Interviewed by Forbes
Most industries have national associations. The American Medical Association (AMA), The American Dental Association (ADA), the American Bar Association (ABA), and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) are a few you might know. But what if your business or industry doesn’t have an association? Are you doomed to a life without a fall conference in Miami or a training seminar in Las Vegas? Must you accept a professional life limited to networking on LinkedIn? The answer is, “No” because you can start your own national association.
In 2005, Andrew Cordle founded the National Association of Real Estate Investors (NAREI), which today has more than 5,000 members. “I was doing real estate deals and people I know would ask me advice on how they could get into real estate investing as well,” remembers Cordle. “But I wanted to help people make real estate investing into a business rather than just an avocation. That’s why I started NAREI.”
Like any professional association, NAREI collects dues, offers networking opportunities, connects people with needed resources, and provides education and training to members. And membership has other privileges. NAREI has worked out deals with about 200 retailers to give rebates to its members when they buy building materials to remodel their investment properties.
Today NAREI’s conferences draw anywhere from 500 to 1000 people, and it is adding 4 to 8 regional “clubs” each month. “The regional component is very important. A lot of real estate knowledge is geographically specific, so the advice and training offered in Atlanta, Georgia (where there are 4 clubs) might differ in some respects from that offered in Los Angeles, California. Also, being divided into regions means members can attend classes without taking long, expensive trips,” reports Cordle.
The synergy of an association comes from its members’ combined experience and knowledge. Forming such a group can help not only your business, but also your entire industry by raising its overall level of expertise, competence and cache. If there is already a society or association that can help your business, you might want to join it. If there isn’t, consider starting one.
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