Where can you count on endless networking opportunities? Business organizations offer many chances for joining likeminded professionals and learning more about your chosen field. Take the plunge to:
- Take charge of your career — Associations often have job listings online or in print available only to members. You’ll find targeted job postings in your area of interest. You may even get on track to obtain certifications.
- Keep up to date — Organizations sometimes offer courses, seminars and/or lectures to keep members up to date on the latest industry innovations, research and trends. Increase your access to resources and tools to help grow your business, which can include discounts with vendors and suppliers and/or credit from a bank.
- Increase leads and sales — You’ll have a built-in base of people who need your services or products, or know someone who does. Professional communities are an incredible source of fresh leads. Membership is impressive because it shows dedication to your profession.
- Enhance your network — Making connections is critical, and joining associations provides countless opportunities to connect on a local and sometimes even global level. In creating professional relationships, you’ll establish a support system of experienced people who are motivated to get things done, aiding one another in reaching professional goals and building credibility in your community.
- Be a leader — You can develop your skills as a leader, helping your own professional growth as well as giving a boost to your firm.
- Become a mentor — By participating in forums, chat groups, discussion boards and social media sponsored by your organization, you’ll keep growing your network. You can use your peers as sounding boards and help others who can learn from information you can impart.
- Make new friends — A professional organization helps you meet new people and maybe get away from your total focus on your business, befriending new individuals with similar interests to yours.
- Give back to the community — You’ll probably have many opportunities to coordinate socially conscious initiatives to support community efforts, e.g., help a nearby animal shelter or coordinate a food drive for a local charity.
- Stay inspired and motivated — Fulfill your own professional development goals.
Enhance your business profile. Show commitment to your profession. Actively participate in its advancement:
- Attend a monthly meeting for greater face time. Change your reputation from an observer to a participant.
- Showcase your own abilities by getting involved. Serve on committees, become a board member.
- Be where your prospects are. If they’re involved in the local chamber of commerce, then that’s where you’ll want to be.
- Ask your current clients where they’re involved. Maybe go to a meeting. Go as a resource with the motive of learning the issues. Your goal is to help prospects find solutions.
- Cultivate referrals. You’ll get to know other professionals: lawyers, financial advisers, bankers. They may not hire you themselves, but they might refer you.
Professional affiliations can be untapped gold mines of career advancement. With such benefits as membership directories, publications and/or newsletters, you have entree to leaders in your field. Interview some members to see how they’ve benefited from the affiliation.
By being in professional communities, you’ll be exposed to new ideas. You’ll learn new ways of doing business, while staving off isolation. Find people you relate to and personally see the power of networking, such as:
- Get insights into how your industry works and how to navigate it.
- Mix and mingle with others in your field in both professional and leisure settings.
- Make contacts and stay updated.
- Increase your real-life visibility. People like to do business with people they know.