How to make your yoga studio a safe, profitable and fun environment when you reopen

How to make your yoga studio a safe, profitable and fun environment when you reopen

A successful reopening is about more than going back to the way it was before. Now is the time to make your yoga studio better than ever! You’ve changed and grown as a business owner through these uncertain times and your back with more passion, determination and energy than ever before.

Golden rule of reopening → Know your local laws

The first step to reopening is to learn your local laws. These are going to make or break your studio when it comes to negligence and potential lawsuits. Don’t go by what the news is saying or what other studios are doing. Every area is different, and you don’t want any costly mistakes.

We’re all dealing with a brand-new situation. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s okay to be confused or scared about what comes next. The key is creating a clear strategy to make your opening safe, profitable and fun for you and your members.

Here’s what you’ll be dealing with: limits on the number of people in a room, minimum distances between people, or both. Plus up-leveling your cleaning to make members feel ultra-safe. Let’s take it one step at a time.

Re-design your yoga room

Let’s start at the yoga room. You’ll need to grab a measuring tape and figure out exactly what your rooms dimensions are and how many members can fit. Plan where each mat will be and mark it with tape. The average person won’t be able to correctly space themselves without a mark. Save your members, teachers and yourself the stress and label it ahead of time.

Don’t have a distance requirement? Mark the floor anyway. Even if your city is limiting participants to say 25% capacity in the room, they still won’t want all 25% crammed in the front row. Your members not only want to be safe; they want to feel safe. Taking the time to plan your room layout goes a long way.

Think of it like choreography. How will members enter the room, how will they find their spots and exit? Consider adding taped marks outside the room so members remain spaced apart while they wait to enter. Dismiss them by row so there isn’t a big group socializing by the door.

Test it out with your staff. Don’t skip this step. It’s a great way to get your staff dialed in and identify problems before the members show up. Once you’ve ironed out the kinks record it and send it to your members.

Communication is key to a smooth opening

Make sure your members know what to expect. Send an email blast and let them know they can’t congregate in communal spaces. Give them a heads up on closed changing rooms and any other changes. Include a video on how they’re supposed to enter and exit the yoga space. Demonstrate proper mat set up and hang pictures of what that looks like.

Truth → The more prepared your members are the easier it will be.

Put yourself in the member’s shoes. What kind of questions will they ask? What will their concerns be? Answer all those questions ahead of time in an email sequence, on social media, your website or all three.

  • Will you have mats available? Are you expecting your members to bring their own mats? Will the rental process look different than normal? Will they only be available for purchase?
  • How will the mats be cleaned? Most yoga studios provide spray cleaner or wipes members grab after class. That’s not a great option now. Do you want students to clean their mats at home? Will individual cleaning supplies be offered?
  • What extra cleaning precautions are you taking? Show that your cleaning processes are more robust. Use chemical cleaning agents and make sure you’re cleaning high touch hard surfaces often. Don’t be shy about these changes. Members want to know to make them feel safe.
  • Do members have to pre-register? Classes will be smaller than before. You’ll need to have members pre-register for class and sign a new waiver. Denying drop-ins, even if you have room, will go a long way to making members feel safe in the space.
  • Can members pay in person? Encourage your members to pay online. This will streamline the class set up process and cut back on exchange of credit cards and money. You’ll limit close quarters interactions and keep everyone feeling safer.
  • Do members have to wear a mask? Your area may require all members to wear masks while they’re in the studio. If it does that’s an easy answer. If not consider having your staff wear masks to protect members in case they’re asymptomatic carriers. Either way, providing masks for free or purchase is a good call.

Remember to keep it fun

You need to follow the new rules to keep yourself, your staff and your members safe. That’s a given. But people are still coming to you for a yoga experience. Do what you can to give them the experience they expect from your studio.

You want your studio to be clean, but not so sterile and clinical people don’t enjoy being in the space. Rearrange your furniture or put up a fresh coat of paint to make the space feel new and inviting. Pleasant scents, positive music and fresh flowers brighten up any space. Welcome back signs are a MUST. Let your members know you’ve missed them and you’re excited to have them!

