TNNWC Publications And Informational Products Division publishes The National Networker (TNNWC) Weekly Newsletter and The BLUE TUESDAY Report especially for entrepreneurs and early-stage venturers; free weekly subscriptions to these informative publications are available online to all entrepreneurial Members of TNNWC.

Membership in TNNWC is free (it's automatic for any subscriber to any TNNWC Publication) and available at our website. When you arrive there, just click on any of the JOIN US or BECOME a MEMBER buttons or links.

Monday, October 26, 2009

BLUE THING #1: TNNW Surveys, Analyses and Findings

TNNW Surveys, Analyses and Findings


This was the most recent posting of the Survey Question:

Chambers of Commerce have been around since long before the invention of the internet. Originally, were geographically localized groups of business people and professionals in various villages and townships, with each member in a different specialty (and non-competitive area) from the other members. They were also engaged in sponsoring sports, education, charitable causes and community growth and preservation.

Times are changing. Our survey question is a very direct one:

“Do you believe that chambers of commerce are providing value to your business?”

Please take a moment and fill out the survey form below. If it does not appear (because of incompatibility with your browser), just click on and the form will pop up instantly, like a toaster pastry.


Respondents came from a variety of social media populations, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Groups, Twitter, and others. The direct multiple choice responses numbered 58. The total of all responses (inclusive of multiple choice respondents and respondents who did not select a choice but expressed their opinions in verbal form) was 106. 

In terms of the multiple choice respondents, the percentages were as follows:

1) They provide great value             20.83%
2) Occasionally provide value        39.58%
3) Seldom provide value                    27.08%
4) Do not provide any value             12.50%

Expressed as a chart, the responses looked like this:

*The multiple choice responses in category 1 (Provide great value), were representative of approximately 1 in 5 respondents, and are considered to be positive.

*The multiple choice responses in category 4 (Do not provide any value at all), were representative of approximately 1 in 8 respondents, and are considered to be strongly negative.

*The multiple choice responses in category 2 (Occasionally provide value), were the greatest in percentage, and were representative of approximately 2 in 5  respondents, and are considered to be virtually non-responses, i.e., where the individuals surveyed chose the least commital answer, and are neither positive nor negative.

*The multiple choice responses in category 3 (Seldom provide value), were the second greatest in percentage, being representative of approximately 1 in 4 respondents, and are considered to be negative .


If category 2 (indifferent or non-responses) were to be eliminated, it would seem that approximately two times the number of respondents thought negatively about the utility or benefit of Chambers of Commerce as those who thought positively. Your conclusions are your own, but it is apparent that Chambers of Commerce are seen by two out of three "committed" respondents negatively. It would seem that Chambers of Commerce are in need of either a makeover, or much better public relations. The comments which were positive tended to be brief, while the comments which were negative tended to be lengthier, more empassioned, and based upon experiences that specifically created disillusionment or disappointment amongst the respondents. Quantitaive results (statistics) are always useful, but qualitative results (descriptive language, or claims) make for great reading, and tend to provide a great deal of additional insight "behind the numbers."

Selected Comments From Respondents
1.) I would have chosen the first answer, but I have found that CofCs are not consistently good at what they should be doing. There is a big difference from city to city.

2.) My company is a member the local Chamber of Commerce and this has allowed us to procure affordable medical insurance coverage for our employees as well as discounts on services from fellow members. (chose Great)

3.) I have yet to find another organized networking group as effective as Chambers of Commerce.

4.) Chambers of Commerce have the potential to provide excellent networking opportunities, but many don't take advantage of that potential, either because of budget restraints or because of a lack of involvement. Social networking is the rage, but shaking hands and sharing a table have always made the top of my marketing tools list.

5.) In the age of the internet, they are becoming obsolete. At one time, the only way to meet potential new clients was through the local Chamber. Now, it is easier to meet them via the internet. Decision makers whom I need to speak to no longer attend networking Chamber events.

6.) Chambers often have informative and helpful seminars and speakers. They also do have a place, however small, in terms of networking within your local business community. They also offer opportunties to advertise and get your brand out locally.

7.) Chambers have become too focused on large business transactions. Difficult to break through on a smaller level.

8.) Many Chambers are economic develop engines, they oversee industrial parks, and house the local convention and visitors bureaus. These are just a few of the hats that many Chambers wear. To be a useful tool for the business person, the Chamber must stay diverse. That includes using social networking and keeping their members informed about the best tools available for their particular type of business.

