Marketing Selves Through Association
Associations offer support to both individual and collective small business owners. They provide forums in which a member's identity and reputation can be built while she acquires information and organizational skills. With the everyday pressures and stresses of performing as a small business owner, an individual may find it desirable to associate with others in business, to share and establish a stronger identity for herself and for the public image of the firm. Some of the cues which affirm that an individual holds a particular status or identity come from who they are surrounded by (Goffman, 1959).1 Small business owners spend long hours with their employees, and with potential clients. It is a relief for them to interact with other small business owners who understand and affirm their middle class cultural status as well as business identities. NJAWBO gives members the opportunity to seek out more successful and established individuals and to form relationships with local leaders. With success dependent upon interpersonal processes, such as self-presentation, connections with others, and effective interaction, participating in business associations helps individual women to compete for opportunities in markets.