Inc.com defines a business association as an organization that promotes its members’ business interests, gathers information, researches, provides educational opportunities, and networking. Although there is often a misconception that business associations are strictly for larger corporations, because of the cost, small businesses benefit as well!
One example of a business association is Black BRAND! As the Regional Black Chamber of Commerce for Hampton Roads, our mission is to promote group economics through community empowerment and professional development. This is presented in various forms, which we ensure is always relevant to our small business audience.
For those business owners on the fence about joining Black BRAND or another association, we complied four reasons you should consider a 2021 membership:
Grow Your People Network
Networking is at the heart of the professional world. A business association offers small business owners the opportunity to meet other, like-minded people. There are many different types of associations, including ones that cater specifically to your business industry. Others, like Black BRAND, invite all industries to join!
Black BRAND has helped owners interact with each other during the pandemic via live webinars and increased social media participation. Our Black Diamond Weekend 2020 was all virtual, but that didn’t mean our members weren’t having fun! Members asked questions directly on camera and had conversations on chat.
Also, busy, often overextended business owners need to socialize too!
Find New Business Opportunities
Joining a business association doesn’t just mean networking to grow professionally – other businesses might need your services as well! Word-of-Mouth referrals make up almost 85% of customers for small businesses, which makes interacting with other companies critical. The “who you know” mentality applies here since one connection from your business organization could lead to a big sale. Here are some examples: for a restaurant that has catering, networking with an IT or advertising company could mean getting on the rotation for that Friday weekly lunch (even during the pandemic, companies are sending their employees meals!). For a nonprofit, the next business that wants to volunteer could donate their time and money to your organization.
Individuals reach out to Black BRAND on a daily basis for referrals, and 100% of those referrals go to our members. Each week we refer thousands of dollars in business to our members through our network!
Further Your Knowledge
Business associations, like a regional Chamber of Commerce or nonprofit membership organization, are meccas of information! Not only do the experts host webinars and events (often with worksheets and additional resources!), but your fellow business owners are talented and know the ropes.
Black BRAND’s network has professionals at all experience levels and from all walks of life: some of our businesses have just started out, and some have over five hundred employees! This year alone, we will host more than 100 virtual events on topics ranging from investing strategy to how to successfully apply to PPP programs. And, if you are a nonprofit business member, join our year-long mastermind hosted by Jennifer Yarbrough, the nonprofit guru!
Find or Become a Mentor
Finding a mentor can be challenging. Having the opportunity to become a mentor could be even more challenging! But a business association makes it easier because everyone has the same goal: grow and maintain a thriving business. How we all go about it might be different, but finding that personal finance mentor or restauranteur with fifty years of experience can all happen at a business association! Everyone was a beginner at some point, and new membe
rs could use the support. Veteran owners might want to help other businesses but might not know how to start.
According to the University of Pennslyvania, in a study on workplace loyalty, noted that mentoring was one of the significant factors that influenced employee turnover for bigger corporations. The lesson from a study like this is that mentoring is essential for workplace growth, whether someone works in corporate America or chooses to open their own business!
Join Black BRAND – Our Membership Structure is Even Simpler!
We are happy that in 2021 our membership fees are even simpler and more straightforward:
Students are $50
Nonprofits are $200
Solopreneurs and Startups are $250
Intermediate or medium-sized business is $400
Established or large-sized businesses are $600
Whether you join Black BRAND or not, let us know in the comments the reason why you would enter a business association!