After purchasing equipment, hiring medical transcriptionists, and obtaining clients, there is still one more important step in completing the process of starting up a brand new medical transcription service-locating and joining the appropriate trade association.Joining a trade association can be an incredibly valuable resource to a new business owner because it immediately connects him/her with other business professionals within the medical transcription industry in addition to providing a multitude of other benefits.Wealth of information-One of the greatest benefits medical transcription service owners (MTSOs) can gain from an industry specific trade organization is the opportunity to take advantage of education within the industry at a discounted price or in many cases for free. Most trade organizations have regional meetings and/or national annual conferences. During these meetings, members have the opportunity to rub elbows with industry executives in the exhibit hall, learn about the latest medical transcription industry developments from vendors and earn continuing education credits. Most importantly, conferences give the entrepreneur the unique opportunity to exchange challenges, solutions and opportunities with other business owners in similar situations. Paying membership dues often provides discounted admission, reduced hotel rates and in some cases, deals on flights. Also included with the price of membership is access to newsletters, e-newsletters, trade journals, industry guidebooks and online discussion forums, which offer immediate up-to-date industry information and business advice for free.Ability to speak up-A membership also comes with a voice. As an active member of a trade organization, MTSOs can help shape industry policies and regulations by voting on key issues. Furthermore, members are encouraged to join discussion groups, policy councils and local chapters to influence industry standards, vendor relations and have a say in annual conference details.Model behavior-Consumers and other industry professionals view members of trade organizations in a more positive light than their non-member counterparts. Those who belong to an industry-specific association are perceived as businesses that have a strict code of ethics, high standards and stay up-to-date with the latest industry tools. Most members tout their association membership by including the organization’s logo on their marketing materials to show their clients that they are serious about their business practices.Save money-Most trade organizations offer their members professional discounts on goods and services offered by vendor affiliates or programs presented by the association. Membership benefits can range from discounts on office equipment, shipping and trade show admissions to reduced insurance rates and price cuts on flights and hotels affiliated with the organization.Mingling capabilities-Membership directories, local chapter meetings, webinars, conference calls and annual trade shows are all great ways to gain new contacts within the medical transcription industry. Exchanging success stories or talking about specific business challenges among other medical transcription businesses keeps well-rounded and prepared when similar challenges arise in their own workplace.In order to cash in on all of the above mentioned benefits, there are different places an MTSO can go to find out more about medical transcription trade organizations. The Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA) www.mtia.com and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), formerly the American Association of Medical Transcription (AAMT) www.ahdionline.org are two of the more familiar medical transcription trade associations. However, MT entrepreneurs might also check The Encyclopedia of Associations, published by The Gale Group or The American Society of Association Executives for additional organizations.