What to do with online classes when your yoga studio reopens.

What to do with online classes when your yoga studio reopens.

As life altering as social distancing has been for your studio, it’s temporary. You’ve weathered the storm and shown true leadership when your community needed you the most. Now it’s time to plan the transition back into your physical location. 

Things won’t automatically be the same as they were before social distancing. But that can be a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to take a hard look at your studio. What’s working? What isn’t?

Truth → Your community has changed, it’s time to change with it.

Doing what you’ve always done because you’ve always done it has never been a good option, and it’s a recipe for disaster after the stress and overhaul of social distancing.

Truth → To make your studio the best it can be, you need strong vision. 

Were you intentional when you set your class schedule and pricing? Or did you go with what everyone else was doing? Do you have a vision for your studio over the next 3 years? 5-10? Now is the time to make impactful changes and move the needle.

How do online classes fit into your studio vision?

You may not have had online yoga classes before, but you certainly do now. Social distancing forced yoga studios that weren’t ever planning to go online to get there and encouraged others to move up the timetable. It hasn’t always been an easy transition, but we’re here now. What does that mean for the future?

Reopening studios will change the virtual class landscape. Right now, the bar is pretty low for live streaming video and sound quality. Your members know you’ve been pushed into online with no time to prepare. They probably won’t be as understanding a few months from now.

Truth → If you choose to keep video on demand and livestream going you will have to up the quality.

Investing in a better camera, backdrop, lights or sound may be worth it for your studio. If you’re having really high engagement with your online offerings members might be clamoring to keep it. Keep in mind, it will be much harder to navigate an online schedule and an in person schedule. Is it worth it to your clients?

Truth → Dropping live stream but keeping a video on demand library is a simple way to add value to your membership.

Splitting the difference and keeping video on demand while dropping the live stream will take some of the pressure off. Filming can be worked around your studio class schedule so you have options. Plus once a bank is created you won’t need to add new classes as often.

Having video on demand ups the value bar for your membership. Depending on your location you could even explore a virtual membership with limited monthly classes. Now you’ve expanded your geographical area.

How far would someone drive to take class two times a week? How far for two classes a month if they also had virtual class options? Your members would rather take a virtual class on demand with a teacher they have met and know is high quality.

WILL online yoga classes fit into your studio vision?

Some of you are counting the days to turn off online classes and never look back. There is a play here, but you have to lean ALL THE WAY in. People are used to having online options, especially those in their 20s who have grown up with a computer in their pocket.

If you drop online classes, be intentional and explain why. Make it a selling point.

The line between online versus offline reality is very thin right now, and it has always been for a lot of younger people. The risk is you will be incongruent with how people normally experience most of what they do. Depending on your market, that can also be a positive selling point.

Weigh your options against your bigger vision and what’s happening in your local market. Make sure your studio is heading in the direction you want. Now is the time to make the changes you’ve been hesitant about with little to no pushback.

For more super relevant information, join us for The How to Re-Open your Studio Strong Bootcamp Webinars, included in the Yogapreneur Collective. Get these lives webinars, plus the huge online resource library, private Facebook Group, and access to 1:1 coaching all for just $125.

➡️ To access the Bootcamp Webinars and so much more, sign up here.

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Everything you need to know about running a yoga studio during social distancing

Everything you need to know about running a yoga studio during social distancing

The world doesn’t look the same as it did a few months ago. Sheltering in place, social distancing, and cancelled plans are the current “normal” and that’s shaking things up for all of us – including yoga studio owners. 

These are the situations that test us, as individuals and as business owners. Right now, you’re facing unprecedented challenges. How will you keep your yoga studio alive and support your community through this uncertain time?

Truth → How you navigate this crisis will define your business going forward.

Your studio community needs you to remain calm and provide stability. They are confused, stressed and stuck at home. Now more than ever, they need yoga.

But you can’t provide the support your community needs without a clear, actionable plan. It’s time to get clear on your finances, goals and next steps. IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION.

STEP 1: Get your studio online

Are online classes new to you? You’re not alone. Yoga studios are shuttering their brick-and-mortar locations to keep their community safe. It’s time to take the leap into a new type of class.

DON’T OVERTHINK IT! The most important thing is to get yourself out there. Don’t spend too long curating the perfect system or you’ll never start. Your community needs you, and they need you now. Launching is EVERYTHING.

Truth → Your community doesn’t expect perfection. They expect you to show up.

When this is all over, no one will remember if your first class was a little wonky. They’re not checking your camera angle or critiquing your sound quality. What your members want is something that will keep their minds and bodies occupied during this uncertain, stressful time. That’s what they’ll remember.

You can start out as simple as you need to in order to get online. Even if you’ve never live streamed anything before, I bet you have all the technology you need right at your fingertips. This can be as simple as a Facebook Live on your cellphone if it needs to be.

Start wherever you’re at and then make it better each time. For simple ways to up-level your setup and sharing platforms, check out “How do I take my yoga studio online?” Just because you start simple, doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

STEP 2: Create a new class schedule

Online classes are VERY different than in person classes. Beyond the obvious challenges of camera set up and uploading, the atmosphere is entirely changed. You’re competing with different things now.