For more super relevant information, join us for The Re-Open Strong Challenge, For just $27.

This Challenge and so much more is included in the Yogapreneur Collective.

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Is Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform right for your yoga studio?

Is Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform right for your yoga studio?

We’ve all been eagerly awaiting information on the new Mindbody Virtual Wellness Platform. The seamless integration has a lot of promise. Done right, it could make things a lot easier for your yoga studio. But as it stands, Mindbody might not be your best option… Why? It’s all in the recent update to the Terms and Conditions.

The most common lie in our society is “Yes, I’ve read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.” Most of us speed right through and check the box every time we sign up for a new service or download a new app. That’s a BIG mistake when it comes to your business.

Especially right now, as studio owners are striving to shift their business models to keep up during this time of high paced change, it’s not easy to stay on top of all the fine print, its implications, and keep a finger on the pulse of what this indicates for the direction the wellness industry is taking — and what this means for your business.

Truth → You need to read the Terms and Conditions of any new platform or service to keep yourself safe.

Not everyone thinks like a lawyer. If reading the fine print stresses you out, delegate it. Just make sure you’re keeping your business safe and not ignoring the terms just because they’re full of legal jargon that’s hard to read and understand. By agreeing without reading, we give up stuff that we wouldn’t if we were talking to someone face to face.

Who controls the content? You or Mindbody?

The first thing you should do when you’re looking at Terms and Conditions is figure out what’s covered. In this case, Mindbody defines “content” as literally anything you put on the platform now and in the future. That means any video or pictures you upload, branding or branded materials (including your logo) and any other materials you may be able add in the future, like PDFs or workbooks for teacher training.

Truth → You’re consenting to give Mindbody free use of ALL your content.

Mindbody states you retain ownership of your content, but notes you’ve granted “worldwide, exclusive, irrevocable, unlimited, royalty-free… sublicensable and transferable license to the Content” meaning Mindbody can use your content, including your branding, pretty much however it wants.

Truth → You’re not allowed to use the content on another platform.

Even though you still own the content, there’s a special rule in the Terms and Conditions. It specifically states you’re not allowed to use your content on YouTube or any other platform besides Mindbody. If you upload a short class to Mindbody for your members, you can’t also use it on YouTube for a marketing funnel without breaking the contract.

Who is liable? You or Mindbody?

Everyone is trying to pass liability down the line when it comes to legal contracts. That’s no surprise. You’re liable for any content that ends up on the platform, which makes perfect sense. If you use copyrighted music in your videos that’s not Mindbody’s fault.

The problem is, Mindbody has the ability to use your content however they like, outside of your use on the platform. They could take your video content and use it in a way your music license doesn’t cover, and you’ll still be liable for it. Which is a problem, since you might not even know they’re doing it.

What about royalties? Do you get paid if they use your content?

The Terms and Conditions go so far as to specifically say Mindbody can “reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, display and perform it” for use by its Virtual Wellness Platform, Mindbody itself or any of its affiliates. It doesn’t state they have to tell you they’re doing it and they have zero obligation to pay you for it.

Mindbody is in control of ALL your content, can use it however they want to without paying you for it, and they decide when the contract ends. If you were to take your video down and cancel your subscription, Mindbody could still decide to use your content elsewhere. If it was profitable enough for them and they wanted to keep using it, you’d still be subject to the licensing agreement.

Truth → Mindbody is under NO obligation to pay royalties, even if they monetize your content.

To me, this clearly indicates Mindbody has a direct-to-consumer play coming where they open up virtual content in a separate app or as a consumer addition. They’d be able to use the content you and other Mindbody users make and get paid directly for access, cutting your studio out of the picture. They could choose to pay the studios that created the content in the first place, but they wouldn’t have to. You’d have no say in the matter.

What happens if you break the contract?

