Anyone ever founded a professional association?

I work in a somewhat specialized and fledgling business. I’d like to start a professional organization to help promote our industry, increase awareness and credibility, and ensure knowledge level among competitors. I have been in contact with one competitor in another city who is interested in founding a professional association.

What’s next? How does one start a professional association? What’s involved? How can a little tiny organization go about “certifying” members? Should I find a significant number of potential members before I even go about starting such a thing? Anyone done anything like this before?

Check your e-mail. Subject: SDMB Associations.