What other businesses can learn from the successes of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce
by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on June 29th, 2016

By Jay Toll I Phoenix Business Journal

​Engagement, relationships and outreach.

These three strategies are paying off for the Glendale Chamber of Commerce with increased membership growth.

The chamber recently added its 1,000th member and the milestone is a result of the chamber’s relevance to the business community, said Robert Heidt, president and CEO of the organization.

The reasons for its growth are a road map for expanding any business customer base.

“Some people think that the chamber and city have an adversarial relationship,” Heidt said. “This is not the case. The chamber’s relationship with the city is stronger than it has ever been.”

The chamber’s top executive said three organization initiatives are among the main reasons the membership has grown significantly.

“It’s about personal relationships for us,” Heidt said. “As an industry, chambers have become too transactional, we’ve returned our focus to personal relationship-building.”

Heidt, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and city Economic Development Director Brian Friedman have been making the rounds of Glendale businesses, dozens of businesses of all sizes.

“Businesses we visit are telling me that this is the first time that a chamber or city representative has stopped by without an agenda,” he said. “We’re just there to listen and learn. We want to find out the problems businesses are facing.”

The focus of this initiative is on business retention and attraction, and Heidt said the chamber is trying to nail down business challenges and opportunities.

Customer involvement is another big factor in the chamber’s growth.

“We’ve increased our member volunteer opportunities,” said Heidt. “It builds a stronger sense of community. New members say that they feel very welcome and are interested in participating in the chamber because of this program.”

The Glendale Chamber has upped its game on networking opportunities.

“Attendance is increasing exponentially to these events,” Heidt said.

The third factor, Heidt believes, behind new members’ interest in joining is the policy committee.

“We’re engaging in policy discussions at the city level,” he said. “We’re also collaborating with other chambers in addressing statewide issues at the legislature.”

Businesses appreciate being kept informed of the policy and legislative efforts, an ongoing outreach the chamber initiated for its members.

“We were never involved in this before,” said Heidt. “It has been a big success in member retention by keeping businesses informed about what’s important on the policy level."

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