Variety of Affordable Online Business Courses Now Available for Association Members

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1 volume 39 number 10 october 2008 october 2008 page 1 Variety of Affordable Online Business Courses Now Available for Association Members More than 100 online business training courses are available now to W.A.C.E. members through an association partnership with a leading management development firm. For years, many association and chamber leaders have been saying that we need to run chambers of commerce more like a business, said W.A.C.E. President Dave Kilby. Now, in addition to the more chamber-specific training that we offer at our annual conference, Academy and via webinars, our members can have access to online business courses at an affordable price, Kilby said. Courses The SkillSoft online courses, available through Wilcox, Miller & Nelson, cover specifics within such broad topics as: l Business Law; l Strategic Planning; l Strategic Management; l Finance, Human Resources and Administration; l Management and Leadership; l Desktop Skills; and commentary... 2 leader to leader membership retention survey... 4 l Decision-Making and Problem Solving The W.A.C.E. member price of $200 entitles the registrant to sign up for up to five courses. All courses can be taken at any time that is convenient to members, 24/7. Members must complete the courses by the end of August Successful completion of these online training courses has been approved for Accredited Chamber Executive (ACE) designation points and Academy graduation credits. Chambers: In the past year, membership retention has: 21% 39% 46% 31% 37% 38% Registration To start the registration process, members must identify at least one initial course they would like to take. A complete list of the online business courses is available at the W.A.C.E. home page (www.waceonline.com) under the What s New heading. Course listings include an overview/ description, target audience, expected duration and course objectives. 47% 24% 14% W.A.C.E. academy: by the numbers opinion poll... 6 chamber tip of the month... 7 Improved 1% 2% Stayed the same Gotten worse Unknown chambers/executives in the news... 8 Meeting Dates... 8 Source: 2008 W.A.C.E. Membership Retention Survey

2 page 2 october 2008 commentary Key Methodologies Produce Foundation for Strategic Chamber Environment Leigh Nixon W.A.C.E. Officers Chairman of the Board Wayne Griffin, ACE Catalina Island (CA) Chamber/Visitors Bureau (310) l Chairman-Elect Diane Schwenke Grand Junction Area (CO) Chamber (970) l Vice Chairman Debbie Moreno, ACE Greater Bakersfield (CA) Chamber (661) l Vice Chairman Betty Nokes Bellevue (WA) Chamber (425) l Vice Chairman Cynthia Roth, ACE Greater Riverside (CA) Chambers (951) l Immediate Past Chairman Kara Kelley, ACE Las Vegas (NV) Chamber (702) l To build and execute a breakthrough strategic environment for your chamber, you must develop a unique set of processes and methodologies to ensure that your Published by: Western Association of Chamber Executives, P.O. Box 1736, Sacramento, CA (916) , Fax (916) Website: strategies deliver the business results you really want. The devil is in the details. Even a great strategic plan can be destroyed by poor implementation. Successful implementation requires an understanding of the big picture, as well as all the sequential steps that lead to it. Before your team brainstorms ideas, make sure team members have a full understanding of your business goals, strengths and challenges. Then, work to link those goals to a breakthrough communication plan. There are four distinct areas to consider when putting together strategic goals: Strategic Capabilities l Conceptualize the strategic environment We begin our strategic planning process with two tools: An environmental scan of our community and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analysis. The environmental scan gives us a good overview of every piece of our community puzzle, from demographics to knowing how much rainfall we receive in a year. The SWOT exercise gives us the balance of information we need to fill in the rest of the puzzle. Once we have done these two exercises, we are ready to begin our strategic decision-making. Chairman s Circle Platinum Members Village Profile Citslinc International Inc. Gold Members Century Publishing ChamberWebLink Sempra Energy Strategic Decision-Making Strategic decision-making is a way of understanding the fundamental drivers of a chamber and rigorously/playfully challenging traditional thinking about them while in conversation with others. l Leadership Using the company s strengths from the SWOT Analysis, focus on developing opportunities to create value by enabling creative discussion among people who can affect your chamber s direction. Good strategic thinking uncovers potential opportunities for creating value about your chamber s benefits and programs is vital so that when the plan is created, it targets these opportunities. l Strategizers large companies. Use targeting to identify your most valuable and most grow-able members and drive the optimization of your marketing expenditures. Typically, 20 percent of your members provide 80 percent of your margin. Get these valuable resources to the table toprovide input toward your strategic plan. Customer Focus What do we consider when strategically thinking about customer See Commentary: Page 7 The Chairman s Circle is a special group of members that have committed to support W.A.C.E. through sponsorships. If your business would like to become a member of the Chairman s Circle, please contact Dave Kilby, W.A.C.E. president and chief executive officer, at (916) or

