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August 13, 2017    
Speak Up ... It's Strategically Beneficial To Do So

Continuing on from last time . . .

According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Americans spent a little over $1 billion online ... every single day in 2016.   According to, it got over a third (34.87%) of that.   According to Wal-Mart, it's 2016 sales were over $1.3 billion every single day!

There are plenty more examples but you get my point.   There's a huge amount of money leaving our communities every single day.

So here's the question ... If we, the Chambers of Commerce, are "The Voice of Business," then what have we been saying and doing over the past few decades while the Big Box stores and then Amazon et al. have sucked all of that local disposable income into far distant bank accounts?

We have been silent as our friends and neighbors have gone under; as jobs have been lost; as local tax revenues have suffered; as our local economies have been impacted; and even our nonprofits have been adversely affected.

The local businesses that sponsor our kids' sports, the school play, the performing arts, fundraisers, etc. are under financial pressure.   As online sales threaten their profitability and existence, the recipients of their charitable support are under threat.

It's time for us to do our homework and speak up.
    1. Make a list of the larger retailers that are not locally-owned.
    2. Fire up some community-minded volunteers or students to find out how much these retailers are contributing to your community.
    3. Contact these businesses and either ...
          [a] thank them profusely for their support and, of course, offer suggestions as to how they can do more, or
          [b] ask them -- politely of course -- to financially demonstrate that they care about the communities that are supporting them.

It's fascinating how a little gentle nudging can help people "do the right thing" and yield beneficial results for all.

YOU, the Chamber of Commerce, are the most important voice in your community and only you are perfectly positioned to lead this effort.

Remember -- think strategically -- it will be beneficial to your Chamber to be highly visible leading this conversation.

Start talking!

  Email your Comments
August 5, 2017    
"I Beg Your Pardon ... Did You Say $1 Billion Per Day?"

As we have watched Amazon's incredible sales growth, we have witnessed smaller businesses in our communities closing their doors citing the immense challenges of competing with online discount pricing.

According to a U.S. Dept. of Commerce report, e-commerce sales totaled just shy of $390 billion in 2016.   In other words, Americans spent a little over $1 billion online every single day!!!   Hmmmmm.

It is estimated that, in 2016, there were 125.82 million U.S. households.   Being a mathematical genius, I divided $389,941,000,000 by 125,820,000 households and arrived at approximately $3,100 per household per year!

In my home town of Santa Barbara, CA we had 34,811 households at last count.   Continuing with simple math and rounding up, we learn that approximately $300,000 is being sucked out of our local economy EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!   That's a lot of moolah that is going elsewhere!   You may quibble about the exact number but you don't need a PhD in economics to understand that this isn't looking good for traditional retail.

So ... what's the situation in your community?   How many households do you have?   How much money is being sucked out of your community every single day?   Calculate the number and start talking about it.   Until you tell them, people don't have a clue.   They need to know.

I'm not sure there are any "grand solutions" other than to say that this is a narrative that should be continually told.   Everybody should know this number and everybody with a local voice -- the City, the Chamber of Commerce, the media, the foundations, etc. -- should be encouraging people to spend their money locally whenever they possibly can.   You, the Chamber, are the most important voice in your community and you are perfectly positioned to lead this conversation.

Even though it's so incredibly easy to opt for discounted convenience people will spend more money locally and support their community's merchants when they are regularly reminded and asked to do so.   If you need proof then just look at your local farmers' market.   It's usually packed with happy people paying high prices.

To continue with the trend ... e-commerce sales doubled in the past five years and are projected to double in the next five years.

Start talking!

