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An Industry Association Does Good

fakenbake.jpgIt's not the best time to be in the tanning salon business. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer moved UV-emitting tanning beds into its highest cancer risk category, prompting a media furor over the suggestion that tanning could be as bad as smoking.

There are some signs that the report won't make much difference to clients, but it's always likely that bad press will have a negative impact.

Luckily, someone has industry business owners' backs. A day after the report, the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) posted a full-page ad in the New York Post in an effort to, according to the website, "fight back" against the media. A mock newspaper headline reads "Indoor Tanning put[sic] in Same Category as Sunshine." And below, in big, bold font, "Public Response: Duh." The ad goes on to explain that UV rays are the same, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, and overexposure is the real issue.

ITA reacted quickly and effectively against a potential PR disaster, showing that industry associations can be extremely valuable to small-business and franchise owners. Of course, excepting the celebrated AAA membership, there's no guarantee you'll see your money put to work--which makes it just one more investment decision to make as an entrepreneur.

Is your trade association worth the membership dues you pay? Join the discussion on E-Connect.

Jennifer Wang is a staff writer at Entrepreneur magazine in Southern California.
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