Chambers bring returns on investment

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We received an email at the chamber about a month ago from Jeff Bruce of Exemplar Financial Network in regards to the actual transaction results of The Referral Exchange, one of the Crystal Lake chamber’s network groups he belongs to.

Jeff wrote that in 2012 the group exchanged 248 referrals that resulted in $338,126 in business. That, for those of you who don’t have a calculator handy, averages out to $26,009.69 for each of their 13 members.

Many of you might be thinking that no business can survive doing only $26,000 a year, and you’re probably right. But that is not the point of the article.

Businesses run on numbers such as sales, cost of goods sold, expenses, inventory turns, etc. Numbers are great because they are measurable. Without guessing, you can compare exactly how well sales are doing over last week, last year, how expenses are compared to sales – are they up, down? Another category of numbers used in business is return on investment. ROI measures how effectively a company uses its capital to generate profit; the higher the ROI, the better.

So, figuring that the average chamber member invests about $315 annually for a membership, the return on the investment to get $26,000.00 in sales is about 82.5 percent. That’s right, $82.57 on every dollar they invested in a Crystal Lake Chamber membership. Compare that to the return on a one-year CD of 1 percent (with a $25,000 minimum) or a Treasury at a paltry 0.15 percent return.

Jean Marie Saidler of JMS Consultations once told me that her network group did $1 million – yes with that’s a 1 with 6 zeros behind it – in one day.

But network referral groups are only one of the many ways your business can earn substantial return on your investment and benefit from being a chamber member. Think about the opportunities to be a part of an active local organization, specifically designed to be the voice for business in the community, which boasts over 950 members representing somewhere in the neighborhood of 26,000 employees.

As a business owner, you need to make your capital outlays in areas that will give you the greatest return on your investment. When you add it all up, a membership in the chamber, dollar for dollar, is one of the best investments you can make.

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Tonight join the Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers Rotary at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake, as they host a mixer supporting their annual Western Auction. Join us Jan. 29 for an after-hours multi-chamber mixer with Faith in Action being held at Home State Bank’s Woodstock location, 124 S. Johnson St., Woodstock. Mixers are from 5 to 7p.m. and all Crystal Lake chamber members as well as their guests are invited to attend.

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How would you like to showcase your business in front of 5,000 potential customers?  Well, the 2013 Crystal Lake Home & Business EXPO on March 23 and 24 is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to do just that. Booths are now 75 percent sold out so don’t wait any longer to sign up.

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The Crystal Lake chamber’s annual “State of the Community” luncheon is will be at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 8 at Crystal Lake Country Club. Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, Village of Lakewood President Erin Smith and Prairie Grove President Stanley Duda are scheduled to speak on their forecasts for their communities and the current state of plans within their towns. The entire community is invited to attend this luncheon and be "in the know" about what's happening locally.

• Gary Reece is president of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. Email garyreece@clchamber.com.

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