Business has always been about connections. Connecting with your suppliers, your employees and your customers or clients is crucial to continued success. But what about connecting with peers, other business people in your industry that share your concerns, challenges and business needs? Is there value in that? Of course there is, and one way to do this is through industry and business associations.
Industry associations may include large national trade groups that provide education, advocacy and training. Examples of these groups would be The Electronic Transaction Association, for payment providers, the National Retail Federation, for retail businesses, and the National Auto Dealer Association for the automotive industry. Groups like these provide a voice in government for their members, help shape policy and are reliable sources for training programs, industry research and statistics. Due to their size, associations can often negotiate attractive member discounts on everything from office supplies to payment services. Utilizing these discounts can help defray membership fees.
Regional and local associations, including the local chambers of commerce, are important, too, and are a great place to start, especially if you would like to actively participate as a committee member or volunteer. Local meetings can introduce you to businesses in your area that you may wish to do patronize and making these connections will bring you more business and possible referrals.
Membership not only affords access to a wealth of educational resources, but many industry associations host conferences and tradeshows throughout the year. These events are an excellent forum for exchanging information, networking and keeping in touch with industry trends and technology.
In addition, establishing a connection with an association creates visibility for your business. As a member you may be able to have your business listed in the association's resource guide. Potential clients and customers refer to these guides, providing more sales opportunities for you. Being an association or chamber member can add credibility to your business, so be sure to include your affiliation on your web site or any advertising that you do.
CrossCheck is a proud member of several industry associations and exhibits at various tradeshows throughout the country. For a list of upcoming events, contact CrossCheck at (888) YES-2CHX (937-2249).