01 Mar 2. Benefit
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
The word ‘benefit’ has many different interpretations. In essence, the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition sums up the purpose of our Chamber; “ benefit – somebody to be useful to someone or improve their life in some way”.
The word is in fact derived, as much of our language is, from the Latin ‘benefactum’ meaning ‘good deed’, this, in turn, is from ‘bene facere’ ‘do good (to)’. Benefit!
We currently use the word in varying situations with nuances to the understanding it offers. The state pays benefits to people needing support; this in itself changes guises to suit the political party and temperature of the moment. A well-known altruistic celebrity may put on a ‘benefit’ for the betterment of a charity or cause close to their hearts. Some benefits are the recompense for being a member of a society or assembly.
The benefit of shopping at certain supermarkets is the loyalty card which gains points. If you are savvy enough to remember within the time frame or criteria, you may convert into money off, trips out or a free coffee. The benefits are there but only you can make them work for you.
Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) offers its members tailored benefits to suit businesses. Our website hosts a whole page dedicated to the members’ benefits. Many of our members give back to the group in the form of benefits. Only by joining as a member can you utilise these benefits.
The first of which is in a world where scams are highlighted regularly it is difficult to know which company is safe to use in particular for more vulnerable customers. The state encourages people to stay in their own homes and be independent but there is no guardian angel looking over their shoulders advising where to go for safe traders. Membership of a recognised organisation gives your business clout and authenticity. In turn, that reassurance offers confidence to reach out to a complete stranger to ask them to do the job in hand.
Gillingham Chamber offers a range of networking opportunities to its members. Monthly networking meetings to exchange ideas, get to know other members and meet or be introduced to new clients. Networking by its very nature is not a specific meeting but a widening of your own web of contacts. Through contacts, you nurture new links and through the tips of those often thin, usually invisible threads you weave new customers. Is that not what every business is after?
Networking can take other forms, including events and participation in, occasions such as Race Nights, BBQs, GIG, Next Steps, Quizzes and being part of a wider movement. Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry are affiliated to Dorset Chamber. A source of advice and practical help with business issues. With around 700 businesses and affiliated members, suddenly the web of contacts you cast has increased. With networking events of their own throughout Dorset and cross-county, the opportunities this brings are infinite. Dorset Chamber is in turn accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce.
Stepping back into our own local membership we offer our members a unique combination of free advertising and promotion. Regardless of how much input you give your Chamber membership, our promise to our members is to promote them when we can.
We have found that in combination with the idea that membership gives authenticity you still need to be out in the public domain for people to see and find you. To that end, we publish our online directory. Keeping the directory up to date is an unenviable task much like the painting of the Forth Bridge. No sooner have we finished, and something changes and needs redoing. Members have a responsibility therefore to keep checking their listing, we cannot oversee the changes that might happen in your business, but we can change our directory when we know about them.
We have a comprehensive social media program that includes the promotion of the chamber as an entity and endorses our members as individual companies with contact details of their own. We pass on local titbits of information and we tell you about Dorset Chamber and their news and events. We try to follow our members and repost or retweet their own news.
Most importantly we have delivered our hardcopy directory into homes and businesses across the local area for many years now but as the cost of producing a directory and getting it delivered has proved prohibitive. We are now able to ‘piggyback’ on the local Gillingham & Shaftesbury Guide magazine. They kindly offer us a pull-out section once a year to promote our members. This goes not just to those who happen to follow social media but to local homes.
All members who are registered by March 10th will be included in the 2020 Directory. Many members already take up the opportunity to advertise alongside their listing in the directory at a discounted price. Are you one of them?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly if you wish to advertise and mention you are a chamber member for a discount. Please check the website to make sure our details for you are correct and if not let email@example.com know and we can change them. You will receive a copy of your listing to be placed in the magazine from firstname.lastname@example.org shortly, if you feel there is anything wrong please respond before 10 March.
Promotion and networking are pro-active and membership of an organisation such as Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry is just the start of growing your business. For just £40 per year, your business could be part of something so much bigger. For information on joining download our membership form here.
“Without promotion, something terrible happens ….. Nothing!” PT Barnum