Friday, February 28, 2020

The importance of a commercial real estate broker being connected to the business community

By Larry Eliason

Commercial real estate brokerage is about the numbers such as income and expenses, the leases in place, return on investment, the zoning, permitted uses and the bricks and mortar as well as the location.  It is also very much a people business.  To be successful, a commercial broker should stay connected to clients and customers, existing as well as potential new ones.

One of my favorite ways to stay connected in my business community is through my membership and board affiliation with the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. I have been a member for several years and enjoy volunteering and also receive a wide range of benefits.  So, I would like to share what the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce has to offer.

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, representing the towns of Casco, Gray, Limerick, Limington, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham is one of the most active chambers in the State of Maine.  It is comprised of business members ranging from young entrepreneurs and ‘mom & pop’ shops to the largest employers in our region.

Tourism is one of the largest industries in our scenic region. Windham, Raymond and surrounding communities are a top vacation destination in Western Maine. The Chamber constantly promotes our region and recommends our businesses to visitors through special events, trade publications, information centers, the internet, and by phone and mail.

So, how can your business benefit from the chamber?  The benefits listed below are included with a membership. Consider these advantages as a return on your investment!

The chamber is a collective voice for local business in municipal and government affairs. And, the chamber membership and board are actively engaged in economic development and legislative issues that affect the quality of life and the business climate in our region.

Access to membership lists and marketing leads are a great way to target regional customers. The chamber maintains data on over 300 businesses in the Lakes Region.

By having your website business listing with business description and link displayed on the Chamber’s online business search directory your display is seen by hundreds of potential customers each month, generating sales and/or brand recognition.

The Regional Guide Listing provides a business description and contact info displayed in 12,000 of our printed guides used by tourists, locals and businesses as a reference for regional services, recreation etc. It is also viewable on the chamber’s website!

A professional leads group only for chamber members meets once a month to specifically discuss and share leads with no added fee and no strict parameters. One industry is represented in each group.
Customer inquiries and referrals come into the Chamber, about 2,000 information and referral requests each and every year, and the Chamber only refers Chamber members.

Ribbon cutting events provide an event where town officials, chamber staff and chamber ambassadors celebrate your business. Ribbon cuttings are prominently displayed in the chamber newsletter seen by over 400 contacts. The chamber will also post the photo on our Facebook page which averages hundreds of views!

The monthly “Business Breaks” open up business networking opportunities with the potential to meet dozens of new contacts (or reconnect with old). Learn about other chamber members while marketing your business in a fun social setting.

The chamber gives people an easy way to be part of a collective voice and to participate in something larger than themselves and their respective organizations. The chamber offers a sense of purpose through a united voice involving mutual interests and opportunities.  The chamber is at the table representing the interests of business at most community functions including local government, economic development, and education.

The chamber holds an annual meeting each January. This event is one of the community’s largest business events. The event sets the tone and spirit of the chamber initiatives for the remainder of the year. In addition, the chamber bestows some of its most prestigious awards at this event.

Compared to other businesses, chamber members are believed to have better visibility and strive to use better business practices. They have a better reputation within their community.  Members have greater visibility among customers and are perceived as more caring towards their customers. They are seen as more supportive of their community. Chamber members are considered to be more stable and therefore more reliable.

An innovative collaboration between the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine has enabled small businesses (groups 2-50 and self-employed) across the state to purchase health plans which were previously only available to larger employer.  Learn more about Chamber Blue Options or call 1-800-541-4

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