In the past, getting to your studio classes meant members had to work around their schedule, drive across town, find parking, and finally set up their yoga mat in a dedicated space. The challenge was physically walking through the door. By the time they unrolled their mat, they were ready to concentrate in a space dedicated exclusively to their yoga practice.

Now they’re in their living rooms. Getting there is easy… staying focused is HARD. You’re competing with a million distractions from family members to chores to hobbies to grabbing a snack. Besides, they know they can catch the recording later… procrastination is alive and well, even when we’re bored at home.

Truth → Life has changed for your community; so should your class schedule.

Try switching up your schedule with shorter classes that work around their new life. This is where it’s important to know your community. If you have a lot of moms, try classes before or after the kids are up. If you have a lot of college students, early classes probably won’t fill.

Play with it. Figure out what works for your community. Get creative about meeting their needs in this changing world. Observe what people like and notice what doesn’t seem as popular with your members…and then do more of what works. 

For more ideas, check out “What’s the ideal online yoga class schedule?”

STEP 3: Prepare to shift membership pricing

You’re probably concerned members won’t be able to pay – that cancelations will start rolling in by the dozens. First off – Don’t panic. You may be tempted to drop your pricing preemptively, but DON’T.

Truth → Don’t change your pricing until your members ask for it.

Keep your pricing where it is for as long as you can but be prepared to change it. If you lose a few of your members – even a quarter of them – you’re still making more money than if you dropped everything to half price. There’s a sweet spot with pricing.

Create a down-sell option for your members. Retention is VERY important right now, much more important than it was before social distancing. People are going to want to cancel. Think about this conversation ahead of time. Know what to say to them.

Make the conversation about your members and what they need, not about the cancelation. Create a special relief offer for members trying to quit. Give them access to a discounted membership until in person classes are up and running again.

Truth → Not all your members have to pay the same.

Think about it… your members are ALREADY paying different prices. Some are on an autopay, some a yearly membership, some grabbed a special sale or intro rate. There are a variety of price points already. Take some time to decide internally what your discount is for members who are looking to cancel.

Ultimately, you’ll need to create a virtual membership. The key is to keep it simple and avoid competing with your existing members who are willing to pay the regular price. They exist, I promise.

This comes down to a communication and marketing issue. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking what you offer isn’t worth much because it’s online. You’re offering something different, but the community and your expertise is still valuable. For tips on making the shift, check out “How do I shift my membership pricing for online yoga classes?”

STEP 4: Look for ways to limit your expenses

Cutting your expenses is easier said than done, but every dollar is important right now. Make sure you’re not spending money on anything that’s not essential. Things are tight, and your rainy-day fund will only stretch so far.

Take a look at all your big expenses – business loans and other debt, rent and payroll. What changes can you make to keep your studio strong? Most of your biggest expenses seem set in stone, but these are unique times and there is a little wiggle room.

Truth → Right now EVERYTHING can be negotiated.

Most countries and states have programs available to help small businesses and landlords and banks are probably willing to work with you. Interest rates are incredibly low right now and there are assistance programs in place. You may be able to refinance or qualify for a new low-interest loan. It never hurts to ask.

Truth → Ask BEFORE you get to a place of desperation.

Your landlord might be getting a break on their mortgage because of the financial instability caused by COVID-19. They might be open to payment flexibility or negotiation – especially if your studio is an anchor store. Those spots are hard to fill in the best of times, much less during a stay-at-home order.

Keeping your studio in their building is a win for both of you. When you talk to your landlord keep it professional. Let them know you have plans to keep your studio strong for the long-haul. Invite them to partner with you for both your benefit.

Truth → Restructuring your payroll is never easy, but it’s necessary.

Once you get your rent and loans sorted it’s time to think about your payroll. It’s going to shrink somewhat as you transition to online classes and cut the daily class load. Without the studio to maintain, your other support staff won’t need as many hours either.

If that’s not enough, then it’s time to have a difficult conversation with your staff. Make sure your staff knows you want to stand by them as much as you can but the same level of payroll simply might not be possible right now. Make sure you clearly communicate changes during this time. For more guidance check out “How can I lower my yoga studio’s expenses?”

Step 5: Communicate openly and frequently

Communication has never been more essential. Things are changing every day. Everyone is overwhelmed and stressed by challenges they weren’t expecting. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open – with your studio community, and ESPECIALLY with your staff.

Truth → For your staff, feeling supported is the most important thing right now.

Your staff are hearing lots of conflicting information about unemployment, assistance programs and how social distancing will last. They might be unsure how to pay their bills or what will happen to your studio. Take the time to research legislation in your area, so you have the answers they need.

Be honest and control the narrative. Make sure they know you’re a team. The studio’s survival and success is in everyone’s best interest. Brainstorm ways to get them involved with your online classes.

Truth → Your staff didn’t start teaching yoga for the money.

Everyone who works at your studio is there because they believe in the life-changing power of yoga. Challenges like this have the power to pull you all together around a common cause – like your studio. You need each other now more than ever, and it’s up to you to stay calm and supportive. Click here to learn more about managing your studio staff during COVID-19.

STEP 6: Ask for the help you need

Finances still a bit tight? Cutting expenses can be a big help, but it isn’t always enough. Your studio is facing a completely unexpected financial hurdle. You’re not alone. This crisis has caused unprecedented financial and social instability around the world.

