For some business owners, joining an industry trade association may seem like an unnecessary expense; but the majority will soon reap the benefits, not just in cost savings with service providers and attending trade events at membership rates, but in access to knowledge, invaluable support and importantly, enhancing your reputation at a personal and business level.
When looking to establish and grow your business, it is often not what you know, but who you know that can help to make it successful and trade associations provide the means to connect with like-minded business owners. This can be particularly valuable for new companies, as having relationships with other business owners in the same industry can provide a sounding board for exploring new ideas and working through challenges.
Individuals joining and participating in trade association activities and events are more than likely committed to learning and growing their reputation in your industry. Therefore, networking could provide you with the chance to scout potential new talent for your company.
In the business world, reputation is everything. In becoming a member of your trade association, you send an important message to the industry, demonstrating your company’s commitment to quality, growth and innovation; enhancing your reputation in the process.
Becoming a member of your industry association shows that you take your business seriously enough to invest your time and energy outside of your office by learning and networking for the good of the industry. This message will resonate not only with your own teams, but with prospects and customers too.
In addition, trade associations often look for industry experts to help with workshops and seminars at industry events. Participating, in these will not only grow your reputation as an entrepreneur but can help to grow your business in the process.
The nursery industry – like most other industries – has common issues affecting almost all businesses in the sector including regulations and policies which prevent companies from reaching their full potential.
The Baby Products Association regularly lobbies the government on pertinent issues (for example the reduction of VAT on Isofix bases and fire retardancy regulations) to ensure that its members’ interests are protected.
By joining your trade association, you become an active advocate for your industry and can have a say in what is in the best interest of your business and your customers.
In every industry, the goal posts are always moving, so being a member of your trade association means that you will be kept up to date with industry trends and developments and receive the support to respond accordingly.
In an ideal world, your business will grow swimmingly with no problems along the way. But in the unfortunate event of a crisis (maybe a product recall, or accusation regarding your product which could potentially affect your reputation), your trade association will have your back. It can provide you with advice and support and may have important contacts with resources you can tap into. For example, the Baby Products Association has a partnership with Nottingham Trading Standards which will help to challenge and uphold a national decision on a product which has incorrectly been identified as unsafe.
Being part of your industry trade association is also fun! Networking with industry colleagues on committees and events and spending time with others with common goals will potentially create lifelong friendships.
“Having been a member of the Baby Products Association for over 20 years, I have found not only its services invaluable, but also the safety net it provides me with for any potential market issues to be a real comfort.” – Luke Burns, Cybex
“DCUK joined the Baby Products Association as soon as the business started in 2010. The wide-ranging advice was useful when the company was in its infancy. Now, as a more mature business, we still see the benefits of the work the Association does on standards for the promotion of safety of babies and young children; and as a means for the industry to speak with one voice.” – Richard Bamforth, DCUK
“East Coast Nursery has been a member of the Baby Products Association for over 30 years. Being part of an industry trade association has been important to our business, not only to show our commitment to quality products and safety, but for the knowledge and support gained from working with like-minded businesses experiencing similar industry challenges. I have sat on the Association’s Executive Committee since 1992 and have seen the Association change so much over the years. Its activity within the realms of product safety and standards for the benefit of consumers and manufacturers has increased significantly and over that time having Robert Anslow’s experience in that field as managing director has furthered that endeavour. From a personal point of view, my involvement has kept me in the loop with industry developments and news and I have made life-long friends in the process.” – Mike Chapman, East Coast Nursery
“Cosatto has been a member of the Baby Products Association for many years and in the past, I also served on its Executive Committee. The Association quietly, but confidently represents the UK nursery industry around the globe when required, robustly fights our corner on standards and other important issues. There have been times in the past where its actions and interventions have been a massive benefit to the whole industry and I am sure the Association will be called on to do so again. Being a member gives Cosatto the security and back-up that is essential in today’s complex and fast-moving world.” – Andrew Kluge, Cosatto