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LIAISON WITH MEMBERS Tips for more efficient External communication and Handling of the members‘ requests Study Visit Prague, 10-12 August 2011. your members‘ needs?. Sources of information on members‘ needs

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Tips for more efficient

External communication and

Handling of the members‘ requests

Study Visit Prague, 10-12 August 2011

Your members needs

How to find out about

your members‘ needs?

Sources of information on members‘ needs

  • Personally: formal meetings, discussions, informal meetings (breakfast, brunch, dinners, receptions), chamber events and other events, business missions, etc.

  • Phone calls: incoming (initiative of the member), outgoing (initiative of the chamber – researches, surveys)

  • In writing: letters, e-mails, faxes, questionnaires

  • IT tools: on-line questionnaires, member websites, CRM (member updates)

    All information must be recorded and worked with!

Your members needs1

How to find out about

your members‘ needs?

Ways of recording and futher elaborating

  • Simple: MS Excell files (advantage: cheap)

    • Each member may have a separate file with different sheets according to what the chamber wants to monitor (contact, profile, needs, participation in chamber events, etc.)

  • Sophisticated: CRM (advantage: more options)

    • Different facts on each member can be collected and directly used for search, mailing, questionnaires, etc.

    • Enables also statistical details on member‘s activities

Your members needs2

How to find out about

your members‘ needs?

Involving members into chamber activities

  • Indirectly: comments on specific issues (each member is considered an „expert“ in a particular field)

  • Directly: through offering your member a membership in chamber bodies (export board, various working groups, sector-focused committees, chair of bilateral chambers)

    Depends on the willingness of each member and the ability of the chamber to motivate each member for such activities (benefits for both sides)

Needs into chamber services

How to transform members‘

needs into chamber services?

Internal evaluation of members‘ inputs

  • Different levels: network, departments, directors, top management

  • Different forms: brainstorming, internal experts‘ initiatives, regular meetings, etc.

    Wider evaluation of members‘ inputs

  • Involving existing chamber structure into discussion on the design of new services – working groups, sector experts, JBCs, bilateral chambers, etc.

Needs into chamber services1

How to transform members‘

needs into chamber services?

Wider evaluation of members‘ inputs – possible innovations in planning

  • Involving external entities – municipalities, universities, banks, other financial institutions, foundations, etc.

  • Forms: Informal meetings, brainstormings chaired by chamber representatives, wider think-tanks, thematic conferences, etc.

  • Involving foreign partners as advisors – various forms of inspiration, different fields (ad hoc basis, internships, twinning, discussions, support projects)

Want to go international

EXAMPLE: Your SME members

want to go international

What is internationalization?

  • Expanding business to foreign countries

  • Activities on international market

  • Respecting international standards

  • International experience

  • Adjustment of company‘s policy to international dimension (processes, staff, product, etc.)

  • Attention to quality management/control

  • Respecting CSR principles in own activites

  • Observing trends, tendencies, innovations

How can smes go international
How can SMEs go international?

International company‘s strategy

Comprehensive analysis of strengths & weaknesses

4Ps – product, placement, price, promotion

Processes & resources, quality control

Research & innovation approaches

Staff skills & competences  training

Financial analysis & budgeting and planning

Information sources (territorial analysis, databases, legal conditions, best practices, etc.)

Business contacts (D&O, business missions, trade fairs & exhibitions, company contact events

Going international in detail
Going international – in detail

4 Ps – product, placement, price, promotion

  • Product – characteristics, utility value, technical standards, production process, quality control, recognized brand, possible innovations, post-sale assistance, network of sub-contractors, client satisfaction, etc.

  • Placement – territory/ies (chances & threats), competition existing in target market, consumer behaviour, cultural differences, double-taxation treaty, terms of delivery & payment, co-operation with local producers, etc.

  • Price – pricing policy, utility value / price ratio, competitive advantage, exchange rate influence, etc.

  • Promotion – PR strategy (media, advertisements, press releases, sector magazines), own presentation materials, business cards, sponsoring, etc.

