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Making Trade Associations Beneficial for your Business

Did you know a trade association has the potential take your business to the next financial level, practically overnight?

A trade association is a group of companies collaborating to propel their organizations forward using the power of their combined expertise and support in areas such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying, and publishing.

If you’ve never considered joining a trade association, you might take it into consideration. We've highlighted a few reasons trade associations are a prospect worth exploring below.

Knowledge is Power: You Can Take Advantage of Their Education and Training

Most professional associations offer seminars, conferences, webinars, and online training courses for their members. You may even gain access to exclusive certification programs that those outside of the companies within your association can't obtain at all.

These resources are an excellent way to keep a finger on the pulse of your specific industry to spot trends as they arise and remain privy to the newest technological advances in your field.

On top of that, when working with a trade association, if you run into trouble, there’s a fair chance that someone within one of the organizations present has solved that problem in the past and knows how to solve it again.

This experience is an invaluable resource you won’t find anywhere else.

Essentially, a trade association offers a cost-effective way to increase the resources and relationships at your disposal drastically.

Speaking of relationships, this leads us to our next beneficial aspect of trade associations: relationships.

Take the Greater Houston Builders Association for example; here are the educational courses that they offer their members.

Relationships are Key: Get Out and Network!

Have you ever heard the expression, 'It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know?’

Well, that couldn’t be truer in the business world.

In fact, according to research, the primary reason most businesses opt to join a trade association is for the sole purpose of networking. A healthy, expansive network can be extremely beneficial for any company. Business networks help facilitate easier partnerships, better job candidates, higher sales, and more.

They also can offer the strength in numbers necessary to fight political changes that could have a negative impact on your business as well as a collective punch capable of being a real push for positive change when necessary.

Business associations take a great deal of the footwork out of building a quality network.

Instead of having to search out contacts, referrals, partners, and even job candidates, a trade association brings all of the above into an easy-access group. In that sense, you could think of trade associations almost like a filter feature for the business-contact world.

Trade association networks offer more than just new connections and strength in numbers too.

Have you ever heard of a think tank?

A think tank is a group of individuals gathered together sharing ideas with each other providing real feedback to build collaborative solutions far superior to that of a single individual. The network a trade association can provide is much like a think tank for your business within your industry-specific group. Collective diversity offers an increase in creativity and ingenuity unmatched by any other source.

On top of expanding your network, providing better training resources, better business solutions, more power in your industry, and simultaneously increasing sales, a trade association can also save you money.

How?

Membership Discounts: Increase Your Purchasing Power

Trade associations are also known to offer deep discounts on products and services to their members.

They can offer such drastic discounts via agreements with suppliers or vendors.

The more members an association has, the better these membership discounts are likely to be. This is because similar to the general rule that buying in bulk is cheaper for the consumer, so is it true for business-to-business transactions.

A group of companies can offer a supplier or vendor far more sales than a single business. Thereby they are far more willing to cut a deal to catch the contract.

More impressively, some of these perks may even include health insurance for your whole staff as a group! With the rising cost of providing medical insurance these days, this alone makes a trade association worth it for many organizations.

Build Consumer Confidence: Enhance Your Reputation

Finally, joining a trade association can significantly improve your brand's reputation. Remember when we said that trade associations were like a filter for business contacts?

Well, they're also a filter for businesses within a field in the eyes of consumers.

You see, a good trade association only allows—and keeps—reliable companies. They don't just let anyone join. This means that by joining a reputable trade association, their credibility is transferred onto you based solely on the fact you made it in—you were accepted.

The best part?

Reputation is a powerful driver of profits frequently being the deciding factor in many purchasing decisions. Undeniably, trust is the most potent factor a business can harness as far as not only profitability but also longevity.

It’s the businesses that can gain the trust of their customer base, care about their reputation, and stand behind their company name, that stand the test of time.

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Get a second chance with unhappy customers

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Should your business join a trade association, and if so which one?

These are questions only you and your organization can answer, but let’s quickly recap some of the profitable perks you can potentially enjoy with a business association today to help you decide:

  • Trade Associations can offer you incredible networking opportunities. Through a trade association, you can meet new contacts, partners, applicants, and potential customers.
  • You can take advantage of their education and training. Trade associations offer specific skill-building workshops, educational courses, training seminars, and may even offer exclusive certification.
  • Massive discounts and purchasing power for members. Especially on more expensive items like group health insurance, the discounts offered by trade associations can drastically reduce your company’s overhead.
  • Enhance your reputation. Being in a trade association is much like having a badge of trustworthiness on your business providing proof to your customers that you’re reputable and reliable.
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David Cherry
David Cherry is Co-Owner of Visibly Connected which he started in 2010 because of his passion for small businesses. He loves learning the stories behind each business he works with and helping them reach their full growth potential. His passions are fitness, family, and reading, and during the weekends you usually find him out on the golf course!
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