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Making Connections for Business

Making Connections

The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses thrive on “relationship marketing.” Understanding the long-term value of customer relationships and open communication, the Chamber provides continual opportunities to develop connections with prospective customers and to build a “know, like and trust” relationship that will result in repeat business and additional business referrals.

Networking The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce is distinguished by its frequent, varied and productive networking opportunities. Chamber events, activities and committees help members make important business contacts and develop business relationships. Our membership base ensures that members will meet potential clients, customers and suppliers from businesses of all sizes and types.

“Making connections” is taken seriously by Chamber staff, ambassadors and volunteers who work diligently to connect Chamber members with others who are ideal customers or prospective business partners and collaborators. Visitors and newcomers will find a welcoming presence at Chamber networking events that discourage cliquishness and reflect a culture of friendliness, inclusivity – and fun.

As a Chamber member, you can network in crowds large and small. Some examples of business development opportunities:

• Business After Hours events typically attract 100 to 175 people each month. Business Before Hours, held several times a year, draws 60 to 80 attendees.

• Attendance at breakfast and luncheon programs (including the Groundhog Day Business Forecast Breakfast and Small Business Person of the Year Awards Luncheon) ranges from 50 to more than 150 persons.

• The Combined Chambers Business Expo (a trade fair held collaboratively with three neighboring chambers) and the Chamber’s Health & Fitness Expo each attract several hundred guests, in addition to exhibitors.

• Special events provide additional networking opportunities. The Chamber’s annual Golf Outing attracts 80 to 100 golfers, and Reds, Whites & Desserts, a fundraiser, lures 350 members and guests for wine tasting and auction bargains.

Productive networking can also be accomplished at smaller venues:

• QuickConnect, a “speed networking” or direct sales opportunity that involves 20 to 30 members at a single session, is an easy way to make several new business connections at one time.

• Quarterly breakfast orientations for new members (and new contacts from existing Chamber members) attract 25 to 40 attendees for a “Meet the Chamber” session that offers time to promote members’ businesses.

• Also quarterly, the Get Smart Business Book Discussion Group, a partnership with Worthington Libraries, offers an intimate and friendly setting for 15 to 25 attendees to discuss business books and how the topics apply to their businesses.

• Lunch & Learn seminars and training programs typically involve 25 to 50 members, centering on topics such as marketing strategies, technology, business-building techniques or legislative issues.

• The Chamber’s affiliated subgroups offer prime opportunities to network in smaller crowds and with professionals who may share common interests. Subgroups include the Women’s Business Network, Young Professionals of Worthington, the Small Office/Home Office subgroup and two network referral groups. (See “Customizing Your Chamber Experience” on page 24.)

Volunteering – Another Great Way to Connect Volunteering on a committee or for an event is another easy way to build new business connections, as you join with others to accomplish a task on behalf of the Chamber or the community. Among the many opportunities available for volunteers are:

• Serving as a Chamber Ambassador or member of the member development committee. Ambassadors introduce new members to the Chamber and assist them in taking full advantage of business development opportunities available to them. Together with member development committee members, they make regular contacts with new and existing chamber members, and they assist in recruiting new Chamber members.

• Being a membership recruitment volunteer who serves on the member development committee or who volunteers for half-day shifts at special “call-a-thon” recruitment drives to invite new members to the Chamber.

• Serving as leaders on the board of trustees. (A nominating committee reviews interested persons annually and makes recommendations to the full board for the elections process. Interested persons should contact the Chamber at 888-3040.)

• Membership on the Economic Development & Advocacy Committee that meets monthly with city leaders to hear updates on development and redevelopment and to suggest leads for attracting new businesses to Worthington.

• Assisting with planning and executing special events, including the annual Golf Outing; the Reds, Whites & Desserts wine tasting and auction event; A Taste of Worthington; Community Shred Day; the Chamber’s annual meeting; Old Worthington Market Day; and other fundraisers and programs.

Business Exposure The Chamber helps members build business and brand awareness through a variety of sponsorship, advertising and promotional opportunities. The Chamber staff is happy to discuss the demographics, timing, costs and distinctions of each opportunity to help you select one that best meets your promotional goals and helps you reach target audiences. Sponsorships include promotion on the Chamber’s website and event calendars, in the e-newsletter, in announcements at events, and in press releases and publicity related to programs and events. Many sponsorships also include the opportunity to bring a display and make a presentation from the podium at an event. Some include profiles and advertisements in event programs or banner ads on the website. The Chamber offers sponsorships for:

• hosting Business After Hours or Business Before Hours (host provides food, beverages and door prize)

• the Chamber’s annual meeting luncheon (last attendance 110)

• the Groundhog Day Business Forecast Breakfast (last attendance 175)

• the Small Business Person of the Year Award Luncheon (and other luncheons as scheduled)

• workshops, seminars and Lunch & Learn sessions

• the annual Golf Outing (numerous levels of sponsorship from presenting sponsor to hole sponsorships)

• Reds, Whites & Desserts (typical attendance 350)

