Can a business association help your small business? Absolutely.
As a business owner, you count on your own abilities to keep things humming along. You step in when and where you’re needed, and you’ve likely racked up an impressive array of skills on your resume. However, there are reasons to connect with a reputable business association, even if you’ve managed things well on your own up until now. Here are some ways a business association can help you out.
Stay up-to-date (without losing all your free time)
In many industries, news and policy changes are constant, and it can be pretty difficult to keep up. If you’re an independent contractor, you’re already stretched in different directions – how do you find time to read up on new technologies, regulations, and best practices to keep you at the top of your game?
Well, when these resources are all gathered together in one place, it’s not so daunting. From product research and recommendations to up-to-date news and policy discussion, a business association can gather relevant, useful, and timely information for its members. When you can get top business resources in one place instead of having to visit a dozen outlets, you’re more likely to commit to staying in the loop.
Learn from people who’ve been there before
Those who’ve been in your industry for a long time probably have a lot to offer in terms of advice and insight. And since they’ve committed so much time and attention to their career, they may be more inclined to participate in active business associations.
A mentor can be a powerful ally, especially when you’re trying to grow your small business. After all, someone who has been through a long career has picked up valuable lessons along the way and might have found some creative solutions to common challenges that you hadn’t thought of. Business association events present a lot of networking opportunities, so take advantage of them!
Enjoy strength in numbers
Ever feel like nobody’s listening no matter how loud you yell? You’re not alone. Canadian small business owners have been calling for less red tape and more liberty in the business arena for a long time, and the tide might finally be turning. However, that doesn’t happen without a concerted and sustained effort.
A business association can help advocate for better tax laws and regulations affecting small businesses, and the best results come from associations that are sizeable, well-practiced, and well-organized.
Add credibility to your name
The quality of your work should speak for itself, but in reality, an impressive title can help convince customers that your business is the best choice. Listing your association membership – especially one that resonates with peers and clientele in your industry or community – indicates that you go the extra mile to build, improve, and maintain your professional standing.
Together with greater exposure for your company, up-to-date knowledge, and networking opportunities, an impressive title can take your business farther. But are these advantages worth the membership fees that many business associations charge? Extra costs can seem unnecessary and unwise – especially for a small business that’s just getting started – but in many cases, the rewards are more than worth the expense. You just need to choose (and interact) wisely.
What to look for – and what to expect – in a business association
At the start, we talked about connecting with a reputable association – that’s a crucial detail. Whether it’s a chamber of commerce, trade association, or a more general business organization, you’ll want to be sure they have a solid network and a great track record.
For small business owners, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) is a top candidate. It’s been going since 1971, and since then has helped break through bureaucratic red tape, kept small business owners at the cutting edge, and eased the cost of necessary yet expensive services to run a profitable operation. Today, 110,000 members use their extensive services and support.
There’s no magic wand that will instantly double your revenue or multiply your customer base, but the right membership can make a significant impact on your business’ bottom line. The key fact to remember is that you tend to get out what you put in. Participating in events, visiting the resource centre often, and staying on top of relevant policy or regulation changes can keep you one step ahead.
Ready to join other savvy small business owners? Check out what a CFIB membership can do for you!