The El Dorado Chamber of Commerce is working on its strategic plan for the next three years.

“It should be a vision of where we should go in the future,” said Dennis Bengtson, who is facilitating the plan.


The El Dorado Chamber of Commerce is working on its strategic plan for the next three years.

“It should be a vision of where we should go in the future,” said Dennis Bengtson, who is facilitating the plan.

The strategic planning committee spent the first of what will be three meetings Tuesday morning discussing the “customers” of the chamber and all of those it serves, as well as what people would like to see the chamber do more of and perceptions of the chamber.
The first objectives were to reaffirm or update the mission statement, identify customers and their needs, assess the chamber’s current ability to satisfy customer needs, establish specific long-range goals, construct a tactical action plan and create an opportunity model to guide the chamber.

“We’re not talking about doing something a different way, we’re talking about aligning the choices you make,” Bengtson said.

“Focus becomes very, very important and we will have to make some trade-offs. Strategy without capability is meaningless.”

He said it would be important for them to have discipline to implement the strategies.

He also said if this required change, the group should think about what level of change with which they would be comfortable.

The chamber’s current mission statement is “to promote and enhance the economic climate and quality of life for the El Dorado community.”

The first question they looked at was if the primary customer is the community, existing businesses or current members.

“The point is, who are you serving?” he asked.

It was asked how the chamber could be more aligned with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and El Dorado, Inc.

They also looked at who they were serving. That included residents, businesses and visitors.

“Where is the primary responsibility to address those areas?” Bengtson said.

It was also asked how the chamber serves non-members.

The chamber treats them as part of a larger community.

They also have community leaders as members, which offer validation of their work and mission. They bring heightened visibility to the chamber.
Another area they serve is visitors to the community.

“We need dimensions of our model that will accommodate all of these,” Bengtson said.
Next they looked at the primary things customers want or need from the chamber.

One was to provide visibility and promotion. Another need was to help them grow, including offering counsel, advice and referrals. They also provide credibility to businesses.

Other things the chamber offers is education,  advocacy and information and resources.
Next they looked at secondary customers.

Those needs and wants included information and resources, first point of contact and community involvement.

Next, the committee looked at how well they are currently serving customers.

Some satisfaction indicators include renewal rates, participation and satisfaction.

Bengston asked what it was that customers like.

The committee members listed the lunch and learns and the newsletter.

When asked about dislikes, they said being asked for repeated solicitation and lack of one-on-one contact.

They also looked at what non-members think the chamber is not doing.

This list included not knowing what the benefit is, not meeting individual needs, wondering what the value of the membership is, treating members with equal respect and gratitude, and having a better working relationship with the city and other civic organizations.

In preparation of the November meeting, the committee members are filling out an “interview” of what the chamber should look like in 2012.