

Chambers provide bottom-line programs for businesses large and small. They fight for pro-business legislation and form public and private alliances. Chambers address economic issues and provide leadership in civil and social programming, health care concerns, education and crime prevention - anything that might have an impact on the overall business climate.

Store owners, businesspeople and professionals think it makes sense, so why shouldn't independent salespeople consider becoming members of their chamber of commerce, too?

The most obvious reason for joining is the networking opportunities membership provides. At social events and weekly or monthly meetings, you have the chance to talk shop with the people you do business with and introduce yourself to those you'd like to be doing business with.

Joining the chamber of commerce also gives members the chance to make a difference in how business gets done. Along with benefits like training workshops, business referrals and savings and discounts on insurance and services, chambers lobby in local, state and national governments on behalf of their members' interests.

Chambers of commerce exist to promote area businesses and organizations at the local metropolitan and regional levels. There are 50 state chambers and one national chamber of commerce, promoting and advocating for their members in state and federal governments. In between all of these are various organizations formed to focus on businesses for specific groups, international chambers and even for e-businesses on the Web. J.P. Moery is Vice President of Federation Relations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. He explained that his organization mainly serves a lobbying function at the federal level.

"The National Chamber was founded in 1912 and is the largest business federation in the world. We work in the national and international marketplaces. We are an advocacy organization, dealing with regulatory issues like lowering taxes, etc.," he said.

U.S. Chamber-sponsored programs cover topics to help members educate themselves and their employees and do business smarter. Resources include the National Chamber Litigation Center (the Chamber's own law firm), The Center for International Private Enterprise (to train future business leaders in emerging countries), The Center for Corporate Citizenship (develops policies and showcases positive corporate achievements) and the Institute for Organization Management.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has nine regional offices throughout the country to focus on political work in each area. There are 300 people working at the U.S. Chamber, including a field staff of reps who sell memberships to businesses, Moery said.

Moery said ISOs - or any business, for that matter - should consider joining their local chambers as well as participating in the state and national chambers. According to Moery, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has 100,000 members and reaches more than 3 million businesses and associations.

"Our members range from the largest Fortune 500 companies to shops on Main Street, and include a number of salespeople," he said. "Local and state chambers can join, too. We serve as a lobbyist at the federal level for our entire membership roster.

"But at the local level, the networking opportunities are really great. You'll meet people and come into contact with organizations you'll do business with. That's why chambers are formed.

"The free-enterprise system is based on this grass-roots level of involvement."

The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce in Northern California, for example, has nearly 1,500 members (the city's population is 150,000), covering the spectrum of businesses and organizations in the area. At the regional level, publicity and marketing efforts are geared toward people in the same community - referrals to other member organizations are one of the best reasons for joining the Chamber.

Janet Rogers, Director of Special Events, Communications and Membership for the Santa Rosa Chamber, said that even though people usually associate networking opportunities with chamber membership, there also are additional perks to joining, including benefiting from their involvement in local government. The Santa Rosa Chamber, like the U.S. Chamber, serves as a legislative advocate, promoting the business interests of its members on the state, national and (especially) local levels.

"Many people aren't aware of the work we do to promote local business and of our involvement with the city council and county government," Rogers said.

There are 48 committees and task forces within the Santa Rosa Chamber that let members become active and be heard in improving and promoting business in the region. The Santa Rosa Chamber organizes 70 business and social events a year, such as breakfast meetings and after-hours receptions; conducts employee-training workshops on customer service, organizational skills, telephone skills and marketing; and offers discounts on business insurance, long-distance rates and health care.

For ISOs, joining a chamber of commerce at any level, whether local, state or national, makes sense. Promote yourself and the business services you can provide your fellow members. Get involved and make a difference in your community.

Enjoy Our Other Services:

GSQ Online
Retail Business Merchant Mall
Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.