3 Key Legal Agreements Yoga Studio Owners Must Revisit Post-COVID

How much time do you spend thinking about the legal issues in your business? I’m guessing not much. That changes now. Because right now – in this kind of, almost post-COVID world, you need to get smart about all things legal. 

Now I’m not going to pretend that talking about the legal side of yoga studio ownership is fun. Because it’s not. But it IS important to the future of your business. This part of owning a studio may not be where you want to spend a lot of your energy. But we’re going to talk about it anyway. 

And since I’m all about learning from the smartest people in the biz, I had my friend Cory from Conscious Counsel talk to the YC about all things legal for yoga studio owners. He shared some seriously valuable insights and I’m passing some of them on to you. 

Truth→ Legal agreements are all about relationships.

If a relationship (any relationship) is going to last, both parties have to communicate their expectations. Openly and honestly. But just as things – and people – change over the course of a long marriage and expectations need to be adjusted, the same is true in your business.  

The legal agreements you had in place won’t work for you now

Whatever legal agreements you had in place before COVID were for the relationships that existed before. How you’re doing things and where you’re focusing your time have changed. You’re probably more concerned than ever about your exposures to liability. 

Everything about owning a yoga studio has changed this year. You know that. The way you operate, what you’re offering, where you’re offering it. All of that has changed. 

Truth→ Because your business has changed, the relationships you have in your business are going to change. 

That includes legal relationships. Having the right legal agreements in place can help you circumvent problems. And right now, avoiding problems sounds pretty awesome, right?

The three legal agreements you MUST revisit now are:

  1. Leases
  2. Waivers
  3. Teacher/Employee contracts

I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about leases because I’m guessing that’s one of your biggest concerns. 

What to do if your current lease is not working for you

Your lease is likely the biggest expense on your balance sheet. It makes sense to settle in and spend some time talking about your options. 

Remember what I said earlier about relationships? That applies here. Your lease is a formal, binding, legal agreement. It means you have a relationship with your landlord. The kind of relationship you have can help determine how challenging it may be to revisit your lease.

Chances are your revenues are down this year. Maybe even way down. This means your lease as a percent of revenues is out of whack. It may be time to renegotiate your lease – or try to. 

So, let’s talk tips and strategies. 

What to keep in mind when renegotiating your lease

Something to keep in mind – the current lease market in your area may be lower due to the economic environment. 

Why is this important? 

Truth→ You can negotiate your lease if you’re doing well AND if things are challenging.

If your studio is doing well due to hard work, creativity, and maybe a bit of good luck, you can still negotiate your lease. Lease prices may have gone down overall in your market. Take advantage of that and try to get yourself into a more favorable agreement. 

When you’ve decided it’s time to negotiate your lease, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  1. Profile your landlord. Is your lease held by a corporation or by a local property owner? That’s going to affect your approach. 
  2. Realize it’s unlikely you’ll be saved by the legal agreement. You need to be ready to think outside the boundaries of the terms of the lease itself.
  3. Negotiate via the relationship. This is where having a strong relationship with your landlord works in your favor. If you have maintained good rapport and a cooperative relationship, your landlord will be more likely to work with you. 
  4. Understand your landlord’s position. This can help you find possible avenues for negotiation. Do they have numerous vacant properties? Then keeping you in yours, even at a reduced rate, is to their advantage. 
  5. Understand your NEW business model. Be clear on what you can realistically take on. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you need to renegotiate again in four or six months. 

You may need to get creative. Be willing to engage in some out-of-the-box thinking. When you think about all that 2020 has thrown at you, that’s something you should already be pretty amazing at.      

For more super relevant information and tools you need to run your studio, combined with the knowledge of our expert coaches and dedicated yogis check out the Yogapreneur Collective! Run an insanely profitable studio so you can change more lives (and earn a real paycheck)!

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