Having the right support can be the difference between a small business succeeding and failing. In an industry like small businesses, where competition is fierce and risks are high, it’s more important than ever to have an effective support network. 

Small business associations are organizations that offer support to their members by providing a forum for networking and knowledge-sharing. Most small business associations also provide support services such as advice on accounting and legal matters, insurance deals, training programs, or partnerships with other businesses.

Since every business is unique in its own way, there isn’t one overarching set of criteria that determines whether an association is right for any individual business owner. Instead, if you want to ensure you’re picking the perfect association for you and your needs, there are a few key things you should look out for before signing up.

Your Local Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is a group of business owners in a local area that work together to promote the growth of small businesses. The Chamber provides networking opportunities, mentors, and professional development for small business owners. Joining the Chamber is a great way for small business owners to make business connections and grow their businesses.

SCORE

SCORE helps small business owners connect with mentors and grow their businesses. It is offered through the SBA. SCORE helps business owners by providing access to mentors, business resources, and educational opportunities.

Business Networking International (BNI)

Business Networking International (BNI) is a business network of like-minded business professionals who meet weekly to support and referral one another. Members are held accountable to generate referrals for one another through a structured meeting format. The focus is on building relationships and developing trust so that when someone in the group needs a referral, they know who they can turn to.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an organization that provides entrepreneurs with small businesses professional development opportunities and networking opportunities. They also offer business insurance for business owners. YEC is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are looking to start or grow their businesses.

Local Trade Associations

Local trade associations are organizations that allow businesses in a particular industry or region to network and grow their businesses. These associations typically offer resources and support to help businesses succeed, and they may also lobby on behalf of businesses at the local, state, or federal level. Trade associations can be a great way for businesses to get connected and learn from one another, so joining one or more relevant associations is often a smart move for business owners.

National Small Business Association

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is a small business association in the United States. It is a business association that represents the interests of small businesses. The NSBA promotes and protects the interests of small businesses through advocacy, education, and networking.

The National Federation of Independent Business

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is an American business association with a focus on networking and representing the interests of small businesses. The organization has grown to become one of the largest business associations in the United States. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the rights of small businesses, and it does so through lobbying, research, and education. NFIB also provides its members with a number of resources and benefits.

Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is a government-funded program that helps veterans start and grow their own businesses. The VBOC provides training, counseling, and resources to help veterans succeed as entrepreneurs.

The Female Entrepreneur Association

The Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA) is a global organization that champions the advancement of women in business. They provide resources, support and advice to help women entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. They also aim to raise the profile of female entrepreneurship and promote gender equality in business.

American Business Women’s Association

The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) is a national organization of working women that provides networking, educational, and leadership opportunities. ABWA’s purpose is to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and provide them with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace.

National Association for Women Business Owners

The National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is a membership organization that helps women entrepreneurs in the United States. NAWBO members get access to resources and support to help them start and grow their businesses. The organization also advocates for public policies that support women-owned businesses.

Online Small Business Groups

There are a number of online groups that serve as support networks for small business owners. These groups can be a great resource if you’re looking to meet others in your area and learn from them. Here are a few general categories that unite many of these online small business communities:

Business Networking

Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook Business Pages, or other social media sites, many small business owners find success by connecting with each other online through their personal profiles or pages.

Online Support Forums

There are a number of online forums for small business owners who are looking for support or advice. Many of these forums are run by companies like BNI, SCORE, and other organizations that provide networking opportunities offline.

There are many tools to help you succeed in business. Make sure you choose the right tools for your needs and take advantage of them.

How to Find the Right Small Business Networking Group

If you’re a small business owner, finding the right business networking group can help you grow your business. Here are some tips on how to find the right small business networking group for you:

  1. Ask other small business owners for recommendations. They’ll be able to tell you which groups are helpful and which ones to avoid.
  2. Research different groups online. Look for groups that have a good reputation and that focus on businesses like yours.
  3. Attend a few meetings of different groups before you commit to one. This will give you a chance to see if the group is a good fit for you and your business.

Benefits of Joining a Small Business Networking Group

Small business networking groups provide many benefits to entrepreneurs, such as the opportunity to share ideas, find new customers and suppliers, and get advice from other business owners. These benefits can include access to a larger pool of potential customers, networking and referral opportunities, and educational resources. For small business owners, these benefits can be invaluable in helping them to grow and succeed. These groups can also be a great way to make new friends and build relationships with other small business owners in your community.

What to Expect at a Small Business Networking Group

Small business networking groups are a great way to meet other local business owners and get advice and support. Here are some things you can expect at a small business networking group:

  • A relaxed and informal atmosphere where you can chat with other business owners
  • A chance to share your business story and learn about other businesses in the area
  • Advice and support from other business owners on various topics
  • A chance to make new connections and build relationships with other local businesses

Other Options to Get Support for Your Business From Fellow Business Owners

There are many other options to get support for your business from fellow business owners. One great option is to join or create a business group or association. This can provide you with access to valuable resources, networking opportunities, and support from other like-minded individuals. Additionally, there are often programs and services available through these groups that can help you get started or grow your business.

Another option is to seek out mentors or coaches who can offer guidance and advice. These individuals may have extensive experience in the industry you’re looking to enter, and can be a great asset in helping you navigate the challenges of starting or growing a business. Finally, there are a number of online communities and forums dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurship, which can be a great resource for advice, tips, and support.

Focus on Growth and Scalability

These are just some of the many benefits that small business networking groups can offer. By joining a small business networking group for your business, you’ll be able to connect with other local businesses and learn from their experiences. And by sharing your story and getting feedback from other businesses, you’ll have a better chance at being successful in your own business. 

Connect with other local entrepreneurs today by joining your area’s Small Business Association or similar organization or by creating an online community through websites like LinkedIn. As your business grows, be sure that you’re ready to scale with it. Answering services can be a cost-effective way to help support and scale your business.

If you’re ready to get started with a professional answering service, we’re here to help. Contact Answer Aide by calling (866) 427-3500 or by filling out our online form. We’re happy to partner with you to support your business while it grows.