5 Benefits of Getting Involved in a Trade OrganizationWild Fig Support
A big part of running a business is to constantly work toward growth. As a business owner, you want to continually grow not only your bottom line, but also yourself and your team (which, in the end, results in bottom-line growth). One of the best ways to do that is to join a trade organization.
Today’s trade organizations offer much more than cocktail hour networking events. In fact, they have many more benefits and offer many more opportunities than you would imagine. Here at SCS, we have found getting involved in a trade organization to be a crucial part of growing and maintaining a successful business. Let’s take a closer look at what trade organizations do and the ways they can benefit your business.
What Is a Trade Organization?
A trade organization—sometimes called a trade association, an industry organization, or a business association—is an organization founded and funded by a group of businesses that operate within a specific industry. There are tens of thousands of trade organizations in the United States alone, and many more worldwide. There are organizations on local, national, and international levels, and for just about industry you can think of.
Trade organizations generally participate in activities like advertising, education, publishing, and lobbying. Some associations offer other services as well, such as industry conferences, networking events, charitable events, classes, and educational materials. But the main focus of any trade organization is collaboration between companies.
5 Benefits of Getting Involved in a Trade Organization
Coming together with other companies within your industry creates a world of opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have on your own. The benefits of membership in a trade organization are vast and far-reaching, but among them are:
In the business world, success isn’t only determined by what you know, but who you know. Trade organizations offer a great way to connect with others within your industry. These contacts can act as a sounding board for exploring new ideas, working through problems, and helping you grow by sharing their experience or introducing you to other industry contacts. A trade organization is also a great place to scout out potential new talent for your company.
- Training & Education
Continued education is vital to staying on top in any industry. Trade organizations often hold events with seminars, workshops, and classes to help you learn and grow, with subjects ranging from industry-specific topics to more general workshops on leadership, public speaking and other necessary skills. Plus, there are constant opportunities to learn from peers and engage in mentoring relationships.
- Influencing the Industry
Trade organizations regularly lobby the government on behalf of their industry. As a member, you will have the opportunity to combine your resources with others in the organization to more effectively advocate for the issues that are important in your industry. And if you aren’t interested in taking an active part in that advocacy, at the very least you will be able to stay up to date on what issues are being tackled on your behalf.
- Staying on Top of Industry Trends
The only thing constant is change, as they say, and that couldn’t be truer in the business world. Being part of a trade organization offers you the opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse of how your industry is growing or changing, stay ahead of emerging trends, and ultimately stay on the cutting edge of your industry.
- Boost Your Reputation
If you want to be known as a company that is committed to quality, growth, and innovation, joining a top-notch trade organization is a great way to build that reputation. Not only does membership in one of these organizations look great to potential customers, employees, and the general public, the opportunities they offer strengthen your business and help it to grow. This gives you an edge over competitors who don’t take advantage of those opportunities.
Why Should I Join a Trade Organization? Common Objections
Not convinced yet? Let’s go over a few common objections to taking part in a trade organization. Maybe you or someone you know has said the following:
“I don’t see the value. I don’t get anything from our membership.”
Very often, the people who say they didn’t get anything from their membership in a trade organization are those who didn’t take advantage of all it offered them. To see the greatest benefit, you have to participate in the events and education offered and take the time to engage with the organization’s membership. Some easy ways to engage are: including news about your company or employees in the newsletters and email blasts, using the mailing list that’s made available to market yourself to other members, or sponsoring an event.
We are all busy and it can be difficult to find the time to get involved, but the reality is that we make time for what we find value in. Plus, most of these organizations allow multiple company representatives to join. Participation from several people within the organization can lessen the time burden for all.
“Networking is for extroverted people, that’s not me.”
While it may be true that extroverts, by nature, are more comfortable with and naturally gravitate toward networking organizations, there are plenty of introverted people that have found success, and—dare we say it—even enjoyment from networking events! Look at it as a growth opportunity not only for your business, but for you personally. And with events going on virtually right now, you might find it easier to try out a few networking events from the comfort of your home.
“It’s always the same people.”
This can be true, but it isn’t always a bad thing. Even though you are talking with some of the same people over and over, the network of people they know and could put you in touch with is likely different every time you see them. Also, we do business with those we like and trust. The better you get to know someone, the more trust you build and the better you understand each other’s business. This will lead to more opportunities to help each other with leads and other resources.
SCS Elevator’s Trade Organization Membership
SCS is a proud member of several national, regional, and local trade organizations, including:
- NAEC –National Association of Elevator Contractors
- NEII –National Elevator Industry, Inc.
- CECA—Canadian Elevator Contractors Association
- SGS ISO 9001
- Northern California Elevator Industry Group
- Elevator Association of Florida
- Elevator Association of Minnesota
- Chicago Elevator Association
- Elevator Conference of New York
- Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce
The elevator community is a relatively small, close-knit group, so being known and respected by those in this industry is essential to running a successful business. And when you run a business as niche as elevator buttons and elevator signage, it’s incredibly helpful to have others in the industry to compare notes with. We have found our membership in these organizations to be a key part of fostering relationships with suppliers, contractors, and customers, as well as helping us continue to grow a successful business in the elevator industry. We wouldn’t be who we are without them!
If you haven’t taken part in a trade organization before, we’d highly recommend that you consider a membership with one in your industry. If you’d like to hear more about our experience with trade organizations, don’t hesitate to reach out—we’d love to discuss it with you!