Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Networking An Added Benefit Of Gym Membership

“Most people hit the gym to get in shape. At Form & Fitness in Mequon, small-business owners are not only slimming their waistlines, but they're also helping each other fatten their bottom lines. Form & Fitness is a personal training studio at 1214 W. Mequon Road in Mequon that has become the gathering place for CEOs and entrepreneurs who have formed friendships and talk business during their workouts. The gym might be the last place you'd think of people networking and building business relationships. But the smaller size and friendly atmosphere at Form & Fitness makes it conducive to networking. ‘The way we set this studio up, it's one big open room, so everyone has to intermingle,’ says owner Ben Quist, who also owns and operates the much larger Form & Fitness Health Club in Grafton. ‘In the end, 250 to 300 people all know each other. It's an interesting effect.’ Georgia Rapkin, a Mequon acupuncturist, has been working out at Form & Fitness for four years. The chance to connect with other small-business owners has been a big attraction. Besides, Rapkin says, she's more committed to working out regularly because of the camaraderie at the gym. ‘Of all the things I've had to give up because of the economy, this is one thing I'll never give up,’ Rapkin said. ‘It's valuable to me socially, and it's valuable to my business.’ Because Rapkin's acupuncture practice coincides with health and wellness, clients of Form & Fitness often seek her services or refer business her way. The gym also benefits because Rapkin refers some of her patients there. With so much networking being done these days on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, networking in a venue like the gym provides solo practitioners like Rapkin with the opportunity for personal interaction. ‘Twitter is the new high-tech tool. You can't see anybody on Twitter,’ Rapkin said on a recent morning at the personal training studio. ‘You need that human connection to inspire you toward new ideas or new ways to market your business.’

No comments: