If you are a member of a trade association, you have probably realized that there is much more to it than you had originally believed. Many businesses and individuals join these association in hopes of receiving one specific benefit or achieving one goal, only to find that the organization has many more benefits and holds much more opportunity than it previously imagined. Of course, these specific benefits will vary depending upon the specific industry with which the organization is associated, but there are some advantages of membership in trade organizations that are universal.

Because it is important to get the most out of memberships and unlock all the benefits that these organizations must offer, it is important to understand exactly why businesses and entrepreneurs join them in the first place. While the motivation for joining a trade association may vary according to the needs of the member company, here are some of the top benefits to membership in such organizations and how the most successful members are able to take advantage of all of them.

  1. Networking
  2. This is the most common and most obvious benefits of joining a trade association. In every industry, who you know matters, and trade associations are filled with potential contacts, clients and partners who can help your business move to the next level and become more prominent in your industry. The members of trade associations– particularly the more active members– are able to build long-term relationships and partnerships that are mutually beneficial. They provide a forum for like-minded individuals to come together to share ideas, strengthen ties, find new jobs and make connections that would not be possible without the association.

  3. Training and Education
  4. Continued education and development is crucial in getting to the top of any industry. If your company is already a leader in the field, education is a key to remaining on top. This is especially true in any industry that involves a high level of technology, which almost all do in the fast-paced modern world. Professional associations usually hold events with seminars, workshops and classes that help members to learn and grow in their profession. Even outside of these official events, members have constant opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and mentorship that allow members to share experience and knowledge.

  5. Certification
  6. In addition to the usual training and education provided by professional associations, many organizations provide certifications and licensing programs that are not available to non-members. Not only do these certifications make for better practices in the industry, some are an absolute necessity for a business to compete. The certifications and licenses available in trade organizations provide a level of prestige and reliability in the minds of clients and customers that is invaluable.

  7. Influence
  8. One of the key benefits of joining a trade association is the ability to support the mission of the organization and possibly influence legislation that affects the industry. The combined resources of the members of an association can be used to lobby lawmakers and sway public opinion more positively towards the goals of the association. With the increased level of government regulation in many industries, this is an absolute necessity for the survival of all businesses in the field.

  9. Information
  10. Membership in a trade association means immediate access to any news or developments that affect your business and the industry. Outside of the usual communication of members to each other, associations generally provide newsletters, email updates and informative resources that help its members stay on top of recent developments in the field.

  11. Best Practices
  12. Any line of work has a specific set of best practices that is vital to efficient, quality work. Especially for anyone new to the industry, membership in a trade association is vital to learning these practices and performing the best work possible. The fast pace of technology and market competition means that these practices are constantly updating and changing, and it is important to take advantage of any practices that can improve your business.

  13. Exchange of Ideas
  14. Not only do members have access to information about updates to the industry, they can also play a large role in determining these changes. Trade associations provide a forum for members to share ideas and develop new ways to improve the industry. This allows for more experienced members to help newer ones grow, and provides the opportunity for all members to share innovative ideas that can help the association.

  15. Relationships
  16. Aside from all of the professional benefits that are available through trade associations, they also provide an opportunity for members to build friendships and personal relationships that can last a lifetime.

These are just some of the most common benefits of membership in all trade associations, and there are many others that are specific to each industry or business. According to recent research, over 85 percent of businesses that fail are not members of a trade association. No matter the industry, trade associations give their members many advantages in a fast-paced, competitive world.

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