The good news is everyone else is in the same boat… so you have a lot of options.

The Small Business Administration provides several kinds of loans that can help. There are a couple options open specifically to deal with the impact of COVID-19. One option is a Disaster Relief Loan. These loans have been around for a while to deal with unexpected natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, and they are now available to help with COVID-19 related losses.

Truth → A low-interest loan can ease your financial stress.

A Disaster Relief Loan can be used for day-to-day expenses like rent and payroll. You may be able to get an Express Bridge Loan while you wait for the Disaster Relief Loan to go through. These loans bridge the gap with emergency funds of up to $25K, as long as you have a prior relationship with an SBA lender. Try checking with your back to see if they’re an SBA lender.

With recent laws, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act there are even more options for small businesses. Keeping your cash flow healthy can be the difference between staying in business or going under. Apply for help if you need it!

CARES is designed to give our economy a helping hand during the pandemic. Many individual Americans benefited from stimulus funds, expanded unemployment and medical leave. You’ve likely received a stimulus check… or you will soon.

You might not realize this… the stimulus package also created options for small businesses. The biggest is the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to help your studio keep up with payroll, rent and other bills. Congress recently allocated a second round of funding for this program, so this is a good time to apply! 

Truth → This program is unique because it hands out loans you might not have to pay back.

Depending on how you use the loan, it may be forgiven and become a grant. That’s an AMAZING opportunity to get your business the cash you need. CARES can also help you get a better tax return for 2019 because it allows you to carry business losses from this time back to 2019. For help deciphering which option is right for you check out “How the CARES Act can help your yoga studio.”

Reminder: Don’t forget to take care of yourself

You’re facing unprecedented challenges as a studio owner. It’s natural to feel some stress, overwhelm, and even fear. Hold space for yourself to process those emotions. Hold on to what matters to you personally. You started your business with a purpose and a mission. The work you do is important… so don’t give up hope! 

Self-care is VITAL. You cannot take care of your community or your business if you’re not taking care of yourself. Keep breathing, meditate and do what brings you joy. Remember you’re not alone. We’ve got your back with helpful resources to get your through this time stronger than ever.

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Join the Yogapreneur Collective and access our YC Bootcamp Webinars: How to Open your Studio Strong Post-COVID so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now! Click here to get started! 

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The smart way to reopen your yoga studio after social distancing.

The smart way to reopen your yoga studio after social distancing.

Transitioning your studio to online has been a big test for your business. You’ve overcome a lot to be there for your community. You didn’t know those changes were coming, but you’ve made it through. Now reopening is on the horizon. It’s time to prepare. 

Start planning your comeback. You don’t want to get caught off guard when your local stay at home order ends. You want a strong marketing campaign, best practices for cleanliness and social distancing in the studio, and a plan to implement it all.

STEP 1: SOLIDIFY YOUR VISION

Now is the time to lock in your vision for the studio. It may have shifted some in recent months. We’ve experienced a lot of change and upheaval. The world looks a little different, your members are different and you’re different. It makes sense that your yoga studio may be different too.

STEP 2: CREATE A PLAN FOR ONLINE

Wanted or not, you have a virtual studio now. You’ve been offering online classes through live streams and videos on demand for months. With the studio reopening what will happen to your online options?

Are you going to keep live streaming? Making new video on demand content? Will your online content stay put or move? To learn more about pros and cons stay tuned for our next blog post “What will happen to your online yoga classes once the studio reopens?”

STEP 3: DECIDE ON PRICING AND SCHEDULE

Decision fatigue is off the charts right now. Complicated pricing is the last thing anyone wants to think about. Emphasize your value and keep it simple. A very expensive single day pass and memberships on annual or monthly are all you really need. You’re either in or your out. Easy. Done.

It’ll take time to ramp up to a full schedule, so it’s the perfect time to make changes. Most of us started with a pretty arbitrary schedule and we’ve got a straggler class or two. You know… the one you tried to cut, but the seven people who always go threatened to burn the studio down and never come back, so you just left it. Now’s the time to cut it without the push back.

STEP 4: SCHEDULE CONTENT CREATION

Your virtual library will probably be a priority even after you reopen. Make a plan and schedule time to work on videos on demand or livestream classes. Once it’s GO time you’ll be busy and distracted. Scheduling time now will save you stress later.

Take some time and review your existing content. Where can it improve? What’s missing? Make a list of any supplies you might need – lights, back drop, branded apparel, whatever it is. Planning ahead is key. Later you won’t have to think about it. You can just take action!

STEP 5: CONTACT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Nearly every community will be issuing guidelines for businesses and the public as they begin the slow return to normal. Reach out to your mayor, city council or local chamber of commerce authority to find out what’s going on. You’d hate to accidentally violate a regulation or need to delay. Every place will be different – make sure you know the local guidelines.

STEP 6: COLLECT EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR REOPENING

Remember when the stay at home orders started going into effect? Grocery stores looked like the apocalypse had hit and there was no toilet paper to be found. The same thing will probably happen as more businesses open.

If you need more toilet paper, masks, plexiglass shields, hand sanitizer, more soap or anything else to reopen now is the time to get it. There may be shortages, and you might have trouble figuring out where to source something like plexiglass in the first place. Get started now.

