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 British Cleaning Council The value of trade associations


By Doug Cooke, chairman, British Cleaning Council.


As chairman of the BCC and - formany years - the CSSA, I speak at a lot of events and conferences and there’s one question that always seems to crop up: ‘what is the real value tomy business of join- ing a professional trade or- ganisation?’ Even business owners who are fully signed upmembers of an associa- tion often can’t see what they’re getting out of it.Many of themare worried that it’s time consuming, expensive and produces no real tangible benefits. In some ways I can see


their point, but of course I don’t agree with it at all. It’s true there is a time commit- ment required, and thatmay scare some people off - but as the old adage goes, you only get out what you put in. Maybe some associations don’t deliver formembers, but that’s not the experience I’ve had. As someone who’s been amember of various trade bodies throughoutmy working life, I could probably fill several pages with positive benefits ofmembership, but here’s just a few of themain ones: •Networking. • Education and training. • Raised profile through con- ferences and events. • Promote the profession. •Positive image to customers. • Better placed to lobby government. I think the opportunity to


network is as good a reason as any to join a trade associa- tion.Meeting new people is always a positive experience in any walk of life, and net- working with business own-


Contact details


ers andmanagers fromthe same industry can be ex- tremely beneficial. It givesmembers the op-


portunity to discuss issues that relate to their particular business sector. For instance, they could get the low down on new innovations or train- ing practices, ormaybe learn about a possible threat that’s on the horizon, or even dis- cuss a challenge they faced and overcame. Belonging to a group of in-


dividuals fromthe same in- dustry brings a huge sense of camaraderie, there’s also a feeling of belonging to some- thing bigger and, of course, all the information and ideas gained can be used for your own commercial benefit. Another significant reason


to join an association is the leverage it can give you when it comes to lobbying govern- ment for change. A good rea- soned grievance or concern, backed with case studies and evidence, together with PR and contacts in parliament, can bring a change to legisla-


tion that can help your indus- try, but that can only be done through one voice - smaller groups wouldn't get past the gates of Downing Street. The organisation I currently


chair, The British Cleaning Council, is the voice of the cleaning industry, and our raison d'être is to work for the betterment of the clean- ing sector as a whole.We’re a not-for- profit association and any profits that we do accrue as a result of the joint owner- ship of The Cleaning Show, are used towards funding projects that the Council feels will help the whole sector. The great thing about the BCC is that it serves every facet of the cleaning industry - large or small, private and public sector, and through our annual conference and involvement with The Clean- ing Show we’re able to raise the profile of our sector, and give a platformto individual members, who wouldn’t have the same opportunity if they weren’tmembers. As I’ve briefly outlined here,


the benefits far outweigh the drawbackswhen it comes to membership of a trade body.


For further information on the British Cleaning Council and details of itsmembers contact: The General Secretary, BCC Ltd, 478-480 Salisbury House, LondonWall, London EC2M5QQ, UK T: 020 7920 9640 E: info@britishcleaningcouncil.org W: www.britishcleaningcouncil.org


The value comes frombeing a part of amuch larger organi- sation that can speakwith one voice. There’s value in meeting newbusiness con- tacts, and sharing ideas on training and innovations. There’s enormous value, too, in participating in large events and conferences,which often get coverage in the trade press and quite often in other parts of themedia aswell. On thewhole, trade associations can be hugely beneficial and I think that business owners should viewjoining one as an essential part of their busi- ness plan.


grants programme - another reason to support the show and itsmove to London in 2015.


Show, co-owned by the BCC and Quartz BusinessMedia, are poured back into the


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