Trade Associations' Broad Appeal

Entrepreneurs see many benefits in joining professional organizations, according to a new study

Nearly 60% of small-business owners belong to at least one trade organization, according to a new survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) "It appears that the information small-business owners get and the other benefits they receive from their associations are factors in successfully growing a business," notes NFIB Senior Research Fellow William J. Dennis, Jr. "Sometimes, these organizations are the only places where small businesses can find the current, industry-specific information they need."

Of trade-association members who responded to the questionaire, 24% sought to keep abreast of new technologies. A similar number, 23%, said that specific industry news was the greatest incentive to join. A further, 22% cited access to information about relevant laws and regulations as their chief reason for joining, and 18% were after the latest information on customers and market trends.

Although getting information was by far the most commonly reported key reason small-business owners joined trade associations, it was not the only benefit that they gleaned. According to the NFIB, a large number said they also take advantage of continuing education programs and networking opportunities.

By Edward Popper in New York

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