3 october 2008 page 3 leader to leader Unique Advertising Programs, Open Dialogue Among Keys to Retention in Down Economy Surveys from various chambers seem to indicate that the state of the current economy is weighing heavily on many of your businesses. Identify one thing that your chamber is doing right now to help businesses survive and thrive in this tough economy. (Editor s Note: This question will be addressed over the next two issues, given the economic issues facing the country. Chambers that showed above-average retention rates in the W.A.C.E. Membership Retention Survey are being asked for their feedback.) Douglas Kurkul Chief Executive Officer Greater Reno- Sparks (NV) Chamber One reason that new member recruitment at the Reno-Sparks Chamber has doubled and retention has improved sharply, despite the slow economy this year, is that the chamber increasingly recognizes that every member and prospect is different, with unique business objectives. We are encouraging our nearly 1,500 members to discuss their business objectives with us. To ensure outstanding member service, the chamber nearly tripled the base pay for member representa tives (who also are eligible for commission by growing their geographic territory) in order to attract two high-caliber member reps who speak the language of business and have business ownership experience themselves. By increasing the quality of staff contact with local businesses, the chamber is better able to help members address unique business challenges and leverage available business resources. This focus on meeting unique member needs is working well. In addition to the greatly improved recruitment and retention numbers, a recent membership survey found that 79 percent of members have a more favorable impression of the chamber compared to one year ago. Sonnie Faires President/Chief Executive Officer Upland (CA) Chamber We use Survive, Thrive & Grow in presenting our cooperative marketing/ advertising campaign in partnership with the city of Upland. About 18 months ago we approached the city with an idea for them to participate with the chamber to market the Upland business community as a financial partner while the chamber would be the promotional/marketing partner. We worked with an advertising agency and committee from the chamber and city to create and finalize a complete campaign. The first launch was at our State of the City luncheon in March. We are currently in the sales/presentation portion of the campaign, which is going very well. We have cooperative packages with costs for chamber members and nonmembers; however, any non-member that is interested to date, has joined the chamber. This campaign has a three to five-year life span. It is exciting, vibrant and entirely new for our community. It includes an educational piece for our consumers; eye-popping graphics; a website and the opportunity to advertise in full-page, four-color ads in print with wide distribution. Cable TV advertising opportunities also are available. We already have produced green shopping bags, pins that incorporate the color palette, window decals, counter cards and transit ads. The list goes on. The city and the chamber are reaching out to our entire business community in a very unique and exceptional way. We want to promote our businesses (more than ever) and drive customers to their door. Jennifer Wesselhoff President/Chief Executive Officer Sedona (AZ) Chamber We instituted a new and not-sonew member orientation program to give an overview of the entire chamber programs and benefits to ensure that our businesses are using the chamber s resources to the fullest. We ve also implemented some additional exposure opportunities, such as testimonials featured in our newsletter and online. We videotape members who are willing to give a testimonial about our services and feature them with a link to their bus iness website it s free exposure for our businesses and it helps sell the benefits of the chamber. It s a win-win. Rick Winsman President/Chief Executive Officer Kelso-Longview (WA) Chamber Three years ago, the chamber created a strategic plan that carried out five years. When the economy started to go soft, we evaluated that plan and made a conscious decision to maintain the program. The goals and objectives we established were still valid and the action plans still relevant. We continue to provide frontline training to our member companies so their staff has a competitive edge over those who do have such skill sets. See Leader: Page 7

