Why you should always be a member of the trade association that represents the activity you provide?

Trade associations should keep you informed and help you promote your business, much more and there are many traps for the unwary.

Trade associations cost money, take time and eventually will want you to step up and volunteer more time and money. However, every time it will be worth it.

What are the benefits of being a member of a trade association?

  1. Savings. The savings can be from a better discount on your credit card processing, insurance or buying equipment. These discounts alone usually pay for your membership each year.
  2. Knowledge: There is a lot to be learned every month from trade association newsletters and websites. Why make the same mistakes of everyone else who started before you?
  3. Education: The annual conference of most trade associations is usually full of speakers who can provide a ton of education for your business.
  4. Inside Tips: The hallways, bars and restaurants are the best education you will receive in your business. You will gain knowledge, insight and friendship. Not only will you learn the best way of taking care of your equipment buy you might make a friend who you can borrow equipment from when yours goes down.
  5. Friendship: We all need someone who can answer a tough question or just lift up your spirits on a bad day. That person who understands the issues you are facing who might be across the continent or the world could be that person. You’ll never find them online, but you might sit next to them at a trade association conference.
  6. Regulation: No business is free from government regulation. Helping you understand the regulations you are dealing with every day and more importantly keeping you aware of what is coming down the legislature or bureaucratic pipeline is critical to your survival.
  7. Fun: Attending a trade association conference is fun. They are not all work.
  8. Staying current with the law: Some trade associations try to create standards for an industry. Stay away from them. The standards are used by the plaintiffs to sue you more than anything else. However, you need to attend your trades association conference to make sure you are keeping current with the industry. At a conference, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work and new ideas on improving your business. Those things all work to raise the standard in the industry, and if you do not know them, you will be left behind in business and in court.

The more you become involved, meetings you attend, conferences you attend, the more you will get out of your membership. Serving on a committee or on the board is time-consuming and might be costly, but you will be put in a position to take the best advantage of the benefits the association has to offer and the education the association holds.

One note of caution: Be wary of associations that believe they are the one and only, that they can tell you how to run your business or over promise and always under deliver. Always be weary of associations that have a bigger budget from other sources other than membership and conferences. They become self-serving organizations.

Running an educational or insurance business is a great way for an association to create more funds. Using the educational or insurance business to create membership or influence the industry is doomed from the start. None succeed over time, many taking the association down when the business fails.

Do Something

Find, learn and join trade associations that can help you with your business.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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By Recreation Law    Rec-law@recreation-law.com    James H. Moss

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