9.) It has been my experience that they have many events to meet and pass out cards. However when you bring to their attention that they are in violation of State and Federal Laws, they look the other way and are not interested in helping other members be aware of these new Laws to help reduce the Risk of Liability. The C of C is not acting in Compliance with State or Federal Laws when it comes to Identity Theft.

"We're not interested", "That doesn't pertain to us", "We don't have to participate". When they take NPI and ask for Information that Pertains to the Business and other information like Payroll they are Required to be in Compliance required by the Doctrine and Laws of The United States.

I met many people in the C of C but it really did not generate much business for me in my business.

10.) I find that it depends on the Chamber of Commerce. Some cities are more proactive and will extend themselves the extra mile to help you; others are more lackluster and it seems staffed with those less than enthusiastic about their job.

In general, my feeling is that there is a need for the personal touch of a good Chamber of Commerce. It can help your business tremendously.

11.) I have not felt that Chambers have served my interests in the past. But there are a number of old well established associations that are driven more about the associations (inner circle's interests) and not primarily the members interests.

12.) Like any networking opportunity, Chambers of Commerce are only as good a venue as we make them.

13.) Being a chamber has been a great value to my company. But you must put forth an effort to see results.

14.) My computer gets me to your front page but then says the website is no good and takes me out. I should try it from the email you sent me or on my office computer, and maybe I'll get different results. I still think chambers of commerce have value, but I tried to get my local one to think globally, without success.

15.) I think Chambers of Commerce still play its significant roles in current business, but the point is, traditional way, CoC look like a luxury segment, not many person can be involved. in age of internet, with social media, CoC can expand its community into online world, and also more interactive between members, and get wider circle of the member........

16.) I am an accountant in Chicago . At one time, I was a member of several Chambers of Commerce located near my office. I had negative experiences with every Chamber of Commerce I was a member of. I served as a board member on two Chambers of Commerce, as well as being the accountant for one Chamber of Commerce (for about one year). Even though I was very active in each of the Chambers of Commerce (attending all monthly meetings and all events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce), it seems they were not interested in helping businesses to network with each other, or in helping the business(es) to grow and help the community/neighborhoods to thrive. They never referred new businesses (or residents to the area) to me. They never asked me to speak, even though I asked them many times for an opportunity to speak on many topics (accounting, income taxes, QuickBooks training, etc.). I have not been involved with, nor have I been a member of a Chamber of Commerce, for the past 5 years. I will not join another Chamber of Commerce.

17.) I have found them to be a waste of time; and I've joined and have actively networked, took people out for coffee, and referred folks to many of their members.

18.) I have sent releases to few CofC with a request to inform their members (travel biz) about an opportunity to get free advtg, mktg and promo at results from these

19.) I see Chamber of Commerce as part of the problem instead of being any part of the solution ("Value"). They have always been about large corporations and politics ("Good Ole Boys") instead of the advocates for Small Business owners. Our local Chamber is so "Un-Transparent" that without LinkedIn I never would have discovered that they have an executive assistant on staff that has a job (Part Time?) in the same profession that I have invested in for over 25+ years. Competition has never bothered me,but, when I invest money in a "networking" system that has staff in direct competition it is hard to see any reason why I would want be involved. Plenty of networking venues and activities are available, so, I have made the choice to not to invest any time or money in Chamber of Commerce.

20.) Focus on chambers is big business, usually with big per event prices, that are unaffordable for the majority of their members who are small business owners. If your revenue is from business to retail then you may realize a greater return. However if you are B2B, then this becomes a profit drain as very few CEO's attend chamber events. The value is how well you get to your decision maker without having to invest a lot of time with no results. (chose Occasional)

21.) Chambers work best if you have needs to buy as well as to sell, and if your product or service is easy to understand and relatively inexpensive (in time and trust as well as money) to purchase. Florists, auto mechanics, etc. do better than financial planners or consultants. The biggest bet my area chambers are missing is the advocacy role - they are not advocating for their members in the community or in government affairs nearly to the degree they could. Chambers need to be more than just another networking/leads group. If they're not, they're going to lose members to groups like BNI or Le Tip that do that job much more effectively.

