Independent business owners and the teams that run them know everything about their business and are responsible for its success. These businesses sometimes face obstacles that may be difficult to put a finger on because the paths they lead appear less traveled, but there are actually plenty of people and resources to help guide independent business owners through these obstacles.
An independent business association can be helpful for these businesses by providing advice, resources, and experience to its members. Most have been helping small businesses solve problems, align their goals, find and manage vendors, find a purpose and expand their networks for years now.
One of the smartest moves an independent business can make is to join an independent business association that fits its business goals and model. If your small business is ready to join an association, here are twelve of the top small business associations you should look towards.
American Independent Business Association, AMIBA
The American Independent Business Association has been helping businesses successfully launch and operate since 1998. They provide templates, reports, and other resources to help small businesses thrive. AMIBA works to help independent businesses successfully compete by educating the public on the value of independent businesses, sharing skills and resources, creating a strong voice for independent businesses, and enhancing opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB
The National Federation of Independent Business does it all for small businesses. They currently have around 350,000 small business members, and they specialize in small business advocacy. They stay up-to-date on the issues that affect small businesses and even lobby to governments on their behalf. You will also have access to their networking events, discounts, and various resources.
Local or Industry Specific Chamber of Commerce
Small businesses that target a small area or local market should consider joining the local chamber of commerce. It may come with a small price tag, but it is usually worth the expense. Members receive small business newsletters, entrepreneurship workshops, booths at local shows, and discounts. They also offer a platinum membership that include more benefits. This is one of the best small business associations for B2B businesses, because you will meet new customers at chamber of commerce events. You will find that it is an easy way to network and advertise without feeling like you are doing it.
Conscious Capitalism Local Chapters
Conscious Capitalism helps companies identify values via their four pillars (Leadership, Stakeholders, Culture, Purpose) and experiences that educate and empower them to raise humanity through business. They want to help create a world where business is both practiced and perceived as one of the greatest forces for good. There are local chapters that can be joined or started to reach the communities, support local businesses, and educate conscious professionals of all stripes.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance, ILSR
The mission of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is to provide new strategies, working models, and information that support equitable community development. Some of the resources offered include weekly podcasts, articles, reports, and videos along with other presentations, charts, and fact sheets. They also hold many speaking events that feature guest speakers who speak on increasing economic effectiveness, reducing waste, and the tools and resources that provide for local ownership and community well-being.
Business Network International, BNI
Businesses that want to get serious about networking should look towards the Business Network International. You will have to apply in order to be approved, and they only allow one business in each industry to be allowed in each group and session. They currently have over 7,500 chapters with one most likely near you.
Entrepreneur’s Organization, EO
This is one of the oldest associations around for independent businesses. Entrepreneur’s Organization describe themselves as the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs. This association is great to connect industry experts and mentorship programs. It is also a good place to find a valuable mentor who can help grow your business.
If you are looking for information on how to grow and run a thriving small business, then StartUp Nation is the right association for you. The association was started by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, so it is no surprise that they understand the struggles you are going through. This online small business community shares information about new inventions and technology, how to grow your business, and other useful topics. They even feature a radio channel and video series for their members.
SCORE, previously known as the Service Corp of Retired Executives, is made up of over 11,000 business mentors and is entirely free to join. These mentors can help you develop, manage, and grow your small business. The association also offers free tools, templates, workshops, and webinars for independent businesses.
Small Business Administration, SBA, Community Groups
The Small Business Administration may be one of the more popular associations for small business owners to join. It is widely known that the SBA offers low-cost small business loans to owners, but they also provide great advice and resources from one of their many regional and district offices. This association can help you link up with other business owners, take classes, learn about finances, and discover new business opportunities. This is one association that you don’t want to skip on.
MBO Partners offers technology solutions for small business owners to conduct business. They work to improve the way small business work and succeed. MBO Partners offer various resources, tools, benefits, and services to their members that help them operate and manage their business. They regularly host industry events that help businesses thrive in different areas.
This association claims to promote the interest of independent workers through advocacy, education, and services. They currently represent 57 million independent workers across America and have 375,000 members. Membership is free and offers benefits, community, advocacy, and resources. The association began in 1995 and has fought and won protection for freelance workers. Some of their resources include free invoice templates, guides to networking, discounts, and tax guides.
When you need help growing your small business, an independent business association can be the right direction to turn towards. You will be able to connect with many other business owners and have various resources at your fingertips. You don’t have to belong to one of these associations to run a successful business, but it can definitely help.
Before joining any of these associations that are helping small businesses, consider what your goals are, where your customers are located, and what your customers are looking for. Also look at how the association can connect you to other business owners, networks, and customers. Finding the right fit is most important for you and your business, and it will most likely pay off in the end.
If you would like to learn more about associations that can help your independent business grow, get in touch! We are empowering independents with business strategy and holistic marketing. We have the tools and resources to help you build not only your brand, but your business.