STEP 7: PREP COMMUNICATIONS

You will almost certainly have social distancing requirements when you reopen, meaning restricted access. It will go a long way to show preference to members who have been paying you through this time. Publicly advertise that you’re open, but it’s members only to start. Give them some love for supporting you.

Once you’ve got a plan for opening, you’ll need to prep communications. Emails, texts, social media posts and new branding will be necessary to let everyone know your studio’s reopening. Take this time to knock out your rough drafts.

STEP 8: GET YOUR TEAM ON BOARD

Be proactive and preemptive with your team. This has been a challenging time for everyone. Small business owners and contractors have especially felt the stress of financial uncertainty. Your team may need some encouragement to get all in for the studio again.

Have a conversation with them. Share your excitement about the studio reopening and help them see the opportunities for positive change. Let them know of any updates to your vision, pricing, scheduling or marketing materials. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Reopening is an exciting time! There is a lot to do, and it can be stressful, but ultimately it’s nice to be moving toward a new normal. 

For more super relevant information, join us for The How to Re-Open your Studio Strong Bootcamp Webinars, included in the Yogapreneur Collective. Get these lives webinars, plus the huge online resource library, private Facebook Group, and access to 1:1 coaching all for just $125.

➡️ To access the Bootcamp Webinars and so much more, sign up here.

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What’s the ideal online yoga class schedule?

What’s the ideal online yoga class schedule?

You built your yoga studio to show your members how to be the best version of themselves every day. When your members are stressed, they come to your studio to grow mentally, emotionally and physically.

Truth → It may look a little different, but now more than ever, YOUR MEMBERS NEED YOGA.

Now is the perfect time to strengthen the bonds within your studio community, and to introduce yourself in a positive way to your broader community. When you think about scheduling online classes, consider what your community needs.

You’re competing with different things now.

To get to an in-person class, your members must work around their schedule, drive across town, park, and set up their yoga mat in a dedicated space. Getting there is the challenge for your students. By the time they unroll their mat, they’re ready to concentrate and enjoy the yoga experience.

Teaching online yoga classes is a bit different. Now your community is in their living rooms instead of your studio. Getting there is much easier… staying focused is A LOT harder. Most people aren’t going to do a full 90-minute yoga class in their living room. While they’re on the mat, they can see their kitchen with snacks, wine, or dirty dishes… their partner who wants to use the computer… the kids fighting again… or any number of other distractions.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do any full classes, but it may be an opportunity to try out shorter options. People are much more likely to get a 20-minute or 30-minute class in. That’s something they could invite their family to join in for. You could even branch out and add short meditation classes.

Try this → Stream some of your shorter classes publicly. Get the word out and build a broader community.

Another option is to consider a private family session on your own or with one of your teachers. It could be a great way for families to get personalized attention and help with postures.

When to schedule online classes?

Teaching online classes is a little different than running them in the studio – beyond the format. When you taught an in-person class, you had to work around people’s busy schedules and limited studio space. Teaching online is completely different.

You don’t need as many yoga classes when you’re running live. If people can’t make it, they can watch the recording later. Instead of 5-7 classes a day, you can streamline it to one of each type of yoga you offer. Then members who miss out are free to watch the recorded class later on.

Try this → Streamline your schedule to a couple full-length classes a day at key times.

People are living in a different reality right now. Instead of going off to work and dropping the kids at school, practice, and rehearsal… they’re home. Don’t be scared to change up your class times. You’re not working around their schedules in the same way, and people’s daily rhythms are changing, too.

THE KEY TO SCHEDULING ONLINE CLASSES: Think about your specific community and what would appeal to them. Is your group full of early risers or night owls? Do most of them have children they’re now homeschooling? What do you think their schedule is like now? How can you work within it?

If you know your community is full of mothers with school-aged children, an early morning meditation or longer yoga class might be perfect. Then they can start the day off right, before the kids wake up. If your community is mostly college students and young professionals, options in the evening might be better.

You know your community best! Get creative about meeting their needs and living your studio mission in today’s world. People will remember how you helped them through this. Going through difficult times brings people together!

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started!  

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How to Manage Your Studio Staff During COVID-19

How to Manage Your Studio Staff During COVID-19

Right now, the world is changing. People are confused, overwhelmed, and scared. These are the situations that test us, as individuals and as business owners. It’s a challenging time for you, but it’s a challenging time for your staff.

Keep the lines of communication open! You should still be planning weekly meetings with your teachers and staff. Reach out to them. Let them know you have their back.

Truth → For your staff, feeling supported is the most important thing right now.

This is a stressful time for yoga teachers and other studio staff. They don’t know what their paycheck will look like as your studio is changing. They may be tempted to jump ship.

Be the leader your staff members need.

The specific ways in which you can support your staff may depend on your local area. It will also depend on if they are contractors or employees. Check the laws and see what the options are. Then have an open conversation with them about it.

Yoga studio staff may benefit from unemployment programs. They may be able to work limited hours for the studio while on unemployment. Those details will vary by state and country. Take the time to find out all your options… and theirs.

Truth → Your staff are probably hearing a lot of confusing, contradictory information.

They might be scared. They’re definitely uncertain. Show you want to support them by doing the research on your local laws. Come prepared to confidently lead them through this crisis.

Cut your expenses.

