Industry associations, also known as trade groups or business associations, are organizations founded and usually funded by businesses in that specific business or industry. Thousands of industry trade groups are in existence worldwide, and every industry has at least one trade group. Industry associations often provide access to certification, education, information, trends, political lobbying, group insurance rates, market research, advertising, networking opportunities, and more for their members and affiliates. The importance of joining a trade group depends on why you are considering membership and how involved you plan to be in the association.

Membership in a trade association is a good way for small business owners to learn, spot important trends, access resources and collaborate with others in their industry.

 

Before joining an industry trade association, research the benefits provided by the organization. Are the benefits provided important for your business success? Who are the members? How long has the organization been in existence? What are the costs to join and be involved in the organization? Is there a local chapter? Carefully consider whether the services and benefits offered by the association are unavailable or too expensive to obtain another way. Will your business benefit from membership in the organization?

Gale Publishing provides a resource called The Encyclopedia of Associations which is available in many libraries, and your local Small Business Development Center office can also access industry association data through market research.

Membership in a trade association is a good way for small business owners to learn, spot important trends, access resources and collaborate with others in their industry.

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