The Role of the Chamber of Commerce

Learn how membership may benefit your business

This month’s publication focuses on our small local businesses – how they benefit the community, how they may be successful, and how they are ingrained into our daily lives and the town itself. To answer some business-related questions which may be helpful, I turned to Joe Martin, President of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce, who shared his five tips for local business owners.

  1. Connect with the local economic development department. “By connecting with them, it allows owners to have someone walk them through the entire process and may assist in expediting the process as well,” explained Martin. “It may also curtail any stumbling blocks that may arise.”
  2. Obtain services of a very competent business lawyer. Martin noted, “Lawyers enable assistance with setting up businesses overall: state corporations, LLCs, and IRS information. They also will assist in making sure you have everything you need in terms of employee handbooks and employment contracts.”
  3. Hire a good CPA/Bookkeeper: CPA services tie in similarly to that of a lawyer. You want to ensure that your books are setup correctly and that filings are completed in a timely fashion.
  4. Hire some form of marketing consultant. “There is a broad base of marketing to consider when launching or starting a business. You will require collateral, social media skills, website, and other viable marketing pertaining to your services and/or products you are providing.”
  5. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. “Why? It is the best way to become connected within your community,”said Martin. “The connections you make will offer you potential referrals and enlighten the community as to your offerings.”

Martin also shared that the Chamber provides an inherent value to members. Through monthly events there is always time allocated to network with other businesses. “What this means is that everyone has the opportunity to connect with one another and establish referral relationships as well,” explained Martin. Each month the Chamber offers a speed networking breakfast, various luncheons, and an After-Five event. There are even special events available through the Women’s Business Council and the Young Professionals Council, where guest speakers or educational presentations are provided to assist local businesses.

Currently, the Chamber is in the process of developing a micro-business council, which is part of the unity plan of merging the former Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and the Fauquier Chamber. This council is focused on the sole entrepreneur, as well as small businesses with five or less employees; they will develop ways to assist owners with the daily business operations. “Currently, 85 percent of our members are small businesses, so they are always a main focus for us,” said Martin. The mission and vision statements are currently being developed for the micro-business council and will be announced soon.

Martin also disclosed that the Chamber is involved in legislative directives. “We have a very vibrant economic development and legislative affairs committee. The second Friday of December each year we conduct and host a legislative preview, where state legislators let us know what bills they will support during the upcoming general session. We combine this event with the state of the county and state of the towns as well. This is where local government representatives join in and let us know what is going on that will impact local businesses,” Martin explained. “Every year on the last Wednesday in January, the Chamber travels to Richmond with a contingency of members for a day of legislation with local representatives. Once the general session is over the Chamber conducts a legislator rap-up, where the legislators come back to discuss which bills passed here in our community.”

The tagline for the Fauquier Chamber is Better Business. Better Community. Without successful businesses, county residents would have to travel far, or move, to obtain services and products they seek and need. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations are an integral part of our local economy and the Chamber seeks to help them in their success.


Fauquier Chamber Membership Information

For more information on becoming a member or for more detailed information about services available to existing members, contact Joe Martin at Fauquier Chamber via email joe@fauquierchamber.org.

The Chamber offers 96 years of experience helping businesses grow and thrive by:

  • Connecting business to the key companies, departments and individuals that are essential to growth.
  • Offering multiple chamber events throughout the month, plus five major events each year:
    • Valor Awards – a way the business community connects and supports it’s local public servants.
    • Annual Meeting and Awards Gala – where local businesses are presented with awards for their services/products each year.
    • Old Town Warrenton Spring Festival – an event geared towards the community by bringing locals and visitors for a day of fun events and shopping up and down Main Street.
    • Taste of Fauquier – a showcase of area Restaurants and Catering companies highlighting their best dishes.  
    • Fauquier Fall Festivities – a series of events in September and October focused on economic and workforce development.
  • Legislative events to bring members information on legislative issue businesses face today.
  • Advertising opportunities.
  • Women’s Business  and Young Professionals Councils.
  • Leadership opportunities: committees, councils, board and executive committee
  • Sponsorships (annual, events, e-blasts) and exhibit (lunches, spring fest, PHF) opportunities
  • Social media presence (announcements, press release, etc…)

 

Debbie Eisele
About Debbie Eisele 62 Articles
Debbie Eisele is a freelance writer and the Community Outreach Coordinator for Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit serving older veterans. She lives in Warrenton with her husband and twin daughters.

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