Step 1. Break the rules. Step 2. Make some new rules.

Advocacy. I talk a lot about advocacy because the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC) is, first and foremost, concerned with advocating on behalf of our members. But I recognize that advocacy is a weighty notion and can be an overwhelming prospect – particularly for our members who are busy building their businesses.

What do I mean when I talk about being a part of CanWCC’s advocacy agenda? Advocacy doesn’t necessarily mean marching in the streets, signing petitions or drafting new legislation. Although if that’s your thing, go for it!

Do you consider yourself a rule breaker? You should. By starting and building a business, despite the naysayers, the confidence thieves, the fear of failure and the terrifying prospect of success – you are breaking all the rules. And that means you’re already playing a fundamental role in creating change.

To be effective, our advocacy strategy must run deep and wide.

To be effective, our advocacy strategy must run deep and wide. Ultimately, we will do the heavy lifting in terms of partnerships, policy proposals, meeting with the government, and holding them accountable. But we can’t do it alone. The good news is that it’s easy to get involved. In fact, you’re already participating by reading this post!   

Other simple ways to support our advocacy include:

  • Buying from women-owned and minority-owned businesses and business owners
  • Following, sharing, re-tweeting, and liking women-identified entrepreneurs and business owners on social media
  • Telling us what you want and need to be successful.
  • Joining CanWCC!

There is power in numbers – literally.

Joining CanWCC is one of the best ways to support our advocacy. As a member, you can provide direct input to our advocacy agenda. Your membership fees will subsidize operational and program expenses. Sharing your expertise with other members will make our community stronger. Your participation and feedback will help us improve the organization and engage more members.

 There is power in numbers – literally. The more members we have, the more influence we can exert on policymakers and those in positions of power. Moreover, as a member-based organization with a strong focus on community and connection, our success is primarily determined by positive network effects.

The organization – the community, really – is a dynamic being that grows in both size and incremental value as each individual joins it.

Network effects are a concept in economics and information technology where increased use of a product or service by one individual increases the value of it for all other users. An excellent example of this is Facebook. Facebook and other social networks are only valuable and useful if other people are also active in the system. 

The remarkable thing about this network effect is that each individual who joins CanWCC is, by the very act of joining, increasing the membership value derived by everyone else. The organization – the community, really – is a dynamic being that grows in both size and incremental value as each individual joins it.

Growth is good

A growing membership base has other benefits, as well. Strong membership growth will allow us to negotiate better benefits, discounts, and offers from our partners. Similarly, it will position the organization to request sponsorship for exclusive programs that our members want and need. These added benefits are an example of indirect network effects, where the increase in the number of users (or members, in our case) leads to the development of complementary products and services.

Finally, healthy membership growth will establish CanWCC as a recognized national leader in the movement towards economic prosperity and equity for women-identified business owners. Membership in CanWCC will show your customers, clients, and community that you are a serious player – and that you have invested in an organization that represents your unique interests.

Change the rules, change the game

I will not stop talking about advocacy. It’s my job. And, lucky for me, it’s also what gets my motor running. So, you keep on breaking the rules – but let’s make some new ones, too. It’s the only way we can change the game.

Learn more and join CanWCC here.