As contractors, there’s always more work in front of us than we can begin to keep up with.
Managing projects, people, and deadlines is plenty, but we can’t ignore other vitals such as updated regulations, new technologies, industry trends, and best practices. There’s so much information out there (helpful stuff, too), but who has the time to dig it up?
Not to mention all your job site documentation!
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No one wants to add one more thing to their list, but maybe we could save ourselves a lot of time and headaches by jumping on board with a known trade or industry association.
As with most all things, there are pros and cons to membership with a trade association. Here, I saved you some time and made a list:
Tried and True Advice
The old guard of your trade has moved into mentoring roles, and many are offering advice through trade associations. Being a member means you have access to their solutions based on experience, and you are privy to their advice on running a healthy and successful business. Network, idea share, and build meaningful business relationships that will assist you immediately and down the road.
Quite the opposite — but equally beneficial — is the new industry information you gain. With this knowledge, you can be an early adopter of trends or watch and gain feedback from fellow industry members as they test out what’s new.
Trade associations are committed to keeping their members updated with policy, legislation, compliance, and regulatory changes. Besides the benefit of offering this knowledge, the organization as a whole bands together as a louder voice when a protesting response is needed.
Education and Training
Classes, online resources, trade shows, and coaching experts are just a few options to educate you and your entire company to be the best in your industry. Choose from topics like finding more leads, closing sales, fast-track recruiting, continuous improvement, and long-term success. Some associations even offer licensing and certification courses.
Product Research and Recommendations
A ton of time and money is sunk into product development and research. Save yourself some of both and enjoy timely updates from your trade association. Associations specific to your trade will introduce you to the newest technologies and leading-edge ideas as they become available.
Adding an association membership next to your company name can instantly build your credibility and professionalism. It says you’re active in your industry and keep up with best practices and market conditions.
Most, if not all, industry associations offer forums for members to engage, ask questions, and submit answers. It’s good to remember — the solutions found on forums are from people like you and me. Without intending to, there could be advice shared that is not correct or helpful. Resist the urge to follow blindly and fact-check before making major adjustments or decisions.
Trade association membership fees can be a considerable expense. How do you know if the membership fee is worth the cost? A great place to start is to ask yourself what benefits you’re looking for and if now is the right time for your company to take on a new expense.
Remember that an individual trade association membership fee is much cheaper than the professional society’s membership fee — at that point, we are talking thousands of dollars.
Trade associations offer an immense amount of information and resources. And might require some level of continuing education units. You’ll need to pace yourself and plan accordingly.
Not All Associations are Equal
Depending on your industry, there may be quite a few to choose from. Start with a good ol’ internet search, read the reviews, see who your competitors are involved with, and ask around. You can also check in with your CRM or other project management software/applications, and they may have some great recommendations. Maybe that’s what you’re doing here?!
See all the associations CompanyCam is a member of or works directly with.