Why Join a Trade Association

Why Join a Trade Association?

When you work in an industry like equipment distribution, you need a reliable way to make and maintain contacts, keep yourself up to date on the latest news, developments and regulations, and build your business’s reputation in the industry and the community.

Joining a trade organization is an excellent way to accomplish all those goals. Membership in a trade organization opens many doors to networking, professional development, industry insight and boosted visibility for your company.

What does a trade association do, and what are some of the benefits of trade association membership? We’ll discuss the answers to these questions below.

What Is a Trade Association?

A trade association is an organization founded and operated by businesses in a specific field, such as the American Meteorological Society or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. There are trade organizations for all types of businesses, from accountants and bulk bag manufacturers to dairy farmers, recycling companies and veterinarians. Trade organizations often focus on promoting collaborative opportunities between companies and facilitating professional development through conferences and seminars to further the industry.

Trade associations are sometimes local or regional, focusing on the industry issues affecting a particular region. Often, though, they are national associations, with well-organized national bodies providing leadership, guidance and opportunities for local businesses. Many of these associations can be found in the federal Consumer Action Handbook.

Trade organizations also often focus on publishing materials, both on the internet and in printed form:

  • Association websites: Official trade association websites provide general information about the industry to members of the public, and they offer a convenient, centralized place where industry members can go for more specific information. The website can also promote conferences, host resources and spotlight member businesses to increase their visibility.
  • Association publications: Newsletters and magazines for organization members are useful for providing industry updates, informing members about new standards or regulations and allowing experts to give their opinions on hot industry topics.
  • Membership directories: Membership directories are useful networking and educational resources for both members and outsiders like regulators and lawmakers.
  • Professional resources: In some fields, trade organizations may publish professional resources to guide processes and techniques in a particular industry and keep everyone in the field upholding the same standards.

Why You Should Join a Trade Association

Joining a trade association is a great idea for a few different reasons:

1. To Save Money

Membership in a trade association is likely to require annual fees. But you can quickly recoup that money in the tools and knowledge you gain. Trade associations provide valuable information like market analyses, professional development and factual resources to help you boost performance and trim costs. A trade organization may also help you gain access to the newest technology and equipment for more efficient and economical processes.

2. To Gain Regulatory Guidance

Especially if your business is part of a tightly regulated industry, a trade association can offer advice on how to remain in compliance. A good trade association keeps abreast of regulatory rulings and updates and can provide point-by-point explanations of the compliance requirements. Best of all, this information may be free to members, even though otherwise, the necessary manuals might cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

3. To Take Advantage of Educational Opportunities

Trade organizations are well known for hosting conferences and other professional development events where members can increase their knowledge and hone their skills. The networking opportunities that trade associations afford also allow for ongoing, informal learning through conversations with others.

4. To Reinforce Best Practices

Being part of a trade organization helps reinforce your industry’s best practices. Especially if you’re new to the business, attending trade organization events can help get you onto the same page with your colleagues. And even if your company has been an industry leader for a while, trade organization events and publications can help corroborate or expand on what you’re already doing.

Benefits of Joining a Trade Association

So why join a trade association? Joining a trade association provides enormous benefits for your professional and even personal growth:

1. Networking

Joining a trade association offers excellent networking opportunities. By attending professional conferences or expos, you can make business connections and increase the number of people you can call on for advice.

2. Exchange of Ideas

A trade association allows for a lively exchange of ideas between members with different strengths and perspectives. The education and research you can access through a trade association will make you better at what you do. Through exchanging ideas with others, you can gain exposure to new approaches, learn about new technologies and marketing strategies and impart your wisdom to others.

3. Advocacy and Legal Representation

When you join a trade association, you’ll gain the backing of an experienced, established organization that can promote your business. You’ll also gain access to people who can advocate for laws and regulations that are fair to and support your industry.

4. Boosting Your Reputation

Becoming involved with a trade association helps boost your reputation in your industry. Having your name in an official directory or bearing a recognized group’s name on your card provides evidence of your professionalism and commitment. Long-term membership in a trade organization also signals your extensive knowledge of industry best practices and regulatory compliance.

5. Making Lifelong Friends

Joining a trade association is also fun! Spending time with others who have common goals can lead you to some of your best and most enduring friendships. And having strong industry friendships can also deepen your connection to and investment in your work.

Objectives of Trade Associations

Trade organizations typically have a few different purposes geared toward business development and business-to-business relationships. Their overarching goal is likely to be promoting and improving the industry and offering opportunities for engagement and growth. These goals may break down into several specific objectives:

  • Promoting industrial and commercial opportunities within the field
  • Promoting education through conferences and publications
  • Developing public relations through methods like advertising and publishing
  • Providing professional development to enhance the industry overall
  • Giving members a platform for expressing their views
  • Providing networking opportunities and avenues for collaboration within the industry

Become a Member of Associated Equipment Distributors Today!

To see the benefits of networking with other professionals in the equipment distribution industry, become a member of Associated Equipment Distributors. Membership has many advantages for distributors, manufacturers, service companies and publication companies alike. We have a full calendar of events such as executive conclaves, financial symposia and small-dealer conferences. We also offer an extensive array of continuing education programs to help our members grow, gain certifications and improve their skills.

Become a member today and start making connections.


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