Business Memberships are Like Gym Memberships – You Have to Use Them

When I used to work for the chamber of commerce, we had this saying about members that I always thought had some truth to it, but never seemed to resonate: “Business memberships are like gym memberships… You have to use them to get the benefit from them.”

I remember we made some posters with this message on it, and had some e-mail blasts with memes (though we didn’t know they were memes at the time). My challenge with it was always – look, you just gave us your money, now we need more from you.

Of course, that’s not the real sentiment (though I’ll be the first to admit that members who actually register for and attend events made our jobs a lot easier). On the surface, the little saying is true. In general, if you join a business association and do nothing, the chances are that you’ll get little value out of it.

Of course, business associations aren’t just for networking and finding new business. Some are doing advocacy, some have health insurance programs, and some do such meaningful work that it’s just good to be associated with them. And sometimes that’s enough.

For our clients, we don’t look at any of those “hands-off” approaches to being involved. In truth, if you’re joining a chamber or business association simply to contribute to the greater good, then you really don’t need us at all.

What’s happening, though, is that fewer and fewer companies are doing that – joining associations because they’re “good corporate citizens.”

Return-on-investment has become a driver for belonging to, and investing in, business associations. ROI comes in many forms, but for the purpose of what we do for clients, it’s about new business.

Check out our article: Why You Should be Getting More Out of Your Business Memberships

And in that regard, yes, business memberships are like gym memberships. You do have to use them to get that ROI.

Now, the difference is that many business organizations are very good at the recruiting, but not so good at the implementation of a membership. Let’s continue the analogy… Unlike your gym membership, they don’t really have a trainer whose job it is to help you lose those 10 pounds. Which is why they tell you that it’s your job to use your membership.

That’s where we come in. We are your trainer. We tell you how to use your membership in the way that’s going to best put you in a position to succeed and get that ROI you’re seeking.

So, is the analogy correct? That you do have to use your business organization membership like you would a gym membership?

We would argue yes, if your strategy uses those organizations as a key component of growing your business. Which it should.

Unlike a gym membership, you can eat whatever you want in between sessions, too!


Do you need to activate a trainer to coach you through get more ROI from your business
memberships and sponsorships? Schedule an intro call with us today!