4 page 4 october 2008 membership retention survey Economic Woes Pose Retention, Recruitment Challenges; Statistics Mirror Post-9/11 Slump Challenges in the economy are having an impact on chamber membership retention and recruitment efforts. Chambers throughout the West experienced a significant increase in cancellation rates from 2007, according to the most recent W.A.C.E. membership retention survey. In fact, the percentages looked very similar to the early 1990s. The average cancellation rate for all chambers responding is 17.2 percent (compared to 15.1 percent in 2007 and 18.4 percent in 1993). The average cancellation rate for small chambers (fewer than 500 members) is 14.4 percent (12.1 percent in 2007 and 14.1 percent in 1993); for medium chambers ( members), 18.4 percent (16.2 percent in 2007 and 20.4 percent in 1993); and for large chambers (1,000 plus members), 19.7 percent (17.5 percent in 2007 and 22.6 percent in 1993). Southern California experienced the highest level of cancellation rates (19.2 percent) compared to 16.1 percent in Northern California and the Western states outside of California. Increasing Challenges Of all the chambers reporting, 47 percent said that retention had gotten worse for the last year, compared to 24 percent in 2007 and 45 percent in Twenty-one percent of chambers said that retention had improved, compared to 39 percent in 2007 and 19 percent in Membership recruitment and overall membership growth experienced some challenges. Forty-one percent of chambers responding said that membership recruitment had improved in 2008, compared to 56 percent in 2007 and 61 percent in Twenty percent of chambers said that recruitment had gotten worse, compared to 13 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in Overall, 43 percent of chambers indicated that total member ship had increased from 2007 to 2008 (compared to 61 percent from 2006 to 2007 and 71 percent from 2005 to 2006). Membership dues account for an average of 39 percent of a chamber s total income, compared to 40 percent in 2007 and 39 percent in Membership dues in small chambers represent 35 percent of total revenues (compared to 33 percent in 2007). In medium chambers, it is 42 percent (same in 2007) and in large chambers, it is 42 percent (compared to 48 percent in 2007). Base Dues We asked chambers what their base investment rate is for a one to two-person company. The average base rate for all chambers is $243, compared to $237 in The highest base dues reported is $575 and the lowest base dues reported is $25. Eighteen percent of chambers responding have a tiered dues schedule and their average base for all chambers is $565. The highest dues reported under a tiered schedule were $5,000 and the lowest amount was $65. Ratio of Businesses to Total Businesses There was a slight increase in the ratio of chamber members to total businesses in the city where a chamber is located. All chambers showed an average ratio of 30 percent members to total businesses (compared to 28 percent in 2007). Small chambers showed a ratio of 39 percent (compared to 38 percent in 2007); medium chambers showed a ratio of 26 percent (same in 2007); and large chambers showed a ratio of 22 percent (compared to 18 percent in 2007). Overall, chambers are experiencing major challenges related to retention and recruitment. Many of the numbers mirror those seen in the early 1990s as well as immediately after September 11, Cancellation Rates by Size of Chamber All Chambers 17.2% 15.1% 14.8% 15.1% 16.2% 15.6% 16.6% 15.7% Small (<500 members) 14.4% 12.1% 11.7% 11.8% 12.4% 13.3% 14.1% 13.1% Medium ( members) 18.4% 16.2% 15.2% 16% 18.2% 16.1% 16.6% 15.9% Large (1000+members) 19.7% 17.5% 21.8% 19.4% 19.1% 19% 20% 20.3%

5 october 2008 page W.A.C.E. Academy: By the Numbers 170 Total number of Academy participants in Number of Academy first-year participants. 51 Percentage of participants attending Academy who are not chamber chief executive officers. 32 Number of participants attending Academy-Plus. 19 Number of individual scholarships provided through the W.A.C.E. Foundation to Academy. 9 Number of states represented at Academy. 49 Percentage of chamber participants attending Academy who are chamber chief executives. 32 Number of Academy third-year graduates. 1 Academy is the No. 1 training program devoted solely to chamber professionals in the West.

