When Derrell Vaughn Jr. incorporated his company, Benefit Options Inc., in 1994, there was no question in his mind about joining the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
"My dad owns a 75-year-old plumbing company. He was the state president of the junior chamber, and he's always been in the local chamber. I was brought up in it and feel like it's a starting point," says the 31-year-old homebased insurance broker.
But joining the local chamber did more than just continue a family tradition; it helped Vaughn make contacts in Montgomery's corporate community.
"I have an ad in the chamber's buyer's guide and directory, which is given to all chamber mem-bers. There's also an after-hours networking event once a month at a different member's business," says the entrepreneur, who sells supplemental health and dental insurance and other employee benefits.
Vaughn is also a member of one of the chamber's CEO Roundtables, in which 10 to 12 CEOs from noncompeting companies meet monthly to discuss challenges. The Roundtable acts as an informal board of directors to help him with business decisions and problems.
Like Vaughn, many homebased entrepreneurs are discovering the benefits of membership in a chamber of commerce. From moral support to business advice, from political clout to profitable contacts, chambers of commerce offer it all. And with a growing number of chambers offering programs and services specifically for homebased businesses, the time has never been better to get involved.