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There's an 'org' for that

Matt Morgan • Jun 27, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Just as often nowadays that you hear "there's an app for that," so too is there an "org" you can join that will benefit you.

On an individual basis the options are rather obvious and seemingly endless. Various faiths, social/fraternal orders, and volunteer committees are great outlets for questions, creativity, and service. But what if you are a small business doing esoteric things unlike a steel plant or commercial fishing?

"Well ... I do enjoy whittling and want to sell my works, is there an 'org' for that? I mean ... it's whittling ..." Yes, there is, and fear not — opportunity for involvement yet awaits.

If even a small game store can get national representation with GAMA (which is based in Ohio, actually), so too can whatever you do or wish to do. Are you a florist in Berlin Heights? There is the ASCFG, which is also based in Ohio, coincidentally. Vend hot dogs and sausages from a cart in a park? Try the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council out of Washington, D.C.

By joining organizations like these you can get specified information that relates to how you earn your living. Statistics, advocacy, and maybe even legal council. Some may cost a fee, but knowledge is a source of great power and can put you at a competitive edge. You may get to go to a neat yearly convention and come home with some product from manufacturers! Being the fountain of knowledge you are after such an event, you can inform your customers about the latest trends and brace your wallet for new inventory or store policy for regulations.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may be able to help as well as possibly downtown developments/associations. While broader, the chance to network with the other businesses in your area is very valuable. Learning the lay of the land isn't just important for generals' battle plans. You can also try joining classes offered by the Ohio Small Business Development Centers. Another great one is SCORE or even the Small Business Administration if you want to look for information on a broader scope.

The above can very well be mixed with personal organizations, too, as well as this final suggestion — attend (or watch if you can't go) your local governmental meetings. Even if you don't want to get involved in anything, being a spectator alone will make you so much more knowledgeable about what is going on in your town that you will have an edge over others who aren't as attentive. Who knows? Maybe the community greenhouse needs a whittler/woodworker for a project?

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