6 page 6 october 2008 OPINION POLL Chambers Pessimistic on Retention Through Year-End, Still Planning to Increase 09 Dues It is certainly not business-asusual for most chambers today. Many of us tribal elders, have seen times like this before. As in the past, things will get better. They Steve Snyder always do. Overall, chambers are not very optimistic about member retention through the balance of There has been a 9 percent increase in those chambers that think membership retention will be worse than normal through the end of the year. Geographic Differences There appear to be some geographic differences of opinion on this question. In comparing some of the survey questions to one another, it seems that California chambers are the least optimistic, with 44 percent of the respondents indicating that retention will be worse than normal. California chambers are followed by chambers in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho (37 percent) and chambers in the Pacific Northwest coming in at 34 percent. One bright spot, if there is such a thing today, seems to be those chambers located in the mountain states, where only 22 percent believed that their retention rate would be worse than normal through Generally speaking, we are seeing chambers in cities/states that have had large population growth over the last decade having the most difficulty in membership retention. Increasing Dues It was interesting to discover that despite the current state of the economy, 56 percent of local chambers plan to raise their dues in In previous research, we have determined that 59 percent of local chambers that are mem bers of W.A.C.E. have a policy to increase their membership dues every year. Many chambers will use the aver age Consumer Price Index (CPI) as their minimum annual increase percentage. In looking at how much chambers will actually be increasing their dues next year, 74 percent of the survey respondents indicated an increase between 3 percent and 6 percent. Local Preference Ordinance In another recent survey, we asked W.A.C.E. members if their town/city had any kind of local preference ordinance. Many members commented that they were unfamiliar with this term. Basically, in a local preference ordinance, a town/ city gives preference to a local bidder if the bidder is within a certain percentage OPINION POLL RESULTS of the lowest bid for a city contract. A few of the chambers that responded that their town or city had such an ordinance include: Culver City, CA; Murrieta, CA; Modesto, CA; Long Beach, CA; Fullerton, CA; Laramie, WY; Boulder, CO; Santa Fe, NM; Las Vegas, NV and Walla Walla, WA. We think local preference ordinances are something that more chambers should champion, partic ularly during these uncertain economic times. It is a great public relations move for the chamber in trying to keep local government to spend more contract dollars at home. Steve Snyder is vice president of W.A.C.E and vice president of local chamber relations for the California Chamber. Here are some of the results from recent W.A.C.E. Opinion Polls: Looking into your crystal ball, how do you think membership retention will be in your chamber throughout the balance of 2008? March 2008 September 2008 Better than normal 30% 16% Same/No difference 39% 44% Worse than normal 31% 40% Do you plan to raise your dues in 2009? Yes 56% No 30% Not Sure 14% What is your estimated percentage 1-2% 14% of dues increase? 3-4% 51% 5-6% 23% 7-8% 4% 9-10% 4% Over 10% 4% Does your town/city have any kind of Yes 11% local preference ordinance in place? No 89% Weekly Opinion Poll