If you break the Terms and Conditions, Mindbody still retains licensing rights and full use of your content. They can also turn off your access to the Virtual Wellness Platform and have the option to suspend software services, which could mean turning off your Mindbody access altogether.

It doesn’t seem very likely that they’d take it that far, but it may be a possibility. Take the time to read the Terms and Conditions for yourself. Your business is exceedingly important, now more than ever. Business leadership is the most important leadership of our time. Anything you don’t understand creates a risk you could be taken advantage of.

Truth → You don’t want to get backed into a corner.

If you want to use the new MindBody platform, but have issues with the Terms and Conditions, highlight the parts you don’t agree with and contact their legal department. They’ll take your feedback and hopefully make some adjustments for everybody. Even if they don’t, you’ve had the chance to voice your complaints.

For more details, watch my video: New Terms for MBO’s Virtual Platform.

Amidst all of your responsibilities as a studio owner in this time of high speed changes, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of every single detail and understand the potential implications for your business’s long term success. That’s why you need access to up to date info and cutting edge resources now more than ever before.

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

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

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The top 5 legal considerations for your yoga studio right now.

The top 5 legal considerations for your yoga studio right now.

Your yoga studio is reopening into a different world than a few months ago. New laws govern how you can operate. Every level of government has rules about if you can open, when you can open, and how you can open. It’s a confusing time. Being unsure is normal. None of us really know what’s going to happen. That’s why it’s important to make great decisions before something bad happens.

LEARN YOUR LOCAL LAWS:

Be proactive! Now is the time to find out what your city, state and nation require when your yoga studio opens back up. Don’t take the news at face value or do what everyone else is doing. Every single area has its own rules. Find a government website and get your information straight from the source.

These laws determine negligence (if you were acting carelessly), which can open you up to lawsuits. If someone catches COVID-19 at your studio and you weren’t following your area’s specific laws you’re screwed. It won’t matter how at fault you are or if the member signed a waiver. You’ll still have a costly lawsuit to deal with…

The golden rule → Learn and follow your municipal laws.

Print out a copy of your local laws and post them in your studio. Make it really clear you’re doing everything you can to be considerate and careful during your reopening. It’ll go a long way. Check your local, state and federal laws, because they may have different requirements. You want to follow ALL the rules.

If there’s a conflict of laws and your city says you can’t open, but your state does, I’d think long and hard about if you really need to reopen or if it can wait. If something happens and your municipality says you can’t be open, you’re going to be in big trouble from a negligence perspective.

CYA WITH A NEW WAIVER:

The wonderful thing about your yoga studio is that everything is voluntary. All your members and staff are choosing to accept the degree of risk that comes with physical activity already – you just need to juice up your waiver to cover the new COVID-19 risks.  

Truth → Legal liability always comes down to how specific the waiver is.

Ask yourself these questions: what activities will members be doing at your yoga studio? What are the risks of these activities? What could go wrong? Double check that your waiver already covers all the activities your members do and the injuries that could result from their practice.

Once that’s done, add in something about the risks of practicing at home instead of the studio and make sure you explicitly state the world is going through a pandemic with a highly contagious virus. State you’re opening in accordance with all relevant laws, but there is a chance someone could catch it while on the premises.

Finally, your waiver should include acknowledgement that the member is practicing voluntarily, you’re released from liability and an affirmation of health. By attending a class, your member is saying they have not traveled in the last 14 days, don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, are not high risk and they are not injured to the point they cannot practice.

GET A STAFF WAIVER TOO:

Staff need to agree to work under these unique conditions too. You can create a staff version of the waiver for them to sign, put it in the employee handbook or discuss it on a recorded call. The key is a record that they’re returning to work voluntarily, knowing there are added risks.

This is a great opportunity to revamp anything else in your employee handbook. Get a conversation started and make sure you’re all on the same page. Go over your local laws and new policies and communicate clearly. 

The last thing you want is liability if your staff get sick or for them to imply they were fired because they were concerned about COVID-19. Potential liability will vary depending on if they’re contractors or employees and working at-will or not. If you’re concerned check the specifics with a lawyer.

