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So why should you join a Trade Association?


If you are a member of the data centre trade association, you have probably already realised that there is much more to it than you had originally believed. Many businesses and individuals join a trade association in hopes of receiving one specific benefit or achieving one goal, only to find that the organization has many more benefits and holds much more opportunity than it previously imagined.


Because it is important to get the most out of membership and unlock all the benefits on offer, it is equally important to first understand exactly why businesses and entrepreneurs join them in the first place. It is also important to understand that simply joining a trade association is not an automatic golden ticket to loads of new business; it can be, but not without putting some effort in.


Think of it as like joining a gym, your annual membership fee provides you with access and use of a whole bunch of equipment and support; however, you won’t get fit or see any value from your membership unless you turn up and workout on a regular basis, the same thing applies to joining a trade association. Those who invest time in working with their trade association will get the most out of the partnership, those that don’t… well you get the idea.
 

While the motivation for joining a trade association may vary according to the needs of the member company; here are just some of the top benefits that can come from being part of a  trade association:


1.    Networking
This is the most common and most obvious benefit of joining a trade association. A trade association is filled with potential contacts, clients and partners who can help your business move to the next level and become more prominent. Due to data protection no trade association can give open access to the contact details of other members but as a member you can request to connect and the more active you are, the more you will see opportunities to build long-term relationships and partnerships which are mutually beneficial, so get involved, business never comes to those that stand still or hide. The trade association provides a trusted environment where like-minded individuals can to come together to share ideas, strengthen ties, collaborate and make connections.
2.    Training and Education
Continued education and personal development is crucial in getting to the top of any industry. If your company is already a leader in the field, education is a key to remaining on top. This is especially true in any industry that involves a high level of expertise or technology, which almost all do in the fast-paced modern world.
Trade associations usually hold or support events, seminars, workshops and training classes that help members to learn and grow in their profession. Even outside of these official events, members have constant opportunities to access 3rd party training courses which allow members to gain knowledge and share experience.
3.    Recognition
In addition to providing access to training and education a trade associations may provide recognition for the contribution your organisation is making that are not available to non-members. This endorsement and validation provides a level of prestige and credibility in the minds of clients and customers that is invaluable.
4.    Influence
One of the key benefits of joining a trade association is the ability to support the mission of the organisation and possibly influence legislation/policy that affects the sector. The combined resources of the members of an association can be used to lobby policy makers and sway public opinion more positively towards the goals of the association than any one organisation can hope to do irrespective of its size. With the Spector of an increased level of government regulation in many industries, this is an absolute necessity for the survival of all businesses in the field.
5.    Insight
Membership in a trade association means immediate access to news or developments that affect your business and the sector as a whole. A trade association allows you to not only find news but also disseminate your own company news. Outside of the usual communication of members between each other, associations generally provide newsletters, email updates and informative resources that help its members stay on top of recent developments in the field through social media channels.
6.    Promotion
Some of the best trade associations publish informative content in regular journals and trade magazines to help reach a members target audience; the content of which tend to address the key issues/ topics deemed important to the sector a the time. The source of this content can take the form of articles, updates, whitepapers and or case studies which are authored either by the trade association or written by the members themselves;’ published content is normally reviewed by the trade association to ensure a balanced view is maintained. The copy space secured by trade associations is normally only available to members.
7.    Best Practices/Standards
Any line of work has a specific set of best practices/Standards which are deemed important to ensure efficiency, repeatable quality, consistent service delivery or consumer confidence. Especially for anyone new to the industry, membership in a trade association is vital to learning these practices and performing the best work possible. The fast pace of technology and market competition means that these practices are constantly updating and changing, and it is important to take advantage of any practices that can improve your business.
8.    Exchange of Ideas
Not only do members have access to information about updates to the sector, they can also play a large role in determining these changes. Trade associations provide a forum for members to share ideas and develop new ways to improve the industry through the creation of SIG’s (Special Interest Group) or by collaborating on R&D projects. Access is normally open to all members and this allows for more experienced members to help newer ones grow and provides the opportunity for all members to share innovative ideas that can help the whole sector.
9.    Relationships
Aside from all of the professional benefits that are available through trade associations, they also provide an opportunity for members to connect to other associations as well. Trade Associations tend to be very well connected and often work together on joint initiatives with other trade bodies either directly or indirectly connected to their specific area of focus. These strategic alliances provide members with valuable insight and further collaborative opportunities.
10.    Sustainability
There is no single sector that does not have a skills shortage issue, be that from nursing to construction or from plumbing to teachers all sectors face the same challenges and the data centre sector is no exception. Trade associations can play a vital role in bringing stake holders together to address this issue through joint collaboration to ensure your sector has the visibility it needs to help facilitate a sustainable skilled workforce to meet future demand.      

 

These are just some of the most common benefits of membership in all trade associations, and there are many others that are specific to each industry or business.  No matter the industry, trade associations give their members many advantages in a fast-paced, competitive world.

 

If you are considering joining the Data Centre Trade Association or are keen to see how the DCA can start working for you then pick up the phone we are always happy to help.

 

Content support: SANEO and the TA Forum

 

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