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Trade Associations can be a comprehensive source of information on professional and business resources that are very industry and niche specific.

Trade associations are also known as industry trade groups. These are organizations or groups that are funded and maintained by businesses within a certain industry. There are trade associations in every industry. These trade associations participate in many different activities dealing with the public, such as advertising and education, and even donations to the public. Their main focus however, is working with other businesses in the industry to develop industry standards. The organizations focus on issues that the industry faces.

Trade associations may offer networking, services, charitable events, or classes. These trade associations are generally non-profit organizations who have a group of board members who develop by-laws. All members, including the board of directors must abide by the bylaws in order to maintain membership and activity within the trade association. The businesses in the industry work together to promote a common idea, solution, or cause.

Example trade associations include:

  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
  • National Nutritional Foods Association
  • National Kitchen and Bath Association
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • National Frozen Pizza Institute

At the time of this writing, there are approximately 7,600 trade associations registered in the United States. Of these around 2,000 are headquartered in the Washington D.C. area. Membership requirements for a trade association will vary on the specific trade association a person or business wants to join. Those interested may also start their own trade association if they cannot find one or are not happy with the one in their industry. incorporation is not required to start a new trade group. A new group should be started in a manner similar to a new business.
Your business can benefit from membership in an industry specific trade association by being kept up-to-date on trends, laws, and the dynamics of economics that are effecting your business industry.

Trade Associations are a powerful resource for building and expanding your networking and business opportunities. They can be used for evaluating goods and services. They are useful for finding experienced employees. Most trade associations are continually researching the industry they serve and they provided publications to keep you informed.

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