Bring up the subject of joining a professional organization and I often hear, “I think professional organizations add value, but I’m just too busy to add one more thing to my plate.” It’s an understandable response. After all, owning your own business is much more than a nine-to-five job when you consider the time for networking, marketing, enhancing your skills through classes, and more than likely some volunteerism.

But here’s the beauty of participating in trade and professional organizations. They are a means to all of the above. Professional and trade organizations can provide a very efficient and effective way for you to expand your business opportunities and professional development. Your affiliation with professional and trade organization also enhances your business profile. Having one or more industry associations on your bio says you are very committed to your profession and actively participating in its advancement. Clients like that.

"...efficient and effective way for you to expand your business opportunities and professional development." There are probably more than five good reasons to join a professional or trade association, but here the ones that have motivated me:

  1. Networking

    I can’t think of a better way to meet potential business partners than a professional group. When you own your own business, you can’t meet too many people and networking opportunities that professional groups afford are excellent. I also appreciate catching up with people in the industry and comparing notes about trends and other issues.

  2. Education

    Many organizations as we know offer classes. In addition to classes for credit, the meetings focus on educational content to help you improve your skills.

  3. Gives you a Competitive Edge

    You get access to industry news and other developments affecting your service offering. In any market, there’s a lot going on and it’s often difficult to stay on top of the news. Organization and association newsletters and seminars are a great and convenient way to keep current.

  4. Access to Industry Experts

    Seminars and trades shows run by professional groups give you incredible access to the individuals who are moving our industry along.

  5. Advocacy

    By joining a professional organization, you become an advocate for the industry. Even if you don’t actively participate in the lobbying efforts of the organization you join, your membership dues help to fund those efforts. Think where we would be without the advocacy of the various organizations to influence government, insurance agencies, the media and other health care providers.

Many of you probably already are members of one of our leading professional and trade organizations. If you aren’t already, I hope these points encourage you to consider getting involved as the New Year gets underway.