Is it worth joining a retail traders’ association?

I’ve been approached to be part of a local retail traders’ association. Is it worth spending my scarce time getting involved in such a thing and, if so, what kind of benefits can it bring?


There are a couple of things you need to ascertain before joining your local traders’ association.


There are basically two types of associations: active ones and dead ones.


The dead ones have a small group of people who love hearing themselves speak. They rarely do anything new, instead relying on what they’ve always done.


Usually, they are a clique of people who are very happy telling others what they should do, but rarely do much more than attend meetings, give directives and whinge about hard times.


They’re often control freaks and want everything done their way. Bear this in mind before deciding on whether or not to participate. If the association is run by the local bully, don’t even think of participating. It will end in tears.


The active trader groups have a wide cross-section of ages – men and women – who are keen to work together to promote their businesses, the precinct, the strip, or the centre.


They come up with tried and true ideas but are also willing to look at different ways of doing things. They share the workload rather than leave it to one or two.


They realise that “one size” doesn’t fit all so actively work on different strategies for different sectors of their membership.


What works for a retailer, for example, won’t necessarily work for professional services.


Some of the benefits to be gained if you do join an active association:

  • Cross-promotion with like-minded businesses;
  • A closer working relationship with your fellow businesses;
  • Opportunities for increased marketing promotions at reduced cost to individual members;
  • A chance to delight your local customers by making it such an agreeable place to shop – why would they want to shop anywhere else?

If you do your homework, it can only be a win-win.


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