We are delighted that we have been able to dramatically reduce ORB membership rates – not as a short-term special offer but permanently. And, of course, not just to new members but to existing members too.
The starting point for ORB membership is now only £35 per annum, down from £120 per annum plus VAT.
* The New Business rates are for businesses that have been established for less than 18 months. The special rate will apply for the first year, thereafter membership will automatically revert to the relevant rate.
At this point, it is important to explain WHY we have made this decision, and HOW we are able to do so.
Ensuring ORB membership is affordable
Ensuring membership is affordable for all businesses, especially sole traders and start-ups, is the underlying reason for the change.
Whilst our rates were never expensive, we know only too well that budgets are limited, and businesses sometimes must make difficult cost-cutting decisions.
We don’t want businesses to see the cost of ORB membership as part of their marketing budget and/or membership of just another business organisation such as the FSB, FPB, IoD or Chambers of Commerce. These are all great organisation which potentially provide important support and information packages, especially for smaller business.
But membership of ORB is about being part of a movement, rather than an organisation that provides benefits such as legal protection and a 24-hour advice line. Unquestionably, there are business benefits to membership of ORB, but they are far subtler. (see below)
We prefer businesses to join ORB because they want to be part of the Responsible Business Movement, as per our article Nail your colours to the mast
As the above article will also explain, we have also changed the membership process to build in more due diligence before we accept any new memberships. Whilst we want to make membership affordable to all, we will only invite businesses with the right ethics and values to join us.
How can we afford to make such a big reduction?
I must admit this is a little bit scary, because with one fell swoop, we have dramatically cut our existing annual income!
But our aim is to substantially increase the number of members so that we have a greater voice which will, in turn, enable us to drive the responsible business agenda forward.
We mentioned above several other business organisation, all of which provide a multitude of business legal protection and HR advice lines options. When we launched ORB in 2010, we too provided these facilities which naturally comes at a cost, as well as many other ‘external’ benefits.
And, of course, we had set up costs to consider. Just developing the websites, which include the questionnaire and the directories, was a considerable investment.
We have now stripped out all those additional external benefits that come at a cost. I don’t think any of our members used them. Those benefits aren’t the point of ORB membership; other business organisations can and do provide those benefits so there is no need for us to replicate them. ORB is different……
We have also stripped back many other overhead costs, so that ORB is an extremely lean operation.
And we no longer have a business loan to repay for that initial development.
Additionally, we have also de-registered for VAT. As many of our small businesses are not registered themselves, this is an additional cost reduction for them.
So, what are the benefits of ORB membership?
Oddly, I am somewhat reticent to talk about the benefits of membership. So, before I do, please think not: “What will I get from ORB?” but rather consider how you can help drive the Responsible Business movement forward.
But, some of the benefits…….
- For most members, the SEO benefit of links to and from the ORB and Responsible Business Directory websites is, alone, worth the cost of the membership;
- We also continually profile #ORBmembers through social media;
- Use of the Responsible Business Member logo, especially if you include some additional text such as The Pledge all members must make, helps improve your reputation.
- Membership of ORB can be a differentiating factor when bidding for private and public sector contracts.
- Increasingly, the general public prefers to purchase from ethical companies, particularly those that support the local community. Showing you are a Responsible Business Member will encourage people to purchase your goods and services.
- Using the Responsible Business Member logo authentically will help your company become an employer of choice, thus attracting the best people.
- Profiling your ORB membership, together with your company’s ethics and values, can help increase employee motivation and engagement.
- You can personally benefit from ORB membership by re-invigorating zest and purpose in your business. Feel good about what you do!
If you are not already an #ORBmember, what are you waiting for?
CLICK HERE to start the membership process.