Business associations can be valuable sources for networking, professional development and industry information. It’s important to think of business associations beyond joint ventures and business partnerships. There are business associations for small businesses, industries, women and members of minority groups.

The benefits of business associations

These are valuable places to build contacts and find business opportunities whether you’re just getting started or have been in business for years.

Associations frequently sponsor seminars, events, speakers, discounts and sometimes even political advocacy on local, state and federal levels. While associations can help you stay on top of industry trends and make contact with key people, it’s important to be selective when deciding which organisations to join.

Choose an association that fits your needs

Be clear with yourself about how much time you have to commit to any association. Do some research into how long the association has been around and what it has to offer. Consider how much time and effort you want to commit to a group compared to the potential benefits.

These associations are not free usually and the benefits of membership should be carefully weighed against the cost of fees. Some associations will have different fees for state, local and national membership. Consider which you may benefit from the most.

It may require some trial and error before finding the best association for your needs.

Stay involved

Once you find an association that works for you, make the most of it and stay involved.

Attending and occasionally sponsoring events, exhibitions, award ceremonies and workshops will allow you to promote your business and gain valuable information.