22.) I HATE the political and financial Corruption at the US Chamber!--they're board members are engaging in Fraud and criminal activities meriting a FBI investigation.

23.) They would not let me, a member advertise my services as they conflict with another of their departments! I am supposed to have an account manager who has only contacted me to see if I would spend more money with them to have a banner but not an adver in their newsletter. There has been no other attempt at contacting me to see if there is anything they can do to help me get the most out of my membership.
Networking is old hat, with them. Attend, handout as many business cards as possible and hope for the best. This never works, I only take cards from people I know I can do business with or I know someone I can pass the card on to.

24.) I just recently joined our local Chamber of Commerce and tomorrow am attending the Expo they put on yearly. I must only attend as it was $450 to have a booth on top of the $250 I paid to join. Other things I could participate in - pay around $100 or so each month to print my own flyers for them to distribute, pay $30 in order to have my website be a live link on their website, pay $300 to have my logo be a live link, pay for workshops... well, you get the picture. Not sure exactly what I'm getting for my original $250. But I do wonder if the $250 would have been better spent on regular advertising? I'm really hoping to find that I'm eating my words a year from now and this is a community networking boon, but thus far, I'm not too sure.

25.) I have been involved in 3 Chambers of Commerce located near my business. I never received anything of value from any of the Chambers, even though I was on the Board of Directors of 2 of them. They were not actively trying to help businesses, nor were they having meaningful monthly meetings. One Chamber went from having regular monthly meetings that lasted about 90 minutes to now having monthly meetings that last less than 30 minutes - totally useless and a waste of time in my opinion.

26.) I am a member of my local chamber of commerce and my observation after 4 months of membership is that chambers benefit large organizations or groups with a special interests: 1) law practices, 2) insurance companies, 3) banks, 4) advertising and public relations companies. These are all organizations that contribute to the highest level of membership ($$$). Chambers completely ignore small business, especially companies with fewer that 5 employees that don't have the budget to be a top tier member.

27.) I am a firm believer in Chambers. Part of building trust is by experience. People get to know you and refer you to their clients based on their interactions with you at Chamber events. It takes time. Blend your Chamber activities with internet networking and you can really start building business momentum that you would not have been able to do in years past. I see the two, Chamber and Internet, as critical networking tools. One does not replace the need for the other.

28.) There is plenty of social opportunities and networking with local business owners. A great way to get known in your community. But, the business model seems to be, "buy your customers." You buy products and services from your fellow members, and they will buy from you. This the way to prove you are for-real and to be trusted. Be ready for an investment in time, services and products.

29.) Sadly, it appears the Chamber is quickly becoming simply a funding source and lobbying tool for the extreme right wing. Many local Chambers do some wonderful things, but it would be nice if the dues made payment for these right wing ad campaigns and lobbying optional.
Maybe it should be free to be a member and make any payment optional? Minimally, they should really have a major dues reduction as so many business' are hurting now.

TNNW would like to thank each and every one of the individuals who participated in this Survey. We greatly appreciate your time, consideration and insights. Our hope is that the results of this Survey will be of benefit to 1) persons contemplating membership in Chambers of Commerce, and 2) the Chambers of Commerce throughout the United states, at every level. The information provided by this Survey is merely reading material if it is not utilized as a decisionmaking tool and a call to action on the part of the recipients of this Newsletter.

  • They allow for individuals to vote, to express themselves and to braodcast their views;
  • They allow for individuals to gauge what others are thinking, feeling, doing and experiencing;
  • They provide valuable information which can be utilized for decisionmaking purposes, and for improving the prospects of personal and professional success for all of our Subscribers, and all of the other readers.
Express your views. Listen to what others have to say. Make better-informed choices.

TNNW SURVEY # 4 will be coming out in the next weekly Newsletter issue. And no, we're not giving out any hints. Well, perhaps one ... if you are reading this and you do not already have your free subscription to THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter, click on to receive your subscription. Subscribe now...don't make me stop this car...


Douglas Castle (

Published by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter. All rights reserved. Subscribe Free - Click HERE.
The National Networker Companies
Forward/Share This Article With Colleagues And Social Media:

No comments:

Blog Archive

BNI News Feed

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


Site Credits:

Featured in Alltop
ALLTOP Business
News Wire. HOT.
Cool Javascript codes for websites  Fabulous Free Calendars

Create FREE graphics at