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. The more active you are, the more you will see opportunities to build long-term relationships and partnerships which are mutually beneficial, so why no 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.
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.
The CTA regularly supports events, seminars, workshops and training classes that help members to learn and grow in their profession. Even outside of these official events, members have opportunities to access third party training courses allowing them to gain knowledge and share experience.
Recognition - In addition to providing access to training and education trade associations provide recognition for the contributions an organisation makes. These endorsements and validations provide a level of prestige and credibility in the minds of clients and customers which is invaluable.
Influence - One of the key benefits of joining any 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 are often used to lobby policy makers and sway public opinion more positively towards the goals of the association than any one organisation can hope to achieve, irrespective of its size. With an increased level of government regulation in many industries, this is a an effective why for our industry to achieve its aims.
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's news. Outside of the usual communication of members between each other, trade associations also provide newsletters, email updates and informative resources that help members stay on top of recent developments in the field through social media channels.
Promotion - Some of the best trade associations publish informative content in regular journals and trade magazines, this helps members to reach their target audience with content which addresses the key issues/ topics at the relevant time. The source of 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.
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 a vital link 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.
Exchange of Ideas - Not only do members have access to information about updates in 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.
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.
Sustainability - There is no single sector that does not have a skills shortage issue, be that from nursing to construction, 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 the sector has the visibility it needs to help facilitate a sustainable skilled workforce to meet future demand.