Have you ever had scheduled downtime where you envisioned getting so much done only to find time evaporates before you’ve had a chance to fulfill the goals you had for it? Summer vacation comes to mind as does this crazy COVID time. Maybe you and your chamber board have had some big ideas but not enough time. Maybe now is the time.
Time has a way of flying by and you don’t want to get to the end of COVID without using that time to better position your chamber of commerce for success.
You may be wondering where in the world is your downtime.
You may feel that you’re busier now then you were pre-COVID.
If that’s true, there are some activities you can ask your chamber board to help you with.
Here are a few things they should be doing:
Sharing Social Media Content
Your chamber board members should be some of your top fans. If you are publishing good content they should see sharing your content and providing value to their tribe.
Talking to Businesses about the Chamber
Your board members are most likely community leaders. They probably have a lot of connections among other businesses and are probably well-positioned within the community.
Remind them that when they speak with business owners who are weary and are not sure what direction to move their business that the chamber may be in an ideal position to help them. Encourage the board to share their own stories of struggle with their peers. Then suggest they talk about how the chamber helped them to meet their goals.
Working on Their Position as Thought Leaders
If your board members want to improve their standing in the community, they should think about how they come across online. Are they well known? Do they participate online? What comes up when they search for their name?
If one of the things they want is to become a thought leader, the chamber can help. You can assist with this by lending them the chamber platform. Not only does it help them reach a larger audience, but it also gives you good quality content that you can use from one of your volunteer leaders. This improves everyone’s reputation.
If your board doesn’t have time to write its own thought leadership pieces, you could interview them and write an article on the theme. For instance, you may ask them for COVID recovery tips and create an article of COVID recovery tips from top business leaders in your community.
Becoming a Resource for Struggling Businesses
While it is probably just as easy for your board to refer struggling businesses to the chamber, providing board members with written, auditory, or visual resources that they can circulate in the community can get a lot of notice and make their jobs easier.
They can use the resource to open the door to conversation with a business owner and then start specifically addressing the problems that a particular business has at hand. If they have a story of their own that closely relates, that could be an effective sales tactic.
Another way you can help your board become a resource for struggling businesses is to ensure they are up to date on the talking points of how the chamber can help.
Sometimes long-time board members can forget the ways in which the chamber can assist businesses. There may also be new things you are doing that they are unaware of or aren’t thinking about.
Using Their Chamber Board – and Business – Skills
There is no reason to require the same things of every board member.
Some people are natural connectors while some are marketing gurus. Make sure you know what each one of your board members brings to the table. Then approach them separately about how they can leverage their specific skills to best help the chamber.
Discovering How They Want to Help
In addition to their obvious skills, it helps to have periodic conversations with your chamber board members to find out if there are any areas of interest they have always wanted to explore.
For instance, you may find out that one of your board members wants to expand his or her public speaking role in their own business. If that’s the case, sharing the stage or giving them the opportunity to speak at chamber events may help them with their personal professional goals as well as those of the chamber.
Reviewing the Strategic Plan
If you’ve drafted a strategic plan with your board, it’s probably time to review it. With COVID, it’s difficult to stick to a strategic plan that was drafted prior to this global pandemic. Instead, review what you had planned to do in 2020 and decide how that needs to be modified.
A good course of action is to create a 90-day rolling plan. That means figuring out what the chamber of commerce will do over the next 90 days as opposed to a year to two years.
Creating a Budget
Just as you need to review your strategic plan in light of COVID, reviewing your budget is helpful as well. You may be saving money in certain areas that you can allocate to others where you’re spending more.
It’s important that you look at your needs and decide what should be changed. For instance, you may decide you need to run social media advertising to help bring more people to your virtual events.
Before events started being held virtually, you may never have given a second thought to social media advertising. Maybe you had very visible ways of letting people know about your events.
However, with fewer people going out and making decisions based on what they see daily, you may need to market in a different way.
Explore ways in which things you’ve always done can become more efficient for our new business world.
This COVID pandemic has been a crazy busy time for most chambers as they’ve put together ways to help their community. But no chamber pro should have to go it alone. Your chamber board should already have been comprised of top volunteers. As such, they should be helping you make the most of this time. In most cases, in order to get them to help you simply have to ask and give them a job duty or task.
By: Christina Metcalf