GET EVERYTHING UP TO DATE AND SIGNED:

This is a great time to re-evaluate your agreements so everything is how you actually want it. Consult with a lawyer and make sure your agreement is perfect for this time AND moving forward. Things like incremental payments, force majeure and other legal details can make a big difference for your yoga studio!

Credit card companies decide if members can have charges voided based on the exact contract wording. If you have a big event planned that’s cancelled because of something you can’t anticipate (like a shelter-in-place law) this could make or break you. It’s not about locking members into paying you, it’s about clear communication from the start.

Truth → The best opportunity to have anyone re-sign an agreement is RIGHT NOW!

Everyone is re-evaluating their systems and agreements to get them ready for reopening. Your members and employees get it. They’re probably expecting it. This is your opportunity to make sure everything is ultra-clear. It could even be a great time to transition contractors to employees if that’s been in your plans.

AUTOMATE YOUR WAIVER SIGN IN FOR MEMBERS:

Send out an email using WaiverKing or DocuSign and get the agreement out of the way before your members even show up at the studio. Then use email automation to send out reminders to anyone who hasn’t opened the attachment. Getting it done outside the studio will make things MUCH easier on opening day.

Truth → Signing the waiver is not optional!

Catch anyone who hasn’t signed yet with an iPad at the front desk. If they haven’t signed it they can’t practice at your studio. Period. Don’t let anyone come in for drop-ins either. Keep everything streamlined so your members are safe and you’ve covered yourself for anything unexpected.

Once you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s your yoga studio is ready for an epic reopening!

⭐️Learn how to successfully re-open your studio step-by-step with the Re-Open Your Studio Strong Challenge!

And 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, the Re-Open Strong Challenge, plus the huge online resource library, private Facebook Group, and access to 1:1 coaching all for just $125.

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

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Inclusivity in the Yoga Industry

Inclusivity in the Yoga Industry

Yoga business owners are being called to action, to talk about inequality and marginalized groups in their communities. 

Yoga studios have always had a mission that is inherently humanitarian: they aim to help people improve their lives and ultimately improve the world. 

Over the last decade almost all the studios I’ve worked with desire and claim to be safe, inclusive, non-judgmental spaces for all people. In fact, I can definitively tell you that the most common core value amongst yoga studios is “Inclusivity” and the most common marketing catch phrase has been “Yoga For Every Body.” 

But recent worldwide protests and demonstrations against inequality and racism have called all of us to action in a new way.

How can studio owners take action to improve racial equity in their business and in the yoga industry as a whole? 

I’ve been getting a lot of contact from studio owners asking, what’s the right thing to do here? What actions can we take to support this movement? And should studios even do or say anything? 

And for many of you as owners, I know that the answers to these questions may not be obvious.

TRUTH —  Not knowing exactly what to do is okay. Doing nothing is not.

But the other thing I would highlight is that just by reading this, you are actively looking for an answer. And this already indicates that you’re on the right path. 

I need to preface everything in this article by saying: I’m not an expert in this subject matter, especially not around the black lives matter movement. But I believe we are all being called to action to learn more.

Let’s talk about INCLUSIVITY.

I find it fascinating that most yoga studios that I’ve worked with over the last 10+ years list “Inclusivity” as one of the pillars, or core values, of their business. 

It’s important to look internally, as yoga teaches us, and understand that saying that Inclusivity is one of our core values does not actually make us inclusive. 

TRUTH — Simply saying that you’ll accept anyone in your business, and that you would be happy for them to be there and take their money does not make you inclusive.

We’re at a moment in time where we have a really powerful opportunity to actually ACT ON what we’ve been saying all along. 

It’s important that we take advantage of this moment and take action now. 

Remember, when COVID hit, you were forced to modernize your business and create change very quickly. From figuring out how to digitize your offerings, renegotiate with your teachers and your landlord, and get a lawyer involved to update your waivers and contracts, you got it done because you were called to action and there were no other options. 

