You can't have a strong business without a strong community.
Personally, I've lived by that motto since I first got involved in business. Marketers frequently struggle with issues - from how to get more clients to how to keep those clients, and from how to continue to keep being creative to how to keep their teammates happy and engaged. It's not an easy business. It's a fun business (meaning: the work is important, but if we all screw up the next ad campaign, nobody dies - thankfully), but it's not an easy business.
How involved are you in your industry and the associations that serve it?
Many years ago, I was considering joining the Canadian Marketing Association. I knew that if I wanted to have real "game" in the business, I would need to not only join the largest association of marketers in my home country, but that I would need to be active in it as well. This is where many businesses fall down. They join their industry association, pay their dues, sit back and wonder what value the association will bring to them? This is a big mistake... it's a tragic mistake. Prior to joining the association, I sat down with the head of membership and made it clear that I had no interest in joining the association unless it was possible - from day one - to volunteer and become active.
It's a wild ride.
From sitting on the Digital Marketing Council to being active on the National Convention Committee to my current role as Chair of the Board of Directors, I have not only met some of the most fascinating people (who have become true friends), but I have grown. I have grown personally, professionally and all of that benefits our business at Twist Image. Along with the CMA, I have been active in organizations like the Internet Advertising Bureau, Web Analytics Association, Shop.org and others. The results have always been the same: the more I volunteered and worked to help the industry to advance, the better the results were.
It's simpler than you think.
It's too bad that not more people get involved (and get active) in their industry associations. It just seems so obvious: the healthier the industry is, the better the businesses who work within it will benefit. The quicker the industry is to react to issues and challenges, the more credible and respected it will be in our communities. Most industry associations are not only hungry for more members, but they're even hungrier for people to help out and volunteer. Whenever someone asks me what the one thing is that they can do to make a difference in their business, my immediate reaction is not a Blog. It's not about creating a Twitter feed, Podcast or posting videos to YouTube. It's not even about a Facebook presence or trying out Google +. It's this: join your industry association, get active, affect change and if you do that effectively, it will - without question - grow your business and everything that goes along with it.
What are you waiting for?