Moving forward, cash flow is going to be tight for your yoga studio. Payroll is one of your biggest costs and, unfortunately, you need to make changes. There are a few things you can do to ease that burden.

The first is simple: your payroll is going to shrink organically as you switch to online classes.

Instead of running a half-dozen classes every day, you’ll probably be running two or three. With online classes, there’s no need for three hot yoga classes in a day – one live class, with a recording available later, is enough.

You might also need to change your pay structure. Paying a flat rate per class? Consider changing your class pay structure now that you’re online only. Your teachers are investing less time in each class and may be working from home. 

Be honest, but control the narrative.

Talking about changing your studio staff’s pay structure will be hard. No one wants to talk about a pay cut, especially during a period of financial instability. It will be a challenge, but your approach can make it a lot easier.

Don’t come in and say “We’re cutting your pay per class in half.” NO ONE would respond well to that. Instead, start the conversation by focusing on how important your staff is to the studio, the members, and you personally.

Explain that your teachers’ pay will be different. Break down their per class pay into something hourly. When your teachers had an in-person class they were also expected to be in the studio to set up, clean up and talk to the students.

That time was included in their per class payment – it wasn’t just the 90 minutes they taught the class. Now they have limited set up, and the classes are probably shorter. It makes sense that their per-class pay is less when you look at it hourly.

Remind your staff why they love yoga.

No one decides to teach yoga classes for the money. Everyone who works at your studio is there because they believe in the life-changing power of yoga. Challenges like this one have the power to pull people together and unite them around a common cause – like yoga.

Truth → Your staff might surprise you with their willingness to do what it takes to keep the studio going.

Ensuring your staff feel cared for and supported is crucial right now. They’ll remember what you did for them during this time. Be the leader they need. Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started! 

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How the CARES Act can help your yoga studio.

How the CARES Act can help your yoga studio. 

It’s the tough times, not the easy ones that define you as a yoga studio owner. Right now, the entire world is facing unprecedented challenges. How will you keep your business alive and support your community through this uncertain time?

Truth → How you navigate this crisis will define your business going forward.

Your studio community is looking to you to remain calm and provide stability through this uncertain time. You can’t provide the support your community needs if your finances are a mess.

Your rainy-day fund only goes so far. Get the help you need.

The Small Business Administration provides several kinds of loans to help you right now. These can make the difference for your yoga studio by helping you stay in the black. This crisis isn’t going away. Your community will probably be sheltering in place for a while, and even after it’ll take time for business to ramp back up, so do what you can to prepare. 

Disaster Relief Loans are a low interest, federal loans for unforeseen disasters, like earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Now they’re open to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. Yoga studios definitely fall under this umbrella. Without in-person classes, it’s much harder to pay your bills.

THE SMALL PRINT: Disaster Relief Loans have low interest rates and can be used for day-to-day studio expenses like rent and payroll. They cannot be used to refinance existing debt, replace profit or fund new purchases. If you’re approved for a loan over 25K it will require collateral.

SBA Express Bridge Loans exist to bridge the gap between application and payout of SBA Disaster Relief Loans. While you’re waiting, your studio can receive an emergency loan of up to $25K. These loans can make a BIG difference if you need cash fast.

Sound too good to be true? There is a catch… your business must have an existing relationship with an SBA lender – prior to March 13, 2020. Try checking with your bank to see if they offer SBA loans.

The CARES Act created even more options for Studio Owners.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) is designed to give our economy a helping hand during the pandemic. Many individual Americans benefit from stimulus funds and expanded unemployment and medical leave. You’ve likely received a stimulus check…or you will soon. 

This stimulus package also created options for small businesses. The biggest one is the Paycheck Protection Program. The goal is to keep as many people working as possible, so your PPP Loan amount is based on your payroll. Your studio probably qualifies for one. You must have 500 or fewer employees living in the United States to qualify.

Truth → This program is unique because it hands out loans you might not have to pay back.

THE FINE PRINT: These funds can only be used for payroll, health insurance premiums, paid sick, family or medical leave, mortgage interest (not principle or prepayment), commercial rent and utilities and interest on debts incurred prior to April 3, 2020.

They’re only good for a limited time frame. Expenses can be backdated to February 15 and dated forward to June 30, 2020. You can also use a PPP Loan to refinance an SBA loan made between January 31 and April 3, 2020.

Truth → PPP Loans are a great opportunity because of the extremely low 1% interest rate and possible loan forgiveness.

During the first 8 weeks after you’re approved the money you use may be eligible for loan forgiveness. The money you receive must be used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities…and no more than 25% of the forgiven amount can be something other than payroll.

**What is loan forgiveness? It’s this simple → if you follow the rules, you don’t have to pay the money back. Your loan is completely forgiven!  BOOM!**

That means if your payroll is low compared to your rent and utilities you might not get the whole loan forgiven. Not to worry though, whatever’s left will still get that super low interest rate.  

The catch with the Payroll Protection Program

This program is amazing. It provides incredible benefits for small business owners and EVERYONE has jumped to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, that means as of 4/16/20 the SBA has been unable to fund any newly approved loans.

Congress is considering providing additional funds for small businesses, but nothing has passed yet. Stay tuned for updates. This is the time to contact your congressional leaders and urge them to support small businesses through this crisis.

