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Strategic Direction 2019 - 2021

 Strategic Direction


Vision Statement

The vision of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce is that the Saint John region will become the best place in Canada to start, run and grow a business.


Mandate

The mandate of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce is built on a culture that recognizes that our members are our customers, and our collective efforts must focus on delivering value for our membership. Our members expect us to use the resources they provide to us, and the combined power of their collective voice, to undertake activities to ensure their membership in the Chamber will:

1. Make members money

2. Save members money

3. Reduce business risk for members

 

This mandate defines the value proposition for the Chamber and ensures a focus on members and what is important to them. Implemented and communicated effectively, this mission will provide the Chamber an opportunity to connect with members, attract new members and retain more members thus improving the financial health of the organization.


Mission Statement

As a volunteer Board of Directors and as paid, professional management and staff, we view it as our mission to strive to achieve the Vision, and to fulfill the Mandate provided by our Members through:


1. Forceful, clear and consistent advocacy in our members’ interests;

2. Operating as a ‘best‐in‐class’ member of the Canadian Chambers of Commerce movement; and,

3. Providing an effective program of services and growth opportunities to our members.

 

The overwhelming majority of our members are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Their individual voices on issues affecting their ability to grow and prosper are often subsumed by other, more powerful voices.

The Chamber must use the power of our members’ collective voices to represent their combined strength in discussions with policy makers and other actors in our shared community on issues affecting their viability and opportunities to grow. The Chamber must consistently be “the Voice of Small Business” in the Saint John region.

It takes a lot of listening to be a strong and effective advocate. It also takes a clear understanding of The Chamber’s role and responsibilities, relative to the other economic and community development organizations in the Saint John region. Advocacy work can be internal, within our membership, and external, to government and other agencies.

 

How we will determine an advocacy position that balances the needs of our membership with those of the greater business community becomes paramount in our strategic initiatives. Positions are frequently not mutually exclusive and there can be potential conflicts.

 

To determine our advocacy position, the Chamber utilizes a principle-based decision-making process where issues will be evaluated based on their ability to help our members make money, save money and reduce risk.

This will guide the actions of the Chamber and align our advocacy initiatives with education and awareness components, and will serve as a benchmark on whether we will:

·         Support; to establish a position based on the priorities of our members and align messaging, promotion and activities

·         Educate; can be internal to members and external to the larger business community:

·         Internal – Issue-specific content, potential business opportunities and value proposition

·         External – Value proposition and partnership opportunities and alignment

·         Lead; to actively promote an issue-specific viewpoint and align strategic initiatives and lobbying efforts

·         Take no action.

 

Strategic Initiatives

For the Chamber to successfully achieve its mission, the organization will focus on 5 strategic initiatives designed to strengthen our organization and the business community over the coming 3 years:

1.       Maintain the Chamber’s financial stability through balance of membership, events and other revenue.

2.       Enhance communication related to our value proposition both internally and externally

3.       Focus on advocacy

4.       Strengthen strategic partnerships

5.       Ongoing excellence in governance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operational Timelines and Roles

 

MAINTAIN THE CHAMBER’S FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH BALANCE OF MEMBERSHIP, events AND OTHER REVENUE

 

YEAR 1

YEAR 2

YEAR 3

LEAD/SUPPORT/
EDUCATE

Explore the possibilities for adding new membership benefits

 

 X

  X

X

  L

 

Identify and target potential new members across the region 

 

  X

  X

  X

  L

Explore the potential for a new business model for new events and speaker acquisition

 

 

 X

X

 L

 

 

ENHANCE COMMUNICATION RELATED TO OUR VALUE PROPOSITION BOTH INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY

 

YEAR 1

YEAR 2

YEAR 3

LEAD/SUPPORT/
EDUCATE

Develop and execute a comprehensive communication strategy which will:

 

-Articulate our value proposition to the existing membership and the community at large; increase the visibility of our value proposition and communicate our accomplishments

 

-Use events as an opportunity to communicate our value proposition

 

-Tailor the communication of our value proposition to the unique characteristics of organizations (size, geography, industry), differentiating ourselves from other organizations

 

-Continue to evolve the utilization of social media platforms in a responsible and effective manner

 

 X

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

L     E

 

 

 

 

 

L E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine tune communication between the organization and the Board:

 

-Facilitate Board members informing the organization about their involvement on key files and their attendance at relevant events

 

-Differentiate between “heads up’ and “feedback requested” communications with Board members related to media releases

 

 X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

L E

 

 

 

 

E

 

 

 

 

 

 

L

Develop a pilot project for the purpose of increasing the penetration of communication into member organizations

beyond one or two individuals

 

X

 

 

 L    E

 

ONGOING DEvELOPMENT OF EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNANCE

YEAR 1

YEAR 2

YEAR 3

LEAD/SUPPORT/
EDUCATE

Ensure the development of a succession plan for CEO and team, review and revise job descriptions to align with strat plan

 

 X

 

 

  L

Review, revise, create Terms of Reference for all committees

 

X

X

 

L

Review and revise the Board orientation process to include face-to-face components

 

X

 

X

L E

Update succession planning for Board membership considering

·         Skill matrix

·         Geographic representation

·         Diversity

X

 

X

L

Implement a process for annual Board self-evaluation

which includes the identification of education needs

 

X

 

 

L

Review Board Bylaws on a regular basis

 

X

 

X

L

Create a Standing Board meeting agenda item focused on education and aligned with the strategic directions

X

 

 

L

 

Effective advocacy on behalf of its members is a core tenet and strength of the Chamber of Commerce movement within Canada. The Chamber will continue to adopt a core strategy of investing time and resources to participate knowledgeably and effectively in policy discussions with all levels of government on matters relating to members’ ability to achieve success in their business endeavours.

In doing so, the Chamber will continue to maintain and leverage its affiliation with the regional and national chamber organizations. It is part of the Chamber’s role to:

1. Be aware of policy initiatives in the making;

2. Analyze and understand potential impacts on our members;

3. Educate policy makers as to any potentially negative impacts on our members; and,

4. Advocate vigorously for changes, as appropriate, to mitigate business risk for our members.

 

The Chamber itself, is a small business entity. It has revenues and expenses, it provides services, it is an employer, a holder of assets, and operates under the guidance of a volunteer board and professional management. It is also a member of the Chambers of Commerce movement within Canada, and participates in regional and national activities of the chamber movement.

In this context, our members have a right to expect that we strive to operate as a ‘best‐in‐class’ chamber, employing best practices for small business operations and management. That means prudent fiscal management, enlightened employment practices, effective use of technology and other resources, and a constant focus on continuous improvement in all that we do.

 

Conclusion

Over the past 200 years we’ve grown, we’ve strengthened, and we’ve changed with the times.  2020 and beyond will be an exciting time for The Chamber and the Saint John Region as a whole.  New projects in a variety of sectors bode well for economic development opportunities in our region.  As we move forward, we will continue to position ourselves to assist our members in capitalizing on these opportunities while maintaining the integral values that were present during the formation of our Chamber of Commerce.