The Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is King of the Hill, no doubt about that, but according to Darro H. Glissmeyer, president of the South Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the smaller chambers throughout the valley are stepping up their efforts to make themselves more valuable to their local business members.
One of the more successful programs, said Glissmeyer is a series of small seminars held by a number of the local chambers to help business owners be more successful and profitable, managers be more efficient and employees become more responsible and productive."The smaller chambers are becoming more effective centers of business education," said Glissmeyer, who took over management of the South Salt Lake Chamber two years ago after leaving Interstate Brick Co. where he was general sales manager. Since his appointment, more than 200 new members have joined the South Salt Lake Chamber, based at 220 Morris Ave.
Today, the South Salt Lake group numbers 423 company members, including such well-known names as ZCMI, Morris Travel, R.C. Willey, FHP and Price Savers. But 85 percent of the companies are much smaller, with most having fewer than 50 employees, he said.
But as a group, said Glissmeyer, the chambers of South Salt Lake, Murray, Sandy, West Jordan, West Valley City and Midvale, among others, represent collectively some 260,000 small businesses, many of which are also members of the Salt Lake Chamber headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City.
Glissmeyer said his board determined last summer that they needed to do something meaningful for their small business members. The impetus was the national statistic that says one of every four small firms will go out of business within two or three years of startup.
"We wanted to find the cause and help some of them overcome those odds," he said.
He thinks they may have already accomplished that. Beginning last July, the South Salt Lake Chamber, followed by those named above (including the Bountiful Chamber of Commerce) launched a series of four one-hour seminars by the American Business Advisory (ABA) on "Opportunities and problems in business ownership," "Capital resources development," "Equity capital recovery," and "Owner and executive fringe benefits." The seminars are free to chamber members.
"This is not Business 101," stressed Glissmeyer. "In order to compete in today's market, businesspeople have to be brought up to date on such things as taxation, investments and retirement programs . . . a whole range of practical information that it's critical they know about."
So far, the South Salt Lake Chamber has had 73 business leaders go through the program. Glissmeyer said it has been so successful they intend to keep it going indefinitely. The seminars are held each Tuesday morning. For more information call the chamber at 466-3377.
"I hope the things we are doing can reduce that 25 percent who will be out of business in a year or two," said Glissmeyer. "There's a lot of enthusiasm out there for this program. We have entered into a new phase of service, rendering business education on a long-running, long-term basis for small companies that traditionally haven't had the time or money to attend seminars."