7 october 2008 page 7 W.A.C.E. Foundation Has Numerous Scholarship Opportunities Available Chamber Tip of the Month Each year, the W.A.C.E. Foundation provides numerous scholarships to various programs and conferences like Academy and the Annual Conference. In these somewhat confusing economic times, we want to remind our members that there is money out there to attend a wide variety of programs and conferences. Taking the time to fill out a scholarship application could save your chamber hundreds of dollars, plus provide you with the knowledge and education you need to continue to improve your job skills. Other state chamber associations also may have scholarship opportunities available. Scholarships applications are currently available to attend the 2009 W.A.C.E. Annual Conference in Las Vegas on February 4-5, An online application can be found at: programs/scholarship.asp. Commentary: Stategic Chamber Environment From Page 2 focus? Who are the target customers for the products and services we offer? What are their needs? How is our chamber uniquely suited to meet these particular needs? This is where we develop our core competencies into the strategic plan. l Lines of business we offer for benefit of customer and setting goals Products and Services - The portfolio of your core lines of business: -Promoting the Community; -Strengthening the Local Economy; -Providing Networking Opportunities; - Representing the Interests of Business to Government; and -Influencing Public Policy. These core competencies, knowledge and skills that your chamber can apply to achieve success are one of the main pillars of strategic management and focus on the ability to provide products that members value or will value in the future. Growing the Business l Position and Plan The first step is to know exactly who your services benefit and how you can communicate those benefits in a way they can understand. Then, you can create a unique position that will ensure a strong foundation for your success. Marketing is one of the most essential ingredients of starting and running any successful chamber of commerce. A comprehensive marketing plan is a must in growing your chamber. l Influence Public Policy and Forge Community Alliances Establish policy for chamber positions and reporting mechanisms to your members and the community. Determine the top five business issues for your chamber to take a leading or supporting role. Publish your positions in the news media and chamber publications. Publish a legislative report card. Collaborate/support organizations working to improve the business climate in your area. l Brand/ Image/Identity The company with the best story wins. Every successful chamber needs a clean, professional image that the community can trust. For your strategic plan, the focus of your brand should be image, but a slogan that best describes your chamber, a mission/vision statement and a professional business look that will make businesses want to do business with you are also important. Create an unforgettable corporate identity that will make you naturally attractive to potential members. Create an attractive and memorable corporate identity. Be credible, professional and trustworthy. Make your chamber easy to access. Leigh Nixon, ACE is the president/chief executive officer of the Simi Valley (CA) Chamber. Leader to Leader From Page 3 We continue to partner with other organizations such as SCORE and Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to provide customized counseling to our business community, whether they are members of the chamber or not, and make certain that the business community knows of their availability. We continue our partnership with our local Economic Development Corporation, assisting them in recruiting family wage jobs provided by manufacturing and larger commercial companies while we, as a chamber, focus on the retail and smaller commercial sectors. The chamber continues its partnership with other economic development organizations, such as the local community college, Workforce Development, WorkSource and others to make certain that there is a resource for employees with the right skill sets for today s employment opportunities and retraining for those who find their jobs being eliminated. With respect to our membership, we are still in a growth mode. Those who indicate a problem with their cash flow are encouraged to work out a payment plan with us to maintain their involvement. We have also reduced our non-dues revenue expectations for our events and programs, opting instead to make them more affordable to reduced budgets. W.A.C.E. Events 2009 W.A.C.E. Annual Conference February 4 6, 2009 Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Nevada 2010 W.A.C.E. Annual Conference February 3 5, 2010 Marriott San Francisco Airport Burlingame, California

8 october 2008 page 8 Chambers/Executives in the News Mary Ann Miller, president/chief executive officer of the Tempe (AZ) Chamber has been presented with the Local Chamber Executive of the Year Award by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Glenwood Springs (CO) Resort Association and Chamber, whose president/chief executive officer, Marianne Virgili, is a member of the W.A.C.E. Board, was named a finalist for the Amer ican Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Chamber of the Year Award in the $200,000 $499,000 dues category. Paul O Neal has accepted the chief executive officer position with the Vista (CA) Chamber. He was previously the principal of Paul L. O Neal and Associates, a strategic public affairs company engaged in the development of strategies for large energy and water production projects through out much of the Western United States. Attorney Stuart Waldman has been selected president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), replacing Brendan Huffman. Jim Capeloto is the new interim chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver (WA) Chamber, replacing Beth Quartarolo. Capeloto is the former president/chief operations officer of the Bank of Clark County. The chamber s board hopes to have a new chief executive officer appointed by year-end. The Greater Queen Anne (WA) Chamber has hired Jill Arnow as its new executive director, replacing Margaret Irvine, who recently retired. Arnow has Judged Best in the Nation 57ACE Awards for Communications Excellence What are YOU looking for? What are YOU waiting for? Upgrade to Century We make publishing a pleasure for you! recently been working as a grant writer for several community foundations. Paul Stewart is the new chief executive officer of the Sunnyvale (CA) Chamber. He has served as chief executive officer of the Santa Clara County Assoc iation of Realtors for more than five years. Meeting Dates W.A.C.E. Events (916) l W.A.C.E. Webinar Series October 20 Developing Dynamic Content for Your Chamber s Website November 10 Interviewing Skills from Both Sides of the Desk All webinars are held from 10:00 a.m 11:30 a.m. (PST) W.A.C.E. Annual Conference February 4 6, 2009 Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, NV Other Events l l l Annual Staff Roundtable SCACCE (Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives) December 8 Burbank, CA Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Statewide Conference October Lynnwood, WA California Business Legislative Summit CalChamber May 18-19, 2009 Sacramento, CA

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