Going international in detail1
Going international – in detail

Staff skills & competences

  • Qualified staff = key requirement

  • Educated staff with foreign experience

  • Production (engineers, working staff), financial issues (accountants, invoicing, payments), public relations (outsourcing), trading (skilled business people), legal issues (lawyers), etc.

  • Improving language competences (language courses, study tours, internships, etc.)

  • Various trainings (PC & communication skills, intercultural aspects of trade, taxes & customs, international standards, etc.

  • National & international networking (associations, regional bodies, municipalities, government, international organisations, etc.)

  • Motivation (bonuses, success fees, holidays, kindergarten, etc.)

Through adjustment of chamber s policy


Through adjustment of chamber‘s policy!

Adjustment of chamber s policy
Adjustment of chamber‘s policy PROCESS?

Incorporating the international aspect in all chamber activities  thinking international

Comprehensive research on current needs of members in foreign trade activities  qualified evaluation

Changes in chamber structure

  • Introducing new departments and/or project teams

  • Introducing new chamber bodies (platform for enterprises discussing foreign trade priorities, Joint Business Councils, joint Chambers of Commerce, etc.)

  • Activating own network (regional & professional), chains & clusters of regional/local chambers

  • Growing role of project management structure (horizontal, personal involvement of staff, efficiency)

Adjustment of chamber s policy1
Adjustment of chamber‘s policy PROCESS?

Partnership with key players

  • Municipalities, ministries and other public administration bodies

  • Academic field – universities, laboratories, research institutes, technical colleges, foreign schools

  • Banks, leasing companies, insurance companies and other financial institutions

  • Foundations, other non-governmental organisations, civil society, think tanks, etc.

  • Foreing chambers of commerce, confederations of industry, trade development boards, institutes, etc.

  • International organisations (chamber associations, EU, OECD, United Nations, etc.)

Adjustment of chamber s policy2
Adjustment of chamber‘s policy PROCESS?

Revised Action Plan

  • Making internationalization a chamber priority

  • Introducing new activities for support of internationalization – prestigeous events & contests (Export Forum, Exporter of the Year), participation in foreign trade fairs & exhibitons with a subsidy, creating a status of an accredited chamber member, etc.

  • Giving the Action Plan a publicity – taking over the initiative

    Training of own staff (study tours, internships, language courses, PC & communication skills, intercultural aspects of foreign trade, etc.

Instruments on regional level
Instruments on Regional Level PROCESS?

Organization of thematic events for members

  • Formal: seminars, forums, trainings with foreign experts, priority sector focus (topics: Exporting bio products, Foreign Trade Legislation in Practice, International Standards in Production, etc.)

  • Informal: breakfast for selected enterprises (farmers, chemical companies, travel agents, etc.), brunch with regional representatives of commercial banks

  • Regular briefings on latest developments in international trade practice, presentation of members‘ best practices

    On-site assistance – personal visits, evaluation of individual needs of members, mediation of expert visits (banks, research institutes, language teachers, etc.)

Instruments on national level
Instruments on National Level PROCESS?

Organization of thematic events for members – formal/informal, with participation of government officials, representatives of bilateral chambers and Joint Business Councils, banks, universities, specialized seminars & forums with national impact, etc.

Initiation of various advisory bodies and chairing their sessions – National Foreign Investment Board, Export Development Board, Standardization Board, etc.

Organizing outgoing/incoming business missions (priority territories)

Access to various databases, D&O, active search of contacts from available sources

Instruments on international level
Instruments on International Level PROCESS?

Participation in various EU support programmes (EuropeAid, country-focused calls)

  • Focused on company contact events (Asia Invest, Invest in Med, East Invest, etc.)

  • Focused on education and similar activities

    International projects (U.N., OECD, World Bank, foundations, research institutes, universities, etc.)

    Trade fairs & company contact events with financial support (state budget, foreign governments)

Useful tips





Useful tips…


Initiation – collection of various requests (based on suggestions and interests of involved parties: members, network, Parliament, Ministries, municipalities, foreign chambers, joint chambers, etc.)

