By Barry Rubin
Live Local! contributing columnist
In the more than 20 years I have spent working in my business, coupled with service to several trade associations, civic groups and serving as president of a chamber of commerce, I have spoken with thousands of business owners. Not once, not in a single instance in all those years, has anyone ever said they have too much free time.
So could I in good conscience try to convince them to actively participate in trade associations, civic groups or a chamber? I can and I do, because memberships work. Membership is an effective strategy to help your business thrive.
Being part of an organization shows that the business is involved in the community, and helps establish the owner as an industry leader, one who uses good business practices. That builds consumer confidence in your goods or services. And being involved keeps you abreast of important, ever-changing issues and trends in your community and provide you opportunities for networking and getting new business leads. Being a part of an organization often can also give you a bigger voice on the local, county and state levels in regards to regulations, taxes, and policy.
A single whisper turns into a collective shout, much more likely to be heard.
What organizations should you join?
In weighing the decision to join a particular group, consider realistic goals, find out whether you know someone who is already a member of the organization, and ask about programs and time commitments. There is an organization out there perfect for you, and your business.
Barry Rubin is president of the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and owner of Time Systems in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org