How important are family business communities? Very.

Walking into a room full of local and renowned family businesses is sort of like walking into a community gold mine.

Last week, I attended the 25th California Family Business Awards, hosted by The Business Journal and the Institute for Family Business. As the web show producer and the behind-the-scenes girl for Family Biz Buzz, which is a project to research marketing efforts for family businesses, it was my prerogative to interview as many business owners as possible while at the awards.

This was my first time there, and I loved seeing how close these businesses have become with each other. The Institute for Family Business has created a wonderful resource and learning opportunity for these family firms.

Joining a community of family businesses like the Institute for Family Business has many perks. Here are just a few:

  1. Make long-term friends. Who doesn’t like making friends? The more, the merrier.
  2. Swap advice. Family businesses typically deal with the same issues. Whether it’s about succession planning, finance or sales, other business owners will understand what you may be struggling with.
  3. Get new business. Meeting other business owners in different trades can lead to additional clients and business-to-business deals.
  4. Build your reputation. Being a part of a community like the Institute for Family Business, or participating in the California Family Business of the Year Award, can only improve your reputation and recognition with consumers and other business owners.
  5. Advertise your company. The best marketing is always word of mouth because it’s purely authentic. The more people know about your product, the more people will talk about it. When you join an organization centered on family business, others will notice what you have to offer.

Even if you’re not a family business, it can still be a great way to network locally. Maybe you’re looking to work with other local businesses, trying to make some great connections; maybe you’re a new company and want to get advice from long time local Central Valley businesses. Whatever it may be, it’s important for family businesses to connect and share.

Ninety percent of businesses in the U.S. are family-owned. That’s a big chunk of our economy. Institute of Family Biz Buzz and Family Biz Buzz are striving to keep these businesses strong, lengthen their longevity and provide educational resources.

So check them out! If you’re interested in joining the community, visit the Institute for Family Business and Family Biz Buzz.

Erica Heinisch, Account Assistant