Other benefits from the CARES Act include the option to carry back net operating losses for your studio to past years. That can offset your taxable income for 2019 or previous years, netting you a bigger return or a smaller pay in. 

If you haven’t done your taxes yet and think you might be a refund it’s a good idea to file. The IRS is still processing most e-return refunds within 21 days. The new deadline is July 15, 2020.

What can YOU do now? Stay informed!

Do a deep dive into your studio’s books. Knowing your finances is always critical for running a successful studio – that goes double for rocky times. You’re setting up a lot of new systems to take your studio online. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of pivoting your yoga studio . Make sure you don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Not every business will survive the economic impact of this pandemic, and it’s important yours makes the cut. A clear understanding of the numbers helps you make the best decisions for your future. Keep on top of upcoming funding for CARES and other legislation that can help!

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started!  

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How Can I Lower my Studio’s Expenses?

How Can I Lower my Studio’s Expenses?

Things are tight right now. Your studio is facing a completely unexpected financial hurdle. The good news is everyone else is, too… so you have a lot of options.

Most countries and states have programs available to help small businesses, and EVERYTHING can be negotiated.

Now is the time to guard your cash flow. You want to lower your expenses as much as possible, so you have the assets you need to run your yoga studio. Most businesses fail, not because they have nothing of value, but because they lack cash flow.

Truth → Lowering your studio’s expenses is the first step.

Your biggest expenses are rent, any business loans or debt you’re carrying, and your payroll. There may be some wiggle room. It never hurts to ask.

Let’s talk about rent.

Your landlord may be willing to work with you on the rent. That might mean they’re open to negotiation or payment flexibility, especially if they’re getting a break on their own mortgage. Get on their radar now.

Truth → Ask BEFORE you get to a place of desperation.

Don’t burn through your entire rainy day fund and then ask your landlord for a break. Go to them NOW, before every other tenant does. Be professional and clear about what you need.

Emphasize that you’re working hard to make things work long term. Your studio’s success will be a win for both you AND your landlord. Come from a place of teamwork and long-term partnership.

Give your landlord the opportunity to be the hero. They might be more open to negotiation than you’d think, especially if you’re one of their anchor stores. Finding another tenant can be challenging in the best of times. Right now, businesses aren’t looking for physical spaces to rent.

Bring the best version of yourself to the table, keep things professional, and get the conversation started. The worst they can do is say, “No.”

Everything is open to renegotiation.

If you have business loans or other debt, now is the time to talk about refinancing. Interest rates are incredibly low due to economic instability, and many countries have assistance programs in place.

Truth → Banks are willing to work with you more than ever before – that goes for personal loans and mortgages, too.

Your business may also qualify for a new, low-interest loan if you need it. These programs are new, and the infrastructure isn’t always there to process applications. Get your application in as soon as possible if that’s something you want to take advantage of.

Restructuring your payroll

Payroll is another huge expense for your yoga studio. It’s going to shrink somewhat as you transition to online classes because you won’t be running as many classes each day. You won’t necessarily have much for your front desk or cleaning staff to do. But that may not be enough.

You want to stand by your staff and help them as much as you can, but you simply won’t be able to pay them as much as a few months ago when the studio was fully operational.

Truth → The most important thing you can do for your staff is make them feel supported and cared for.

You’ll probably have to cut pay for online vs. in person classes, but those classes also require less prep-work and time talking to students. That pay cut might make sense when you explain it as if they were hourly employees.

No matter what happens with payroll, make sure your staff know you care about their success. Keep the conversation going and control the narrative.

Check your recurring expenses

While you’re lowering your studio’s expenses take a look at your recurring payments. Autopayments can fly under the radar, especially if they’re lower amounts. Now is a great time to make sure you’re still using all those services regularly and they’re essential to your business right now. These expenses are typically smaller, but they can add up.

None of this is easy. Things are changing so quickly in the world right now. Making sure your studio changes along with it is hard work. Remember to prioritize your mental health as you make these hard choices. Take a moment to exhale. You can do this.

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started!  

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How do I take my yoga studio online?

How do I take my yoga studio online?

DON’T OVERTHINK IT! The most important thing is to get yourself out there. Your members won’t remember if your first online yoga class was a little wonky. They’ll remember that you showed up for them – and kept their mind and body occupied during this uncertain, stressful time.

You may not have physical classes, but your community remains intact and vital to your studio. You need them and they need you – now more than ever!

Don’t be scared to just get out there and get better as you go. We live in a very technologically advanced world. Cameras and sound systems can seem intimidating – but you already have everything you need.

Keeping your setup as basic as possible, all you need is a cell phone or computer, Facebook Live, and some open floor space to take your yoga class online. Zoom is another easy option to enable audience engagement directly during the class.

Prepare for launch… then just do it!

If you spend too much time trying to curate a perfect system instead of putting the content out there, it won’t be as powerful. They’re not expecting perfection. They’re expecting you to show up.

Deciding on a filming location? Some things to consider:

  • You’ll need some distance from your camera in order to show the entire yoga pose. That means a relatively large space.
  • Where is the lighting? Put your brightest light (or a nice sunny window) at 45˚. A second dimmer light can be used on the opposite side to soften your shadows – if you have it.
  • Distance yourself from the background to keep your image crisp on screen. If you’re right up against a wall, you’ll blend into it.

