The Top Reasons Why Your SMB Should Join a Business Association
Are you considering joining a business association? Many small business associations pool the resources of a number of companies, enterprises, education, and government to offer perks and knowledge owners wouldn’t be able to easily access on their own.
Many associations focus on local business growth, such as an area chamber of commerce. Others look toward a specific industry and keep standards high, such as a national realtors group or e-commerce sales organizations. Ask questions about where your membership dues go and what you get in exchange for them before signing up. You’ll likely find most associations offer enough perks to more than make it worthwhile.
What Are the Benefits of Joining a Business Association?
Small and medium-sized businesses drive the United States’ economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 32.5 million small businesses in the country, making up an estimated 99.9% of companies.
However, the failure rate is high for many of those newly formed enterprises. In order to give yourself some advantages, you should consider everything you can possibly do to enhance your odds of success. Joining a business association may just be the extra boost you need in perks and support. Here are our top reasons for joining one.
1. Find a Mentor
If you’re new to business, or even if you’ve been in the field for a while, finding someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry can be invaluable. Every company founder needs someone to bounce ideas off of and to cheer them on when things go horribly wrong.
A business association often has some type of mentoring or buddy matchup. You can seek out someone with knowledge in specific areas or just some experience in general. The support is invaluable and not something money can buy.
2. Get Word-of-Mouth Marketing
In one survey, 49% of associations stated word-of-mouth marketing was the top way they found new employees. When you belong to a business association, you may be able to share job boards and ask for help even in finding freelance help in highly specialized areas.
Perhaps you need someone who is able to whip your website into shape. Another association member might have just the right person to complete the task. If one of their employees wants to move to your town and vice versa, you could each sponsor the other’s workers.
For those companies not in direct competition with you, you could even do exchanges and send people with specialized knowledge to the other company to teach them new skills while they send someone your way.
3. Improve Visibility
Joining a local small business association group can get you some free promotions. For example, a city’s chamber of commerce might have a website where they link to local businesses and an active social media network. They can share news about your latest accomplishments or upcoming events.
Some organizations have everyone pool their funds and send out magazines or other advertisements to a large list of potential customers. You can get your name in front of other people more easily and for far less money than on your own.
4. Find Networking Opportunities
Relationships are that elusive thing that can make your company grow faster than you ever imagined. For example, you sell custom towels and through your local business association meet the owner of a large golf course in the area. He mentions they need some golf towels for their members.
You make custom towels and secure a new, ongoing business client. However, the networking doesn’t stop there. He invites you to come to play a round of golf with him and you go. He then introduces you to other golf community owners in the area. Suddenly, you have more business than you can even handle.
Networking is a powerful tool and one of the most vital benefits of joining any type of organization.
5. Improve Trust
The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer survey contacted 36,000 respondents in 28 different countries. One of the key findings of the report is how many people distrust the government, the media, and even business leaders. Around 63% said business leaders intentionally try to mislead the public, which was about a 7% increase over the previous year’s findings.
Knowing what the hot button issues are isn’t always easy, but interacting through a business association helps you better feel the pulse of society. Most BAs also share a newsletter or magazine that helps educate members on hot topics pertaining to the industry or business in general.
6. Solve Problems
Whatever problems your business faces, the association may have ideas for how to solve them. For example, if you’re facing cash flow issues, turn to member boards for advice. At least one of the other members has likely faced the same situation. They can tell you what worked and didn’t work for them.
Many BAs also offer tools for their members, such as tax advisors, educational programs, and software programs.
Many solopreneurs struggle to gain access to affordable health care. You may be able to tap into a plan via a business association and get a much better plan than you could ever afford on your own.
Be Better Understood
People building a business from the ground up often put in long hours and see little reward in the initial years. Your family and friends may not understand all the work involved or why you suddenly have little time for fun outings or extra money to go on trips.
People within a business association are working similar hours and have recognizable goals. You’ll be socializing with people who get who you are at your core. The support alone can help you through those difficult times building a business when you wonder if it’s all worth it. The success stories you see around you will prove that it is.