Archive for February, 2010

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) today announced the publication of a new study detailing the credit scores and payment behavior of ten local chambers of commerce across the United States, comparing their member businesses with other regional, state and national business averages.  Produced by Cortera™, a community-driven business credit bureau, on behalf of ACCE, the study includes the Bowling Green (KY) Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Boca Raton (FL) Chamber of Commerce, Greater Durham (NC) Chamber of Commerce, Greater Omaha (NE) Chamber of Commerce, Helena (MT) Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Champlain (VT) Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lubbock (TX) Chamber of Commerce, Salem (OR) Area Chamber of Commerce, San Diego (CA) Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Tulsa (OK) Metro Chamber.  According to the study, chamber of commerce members possess an average credit score of 629, compared to a 557 average score for businesses at large.  Such scores – the payment behavior from which they are derived — play a significant role in attracting lines of credit and securing favorable terms from lenders and suppliers.

A complete copy of the study, which includes both the aggregate findings, as well as the individual commercial credit scores for each of the ten local chambers, is available on the ACCE and Cortera sites.  The study was contracted by ACCE and performed by Cortera, which reviewed payment behavior for chamber member businesses.

“Chamber members have long been seen as responsible and reliable members of their community,” said Mick Fleming, president and CEO of ACCE.  “What this study indicates is that the perception is right.  From a credit standpoint, chamber members on average are better businesses, and as a result they have significant advantages in obtaining the funds they need.  In this economy and the tight credit environment we are experiencing, that’s especially important.”

“The economic health of the entire supply chain is dependent on the payment behavior of each of its stakeholders,” said Jim Swift, president and CEO of Cortera. “This study suggests that chamber members are among the most dependable participants in this ecosystem.”

About the American Chamber of Commerce Executives

Established in 1914, ACCE is the only national association serving the professional development needs of chamber professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Representing more than 7,300 individuals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills, and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staff through education, benefits programs, trend analysis, benchmarking, and network development. ACCE promotes the highest standards of professional excellence and integrity within the chamber profession.

About Cortera

In a sea of business information providers, Cortera is different. With over 15 years of experience serving finance professionals, Cortera combines premium business information and innovative tools with a fresh community approach to commercial credit.  It represents the first community for small business credit reporting and a fundamentally new way to capture the collective insight of millions of financial transactions. As a result, small businesses can make smarter, informed decisions to ensure optimal cash flow while attracting more favorable payment terms from existing and potential business partners. Free credit reports on millions of businesses are available at http://start.cortera.com.

A new study reveals that membership in a local chamber of commerce can significantly boost a business’s image among consumers, as well as among other businesses.  In a scientific survey of 2000 U.S. adults, The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, found positive perceptions of chamber members in a number of areas, including overall favorability, consumer awareness and reputation, and likelihood of future patronage.

Click here to view the Chamber Study

The study, commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), IBM, Administaff, Small Business Network, Inc., and Market Street Services, showed that when respondents were told that a particular small business was a member of its local chamber, they were 44 percent more likely to rate it favorably than study respondents who were not told of the chamber affiliation. Respondents were also 63 percent more likely to want to purchase goods or services from a small business that is a chamber member.

“We discovered that informing someone about a company’s chamber membership opens the door to substantial increases positive perceptions of that business,” said Alex Trouteaud, Ph.D., senior strategist for The Schapiro Group. “There clearly is a feeling by our respondents that chamber membership is synonymous with quality and desirability.”

To tap into this reservoir of goodwill, a small business should not only join the local chamber of commerce and participate, but also make sure consumers and other businesses are aware of that chamber affiliation.

The positive impact of perceived chamber membership is felt by big businesses, too.  For example, when consumers believed that a restaurant chain was a member of the local chamber of commerce, they were 40 percent more likely to eat at the franchise in the future.  And if a consumer believed that one of the major automobile manufacturers was a member of its local chamber, that consumer was 9 percent more likely to consider purchasing his or her next car from that automaker.

“This study reinforces research done in 2005 about the perceived capacity of chambers to lead businesses and lead communities,” said Mick Fleming, president of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).  “These new national findings point to even more direct benefits for companies willing to be stakeholders in their local chamber.”

The study results had good news for chambers themselves, where 82 percent of respondents indicated that a local chamber of commerce “creates jobs and promotes economic development.”

“The message from this national study is as simple as it is ground-breaking,” said Jim Blasingame, small business expert and president of Small Business Network, Inc. “Join your local chamber, be an active participant in your chamber’s programs and be sure to let your customers and prospects know you’re a proud chamber supporter when they come in your business and when they see your marketing material.”

J. Mac Holladay, CEO of Market Street Services, an economic development consulting firm based in Atlanta that helped create the study, said, “It is refreshing to learn what we have suspected for years — that chamber membership and community involvement are good investments.”

Click here to view the Chamber Study