Decision about further actions that may result in including the event into the chamber‘s event list

Nomination of a Project Manager, selection of the team members with various responsibilities

Proposal of the event type and draft outline of the budget (internal & external sources)

Discussion with Financial Department

Planning cont

Approval of the type and budget of the event (chamber management)

Elaboration of event proposal sent to the foreign partner(s)

Comments/suggestions/recommendations made by the foreign partner  discussions, negotiations

Event confirmation  including it into the chamber‘s event list


Precision of organisational details and particular budget items, application draft (+ supporting documentation)

Selection of suppliers of services (outsourcing) according to previously specified needs  tender announcement

  • Travel arrangement (travel agents, airlines, hotels, ground transport agencies, etc.)

  • Other suppliers (catalogues, PR agencies, etc.)

    Budget verification and check by Project Manager

    Preparation of event-related documents for recruitment of participants, website adjustments (on-line applications, payments, etc.)

Preparation cont

Promotional campaign

  • Presentation within the chamber network

  • Press releases, press conferences, TV interviews, etc.

  • Presentation at trade fairs/exhibitions and similar events

  • Presentation during meetings with government officials, local authorities, national committees, etc.

  • Direct mailing to members / non-members (qualified search in various databases)

  • Supporting events – trainings on business negotiations, business etiquette, language courses, etc.

  • Briefings with own and foreign Embassies (Czech Embassy in Lima)

Preparation cont1

Recruitment of participants

  • Collection & administration of applications & company profiles, sending them to the foreign partner

  • Phone follow-up (based on mailing/e-mailing)

  • Collection & administration of participation fee payments, invoicing, payment for outsourced services

  • Further assistance to applicants (help with formulation of company profiles in English, specification of co-operation proposals, etc.)

    Organizational details

  • Co-ordination with the foreign partner (Czech Chamber of Commerce) and all other involved parties (MFA, Embassy, etc.) concerning programme items

  • Travel arrangement, accommodation, visa assistance, etc.

Realization of the business mission

Trip to the Czech Republic (jointly/separately)

Co-ordination meeting with the participants on the first evening upon accommodation (participation of the Czech Project Manager)

Welcome dinner (first networking opportunity)

Meeting day – information part followed by individual contact meetings between Serbian and Czech companies  joint assistance on-site

Separate meetings of chamber representatives (all available levels)

Settlement of financial matters

Business mission follow up

Evaluation questionnaires for participants

  • Evaluation of the preparation phase

  • Evaluation of the business mission as such (travel arrangements, overall organisation, programme, etc.)

  • Efficiency of the information part and individual contact meetings (goals achieved?)

  • Further needs for assistance (follow-up of meetings)

  • Preferences about future (Which territories/countries? Which concept? Which sectors? )

  • Suggestions / recommendations / ideas

  • Don‘t be afraid of negative reactions! They serve as an impulse for improvement! There is always something to be improved!

  • Try to involve participants in chamber activities!

Business mission follow up cont

Internal evaluation

  • Evaluation of processes (all phases)

  • Financial evaluation (Were the parameters formulated correctly?)

  • Impact of the business mission on further co-operation with the foreign partner (Czech Chamber of Commerce) as well as with other involved actors

  • Update of databases

  • Did it work this way?  possible corrections

  • Suggestions / recommendations / ideas

  • Try to be sincere to yourself! Try to involve all staff into the evaluation! Try to listen to all initiatives!

And verify their needs

How to network with members PROCESS?

and verify their needs?

Activating chamber bodies and introducing new ones

  • Chairing working groups and committees of entrepreneurs  generating new ideas and discussion on currently developed issues

    • Thematic: Foreign Section, Training Section, Network Section, Standardization, etc.

    • Sector-focused: Agriculture, Tourism, Chemicals, Energy, etc.

  • Establishment of Joint Business Councils

    • Focused on foreign countries/territories

    • Chaired by most successful entrepreneurs, administred by the chamber

And verify their needs1

How to network with members PROCESS?

and verify their needs?

