President Joshua Frick Kiddie Academy Educational Childcare.
Trade associations come in all shapes and sizes, with like-minded groups for nearly every industry, profession, and interest. These associations play an important role in amplifying the voice of companies and keeping them abreast of the latest industry trends. The importance of participating in industry associations has many other benefits.
amplify your voice
As President of the Educational Childcare Franchise System, I have the privilege of serving on the non-profit boards of major childcare providers. Our members are the collective voice for quality, private child care that supports children and families of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Advocacy is bipartisan, allowing members to participate in shaping policies that affect the industry.
Specifically, the alliance’s lobbying during the pandemic helped the industry secure critical COVID-19 relief funding. As a member organization, we received updated notifications when new grants became available in certain states for our industry during and after the COVID outbreak. We were able to pass this information on to our franchisees.
Members of trade associations can benefit from real-time insight into federal and state-level legislation through relationships with members of Congress, state legislatures, governors, and state agencies. You can also grant access to weekly policy calls, participation in state policy working group meetings, and safety council calls.
It’s important to have a seat at the table where decisions are made that affect the organization, industry and stakeholders.
Stay on top of business trends
Exchanging information and sharing best practices with peers is critical when it comes to issues that impact industry-wide, such as recruitment and customer safety and well-being. Training opportunities from industry associations provide you with the ability to enhance your personal industry knowledge and enhance your professional credibility.
Participation in industry associations provides meaningful networking opportunities and a virtual Rolodex of colleagues with a wide range of expertise and experience. Collaborate and learn from each other without sharing proprietary data or trade secrets.
As a franchise business, my company actively participates in international franchise associations. This has helped me stay informed about advocacy and education related to the franchise. It also helped in marketing to potential franchisees. Annual conventions offered through this kind of association enable information sharing and networking that are essential for business development.
Moreover, there is value in giving back without expecting anything in return.
you get what you put in
Being active in a trade association means rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. As with most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get. The best way to make your membership worthwhile is to collect and share research findings with your team, make important contacts, and even volunteer to be a board member.
Taking on leadership roles leads to organizational visibility and increases brand awareness. This increased awareness contributes to franchise development, talent acquisition and ultimately conversion in new business.
Before deciding to join, it is important to evaluate which trade association is best for you and your company. If you try to overcommit, you may not get the same return on investment as if you were more selective. Make sure the association aligns with your company’s business focus, spirit and values.
One of the challenges of association membership is that management and other member companies may reflect your brand, for better or worse. Be careful who you associate with and make sure the organization has a good reputation. Doing research on industry associations, as with new hires and new business ventures, is a good time to see if joining is in the company’s best interest.
Choosing the right trade association for your company has a halo effect as customers perceive your business as established and trustworthy. Your credibility is reinforced by affiliates. We grow our business by supporting the industry.
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