(For Those Who Say I Just Don’t Get It… Get This)

Over the years I have been inundated with unsolicited advice via many good intention business owners or leaders, framing in question form, why someone like myself doesn’t partner up or do something with either the local, regional or national Chamber of Commerce?

Many think they are being helpful, as if maybe, I hadn’t thought about it before, but should.

Why not, right? Because it seems so obvious, correct?

However, what they never suspect is when I address their question with my unadulterated statement…

“The reason why I don’t is: they don’t believe in commerce. They only believe in some unalienable right to extract money from local businesses who think they’re supporting an entity that is working on their behalf and nothing could be further from the truth!”

It’s only my opinion, but I’ve stuck too it, and now there’s proof positive I was correct all along, which has become more often the case, than not.

To make a long story short, and to add some context for the above, let me frame it this way…

I’ve both written, as well as spoke about this topic prior, and they’re all in the archives. One such incident (which just so happened to be the last, when I went against my better judgment thinking “maybe this time will be different” only to be shown not only was it not, but it was even worse than before) was when I offered to do something pro-bono (which in actual dollar terms is high five figures) and after hearing my offer, telling me how great it was, how their audience was just the right ones for it – they said all I needed to do to proceed was pay the signup fee, and they would move on to the next step.

“Sign up?” I asked.

“Yes, you need to become a member to address our audience. After that, we’ll move ahead and see if we should proceed with the next step.” (I wonder if they said the same to Joe and Mika? But I’m getting ahead of myself here.)

“Should proceed?” I asked.

I then reminded this person, “You are aware of my current fees and where I speak, are you not? I mean, we just went over all of this and now you are telling me that in order for me to wave my usual (as to not be coy, well over $50,000) and provide insight that both addresses your audience needs and concern, and is well above most of their expense budgets, for free, via their connection to you – I must pay you? (a little under $200) And then you move me higher onto the think-about-it ladder?”

The response? “Ammm….Ahhh, yes.”

I said “Thanks a lot for the education – take care. Click!”

These people don’t have any understanding of business, nor truly care about the businesses they supposedly “serve” other than collecting dues.

Think I’m wrong? Fair point, then let me ask it this way: How many of you that ever opened a business, went out dutifully and then signed up with your local chapter and truly received anything of value other than the latest invitation to see some politician or CEO of the largest hospital or company in your area give some type of vanity speech that left you wondering to yourself “There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back!?”

Here’s another short story for further context…

A few years into my retirement (circa 2008) I was thinking about going on the speaking circuit because of the turmoil that was happening at that time (e.g., The Great Financial crisis was in full swing) where I thought about approaching the regional chapter.

Then, before I started, I stopped. Why?

The regional chapter was doing a big seminar on “getting back to business” or some other such venue to (paraphrasing) “help businesses navigate the turmoil.” The speakers for such? Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzinski of MSNBC™ fame.

I don’t know them personally, probably great people. But business experts to give badly needed advice to struggling and scared out of their wits business owners during the greatest financial morass of our time? Please, I’m sorry, but no. This is what you do when you’re working to impress yourselves (aka “TV star enamored”) – not help your customers.

So, with the above, let me share with you what just rolled across my screens moments ago. To wit:

Chamber of Commerce to back Democrats.

“What’s wrong with that?” I can hear you ask. “Free country, right?” Sure is, and in reality in a sane world there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. But: are we in sane times or insane, I ask?

Small businesses are being put out of business due to shut downs, being burned, looted, and more where the Democrat elected officials have been openly calling for those very business owners to shut up, stop complaining and call their insurance companies. Oh, and don’t call the cops or defend against any looters and rioters “peaceful protesters” or you’ll be the ones going to jail.

These aren’t figments of my imagination, these are actual statements. You can go look them up for yourself, but most business owners in those areas already know them to be be true, because they’re living with it currently, in real time.

So is it not just a wonderful time for business owners to read stories such as this via the Politico™ today? Because it sure looks like the “Chamber of Commerce” is picking a side – and you (the business person) aint on it. Again, to wit:

Thomas Wilson, chairman of the Chamber’s executive committee, said in a statement that “the Chamber’s board has actively and successfully supported more bipartisanship in Washington since 2016 so we can create jobs and economic prosperity,” adding that “our priorities cut across party lines.” 

“We are excited about the positive impact our enhanced endorsement criteria is having on creating better solutions for America,” Wilson added.

“Turmoil consumes Chamber of Commerce as it backs Democrats” Politico

Maybe they’ll also hire Joe and his new bride to do live commentary when the bulldozers come in to level the remaining detritus of those once proud business owners dreams. You know, after the fires burn out of course.

But don’t worry – the Chamber of Commerce will only begin shedding tears when they finally realize (which is so painfully obvious it speaks to their utter lack of self awareness) there won’t be any business owners left to join their ranks – at any price.

And for those that are obviously business challenged at the Chamber whom may be reading this? Here’s a hint as to get a clue about what you’re doing…

You’re now more likely on a pathway to bankruptcy yourselves.

I say: Good riddance.

© 2020 Mark St.Cyr

Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years, these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time. I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are and have been times they do need to be pointed out, which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.