That ability to be flexible and pivot in the moment demonstrates the strength that you truly have. 

Right now you are being called to action by this movement, these protests and worldwide demonstrations. You are being called to act just as quickly and decisively and to potentially be willing to shift aspects of your business. 

The truth is these are all things that we should have been working on for a long time now. I’m sure for example, that creating a virtual yoga studio prior to COVID is something that you had always thought was a good idea and meant to get around to, but just didn’t prioritize. 

Studio owners want to be inclusive, but the truth is, this takes education and work. It doesn’t just happen on its own. We should have been working on this equally as diligently but for many owners, it just hasn’t been the primary focus. 

Now is the time to put inclusivity into practice.

The first question that I’ve received loud and clear is: Should we say or do anything at all?

The absolute answer is yes. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. GET OVER YOUR FEAR. If you’re questioning doing or saying something, it’s most likely because you’re afraid. It might be a fear of not knowing what to say, saying the wrong thing, being ridiculed, or appearing to align yourself politically in a way that would deter some people from patroning your business, ultimately —  it’s a fear of potential loss. 

TRUTH — Fear is something you’ve got to get over. Right now there are more people watching and taking account of businesses that are doing nothing. The silence from many people, organizations and businesses is extremely loud… it’s deafening.

  1. THIS IS HUMANITARIANISM. As a wellness business owner, you’re aligned with the humanitarian cause of improving people’s lives. Racial discrimination is not a political issue; it’s a humanitarian issue. It’s really as simple as that. 
  1. YOGA FOR EVERY BODY. This catch phrase has dominated messaging in the yoga industry for years. Clients that we work with on marketing and branding for their website and social media regularly have the awareness of wanting to represent clients who are male and female, young and old, and of varying body shapes and sizes. But I honestly cannot say the same focus has been placed on representing different races and ethnicities. And although I think that it’s totally unconscious, that omission — that silence — says a lot. 

This is not about pointing the finger and laying blame. This speaks to the need to become aware of our complete ignorance to the situation — as individuals, businesses, and as an industry.

So what should you say? 

If you believe in anti-racism, it’s really important that you do say something. 

Say exactly what you think and feel without fear of negative repercussions. But speak to what you actually know. This isn’t political. It’s not just business. As a studio owner, you have the opportunity for a deeper interaction with your clients and community. 

I cannot tell you exactly what you should say. But I can tell you that it needs to be authentic. 

And importantly, what you do say to your community should not be about you. The number of messages focussed on how the writer feels bad, hasn’t done enough, and acknowledges their white privilege is surprising. Introspection is clearly important but your message needs to be empowering and illuminating to your community, and give them an opportunity to be the main character in the story – not you.  

What can you do right now?

  • Most importantly educate yourself and do your own internal work. This may start with a complete dismantling of your current understanding, lack of understanding or misunderstanding of the situation.
  • Lead your team. Organize and pay for education for your staff on this issue. Promote their continued learning on racial discrimination and improving racial equity. 
  • If inclusivity is part of your business values, update your staff training and studio policies to reflect this.
  • Consider putting up signage and/or posting on your website that your business supports the rights of all human beings. Your business is your platform for communication and you have an opportunity to create awareness and positive change. This also clearly demonstrates that your studio is a safe space for all people to come and participate in your classes. 
  • Take inventory of the images on your website and social media channels and become more aware of the message you’re sending. Your online images are sending a very clear message of who your product is for and who is welcome in your studio.

What about fundraisers? 

Many studios have already done fundraisers and made donations to charities. This strategy has potential, but a super important detail is often missed. 

TRUTH — Businesses and their clients can’t pay their way out of racial inequity.

Money is not an answer to this problem, and giving your community an opportunity to pay their way out of the conversation is not an answer either. So having a fundraiser in itself is not enough.

Raising funds for an organization or charity IS a good idea, but be sure to have a clear purpose and include an educational component to the event. The event needs to raise awareness if it’s going to make a difference, not just money.

