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It goes without saying that most of us have (or have had) a gym membership to a local fitness club at one time.

Whether purchased with the hopes of achieving that ever elusive beach body,  to fulfill your New Years Resolution, or even just for something to get you out of the house and make you feel less guilty about that Ben & Jerry’s container you just finished off.

Hey, it happens.

As a Designer running a small business from home, the part I love most of getting to the gym is the break it gives me from staring at that same computer screen for hours on end. The chance to get out of the house and get active, even just for a little while.

A few years ago I came to the decision that I wanted to kickstart my fitness with something different. I knew that I needed something more than a generic membership to one of those big box gyms or the local YMCA. I needed something that would give me new techniques and keep me both interested and push me to work harder than I would if I was by myself.

So when a friend recommended a local strength & conditioning gym he had been going to called AreYouGame Conditioning Club, I thought I’d tag along and see what it was all about.

Little did I know, the decision made one night over a beer with a good friend was going to light a fire under my then small Web design business.

Fast forward two months later, and I’m a hooked member at AreYouGame, attending 4-5 classes per week, making new friends and having a blast. All the while, seeing a bunch of progress on my fitness levels.

After a particular sweaty class one day, I got to talking with the owners of the gym and they mentioned that they were in need of a website to help them continue to grow their business. I offered up my services jumping at the opportunity to work with them. After all, they are two of the most genuine, friendly people you would ever want to meet.

Launching The New Site

Once the site was up and running, other gym members began to take notice — members that also happened to be small business owners. A few had mentioned that they too were looking for some web design work and wondered who had designed their new site, to which the owners promptly passed along my name.

That’s when it clicked:

Word of mouth referrals can mean so much more to a small business than any other marketing tactic. Especially when they’re coming from trusted friends.

Not only that, but they can come from places you hadn’t even anticipated or thought of.

I mean, here I was, working out at a gym that I was at only because of a word of mouth referral in the first place, and now the everyday chats I was having at the gym were unexpectedly bringing word of mouth referrals right back to me.

Give People a Reason to Want to Pass Your Name Along

What it all comes right down to is this – Word of mouth referrals in your community don’t always come from attending those big chamber of commerce networking events, or the fancy business lunches. Often times the best referrals are the ones that come out of your everyday activities — like going to the gym.

When your product or service gives people a reason to want to tell their friends, you’ll be surprised just how often your business’ name will get passed along — sometimes in the places you might least expect.