What has Peter been up to this week?
Monday My role as membership development officer means that as well as being the first point of contact for potential and existing members, I also get involved in many of the 150 events the Chambers of Commerce organises across the county each year. This morning kicks off with a debrief with our co-organisers and sponsors of the Huntingdonshire Business Fair which we held at Wood Green Animal Shelter last week. It’s the fifth year the event has taken place and was definitely our most successful yet. Then it’s off to Ely to set up for another Chamber exhibition, the first of its kind to be held in the area, before moving on to The Cutter Inn where we hold one of our nine informal networking evenings every month. They’re free to attend and open to anyone, so are the perfect opportunity for me to tell local companies about the benefits of joining the Chamber. Tuesday It’s back to Ely to help the Chambers’ events team get everything finalised for the business exhibition, with a few spare moments spent answering e-mail queries from prospective members and arranging appointments to visit companies eager to know what joining the chamber could do for them. There’s a good turnout with more than 150 people through the door and I have a very busy afternoon on the Chambers’ own stand, taking time out only to introduce a series of seminars being held on a range of topics relevant to local businesses. One of them is on the benefits of entering business awards, and I draw on my own recent experiences as a judge to explain to the potential entrants exactly what the judging panel will be looking for. Wednesday Finally I’m back in the office with a little spare time to take stock before a trip into the city centre to meet with a lady who wants to hear what joining the Chamber would offer her company. She’s looking for new ways to raise her company’s brand awareness and signs her company up on the spot. The copy deadline’s fast approaching for the Chambers’ monthly magazine, Your Network, so I spend the afternoon on the phone with some of our newest members encouraging them to submit articles about their own companies and end up writing a few myself. Then it’s over to Charters for our regular informal networking evening – we’ve held them twice a month in the bar on Charters Boat for the last two years. It’s got a great atmosphere and we always get a good turnout and varied mix of people coming along to broaden their network of business contacts. Oh, and it’s free! Thursday It’s an early start at the Queensgate Hotel for one of our safari networking breakfasts. The Chamber organises one of these events every 2-3 weeks across Cambridgeshire and they’re popular because they’re structured, giving everyone their chance to speak, but the format means that you never have to address more than one table of people at a time. Definitely good if you’re daunted at the thought of a room full of people. Then it’s back to the office to action some emails, follow up some membership enquiries and catch up with colleagues who are busy booking various venues and speakers for a number of events they have coming up in the months ahead. They are already planning a series of seminars that are going to take place within Business Focus on October 13. The exhibition is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year so those involved are pulling out all the stops to make it the most successful ever. I leave them all hard at it and head off to Wisbech to exhibit at a Meet the Buyer event organised by Fenland District Council. Friday Today is a day full of member visits as I travel across Peterborough meeting with a few companies who have shown an interest in joining the Chamber and a couple who are already members but just want to hear about how they can become more involved and maximise the benefits on offer. It’s been a busy and varied week, and like most of us I’m glad when the weekend finally arrives, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Peter Watts, membership development officer, Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce