A perspective on how our Business Chamber will work

This is absolutely not set in stone, but more one possible starting point for discussion!

Personally, my vision for how I see this working is that this group is an inclusive cooperative group of Uralla Shire Businesses working together for the common goal of making the Uralla Shire a thriving economy and a success for all businesses and residents of the Uralla Region. This can take the form of supporting individual businesses, but the over-arching vision is to make Uralla an awesome place to visit, work and live – and have the entire country know that! We have some golden opportunities already in our Shire, and with the support of an already interested and favourable Shire Council, and a handy local NSW Minister of Tourism on board, we can really run with this – the potential is huge here!

There have been heaps of ideas for what we can do as a Business Chamber, and what we can provide for the Uralla Shire business community, and also community groups and the general public of the Uralla Shire as a whole, and at further meetings we can explore these ideas, but it would be great to capture them as a “wishlist” firstup, so if you have any ideas, please bring them along to the meeting and we will capture them all for further development.

Russ and I have had previous experience with the Business Chamber concept as we were members of the Tumbarumba Chamber of Commerce for a number of years, and they had successfully run some great events and concepts that we would like to initiate here too, and I know that you will have some great ideas about how we can get our business community communicating in such a way as to be of great benefit to the whole Uralla Shire.


Potential Project Ideas

To get us started with ideas, some of the ideas we have had or have had people suggest to us are:
•    A xmas fair/carnival to be held late December, say the 21st – perhaps held on Hill St with jumping castles etc for the kiddies maybe, and maybe each shop having a table outside their shop selling their wares as an outdoor festive market, with other businesses not on the main street or in the Uralla township setting up stalls also.
•    “Best shopfront for xmas display” competition – either a people’s choice or judged by Mayor Mick or Adam or somebody, or both judges and people’s choice.
•    Several weeks before xmas (6?) vouchers for locals come out from local businesses… collect them from (somewhere)
•    A Welcome to Uralla pack with vouchers from local businesses (trades people, craft outlets, wineries, B&Bs as well as retailers, local cafes and restaurants etc) – possibly getting the real estate agents to distribute these to new residents (but also have them available for those who fall through the real estate agent net somehow).
•    The pack would also include an invitation to a regularly held (annually perhaps? Or more frequently if immigration levels to Uralla demand this) “Welcome to Uralla” BBQ or function, where we invite the local sporting and other clubs and community groups, churches etc to talk about themselves, and also local tradespeople, services, retailers, tourism operators and others businesses to introduce themselves, as well as for the new residents of our Shire to get to know others, become aware of the services, facilities and things and places of interest in our lovely shire, and not need to feel isolated (I personally made a great friend in this manner when we held one of these events in Tumbarumba, and we are still good buddies to this day).
•    An online and also hard-copy Uralla Business and community group directory, hopefully including local residential white pages too.
•    Business and Community Awards night celebration – people’s choice best business, best employee, nominated business of the year, all designed to encourage businesses to be the best they can individually be and a great leg-up for young and starting out employees/apprentices. This can also help recruit people for local community groups so would be of benefit for them also. Plus an opportunity to “Frock up!” 🙂
•    Networking – coordination of shop trading hours and community events happening in the Shire so everyone can benefit, and gives our Shire a good reputation/good vibe where we are all looking out for each other and encouraging/promoting each other’s businesses, giving the area as a whole a good rep with the locals and visitors… good for tourism.
We found in Tumbarumba that the local bakery didn’t know when the footy home games were on, so they were surprised and swamped for pies etc – having a “What’s On” flyer and webpage helped everyone know when the games were on (etc) as well as help the local shops schedule extra staff on when there was going to be an influx of visitors into town. Also, having communication between the shops can help the retailers coordinate when to take breaks, or when to put on extra staff, in order to best serve the passing trade.
•    Forums/workshops on areas of business that you feel weak in, for instance cash flow management, or project scheduling – social media (Z-NET Uralla’s Go-Digital program for instance!). These are all things the Regional Chamber can assist and support us with.

How can we benefit your business in your part of the Shire? In what way can you contribute to the collective whole of the group?

Membership:

We are looking for a proactive team to form a committee – president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and a committee of four others, as well as grow a membership base for a Business Chamber that supports all the businesses in the Uralla Shire and enables us all to support each other and help each other grow.

We could have different levels of membership, Full members, Affiliate (or other classification) members, and Community Members

Full members would be people who have an ABN and are currently trading, with their registered place of business in the Uralla Shire. These members can become board members if they so choose and have full voting rights. These members can also for a nominal annual sum elect to be affiliated with the NSW Business Chamber and enjoy the benefits that brings.

Affiliate members would be interested or retired people in the Uralla Shire who are not trading anymore, but have a passion for and their previous experience in business can make a positive contribution to the group, OR people representing entities that have an ABN, are currently trading and have an outlet/branch in the Uralla Shire (eg the banks). These members cannot be board members and voting rights are limited (cannot vote for board members). Their fee would be less than full membership fees.

Community members are individuals representing clubs, groups, charities and sporting groups in the Uralla Shire, who can benefit from and assist the businesses, and enjoy the social benefits of networking with the group – there would be a nominal fee for these members, however, they do not have any voting rights.

Membership Fee:

We need to cover these costs:

$164 to incorporate – a one-off fee
$44 annual fee to lodge annual summary of financial affairs
Domain name (two-yearly – biannual) and webhosting annual fees
Possibly insurance – depending on our project plans and to be discussed by members.

Individual project costs could be funded through sponsorship or by revenue generated by those projects.

So, we were planning on starting membership fee off as the following

Full Member $100 per year

Affiliate member $50 per year

Community/charity member $10 per year per group (eg Rotary, Community Centre, Friends of McMaughs etc)

Benefits of Membership

All member types have access to networking and social gatherings.
Listing on membership directory, beneficial for networking/advertising
Bigger cohesive and coordinated voice to Council and other bodies – for instance, grant applications bettering the Shire and encouraging visitors and new residents to the Shire allowing growth and properity for all in the Shire.
Backing of national body – more power to change things for the better.

What next?

We need members, but before we can have members we need to have something for the members to be members of, so first thing first, we need to form a steering committee which will go through the NSW Business Chamber Model Constitution and tailor it to the Uralla Shire.
This then will be submitted along with the names of the executive, with a nominated Public Officer to the Dept of Fair Trading with our application to incorporate.
Once we have received our Incorporation from the dept, we can then get going – open a bank account, set up a domain name, website and facebook page, approve the membership applications, and start having meetings.
We can either have board meetings at regular intervals, and then regular meetings where the general members can come along, socialise and get to know each other, network and have guest speakers, and if general members wish to know about the nitty gritty and financial stuff they can choose to become board members, or we can merge the two types of meeting and have regular meetings where everyone can come along and be involved in the day to day running of the club.

Roles of the members of the board

President – chairs the meetings, keeps them on track to the agenda, deciding vote in the case of a tied vote
Vice President – backup for President
Secretary – minute taker and handles all correspondence in and out and internal to the group
Treasurer – keeps the books in order, submits annual returns required by Fair Trading/ATO
Committee members (4) – helps with other perspectives, can form sub-groups based on activities
Public Officer – person who is the point of contact to external parties, generally President, but doesn’t have to be.

These are my thoughts, I would love to hear yours! See you on Thursday night!

cheers

Teresa French, Thunder Graphics

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