Chambers of commerce have been around for a very long time. The very first recorded mention of a chamber of commerce was in Marseille, .France in 1599. Trade associations have an equally long history with Associations finding their roots in organizations such as the church, medieval craft guilds, and merchant trading groups. Both groups still exist today and could be an important avenue through which your manufacturing business receives support, stays engaged with your community or industry, or becomes known for what you do and the quality with which you do it. On this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason chat a bit about the differences between chambers and associations and give their input about the value of each.
When you think of a chamber of commerce the first thing that comes to mind should be the word “local.” A chamber of commerce is always tied to a local community, whether it be a township, city, or other local area. The focus of a chamber is to consider and discuss the interests of all businesses in its local area, moving beyond individual interests to that of a collective group. The establishment of chambers provides merchants, traders, craftsmen and business owners a public forum to discuss issues facing them as a business community. This representation of common interests became, and remains, the foundation of chambers of commerce worldwide. Should YOUR business become a member of your local chamber? Jim and Jason have some things for you to think about as you consider that decision. Take a few minutes to listen to this episode to hear what they advise.
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry or a specific niche of an industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between the companies that make up its membership. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, providing networking or charitable events, or offering classes or educational materials to its members. In the manufacturing industry there are a number of associations, many specialized to serve its particular membership. Should your company be a member of a specific trade association? Only you can answer that question but Jason and Jim have some thoughts about what you should consider before deciding. You can hear their advice on this episode of Making Chips.
Given your company’s role and profile in the community, membership in your local chamber may not be a good fit. But there are many good reasons TO join your local chamber: Membership could bring credibility to your business in the community. Membership could increase your visibility in the community. Becoming a member could provide networking opportunities for your business. Being a chamber member could also give you an amplified voice in governmental issues. As part of your local chamber you’ll also make local business contacts. With a chamber membership, you can also reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity.
Trade associations provide a valuable resource to those who take advantage of their resources. Some of the reasons you might want to be a part of a specific association are: 1. You can receive specialized knowledge. Odds are that someone, somewhere, in the industry has already discovered the solution to a vexing problem in your particular niche. 2. You can enhance your company’s reputation. 3. You can make personal and industry-related connections. 4. You could increase your company’s purchasing power. Trade associations often arrange for members to receive discounts on certain products and services. 5. Your company could gain political clout and expertise. Trade associations bring competitors together, turning each small voice into a persuasive, collective shout that gets the attention of lawmakers and officials. Listen in as Jim and Jason discuss the benefits of their membership in various associations.
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