Fitness is a people-business; it’s about networking to make connections, whether it’s between mind and muscles, you and the best vendors, or members using your club to connect in their careers. It’s a business model that’s about helping others find success and good health.
As a gym business owner, networking is crucial to your success; it’s also one of the greatest benefits that you offer to your membership. The value of expanding members’ circles of influence cannot be overestimated.
The History of Networking and Public Houses
In centuries past, the coffee houses of London were famous as places of big ideas and for being the meeting places that catalyzed global trade. But it was the public houses, or pubs, of villages and towns where average people met to relax and share time with others.
On the British Isles, the cultures are slightly different from here in the United States. Communities, rich and poor, coalesce around that age-old institution: The pub. This is not quite the same as your local, saloon, bar and grill, or martini lounge; it’s a vital part of neighborhoods and the social interactions that hold the communities of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland together.
Now, regardless of the natural concerns about alcohol consumption and all of the potential for bad behavior that go with it, pubs are meeting places and hang-outs where friends meet, meals are served, and deals get done.
The origins of the pub come from ancient times when the average British Islander didn’t have the wealth to sit at home in comfort, there was no TV, and water was, maybe not so clean to drink. That has carried over as tradition, habit, and the business model for a large segment of that nation’s hospitality industry.
A Network in The Palm of Your Hand
Fortunately, there are now as many healthy alternatives in the UK as here in the US. Fitness clubs are one of the best ways to socialize and meet people in the US, UK, or anywhere. I have long believed that one of the main things your members seek from your gym business is human contact, the foundation of community and interpersonal connection.
In the modern world, where it’s all too easy for individuals to become isolated by technology, gyms provide an extra social function. A fitness club membership or regular attendance in a class or group activity offers engagement that is good for the mind as well as the body.
As a small gym business owner you probably already realize this fact. You know you have more to offer than just training and equipment. However, these assets make a fantastic focal point, around which you can build your community. As a leader in fitness, you offer some of the same things as pub owners, but much better.
So Now Networking with Sweatworking Is A Thing
So, apparently, the whole thing about working-out and networking has found a name for itself. Executives and entrepreneurs are sweatworking to connect and find new business while working out at the gym.
Sweatworking may be a real thing or not. However, it is definitely a signal that reinforces the claim that your gym adds something beyond physical fitness. The concept has been promoted by the fitness website aSweatLife, which has been promoting workout events in Chicago since 2012, and which supports the social media hashtag #sweatworking.
Some of the most popular fitness businesses are the ones that naturally support members’ abilities to reach out and connect with one another. Networking is vital to all aspects of modern life, as well as business. Finding the best jobs, business contacts, and even a life partner often comes from having an extended network of social contacts. As a savvy small gym business owner and fitness leader, you can elevate your value proposition by being a networking resource for everyone.
Fagan, Lawrence. Networking For Gym Business Owners Is About This One Thing. November 18, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4760-networking-for-gym-business-owners-is-about-this-one-thing/ (accessed May 20, 2018).
Hoffman, Fred. Networking 101 For Fitness Professionals. Spring 2017. https://magazine.nasm.org/american-fitness-magazine/issues/american-fitness-magazine-spring-2017/networking-101-for-fitness-professionals (accessed May 20, 2018).
Johnstone, Susan. Networking Is Over. Welcome Sweatworking? June 12, 2015. https://www.fastcompany.com/3047240/networking-is-over-welcome-sweatworking (accessed May 20, 2018).
Pesco, Nicole Lyn. Sweatworking Is The New Networking. May 18, 2018. https://moneyish.com/upgrade/sweatworking-is-the-new-networking/ (accessed May 20, 2018).