During high school, we were all encouraged to join a variety of extracurricular activities to build our resumes and make us more well-rounded people. As adults and business owners, joining an association, as well as attending conferences and trade shows, can have some of these same advantages, but they can also help grow your business. More so than ever before, associations, organizations, conferences and trade shows can serve as a conduit for greater opportunities.
Arguably the top reason for any involvement in these areas is the networking opportunities afforded to you. Meetings are a great occasion for speaking with others in the construction industry. The friendly camaraderie allows everyone to speak openly and candidly about their business. Further, meetings provide you with the chance to learn what others are doing around the country, which is a valuable asset for staying on top of industry trends. Also, trade shows offer you the opportunity to learn about some of the latest products. And, the relationships fostered at these events can last long after you return home and provide you with a colleague that acts as a sounding board throughout the year.
Industry organizations are also a great medium for getting the word out about your company’s products and services. For associations, most have printed newsletters that feature member profiles or project spotlights. Typically, these newsletters go to more than just members, but also to anyone interested in learning more about the industry. Further, they can be distributed at trade shows. Alternatively, an electronic edition of the newsletter may also exist as a second forum for information. All of this publicity positions you as an expert in your respective field.
Another method for garnering attention in a newsletter is through advertising. Associations generally offer members a discounted advertising rate, and you are ensured that you are reaching a targeted audience. Trade shows also often offer free products listings or discounts to advertise in their show publication if a booth is purchased.
Join organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Home Builders Association, Remodelers Association, Jaycees, Rotary, and other local associations. These may not be construction-specific organizations, but you will find yourself involved with other business owners facing similar problems. Some of these owners may need your products or services. Is your facility large enough to host a reception or monthly meeting for one of these organizations? It would be an excellent opportunity to make your company’s name and services memorable.
Membership is a must for whichever organizations you decide to become involved in. It is almost always a prerequisite to submit to an association’s award program. While winning the award is the obvious goal, just submitting can also help your company. Association award submittals often provide the fodder for any public relations efforts throughout the year. Any unique attributes of a project may qualify your award for inclusion in an article that will appear in a leading trade publication. Winning an award from an association is additional fuel to promote your company. Local media may take interest in your project, which would only further position you as industry leader in your community.
Getting involved is critical to receiving the value of association or organization. By representing your association when speaking in front of your local association, you are utilizing an untapped outlet for growing your business. However, opportunities do not end there; often, associations and organizations need speakers for their own events and conferences. By becoming an active member, you are more likely to be considered for presenting opportunities. Additionally, serving on committees positions you for a leadership position within the organization as a member of the Board of Directors. This provides you with the ability to make decisions that influence both the association and industry.
Benefits of Involvement
Referrals are also a common benefit of association and organization membership. If someone in your area needs a construction expert and calls an association or organization you are involved with, it is likely that you will be referred. The value of this is immeasurable, because the client has already pre-qualified the association/organization as a place to seek an expert opinion and their recommendation of your company is an incredible asset to your business. Further, many associations and organizations include a listing of members on the website and may even provide a link to your company’s site. Free magazine subscriptions are also common to help keep you abreast of the latest industry trends. Associations are frequent attendees at trade shows, which aids in increasing awareness about your industry. Your organization may also receive a discounted admission rate for members who attend the event.
Joining both industry association and community organizations is much more than simply something to add to your company website or include in proposals. Active membership affords you a host of opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Similar to your high school activities, it is up to you to make the most out of your memberships. Investigate the offerings afforded to you through your memberships and determine what you may not be utilizing. These associations and community organizations exist to advance your business, and in turn, the industry you work in. Partner with them to meet your common goals and educate the marketplace about your products and services. To find out more about networking in the construction industry and how to take advantage of its benefits, reach out to AOE today!