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Building Your Business With Business Associations
Category: Insights, Small Business, Startups

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Exploring an investment in a business association can be beneficial to drive business growth, save time, and unlock valuable resources.

Overwhelmed by the daily demands of running your business and achieving your sales goals?

You’re not alone. 

It’s easy to get lost in the grind. 

While joining a business association might not be top of the priority list, it can be an invaluable endeavor to tap into a network – fueling growth, saving time, and accessing beneficial resources.  

And there are many business association options to choose from – each catering to different industries, interests and business models. Examples include:

  •  A local business or merchant’s group
  •  A local chapter of a national trade or professional association 
  •  A community with a specific purpose / interest, such as one for start-up entrepreneurs or small business owners.

With all these options, what is an entrepreneur to choose?

We have you covered with an overview to help you navigate and select the best option for your business. 

What Is a Business Association?

Business associations / societies / communities support companies by offering knowledge and resources tailored to their unique requirements.

These associations can often have resources and help, and connections, they need to be successful. Some resources may include access to PMF (Product Market Fit) analysis, strategic planning, Marketing advice, legal guidance or financial modeling.
As entrepreneurs navigate the challenging landscape of starting a business often the reason why startups fail isn’t the lack of early funding; rather, it’s access to these strategic resources. 

Becoming a member of business associations can be instrumental to your business success fueling networking opportunities, building credibility, providing access to resources and boosting purchasing power. 

In modern business, networking stands as a cornerstone of success. Beyond just exchanging business cards or making connections, networking cultivates opportunities for growth, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. 

It is the art of building relationships that can open doors to new clients, partnerships, and invaluable insights. 

Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting on your business journey, the power of networking cannot be overstated. 

Networking not only expands your reach, but also provides a personal brand platform for learning from others’ experiences, gaining mentorship, and staying abreast of industry trends. 

In essence, effective networking transforms isolated efforts into a thriving ecosystem of support and opportunity.

Being part of a respected and established association signals to clients, customers, partners, and stakeholders that a business is committed to professionalism, quality, and ethical standards. 

Association membership serves as a badge of honor, demonstrating that a business is part of a community of like-minded professionals dedicated to excellence. 

Communities also encourage ecosystems of reciprocity and have directorities of members. They also often  have “support-your-local business” campaigns to help their members extend reach and target customers who are actively looking to spend their discretionary income.

This visibility is further enhanced when potential customers come across your business listed in the association’s directory, spot a membership decal adorning your storefront or support your social media presence.

Business associations provide a variety of educational and training opportunities, and other valuable informational resources  including free seminars, webinars, conferences, workshops, and online training courses. 

Some even offer high-value certificate programs, enabling members to become accredited in specialized skills. You and your team members may benefit from this training at special member pricing. In addition, most associations offer a resource library with useful documents and templates relevant to you and your business.

Many local business associations support philanthropic activities that you can assist in managing, encourage your team to participate in, or contribute to financially through your association. 

Your involvement not only bolsters your small business’s local reputation but also expands your network of contacts within the community. Volunteering can also serve as a platform for your team to acquire new skills and grow both personally and professionally.

Although not all business associations are politically affiliated, the influence of unified action cannot be underestimated. These associations may have collective

local, state, and federal political concerns that impact group members. An example might be a new state law requiring changes in business licenses or raises in sales tax. 

These associations rally the community to contact and lobby municipal and state governing bodies to express their views on laws and policies affecting their members and to advocate and defend the interests of their business members.

Business associations forge agreements with vendors or suppliers offering their members discounts on goods or services. 

Leveraging collective negotiating strength and buying power, associations secure significant savings and additional benefits for their members, such as group health insurance plans or savings on essential services like office maintenance, office supplies or telecommunications. 

The association has likely already vetted these vendors, too, by reading the fine print and ensuring it’s a reputable offer.

Selecting the right business association doesn’t have to be a difficult task simply look at the following criteria:

1 ) Networking Opportunities: Evaluate who is in the community and assess if they are a fit for potential partners, clients and learning opportunities.

2) Cost vs Benefit: Analyze the membership fees and compare them with the benefits of joining. Ensuring you are looking at both the short term and long term benefits that may arise and recognizing it’s an investment in your business’ future. 

3) Advocacy and Representation: Assess the association’s track record in advocating for its members’ interests. Look into their lobbying efforts, involvement in policy-making, and ability to influence decisions that impact your industry. 

4) Reputation and Credibility: Research the reputation of the association within your industry and the business community. 

5) Resources and Support: Consider the resources, tools, and support services offered to members and if these are things your business can benefit from.

Exploring an investment in a business association can be beneficial to drive business growth, save time, and unlock valuable resources.

But before making that final decision ask the community director to plan a visit (either in-person or online) with you. Attending an event, webinar or networking opportunity with other members can provide a beneficial opportunity to assess whether that business association is right for you.

Looking for business community and professional business support beyond association membership?

On Cansulta, we believe no business leader should have to face any challenge alone.
Our online platform lets you find and collaborate with vetted consultants in minutes, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional firms. Unlock the potential within your business – with Cansulta’s vetted professionals, you’ll be able to set achievable goals and reach them with confidence.

Interested in more related articles?
Check out our articles like, The Importance of the Right Fit: Choosing an Association That Aligns With Your Goals or Elevating Association Membership: Strategies for Providing More Value to Members.

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