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Business Gateway Adviser Blog – The Power of Associations

Business Gateway Midlothian’s Growth Business Adviser, Robbie, explains the benefits to businesses of joining a Trade Association with other local or industry specific organisations.

In every aspect of life – social, family, sporting – we know that the sum of a team is greater than its parts. We achieve more, more easily and in a more efficient way when we work together. Take Oscar winning speeches for example. They all start with “I would like to thank my team”. Or think about the current lockdown – how on earth are we going to get through home schooling if, as parents and schools, we don’t work together?

In business we understand the power of teams internally, but often see other businesses as competitors – the enemy that we must under cut, steal customers from and be better than. But, imagine the power if we came together with similar businesses to change the industry and develop even better products.

In my 25 years of running and consulting to businesses, I have found collaboration with other business in the form of a Business or Trade Association highly beneficial to every business within that local area, region, sector or specialisation. Even two retailers or businesses doing exactly the same thing in the same high street or office block can benefit from collaboration through an association, as they create a district, a destination for their specialisation. Just think of antique shops springing up close by each other. A “brand” is created, with unique visitors and economic benefit for all retailers in the area.

What is a Business or Trade Association and what are the benefits?

It doesn’t have to be complicated. A Business or Trade Association is simply a group of “like minded” businesses that come together in some form to create an association with a collective voice. A town high street is the most obvious example. Traders have similar grievances, shared issues and a common interest of protecting their high street and attracting more customers who stay longer, spend more and visit more shops.

Together, as an Association, you can achieve much more than on your own. You will be taken much more seriously by your local authority, by Scottish Enterprise and by the Scottish Government meaning your voices will be heard by Councillors, MSP’s, MP’s, planning departments and waste management. Suddenly you will have the opportunity to apply for funding – grants that as individual businesses you would not be able to look at because, as an Association, you are collaborating and working for the greater good of the area or industry.

How to set up a Business or Trade Association

Setting up a business association doesn’t take a huge amount of effort or time and a few driven individuals can get the ball rolling. And, we are here to help. Business Gateway Midlothian can assist you in the formation of the Association, helping you to choose the right structure and build momentum. We can look at funding options, projects that you might be able to apply for and we can support you throughout the process of setting up and get you working together. So get in touch today

Trade AssociationsJust remember, there is no “I” in TEAM!

Meet the Adviser

Robbie Broomfiled is Business Gateway Midlothian’s Growth Adviser, on hand to help existing businesses grow, launch new products, diversify and adapt. If you’re looking for advice or support for your Midlothian business, get in touch today.

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