President’s Heartbeat – 4th June 2018

These are exciting times for Yeovil and the surrounding region.  The indicators are positive, and the business environment continues to expand and develop.  Yeovil Chamber is at the heart of this; widely considered by business people, key stakeholders and local government as the representative body for the business community in and around the Yeovil area; maintaining strong strategic connections and cooperation between education, commerce and government.

On 9th April, my Heartbeat Message announced that we will need to increase your membership fees. Chamber is a not-for-profit body, run entirely by business leaders giving freely of their time and expertise, on a tiny annual budget of around £11,000, consisting mainly of modestly-priced membership fees, with a small amount of sponsorship and patronage.  The Chamber Executive works hard on your behalf and delivers a huge amount from a tiny budget, and the fees have not been increased for nearly a decade.

During 2017 we invested heavily in the website, but we need to make further upgrades to the website to further automate our operation and enhance the member experience. We also want to start promoting Yeovil, to attract out-of-town businesses and more commercial investment into Yeovil.  To enable Chamber to deliver more for you, your business and Yeovil, a membership fee increase is required, to ensure Chamber continues to deliver maximum value for your money; that you have sound reasons to belong, and keep Yeovil Chamber at the leading edge of trade & commerce for Yeovil and its expanding sphere of influence.

Before we increase any fees, you were asked what you thought of us in April via a satisfaction survey, and I thank all those members who took the time to respond.  The results overwhelmingly showed Yeovil Chamber members are increasingly satisfied with the services, and that they would recommend what we do to a friend or colleague.  You also said the main reasons for belonging to Chamber are for making connections and being informed about wider business issues which influence how we do business in Yeovil.  You spoke and we are delivering:  Our new Business Leaders Breakfast began in April, is an instant success, and we have some big-hitting speakers lined up over the next twelve months.  Our bi-monthly Speed Networking continues to flourish and has sold out on the previous two occasions.  Sponsors are beginning to ask Chamber to raise their profile, and we have a patron in Yeovil College, and, we have just taken over the running of the Love Yeovil brand.

I want to ensure that our business community continues to have a big voice, is able to influence key decision-makers, and receives targeted support when and where it is needed.  I want to ensure the conditions in which we do business are as good as they can be; to continue fighting for change when needed, and to promote success.  We are completely focused on maximising opportunities and maintaining value, with long-term, sound reasons for membership.  To deliver on this promise, we need to develop a manageable budget.

The planned increases are due to be communicated in June, with the aim of implementing the increases before the end of 2018. 

Thank you for your continued support.  If you have any questions, please contact me directly at president@yeovilchamber.org or 07900-491211

David Woan

President, Yeovil Chamber of Trade & Commerce

Released on 05/06/2018