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A Tale of 3 Boards of Trade and Their Business Models

By Anthony Taylor - March 15, 2015

 Are you a member of a professional association, a chamber of commerce, or a membership group?

While the structures of those types of organizations may inherently be the same (member based support organizations), the way they run their operations and deliver value can vary significantly.

SME Strategy is a member of: the Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey Board(s) of trade and recently we had to renew all of our memberships around the same time; what was interesting was that each organization had a different process for approaching their renewals and ultimately collecting money.

I wanted to share the story because it's a great example of businesses that have the same offerings and aren't really in competition with each other (because of regional segmentation), but whose choices: How they chose to deliver their services and ultimately manage their sales and marketing have a direct impact on their profitability.

There are hundreds of differences between the value chains of three boards of trade. Here are some differences just related to invoicing:

  • Do they have automatic renewals or no?
  • Are they calling or sending a letter before the membership has lapsed?
  • At what point, and with what message does the invoice arrive to the member?

Whether the decisions are made consciously or not, each of these choices are part of the organizational strategy, and they dictate how successful the organization will be in the future.

Whether you run a professional organization, or are a manager in the public or private sector, there are always opportunities to look at optimizing process and making minor adjustments to the business model to: gain efficiencies, save money or improve performance.

A: gap analysis, supply chain analysis, or simply reviewing your business model can provide actionable steps or opportunities for the types of improvement listed above.


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