Finally, please understand that creating racial equity is not a right now thing, and it never has been. There’s no single statement you can make, email you can send, or social media post you can put up. This has to become part of the fabric of the business. 

What we’re doing right now:

We believe business leadership is the most important leadership of our time. This is why we’re bringing in an expert to educate our team and members of the Yogapreneur Collective on how to bring more racial equity into the yoga business.

Join us Tuesday June 16th 1:30-3:30 CST for a special Bonus YC Webinar, Racial Equity in the Yoga Business, led by a special guest presenter with a doctorate in sociology and political science who is a Racial Justice Educator and Certified Yoga Teacher. 

In this webinar, members will learn: 

  • Mindfulness techniques to break down racism and rebuild a foundation for racial equity in your business. 
  • Racial equity vocabulary to develop shared language.
  • Tangible steps that you can take to embed racial equity into your business model. 

You’ll also receive access to the webinar recording. To access this webinar and all member resources, join the Yogapreneur Collective. 

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Position your virtual library to support your brick-and-mortar yoga studio

Position your virtual library to support your brick-and-mortar yoga studio

Setting up a virtual yoga studio might not have been in your plans, but you have one now. Yoga studio owners around the world had to transition to online classes to make their studio work during this challenging time.

It was unexpected – maybe even unpleasant – to try new technology and expand into the virtual marketplace. But now that you’re there… you can take advantage of exciting new opportunities.

Truth → With the right positioning, your online classes can drive membership sales.

You may be tempted to step away from video recording all together once your studio opens again. That’s a mistake. A strong virtual yoga library is a MAJOR value add for your studio membership. Think of it as a tool to drive your membership sales.

Your virtual studio exists to support your in-person membership

Selling memberships is all about communicating value. If all people wanted was to do some stretching postures at home, they’d look up a few free videos and call it a day. Your members come to you because your studio offers them something special.

They value the community, experience and expertise that you offer. People are sold on emotion, not logic. Your members believe a regular practice at your studio will make their lives better – more balanced, healthy, relaxed. They’ll in turn be able to better care for their families.

Truth → An on demand video library is another way you can show up for your members.

Knowing you offer an on demand video library with membership shows you have a comprehensive, holistic view of their health. Even if they don’t participate very actively in your online studio, it adds value to your membership. This feature can get people over the hump to sign up, especially if they live further away.

Your virtual studio has to be high quality

The virtual yoga library you’ve created is its own product line. Even though its primary purpose is growing your membership, it has to stand on its own two feet. It’s time to up your game.

Truth → People accepted lower quality video during quarantine; they won’t forever.

You had to pivot quickly while your yoga studio was closed. Your members understand that you weren’t any more prepared for a global pandemic than they were. If your video was a little rough or the sound quality was just okay – they got it.

Now it’s time to up your game. Moving forward your virtual studio must be at a higher standard. If members are paying for it as a value add they expect it to add value. The good news is, you probably won’t be running online classes.

Shooting on demand videos is easier to fit into your schedule, and you have more time to test your setup. If the video looks a bit off, don’t post it. Make sure your on demand library lives up to the experience your members expect every time they walk into your studio.

Don’t devalue your virtual studio.

Don’t get caught in a race to the bottom. You’re not competing with larger virtual brands that charge $5 a month. Their business model is to get as many people around the country or globe as possible to make those numbers work. Yours is locally focused.

A virtual studio isn’t just a small perk members get when they sign up. It can be much more than that. Your expertise is valuable. Members show up because of the unique experience they get at YOUR studio doing yoga you’re an expert in. An ultra-low price point undermines your value message.

Truth → A quality virtual studio can also be used as a down sell or a stand alone product.

Post quality content regularly and your virtual studio can be more than an addition to your membership. You can offer it as a stand-alone product for members who live farther away. Try throwing in a few live classes a month with it and price it lower than an all included membership.

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 YC Webinars and so much more, sign up here.

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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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