Return on Investment - ROI
Posted by Bryan Kelley
Return on Investment –ROI
By Bryan Kelley, Valley Automotive Repair
As a chamber board member I often have business people ask me, "Why should I be a part of the Chamber and what is my expected Return on Investment?" I can only answer this question by saying it is more complex than I thought in the beginning, and certainly more than just a calculable monetary return. Perhaps this is because when I started, I had knowledge about auto repair, but little about running a business. Through the chamber I’ve met people with actual business acumen, people that have answered a multitude of questions, people who have fueled my entrepreneurial spirit. It is the contact with the Chamber and its members that have helped clarify the meaning of ROI to me.
As a new business owner I joined the chamber to be involved in the community. I joined other associations including the local Rotary Club. In my mind, that’s what a business owner did. I had much to learn when I started my business, and I still do. I did not know the difficulty in measuring ROI with regard to associations and clubs. I began to evaluate the cost of supporting the different groups I had joined solely on the basis of dollars spent, and started eliminating organizations that did not bring about measurable changes.
But what is measurable? As a business owner how/what do you measure? Do you count how many customers come in your door every month? Do you count how many dollars you generate from that organization? While both of these things are important, I prefer to measure beyond that. I prefer to start with the questions: “What are the goals of the organization? Do they fit you and your business? Specifically, what do you hope to gain?” You may want things such as business knowledge, better marketplace conditions, community involvement, or just a network with other business owners. All of these things are tangible measurements of ROI, but the key is determining which items are most important to you.
While serving the Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, I have learned that support of the Chamber is important. The Chamber supports local business through legislative advocacy at the State level. Locally the Chamber tackles tough issues like the sign code, zoning changes within the city, local transportation concerns, and many other items that require time and effort. While these items are not the glamorous high praise tasks, they are items that allow business to succeed and prosper within the community. When business is allowed to prosper, great philanthropic needs can be met in many organizations throughout our fine communities of Maple Valley and Black Diamond. If these are some of the things you use to measure the ROI of membership in MVBD Chamber, then your return has been excellent.