Activating chamber bodies and introducing new ones

  • Establishment of bilateral chambers of commerce

    • Further institutionalization of relations established in JBC

    • Support on national level, involvement of regions

    • Supervision over activities of the bilateral chambers and co-operation on activities carried out

      Essential to have prominent personalities as leaders

      publicity given to the activities

      no formal gibberish!

And verify their needs2

How to network with members PROCESS?

and verify their needs?

Informal networking with members

  • Working breakfasts, working dinners organized for members (thematicly focused and efficiently chaired)

  • On-site visits in member factories and offices

  • Participation in events organized by other institutions – municipality, foreign Embassies, etc.

    Important to record any outcomes and interesting findings that may be used for chamber purposes

And verify their needs3

How to network with members PROCESS?

and verify their needs?

Sustainable verification of members‘ needs

  • Variety of channels: personal, impersonal (e-mail, phone, questionnaires, on-line surveys, etc.)

  • Processing of acquired information – updates of databases, extensive use of CRM

  • Making conclusions of processed information and transforming them into chamber activities – changes in current services and/or launching new services

  • Wide publicity of outcomes!

And verify their needs4

How to network with members PROCESS?

and verify their needs?

Sustainable verification of members‘ needs

  • Interactivity of contact with members through IT tools (on-line surveys, on-line questionnaires)

  • Make it easy for your members to interact with you!

  • Reward those who interact with you well

  • Contact your members regularly, but not too often!

  • Formalize the processing of information given by members!

  • Elaborate a manual for chamber staff concerning the contact with members!

Our interesting services




Our interesting services…

Consulting point new legislation

CCC is an obligatory point for inter-institutional consulting

In co-operation with EUROCHAMBRES, UEAPME and other EU-wide operating institution the CCC consults also new EU legislation (in close interaction with Czech Business Representation in Brussels)

Main objective: improvement of business environment in the Czech Republic and reduction of administrative burden for entrepreneurs

Process: governmental suggestion – consulting (CCC interacts with members, network and experts) – the author incorporates comments into the suggestion – approval by Government – pass of new legislation in Parliament

Consulting point new legislation1

Examples of current proposals in national law:

  • Trade Licencing Act Review

  • Labour Code

  • Air Protection Act

  • Consumer Tax Act

  • Income Tax Act

  • Employment Act

  • Railways Act

    Examples of current proposals in EU law:

  • Services Directive, Late Payment Directive, Consumer Rigst Directive

  • EU 2020 Strategy consultation

  • Review of the Competition Rules

Trade fairs exhibitions abroad

Co-financed by the state budget and structural funds of the European Union (Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations)

Czech Chamber of Commerce has won a tender on organisation and administration of the project for the years 2010-2012

Objective: strengthening of Czech companies‘ competitivenesss on international market through participation in renowned international trade fairs and exhibitions

List of more than 100 supported events per year worldwide

Both for SMEs and larger companies

Financial support provided up to €5,000 (excl. VAT)

Trade fairs exhibitions abroad1

Number of fairs & exhibitions one company participates in is not limited, total support must not exceed €200,000 within 3 years

Eligible expenses:

  • Rent of exhibition space, inscription into the event catalogue

  • Exhibition booth, equipment and related services

  • Registration fee, supplies (energy, water, cleaning, etc.)

    Ineligible expenses:

  • Travel, accommodation, insurance

  • PR materials, shipping costs, catering

    Participation possible also in joint exhibition booth (CZ national booth) under favourable conditions

Trade fairs exhibitions abroad2

Further conditions for financial support

  • Company profile complying with sector focus of the respective trade fair / exhibition

  • Seat or major activities outside the capital Prague (exceeds 75% of average EU GDP income)

  • No debts vis-a-vis the state (taxes, social & health insurance, etc.)

