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A Dozen Reasons Why companies should invest in a Chamber of Commerce membership

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

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In some European countries, a Business Chamber, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or board of trade, is subsidised by Government and membership is compulsory. In South Africa, this is not the case and 60% of the business community doesn’t belong to a Chamber.

Most Chambers are indeed struggling to survive financially, as membership and interest are dwindling. This could be due to internal politics, no remuneration for dedicated staff, as well as low value for membership fees.

However, there are some Chambers or other voluntary business associations which ensure that their organisation is operating profitable, so that the required expertise may be employed in market-related remuneration packages. Although they remain NPO’s they establish services providing experts business entities to provide the required amenities to their members who operates under their control, each for their own profit.

It is not what you know but who you know The East Rand Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ERCOC) is such a Chamber and here are twelve reasons why you should invest in a membership with them.

1. Lack of credibility

Association or membership with business chambers projects and creates business confidence.

The age-old slogan of”... it’s not what you know but whom you know” is still very relevant.

So if increased credibility will increase sales you should join a service-providing Chamber.

2. The need for a business plan and budgets

The service provider of the East Rand Chamber, Chamberlink employ’s the expertise to provide members free of charge with assistance in budget forecasts as well as providing professional assistance in the preparation of your business plans.

Labour relations and CCMA representation

3. Legal compliance with all Government requirements, regularities and laws.

The exposure and personal risk of business owners in South Africa are extremely high and business entities should be mindful and aware of OHS Laws as well as Labour laws. BBBEE fronting is a serious offence and could cost a perpetrator R500, 000.00 or jail time.

Membership with a professional service-providing chamber like the East Rand chamber will ensure your legal compliance with all the required acts and laws by presenting you with;

a. Labour relations consultancy and representation at the CCMA and bargaining councils.

b. B-BBEE Consultancy and Verification as well as providing you with workable solutions and documentation when entering black ownership negotiations.

c. OHS Training to minimize exposure of possible claims against management and owners who remains personally responsible, in their private capacity should negligence be corroborated.

4. Not capable of providing staff training

Not only do you score points on your BEE certificate when providing in-house training but productivity also increases as the level of intelligence and efficiency increases. The Chamber Academy provides Chamber member companies and their staff access to 640 Plus internet courses as each membership qualifies for one seat in the academy.

5. Lack of sales leads

The buying process has changed from printed media to the internet and now starts with Google. If your responsive and modern webpage is not on the first page you will not receive the enquiry.

10 Initial Chamber members will be benefiting from a 90% Chamber of Commerce subsidy on their very, very effective inbound marketing strategy to assist members in the establishment of an inbound marketing department. As there is not enough space in this article to justify this wonderful opportunity please follow this string to the website of ERCOC.

Please be informed that although we are extending this offer to only 10 members a regular repeat of this offer will be made available as soon as the first 10 have been established.

6. Lack of debtor control due to high legal costs.

We are all aware that access to the magisterial courts in the new South Africa is at its limits, and if you are seeking judgement against defaulting debtors your claim better be greater than R40, 000.00 or the legal costs will nullify the success in 5 years.

The Chamber with the assistance of the well-known Nigel attorneys Kruger and Okes formed the East Rand Commercial arbitration board, and if your conditions of sale or purchase include an arbitration clause you can now, for one-tenth of the costs finalise your claim of any amount within a short a period as three weeks. The finding of this Arbitration board can then be made a judgement of a court of law and is just as effective as a judgement obtained in a normal court.

7. In need of a professional internet marketing team

Hublink IBM(PTY) Ltd as a subsidiary of Chamberlink, the sole service provider of the East Rand Chamber employs professional web designers as well as qualified internet and social media experts. As a valued Chamber member you will access these services at greatly reduced prices.

All the efforts of inbound marketing, Google-add words and pay-per-click costs will be wasted if your website is not designed correctly and is not responsive to function properly on all electronic devices. A professional website is included in your initial joining fee and you will also receive as many email addresses as required as part and parcel of your membership

8. In need of exposure and advertising in the electronic media

Each paid-up member of the Chamber receives the opportunity once a month to advertise their company and products in the Chamber bulletin as part of their membership fee. The Chamber bulletin is sent electronically to all 345 Chamber members as well as 1500 additional subscribers. The space allocated for each member is one A4 page. The cost of this advertising is R450 per A4 page to non-members. The statistics from our website visitors indicate an additional hit rate of 500 visits over and above the normal email campaign visitors.

9. Lack of exposure to social media.

It is simply a must for every business to be properly presented on all social media today. Not being visible on social media is like having a shop with frosted glass showroom windows and no door in an extremely busy mall. All Chamber members that pay for the Inbound Marketing membership package receive this service as included in the cost of membership.

10. Need for funding and financial assistance.

Venture capital in South Africa is an extremely rare commodity and although the Chamber has no access to such funds, however, assistance with applications complete with budgets and forecasts as well as properly prepared business plans is part of normal membership privileges.

11. Representation at municipal and government departments.

As an affiliate of the SBI formally the AHI, the East Rand Chamber of Commerce are always indirectly involved with negotiations with the government on issues of B-BBEE and labour relations.

12. Representation and assistance with obtaining tenders from the government and private sector.

The Chamber has on numerous occasions successfully accompanied and represented members in negotiations of unfair BBBEE claims of non-compliance to especially black ownership requirements by ESKOM, Rand Water Board, Spoornet and many local authorities.

Don’t delay, join ERCOC today!

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