Have a spot in mind? Set up your camera and do a quick trial run. Once you see it on camera, you might realize your position needs tweaking or there is a bad echo. Large empty rooms tend to echo more than smaller, carpeted spaces.

You really do have everything you need. But if you’re looking to upgrade, a lapel mic is a good investment. Air pods can work for this too. When you’re teaching online, you’ll be far away from the camera to show the entire pose. A mic will help your sound come in clearly.

Ok, So you’ve decided where to film your online yoga classes, and maybe even created your first video. What do you do with it now?

Sharing on your site

Creating member-only online yoga classes isn’t as hard as you think. It can be as simple as creating a private Facebook group and recording a Facebook Live within the group or posting them later. Once you have recordings of your live classes, you can group them together by type so they’re easier for members to find.

Truth → Keep it simple.

Want to keep members on your website? Create a password protected page and nest your recordings there. First upload them to YouTube as private videos, then grab the embed code from the share menu. Add that line to your page behind the scenes.

Remember to keep the titles of your videos clear and simple. You want your members to know what type of yoga class it is and if they’ve already seen it. The date (or #1, #2, etc.) should be in the title.

Always keep your member in mind! When you take your yoga classes online, they must be easy for your members (and the public) to find and use. 

  • Your members should know which video to watch – that means clear titles.
  • Accessing the content should be easy – that means only entering their password once to get to the member’s only area.
  • Send a reminder email 10 minutes before class time with a link so they don’t lose track of the time and miss it.

Everything you do RIGHT NOW is about building community. Providing community for your members will get them through this difficult time and come back as strong and healthy as possible. It will also drive your business forward during this time and set you up for a strong comeback.

Take the leap and get started teaching online. Your community needs you, and you need them!

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started!  

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How do I shift my membership pricing for online yoga classes?

How do I shift my membership pricing for online yoga classes?

The world looks very different right now. Most studios have transitioned from their traditional brick and mortar classes to online only membership. It’s easy to think your studio is offering less – fewer classes, only online – and should charge less. That’s just not true.

Truth → Your yoga studio offers more than online classes.

The community your studio offers is vibrant and special. Right now, more than ever, people are looking for community. If they can, your members will want to keep supporting you, like you’ve supported them.

Don’t panic!

You’re afraid members won’t be able to pay – that cancelations will start rolling in by the dozens. Many studios are panicking and immediately dropping their pricing. That’s a mistake.

Some industries are taking a hit right now, but many people are still working from home and getting their full paycheck. Those members will be happy to keep paying their membership, as long as you’re offering them value!

Don’t change your pricing until your members ask for it.

There’s a sweet spot with your pricing. It all comes down to the numbers. Let’s say your members are all paying $100 a month. If you jump in and say “These are hard times, we’re cutting membership pricing down to $50 for online classes…” all the sudden you’ve lost half your income. That’s a BIG problem for keeping your studio alive in the long term.

Let’s say instead you keep things at $100. Sure, some people will come to you and put their memberships on pause or even cancel… but you’d be better off until you lost HALF your members.

MY ADVICE: Play it cool! And keep providing value!

Keep your pricing where it is for now, but be prepared. Get a down-sell ready. Then, when members come to you looking to cancel or pause their memberships, you’re ready to offer them an alternative. You have something prepared with them in mind.

Once you get to a threshold where the number of people on pause is really high it might be time to restructure your pricing. You’re not there yet.

Create a down-sell.

Get a good down-sell option ready for your members. Normally, you’re much more focused on bringing in new members. Now it’s all about keeping the members you have. You need to be prepared for cancelations. Don’t just give up.

Make the conversation about your members and what they need, not about the cancelation. The human to human deep-level connection you create in a yoga studio is special. Reach out personally and get the conversation started.

Truth → When things are back to normal, you want people to remember how well you handled this situation.

Say something like “We totally get it. It’s a crazy time right now. We’re still on a mission to help you be your strongest – now more than ever! Here’s what we’re doing for you… Right now, we have a special relief offer. Let’s talk about a membership that works for you.”

Truth → Not all your members have to pay the same amount.

Your members aren’t all paying the same now. Some joined during a promotion. Some are autopay. Some are annual. There are a variety of price points. Decide internally on a discount you could offer members who reach out to cancel.

If worst comes to worst and they are determined to cancel, offer them a pay what you can option or a pause instead. It won’t help you in the short term, but it will later. It’s MUCH easier to send out an email blast letting everyone know their memberships are back on than it is to recruit them again once things settle down.

What about virtual memberships?

Ultimately you will need a virtual membership offer to your online classes if you’re going to create any new sales.

The challenge is to not undermine your existing membership pricing that you’ve managed to keep your members on.

This comes down to a communication issue. You need to be pro-active and control the narrative by giving your regular members an offer. This should include an opportunity for them to stay on their full-priced membership as a way to support the studio and as much as possible offer additional value.

