When times get tough people make adjustments to their lifestyle and their budget. This often includes cutting back on memberships, holiday plans, gym usage (this one is the craziest to me), eating out, and Starbucks.
As a business owner or someone looking to build a sales or relationship based business, you need to do the complete opposite. With items that others are cutting back on, you should double down on. More memberships, more coffee shops, going out for lunch, and especially more workouts and classes at the gym. Many sales businesses are built because of people. People are a resource. Meeting people, interacting with people, and supporting their businesses will usually have great returns in new clients and referrals.
Despite an economic downturn when memberships at such clubs have massively decreased I have prioritized this over other expenses to resurrected my past membership at a private club. Private is basically a terms meaning that you have to pay to use it. When times are good everyone is using these clubs (and restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, etc) but now that so few people are it’s easy to get noticed and build your network.
I have been utilizing the club more now than I ever did during the boom. It was because of the boom that I cancelled the membership because I didn’t like waiting for reservations, in line ups, or otherwise. Now I receive personalized attention and have hosted events, Christmas Parties, book launches, charity events, and one or two business lunches or coffees per week. Since believing and seeing the benefits first hand for business people and entrepreneurs I have even joined the board of directors for the club.
Recently I wrote a short testimonial for them and they ended up printing it in their printed newsletter. I wrote it as a genuine thank you as I’m critical when service is bad but I see massive value in being vocal when a product or service is great. Great service deserves great recognition and celebration. But being in print gives my name shelf-life. Though unintentional, it was another way of getting noticed that can lead to growing relationships.
My advice to you, buy the membership or join the club. It was a stretch to get the membership but worth it for the amazing facilities, food, fun activities for the family, but most importantly for the business opportunities. The benefits or the membership have far outweighed the cost. But it’s not just about having the membership, it’s about using them well. Whether it’s a gym membership, a private club, or a book club, it’s only as useful as the user makes it. Investing in the membership is the first step but committing the time to use it is when you will reap the benefits.
Stretching, reaching, and doing things that most people don’t during a difficult market is an effective strategy and business tool. So invest in and leverage memberships as well as put yourself in places that will connect you to people and build your network.