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Joining a trade association

maninwheelchairwithcoworkers23110444.jpgRegardless of what size your business is it is always nice to have other people to talk to when you are facing hard times with your business. Joining a trade association is one of the best ways that you can go about getting into contact with other people who are in your industry. When you join a trade association you can join one that offers you local chapter meetings or you can find one that offers conferences once a year at a central location. Choosing a trade association is going to depend on what your needs are and what you expect to get out of the trade association.

Here are the steps you will want to follow to help choose a trade association that is right for your manufacturing business.

Step one:
Get together a list of the various trade associations that are available for your industry. You can go to your local library to search for a trade association for manufacturing, but you can also search for them online. The best way to search for them is to type in "manufacturing trade association" or "professional manufacturing organization."

Step two
Look through the associations that strike your interest first. If the name catches your attention or if something, they have to offer your manufacturing business catches your attention you will want to make a note of that. This will allow you to narrow down the choices to the associations that are best geared towards your interests in the manufacturing association. You can even talk with other manufacturing business owners to find out about the best ones to join.

Step three:
You will need to narrow down the list of trade associations for your manufacturing business by finding the ones that offer the best benefits for your manufacturing business. The different trade associations will provide you with different levels of benefits, so you will want to weight the cost of joining the trade association with the benefits that they provide. Only you can make the decision of if the benefits outweigh the costs to join. For example, some trade associations will provide you with monthly newsletters, member discounts with certain vendors, online discussion forums for virtual networking.

Step four
Once you have found a trade association that is right for your manufacturing business you will want to find out about the standards that you will have to comply with. Different trade associations require different standards; some are going to be higher than others. When finding out about the different standards that you will need to comply with you want to make sure that your manufacturing business can maintain those standards. If you cannot maintain them, you will want to go elsewhere because you will end up being expelled from the trade association, which reflects badly on you.

Step five
Find out about the registration process you will have to go through and register your manufacturing business with the trade association. You will also need to pay any membership fees at the time of registration.

Other tips:

  • You will want to look to see if any of the trade associations you are interested in offer some kind of trial membership. This will allow you to try out the services and benefits that are available for your manufacturing business to use before you actually purchase the membership.

  • If you choose to join a trade association that is an international association, many of them often have local chapters as well. This means you should not rule out joining the trade association based on it being an international association, check to see if they have local chapters before making the final decision.

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