Joshua Frick, President of Kiddie Academy Educational Daycare.
Industrial organizations come in all shapes and sizes with like-minded groups for just about every trade, profession and interest. These associations can play a crucial role in amplifying a company’s voice and keeping abreast of current industry trends. Many other benefits contribute to the importance of membership in a trade association.
Amplify your voice
As president of an educational child care franchise system, I have the privilege of serving on the board of directors of a not-for-profit alliance of premier child care providers. plan. Members are the collective voice of high quality private child care, supporting children and families from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Advocacy work is non-partisan and members can participate in the development of policies that impact the industry.
Specifically, this alliance’s lobbying efforts during the pandemic helped the industry secure critical COVID-19 relief funding. As a member organization, we received up-to-the-minute notifications when new grants were available for a particular state for our industry during and after COVID—information that we were able to pass on to our franchisees.
Members of industry associations can benefit from real-time information on federal and state legislation through an association’s relationships with members of Congress, state legislatures, governors, and state agencies. It can also grant access to weekly policy calls, attendance at state policy task force meetings, and security council calls.
Having a seat at the table where decisions are made that affect your organization, your industry and your stakeholders is essential.
Keep up to date with business trends
Exchanging information and sharing best practices with peers is invaluable when it comes to matters that affect the entire industry, such as recruitment and the safety and well-being of your customers. . The training opportunities offered by professional organizations allow you to deepen your personal knowledge of the industry and increase your credibility within your profession.
Participation in professional organizations provides meaningful networking opportunities and a virtual Rolodex of colleagues with a wide range of expertise and experience. You can collaborate and learn from each other without sharing proprietary data or trade secrets.
As a franchise business, the company I work for is also an active member of an international franchise association. This helped to stay current with franchising related awareness and education, while marketing to potential franchisees. The annual conventions offered by these types of associations can allow for the information sharing and networking that are essential to business development.
Moreover, there is value to be given back without expecting anything in return.
You get what you put
Being active in an industry association means rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. As with most things in life, the more you invest in it, the more you get out of it. The best ways to make a membership worthwhile are to gather results to share with your team, make important contacts, and even volunteer to be a board member.
Taking on a leadership role translates to visibility for your organization, which builds brand awareness. This increased awareness contributes to conversions in franchise development, talent acquisition and ultimately new business.
It is important to assess which industry organizations are best for you and your business before deciding to join. If you try to overcommit, you might not get the same return on investment as if you were more selective. Make sure the association aligns with your company’s business direction, philosophy, and values.
One of the challenges of association membership is that the leaders and other member companies can be a reflection of your brand, for better or for worse. Be careful who you associate with and make sure the organization has a solid reputation. Conducting your research on an industry association, as you would with a new employee or a new company, is time well invested in ensuring that joining will be in the best interests of your company.
When you choose the right industry associations for your business, there is a halo effect as customers perceive your business as established and trustworthy. Your credibility is enhanced by affiliation. By supporting your industry, you amplify your business.
Forbes Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Am I eligible?