  • Physical presence at the trade fair / exhibition

  • Organizational conditions (questionnaires, original documents and other proofs of eligibility)

  • Financial support provided up to 100% of eligible expenses

Project czechpoint

CzechPOINT = Český Podací Ověřovací Informační Národní Terminál (Czech Submitting Verification Informative National Terminal)

Joint initiative of the CCC and the Ministry of Interior (Contracting Authority) introduced in 2007

At present 53 public administration contact points (CzechPOINTs) operated by the CCC network

Through the CCC network CzechPOINT is represented in all regions of the Czech Republic (14 regions); map on the next slide

Certifiers/verifiers who provide services of CzechPOINT are trained to work with the system and have passed exams focused on services according to the Law no. 21/2006 (vidimus and legalization)

Project czechpoint1

CzechPOINT services are meant for all public and business entities

This service facilitates public and entrepreneurs to access the system of verified/certified documents – printouts from various registers, submitting applications or certified documents and signatures

It‘s also possible to obtain information and consulting concerning business issues at these points

Objective of the project is to reduce bureaucracy in the relation citizen – public administration (main motto: „It is data that is circulating, not the people“) and also to create a guaranteed service for communication with the state administration one universal spot

According to statistics, since its introduction the whole system generated in total over 2 mil. Outputs

Positively received, further extension planned

Project czechpoint services
Project CzechPOINT - services PROCESS?

Printouts from Real Estate Register (entries in the real estate evidence – contains information on parcels, buildings, registration districts, owners, etc.)

Printouts from Trade Register (contains information on business entities – legal persons – changes, data of establishment, etc.)

Printouts from Crafts register (contains information on physical and legal persons operating crafts based on trade licence certificate)

Printouts from Criminal Record Register (contains records about individuals – lists their criminal delicts or prove thier chastity)

Drivers‘ Register – printout of Point Evaluation (provides current information on number of penalty points)

Directory of qualified suppliers (evidence of the Ministry of Regional Development on suppliers fulfilling the qualification according to §53 and 54 of the Law no. 137/2006 on public tenders)

Project czechpoint services1
Project CzechPOINT - services PROCESS?

Register of the Ministry of Environment – MAISOH (possibility of registration for operators of car breaker‘s yards)

Printouts from Insolvency Register (contains information on insolvency proceedings)

Vidimus (verification of wording concordance of copies with the presented original)

Legalisation (certification of personal signature or certification of the applicant to have accepted the signature on the document as his/her own)

Conversion of Documents (full transformation on the document in paper form into a document in data format and vice versa)

Creating a data box (submitting of application to the Ministry of Interior through the public administration contact point – Cze

Submitting acc. to §72 Trade Code (application for acquiring a trade license, notification about new or other trade license, other applications for licenses)

Opening business opportunities
Opening Business Opportunities PROCESS?

Outgoing and incoming business missions to and from all territories of the world (according to priority selection)

Accompanying missions of businessmen at the occasion of official visits of state officials (President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of the Parliament) abroad

Matchmaking events focused on selected branches (with EU support, bilateral, multilateral)

Operation of database of demands and offers, Business Contact System

Providing auspices to national and international trade fairs and exhibitions

Sz chenyi card sme credit card programme

Interesting Examples - Hungary PROCESS?

Széchenyi Card – SME Credit Card Programme

Joint initiative of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and National Organization of Entrepreneurs and Employers

Credit facility on state supported preferential terms

  • micro- and SMEs with minimum business history of 1 year

  • Use of credit managing liquidity risks

  • Eligible for any expenditures (meeting the tax and accounting standards) – purchases, cash withdrawal, wire transfer, etc.

  • Non-eligible for exports

Sz chenyi card
Széchenyi Card PROCESS?

Choice of 5 commercial banks to contract with

Revolving credit limit between 2,000 and 100,000 EUR

Duration of the credit: 365 days (possible to extend)

State support: 50% of guarantee fee, 1-2 per cent interest rate

Members don‘t have to pay any registration fee

Enterprises register at offices of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, all process goes on electronically

Club of Széchenyi Card Programme associates members and creates and additional platform for discussions on current issues, not only concerning credit facilities