• A Taste of Worthington (last attendance 5,000)

• Community Shred Day

• the Health & Fitness Expo

• Old Worthington Market Day (typical attendance 20,000)

• subgroup activities, including year-round sponsorship for Young Professionals of Worthington and the Women’s Business Network

• scholarships for high school students and Leadership Worthington participants

• in-kind contributions of food, products, gift cards and promotional items for auctions, new member and golfer “goodie bags,” and fundraising events

Advertising Opportunities Along with sponsorships, the Chamber offers opportunities to promote your brand through advertising in electronic, Web-based and print materials. They include:

• banner ads on the Chamber’s website on the home page or on key section pages

• “headliner sponsor” and “e-sert” ads in the weekly e-newsletter

• advertisements in event programs (e.g., Reds, Whites & Desserts)

• exhibits at the Combined Chambers Business Expo and the Health & Fitness Expo

• modestly priced options to enhance your online directory listing with a logo, photo, highlighted box, extra key word search, map link, 50-word business description, and additional business categories

• the opportunity to purchase mailing labels to reach Chamber-member businesses with a targeted message

• inclusion of news items in the “Memberanda” section of the e-newsletter

• the opportunity to post a member-to-member discount coupon on the Chamber’s website at no charge

• the opportunity to post a community/business event on the Community Calendar on the Chamber’s website at no charge

Referrals The Chamber makes hundreds of referrals to members, guiding business to your door. Referrals come from:

• your online directory listing on the Chamber’s website (Membership Directory and Business Directory sections) that link prospective customers to members’ websites and contact information

• this community guide and business directory, provided to members, government agencies, community leaders, new and prospective residents/businesses and conference planners, to assist them in purchasing decisions

• daily response by Chamber staff to callers, walk-in customers and others who request information about specific types of business services and products

• your involvement in Chamber activities and promotional opportunities

Cost-Saving Benefits for Chamber Members Insurance and discount programs give Chamber member businesses and their employees the best possible benefits at the most reasonable cost. Among the cost-saving opportunities available to Chamber members are:

idiscounts on group health insurance through the ChamberSaver plan from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. With a full range of innovative, consumer-driven products (HSAs, HRAs and HIAs), as well as Anthem ByDesignTM buy-up plans, Anthem has a plan to fit your needs. Take advantage of the administrative convenience of one-stop shopping for health, prescription, dental, vision, life, disability and employee assistance (behavioral health) benefits. Request a quote at (888) 506-1574 or on the Chamber’s website.

• discounted workers’ compensation premiums through a group-rating program administered by CompManagement. Groups administered by CompManagement can receive discounts ranging from 15 percent to the maximum discount allowed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Contact Rejeana Woolum-Napier (614-359-2403) for a no-cost evaluation to learn if you qualify. On the Chamber’s website, you can download the BWC AC-3 authorization form for Worthington chamber members.

• supplemental insurance through the AFLAC Chamber Plan for voluntary insurance products at the workplace.

• discounts on energy costs through a program offered by local energy supplier Volunteer Energy. Members can save up to 30 percent or more on the costs of commercial electricity and commercial/residential natural gas.

• a 25 percent discount on prepaid annual Constant Contact accounts for email marketing.

• numerous other member-to-member discounts, including coupons and free product offers from member businesses are available on our website.

Professional Development Whether it’s sharing ideas about how to use social networking, learning more about cloud computing, or keeping up-to-date on health care reform, Chamber members can benefit from Chamber workshops and Lunch & Learn programs designed to help them grow their businesses and be successful and well informed. In addition to Chamber-wide Lunch & Learn sessions, the Young Professionals of Worthington (YPoW) subgroup has a bimonthly Lunch Bunch professional development dialogue, and two other subgroups, SOHO and the Women’s Business Network, feature speakers on professional development topics. The Get Smart business book club enriches members through discussions of current books on business topics. Additionally, free consulting services on marketing and business-building also are available through the Chamber staff and members.

Economic Development On behalf of all who work, live and play in Worthington, the Chamber partners with others to support economic vitality and quality of life. The Chamber has developed a strong partnership with the City of Worthington to support members and prospective new companies with business retention, expansion and attraction. The competitive environment in central Ohio makes economic development a top priority for the city and the Chamber. The Chamber has made substantial contributions to support marketing activities to attract businesses to Worthington and retain them here.

Advocacy & Collaborations Through collaborations with governments, schools, libraries and other community groups, the Chamber is the leading voice for business in the area. We actively promote “buy local” principles, free enterprise and creating effective partnerships with government. Our Chamber does not endorse political candidates or partisan issues, but we regularly provide opportunities for members to meet elected officials and candidates for office, encouraging them to learn all sides of an issue and to represent the interests of individual business owners to legislators.

The Chamber conducts occasional forums and Lunch & Learns that invite elected officials to offer updates on current legislation, and we annually conduct a Business After Hours to introduce and thank public servants and elected officials. Working with our community and legislative partners and our members, we seek to ensure that the Worthington area remains a great place to do business.

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