The keys to a strong online offer:

  • Keep your offer as simple as possible
  • Limit the number of options – 1 single online pricing option would be strongest, as consumers are either in or out right now
  • Ideally it should be auto-recurring
  • If you go with multiple virtual recurring options, the goal is to make a perceived value differential between the offers instead of just a price difference (eg. 5 live streamed classes vs. unlimited live streamed classes and access to recordings in the members area)
  • In terms of choosing a dollar amount, don’t try to compete virtual only class-based options that are already established, because you can’t

You can sell this new offer on your website. Just because your doors are closed, doesn’t mean you can’t get new business. You can still have the best of both worlds – an approachable online-only price point AND full-priced membership with added benefits and value.

Try this → Email all your past members and get them going on your online offer!

Giving old members or students without a current pass a re-intro offer or letting them know about the new offer you’re running is a great way to get them back on board! They already know your brand. They have experienced the value you offer. It’s time to get them back!

Reach out to your gung-ho students too – you know… the ones at class five times a week – and ask them to invite their friends around the country to your online classes with a virtual buddy pass. They’ll be happy to spread the word about how great your studio is!

Struggling to adjust your studio to social distancing rules? Confused about what to do next to keep your studio running? Get The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide during Social Distancing so you can respond with confidence and keep money coming into your studio during this time. Take action now to get our special PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing. Click here to get started!

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Go beyond online classes to bring your community together in these uncertain times. They need you!

Go beyond online classes to bring your community together in these uncertain times. They need you!

Community is the backbone of your studio. If your students only wanted someone to lead them in a few postures, they’d have stayed home and looked up a class on YouTube.  Instead, they have always made the time and taken the effort to drive across town and show up for your yoga classes.

Truth → Community matters to your students!

For the next few weeks or months, connecting within a community will be harder for all of us. Most people are staying home. Some states and countries are on full lock down. Isolation is commonplace.

Your community needs you MORE THAN EVER! Now is the time to lean into building up your community. Together you can spread joy and hope, even during social distancing.

Truth → Right now your focus is not selling yoga classes. It’s all about community.

Create a long-distance yoga experience.

Yoga studios around the world are switching to online classes as their communities experience mandatory or voluntary shut downs. You probably already have all the tech you need to make the switch! It’s easier than it sounds.

For help making the transition check out my article “Make social distancing work for your yoga studio.” It’ll take you through the process, complete with a step-by-step checklist for optimum success.

Taking your studio online is a GREAT first step in keeping your community engaged. But don’t stop there!

If I asked you about the yoga experience at your studio the first thing you’d mention are your awesome yoga classes. It makes sense. People go to a yoga studio to practice yoga…. plus a whole lot more. 

Your students come to you for the atmosphere you create as much as the class itself. They love getting to chat with the other students, greeting the teachers and seeing smiles of recognition from your front office staff. They might even enjoy petting the resident dog or checking out your shop.

It’s about the WHOLE experience – the community.

Go BEYOND online classes to create community.

Online classes simply don’t create the same amount of community as in-person classes. There’s no chatting in the changing room, greeting the staff, trading stories about your week or small talk as everyone walks out to the parking lot.

Truth → Your community misses those small day-to-day interactions!

Go above and beyond for your community! People want to embody their higher image of themselves when they’re at home during a time like this. But few ACTUALLY do it. Offer them the opportunity to act in their higher image and they’ll thank you for it.

Truth → Your community deserves the best.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! Your community is living a different reality than normal, complete with different distractions. Don’t compete against them… lean in!

People are at home stressing and need to decompress. They want community, but don’t know how to create it beyond scrolling social media. Create it FOR them!

Here are some ideas:

  • Teach a meditation class: Try early or late when the kids aren’t up. This could be the only time your members have to focus inwardly without the outside pressure of entertaining stir-crazy children…
  • Lean into your Nidra teacher: Your community could really benefit from Nidra practice right now! Highlight it for people who don’t know and bring it to the forefront.
  • Showcase your favorite recipes: Everyone is cooking at home these days, whether they want to or not. Live stream yourself cooking or post your favorite easy, healthy recipes. Anything from smoothies to soups.
  • Try remote private classes: Yoga is life changing! Your members will want to share it with their partners and children. Now might be the perfect time!
  • Relaxing social time: Recreate those easy social moments at the studio with a cocktail hour to unwind at the end of the night, or a yoga café to start the day.
  • Game night: Many people enjoy board or dice games. Using an online game platform, you can all play together.
  • Watch party: Get on social media and watch a movie at the same time. Have a live commentary in a member’s only Facebook group. This is one situation where virtual might be better… no shushing!

Think about your local culture. What do your members and people in your area like to do? Recreate that! Anything on the fringe but related to wellness and holistic yoga practice is fair game: recipes, mediation, relaxation techniques.

Truth → Everyone deals with isolation differently, and you know best how to help your members through this time.

While you’re taking care of everyone else, don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s okay for you to exhale. Take a break. Play LEGOs with your kids. Have your own personal practice time. Take a nap after posting a class.

It’s important for you to stay healthy. That means avoiding the virus AND avoiding entrepreneurial burn out. Major burnout has ramifications for your entire business and existence for months. Take it slow if you need to!

Our community of dedicated yogis is here to support YOU. You’re not alone. Check out the webinar recordings in the free series “The Yogapreneur’s Guide to COVID-19″ for the latest information and help with implementation. You’ve got this!

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The Ultimate Studio Survival Guide to Social Distancing
*PAY WHAT YOU CAN video course