Attracting new members is as important to the long-term survival of a trade association as retaining existing ones. The Building Services Contractors Association International (BSCAI) takes this to heart and has made outreach one of the cornerstones of its operational model. Management acknowledges that young energy and fresh ideas are the lifeblood of keeping the organization moving forward.
Matthew Teribery is one of BSCAI's most enthusiastic newer members. The Business Development Director for B&T Contractors, Inc. became an association member two years ago and has enjoyed the advantages ever since. In a recent interview, he remarked, "One of the greatest benefits is the people [my B&T Contractors colleagues and I] have met and the networking we’ve done. We’ve been able to grow, adapt, learn and become better at what we do and operating our business through working with other people who have already conquered each obstacle we run into. We especially love the peer-to-peer sessions and keynotes."
Membership in any professional association puts young professionals like Teribery in contact with industry peers from far and wide and with varying levels of expertise and experience. For those who are willing and eager to learn about other organizations' operations and ways of doing business, it can be an invaluable tool.
Teribery noted, "We're a family-owned business, and we had been in business for 27 years before we joined ISSA and 28 years before we joined BSCAI. And in the past two to three years, we’ve gained more knowledge on how to increase business, productivity, efficiency and profit than in the previous 27 to 28 years. We wish we would have joined years ago!"
That said, there are always areas for associations, even well-run ones like BSCAI, to improve. Teribery would especially like to see BSCAI build more upon the social arena. "I would enjoy seeing even more peer-to-peer sessions and networking opportunities outside of the conferences, as well as more webinars," he remarked. "I think it would be very beneficial."
When asked what advice he would give to others just entering the field, Teribery was quick to answer. "Get involved with BSCAI!" he said. "You'll be able to meet other [peers], build relationships and ask questions. On the business side, make sure the product or service you have creates value to someone else. Also, find what works for you and your company. You don’t have to service every industry to be successful. Find your niche, learn about the customer’s specific needs and develop tools and processes to meet those needs."
He concluded, "Communication is so vital, both internally and externally. Having clear communication and expectations with your co-workers and customers will make your business run so much smoother. Also, being transparent and honest provides for a better work environment and customer relationship."