As a small business owner, it can often feel like you don’t know where you can turn to for help and advice. There are a variety of local and nationwide organizations that can offer invaluable resources to you and your business. Joining these types of organizations can provide you with advice, support and skills acquired from years of experiences. If you are a business owner in Illinois and are looking for help with a problem or are interested in expanding your network, here are four organizations you might want to consider.
Chamber of Commerce
A chamber of commerce is an organization that is driven by looking out for the business interests of a local municipality. Joining a chamber of commerce presents a variety of benefits including professional development, networking opportunities, free marketing and financial offers like local grants or discounts on insurance or marketing. Find your local chapter here to connect with them today!
Illinois Restaurant Association
The Illinois Restaurant Association is an organization for local business owners. You can join as a restaurant operator, associate or student/faculty. As a business owner, your membership allows you valuable cost-saving on everyday restaurant expenses such as certification classes and compliance posters. Joining also presents networking and business building opportunities as well as representation and advocacy through conferences and registered lobbyists on the industry’s behalf.
Small Business Advocacy Council
An organization based in Chicago, with chapters in the Chicago suburbs, the Small Business Advocacy Council has over 1,000 members, and hosts many events each month across the Chicagoland area. Along with educational opportunities, SBAC members also have access to office sharing and the SBAC Marketplace. A major benefit of the Small Business Advocacy Council is that it is very local, so leadership is accessible and needs are addressed directly.
Previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. This is a nationwide network of over 11,000 business mentors who are ready and willing to help manage, develop and grow your small business. Mentors can meet in person or over email. SCORE also provides workshops and webinars and provides access to business management tools.
Joining a network of business owners can be a great resource as you continue to build and grow your business. When looking for an organization to be a part of, be aware that most require a yearly or quarterly membership fee. Be sure to do your research and find what would provide the most benefits to you and your business. There are tons of resources and organizations out there, so take full advantage of online resources, meaningful connections and experience and wisdom of mentors and peers.