  Email your Comments
2017 Archives
  The Pies Have It!   (7/23)
  Possibly ... the Most Difficult Sentence to Complete   (7/10)
  Ribbon Cuttings -- A Great Membership Opportunity   (6/25)
  It's Time For Spring Cleaning   (6/12)
  Five Key Reasons Chamber Members Join & Renew   (5/29)
  Membership Benefits are NOT as Important as You Think - #1   (5/14)
  You Must Tell Your Members What You're Doing For Them   (4/30)
  Workforce Development ... Are You Involved?   (4/16)
  An Idea for Learning What Your Members Want.   (4/2)
  Make Sure You Gather the "Little Data".   (3/21)
  Make Sure Your "Voice of Business" is Heard   (3/5)
  Associations of Chamber Executives   (2/21)
  Do People "Out There" Know What You Do?   (2/6)
  Just published ... "The 21st Century Chamber of Commerce" White Paper   (1/23)
  2020 could be your Magic Year   (1/10)
2016 Archives
  Ditch the Contact Form, Baby!   (12/11)
  "About Lipstick and Pigs" (Part 2)   (11/27)
  About Lipstick and Pigs - Part 1   (11/6)
  "Mixers ... they're so 20th-century!"   (10/23)
  Out-of-the-Box Branding   (10/10)
  "Hot Deals" ... Really?   (9/25)
  Sharing Membership Referrals   (9/10)
  An Excellent Source of Membership Leads   (8/30)
  A Simple Value-added Benefit for your Membership   (8/17)
  It worked . . . Immediate Results!   (7/31)
  A Simple Media Strategy for Your Chamber ... FREE!   (7/19)
  "Brexit" ... Positive Chamber Outcomes   (7/3)
  Problem-solver... "Yes!"     Savior... "No!"   (6/20)
  I like Nathan Blecharczyk's attitude.   (6/6)
  Are you Veteran-friendly?   (5/22)
  Are you Relational or Transactional?   (5/9)
  Can you say "Employee Benefit"?   (4/25)
  Re-vitalize Your Board of Directors ... and Your Chamber   (4/9)
  From Scotland ... a few thoughts   (3/27)
  Young Professionals are Important + Framework2020   (3/13)
  Just Announced ... the "Framework2020 Tour"   (3/1)
  Money Talks so ... Make Sure it's "Happy"   (2/14)
  Conflict of Interest & Local Government   (2/1)
  It may be time to huddle!   (1/19)
  And Your Mission Is ...?   (1/4)
2015 Archives
  Introducing ... Focused Growth - "A-Team" Initiative   (12/7)
  So ... Once You've Got 'Em, What's Your Plan?   (11/23)
  Just a reminder!   (11/9)
  Branding Your Chamber is a Serious Process but it Does Not Have To Be Difficult   (10/25)
  It's Time for Someone to Step Up!   (10/12)
  Give Them Something To Do!   (9/28)
  Do You Want/Need a Membership Analysis?   (9/14)
  Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.   (8/30)
  And the Fat Lady Began to Sing!   (8/16)
  Do You Walk and Talk at the Same Time?   (8/3)
  Helping people WANT to join your Chamber   (7/19)
  50% Membership Loss ... that's a Serious Loss of Revenue!   (7/5)
  Don't Keep It A Secret!   (6/21)
  Survey the Members that Matter   (6/7)
  Helping Nonprofit Organizations   (5/20)
  Helping Startup Entrepreneurs   (5/5)
  The New Normal: Energizing your members to participate   (4/19)
  Do you have a RAP Sheet?   (4/8)
  What is your Real Retention Rate?   (3/24)
  Challenging times require fresh thinking   (3/10)
  Simplifying the Economic Development Discussion   (2/28)
  Chamber Members want Education Programs   (2/11)
  One of the great disconnects we choose to ignore!   (1/23)
  The "New" Chamber of Commerce   (1/9)
2014 Archives
  Do you have a Community Leadership Strategy?   (12/4)
  Message for New Chairpersons of Chamber Boards of Directors   (10/22)
  Tell your members about your business advocacy efforts   (9/2)
  Stop the Exodus! Retain your Newer Members!   (8/4)
  Are your Sales Staff asking the Right Questions?   (7/7)
  Understand and use your volunteers better.   (6/22)
  Invest in your Members. Remember who's paying the bills.   (5/5)
  Understanding your local economy and how your members are doing   (3/20)
  Tell your members about the 'SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative'   (3/7)
  Why People Join the Chamber.   (2/22)
  Please participate in the Survey.   (2/10)
  Newsletters ... the Unfortunate Reality   (1/24)
2013 Archives
  Are your Membership Goals Realistic?   (12/14)
  Is your new Board focusing on membership Retention?   (11/11)
  Happier Members means Happier Chambers of Commerce.   (10/15)
  What about the "Younger Generation"?   (10/2)
  What are you really developing?   (9/20)
  What happens when the excitement dies down?   (8/26)
  Using Technology for Education   (8/4)
  Are you a "Member-centric" Chamber?   (7/23)
  It probably won't be pretty but .....   (7/14)
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