Two weeks ago, I attended the Commercial Finance Association’s (CFA) 66th Annual Convention in Chicago. The conference attendance was up 21% from last year and the discussions and speakers were educational and interesting. Reflecting on the convention made me think about why joining and being active in an association is beneficial and important. Here are the top opportunities I think associations provide.
1. Expand your network by networking
No matter what industry you work in, networking is important. My contacts have helped me grow my business through referrals and insight and have served as great mentors. Likewise, you can also be an important connection for your contacts. Association events, like the convention I attended, give members valuable opportunities to meet and deepen relationships.
2. Generate new business ideas
Through networking and event speakers, associations can also provide you with new ideas to apply to all aspects of your business. New business ideas and better business tactics are important in helping a business succeed, and association events give you the opportunities to stay educated.
3. Better your industry
When you dedicate your time and efforts to an association, it’s not only good for your business but also good for your industry. When members come together, a stronger voice is created to innovate and bring valuable results. Whether it’s improved businesses or new legislation, positive change from lending your voice will help improve your industry.
4. Give access to resources and people
Associations form relationships with people and businesses that benefit you by providing discounts and offering events and classes. Association events also give you opportunities to hear from key people in the industry and/or others that can give good insight. For example, CFA had Former President George W. Bush give the keynote speech at their convention this year, and it was incredibly interesting to hear about his experiences firsthand.
5. Raise your business standards and esteem
Being a part of an association sets you and your business apart because it shows you’re actively involved in the industry and actively educating yourself to improve your business. Potential clients want to work with the best of the best, and association memberships can help you standout from your competitors.
Are you a member of an association? What benefits would you add to this list?