You’re Not Alone – Connect with Local Business Organizations
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You’re not alone. As a small business owner, it might seem like that at times. But the reality is there are a number of ways you can connect with others in the community. It might be for advice about your business, to combine efforts with other businesses or to give back to the community. Here are some reasons why you should consider joining a local organization and a few places to start.
You stand to gain by teaming up with local business organizations. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Builds Your Local Brand – Participating in an organization raises your visibility among members and the population they serve. The more active you become, the greater your profile.
- Offers Networking Opportunities – Often members of these organizations are small business owners too. So you can share information, ask for referrals for services like accounting, or get introductions to other businesses.
- Provides a Political Platform – Joining forces on issues that are important to your business helps you speak with one voice. There is strength in numbers in moving your agenda forward.
Here are six places to start your search for organizations within your own community:
- SBA.gov Local Assistance – Just enter your ZIP code or state into the U.S. Small Business Association website. It will provide a list of local organizations that relate to small businesses. Included is the local SBA office.
- SCORE – SCORE is a non-profit association that provides mentors, free counseling, business tools and local workshops to small businesses.
- Local Chamber of Commerce – Locate your nearest chamber using this website. Chamber membership provides local visibility, connections to other local businesses, leadership opportunities, training and advocacy.
- Small Business Meetup Groups – Connect with other small businesses to network, find new customers, get advice and avoid costly mistakes. Plug in your ZIP code to find a group near you.
- Political Advocacy Groups – Stay on top of key issues affecting small businesses and band with other businesses to voice your opinion with legislators. These include organizations like the National Small Business Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
- Economic Development Agency – Most states have a local agency that assists new businesses with startup advice, financial assistance, business location and employee recruitment and training.
There are distinct benefits to small businesses that connect with organizations in their community. They can offer assistance, visibility and advocacy. Start with these six sources to find the association that works best for your small business.