By Sabrina Ferguson, Executive Officer
We get asked this question a lot: Should I join RBF or my local Chamber – or both?
Both local Chambers and RBF are Chambers of Commerce. RBF is overarching across Ryde, whereas local Chambers are typically localised in their business precinct: Eastwood, Epping, Gladesville, Ryde/Macquarie Park, West Ryde.
We usually recommend to individual retailers that they join their local Chamber first and see how that goes before joining RBF as well. Why? If you’re a local retailer you need to have a strong awareness of what’s happening right where you are. Your local Chamber members are your patrons; get to know them and they will use your retail service as you are there on the spot. Your local Chamber will help lobby for issues that affect you; for example, damaged footpaths outside your shop which make it dangerous or difficult for your patrons. RBF lobbies too, but for localised issues our role is to backup local Chambers with their lobbying issues. We are more ‘big picture’ for Ryde.
Retailers can find it hard to get to Chamber meetings. We know you work long hours, especially in family businesses. So do people with profession-based businesses too. But really, it’s worth your while trying to get to Chamber meetings. Getting to know your fellow members face to face is the best way to gain their trust and have them patronise your business – the same goes for Ryde Business Forum members and our Business After Hours.
For profession-based businesses – accountants, consultants, designers, just about any category you’ll see in our Directory listing – and regional offices of larger organisations, banks and retailers, it’s often a good idea to join both local Chambers AND RBF to grow your business base. Regional retail offices benefit from being RBF members as we can promote your stores across all of Ryde and beyond with our news service; likewise with professional services.
RBF works with local Chambers on a two-way basis. Local Chambers send us their news and we publicise it; we in turn send them our news and event details for the information of their members. Our goal is to grow business throughout the City of Ryde.
You could look at our relation with the local Chambers like this: we are strategic and they are tactical. Local Chambers deal with daily issues in their precinct, feeding them up to us for assistance as necessary. We look at the bigger picture across Ryde – for example, Victoria Road affects Gladesville, Ryde and West Ryde as a traffic and transport issue. Lane Cove Road shudders along in peak hour through Ryde, North Ryde and Macquarie Park. And then there’s the North West Rail Link… We lobby for ALL of Ryde to local government and through the NSW Business Chamber to State and Federal government on a range of issues.
We often recommend to startup businesses to join their local Chamber first and get a feel for business in their local area. Come along to one or two of our events, and if you like us, join us too.
If you want advice, call us on 9807 4999. We’ll talk to you and discuss what you do and what you want to achieve with your business, and suggest a way ahead through our Chamber movement in Ryde to grow your business.