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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Make social distancing work for your yoga studio.

Make social distancing work for your yoga studio.

In this uncertain time with shelter-in-place laws and social distancing, nearly everyone is staying home. People are living outside their normal schedule and adjusting to a very uncertain time. They need community. They need yoga.

During this challenging time, your studio can offer the same thing it’s always offered – community and a chance to become the best version of yourself.

You may not have physical classes, but your community remains intact and vital to your studio. Your members will remember how you showed up for them during this time with social media posts, encouraging messages, online community and even virtual classes.

Not sure about online classes? Don’t overthink it!

The most important thing is to get yourself out there. Your members won’t remember if your first online class was a little wonky or not. What they’ll remember is that you showed up for them and kept their brain occupied during this uncertain, stressful time.

Truth →  Launching is EVERYTHING.

Don’t be scared to just get out there and get better as you go. 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 perfect, they’re expecting you to show up.

We live in a very technologically advanced world. At the end of the day all it takes is some open floor space, a computer and Zoom or Facebook Live to run an online class. Getting the lighting and camera position right definitely helps – but at the end of the day if you have a computer and the internet you’ve got all the essentials.

Some tweaks for sharing yoga online.

Running online classes is a little different than running them in the studio – beyond the format. When you’re teaching an in-person class a limited number of people must be in the room at a set time to benefit from the experience. Online you have completely different limitations.

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 into one of each type of yoga you offer. Then members who miss out are free to watch the nested video later that day or even on the next one.

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

People are living 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 may change too. 

Tip → Think about your community and what would appeal to them.

You’re competing with different things now.

To get to a physical 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.

Online it’s 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 because right beside their living room is their kitchen with snacks and wine… or their partner who wants to use the T.V., 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 even something they could invite their family to join in for.

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

Want to restrict some or all of your online classes to members only? Make a password protected page on your website. This is easy to do on all the major platforms – Squarespace, WordPress, Live Edit. Once the page is ready, embed the videos directly on it so members only have to put their password in once… AND they’re staying on your website, boosting traffic.

Teaching yoga online might feel a little awkward at first, but keep going! 

Here’s the thing → everything feels uncomfortable until you do it a few times. You probably felt a bit nervous your first time on the yoga mat. You might have had a bit of anxiety when you taught your first in-person class. This is normal… and you should expect a few of those same feelings now. That’s okay. 

When things get tough, dig deep. Remember how much your community needs you in this moment and at this time…and keep going. You can do this!! 

Our community of dedicated yogis is here to support YOU. You’re not alone. Tune in to our regular webinar series “The Yogapreneur’s Guide to COVID-19” for the latest information and help with implementation.

And check out the Webinar Recordings and additional resources and checklists here.

You’ve got this!

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Maintaining your studio community during COVID-19

Maintaining your studio community during COVID-19

Around the world people are sheltering in place, practicing social distancing and canceling plans. It’s overwhelming, scary and inconvenient. Everyone is trying to figure out what the next few weeks will look like for them. There’s a lot of confusion out there for all of us. Of course, when you run a business, it gets complicated. Fast.

Yoga studios and other wellness businesses are looking for ways to serve and stay involved without the physical classes that typically sustain their community. I bet you are wondering what to do now, right? 

Truth → Your studio is more than your classes!

If I asked you what makes your yoga studio unique, I guarantee one of the first things you’d mention is your community. The community created around yoga is a unique, high-value thing other businesses don’t have in the same way. Your community is the backbone of your business. Lean into it.

Right now, your community is shaken. Everyone’s a little bit panicky and confused. There’s a lot going on. People are navigating TONS of changes – from having kids out of school and working from home to canceling spring break trips and other plans.

It’s a lot to handle… and they can’t go out for a drink or get in a yoga class to unwind. 

Listen, your community needs you right now!

You’ve spent years developing a brand. Your yoga classes and the experience you create in your studio changes lives. Your community looks to you for leadership and for help reducing stress. They count on your studio as part of their journey to becoming their best selves.

Truth → Now is the time for you to be a rock for them!

Show your community you’re here to support them. Show them you’re a resource for them to lean into. Hold steady and don’t add to any of their panic.

The BEST WAY to support your community is to show them you’re here for them.

When things get hard people come to your studio to relax and let their stress go. The world has gotten much more stressful in the past few weeks and honestly this will likely continue for a while. It’s important for you to hold space for them through this crisis.

What does this look like? Maybe online classes and encouraging social media posts. Or for you it might look like virtual live events, or even a reassuring tone on the phone. Anything you can do to reach out matters. You can do this!

Remember to take care of yourself too.

As the owner of a wellness brand, you’re in a unique position. Your community is looking to you for calm during the crisis. They know your practice supports a relaxed, healthy lifestyle – it’s what you’ve built your brand on.

Truth → Yoga is life-changing; lean into your own personal practice.

Self-care is VITAL. You cannot take care of your community if you’re not taking care of yourself. Keep breathing, meditate, and practice your pranayama. Hold space for your feelings and intentions and keep your personal yoga practice strong. It will get you through this challenging time.  

Remember, you’re not in it alone. The Yogapreneur Community has your back! We’re going to do everything we can to make sure you’re prepared and dialed-in to the best strategies for this time. This is your community to lean on.  

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the true test – > what separates the professionals from the amateurs. Not Coronavirus specifically, but this… when the struggle is real, when things are totally outside your control, when life is completely unpredictable. This is the real test. I know you’re in the position to weather the storm successfully and be there for your community. I believe in you! 

I’m hosting a free webinar series to support YOU however I can. Sign up for The Yogapreneur’s Guide to Social Distancing: best practices for wellness businesses during this season of caution in response to COVID-19 now.

➡️ Here’s the link to sign up for the free webinars

Tune in with your questions about the transition and what it means for your studio. Don’t have specific questions? Join us for the community!

💻 And check out the webinar recordings.

We’re here to support each other.

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Want your yoga studio to stand out? Focus on messaging.

Want your yoga studio to stand out? Focus on messaging.

Your studio can become a local authority, synonymous with quality yoga. 

Your messaging will get you there…this strategy has worked for many well-known brands. Coca-Cola has even made themselves synonymous with Christmas. Not only are they recognized around the world, but when we think of a polar bear it’s often Coca-Cola and not melting ice caps that come to mind. That’s the power of messaging.

That didn’t just happen for Coke. Brand recognition didn’t just fall into their laps. It took years of messaging and marketing to get them to the forefront of everyone’s mind. But, don’t let that discourage you. The good news is you don’t have to create a globally recognized brand like Coca-Cola, at least not when you’re starting out.

You just need recognition in your own market. When a local mother standing in her kitchen realizes her shoulders are tight her first thought should be “I need to destress and loosen these muscles”. Her second thought should be, “I should book a class at *insert your yoga studio here*”.

When people in your community know who you are, what you do and what benefits you’ll provide them they will flock to your doors. Set yourself up as an expert in your signature style of yoga, meditation or whatever makes your studio unique. Make sure the people you serve know what to expect when they visit and why you’re different from your competition.

After a while, your competition won’t even exist in their minds. Any mention of yoga in your town will make people think of you. Be different early and often, so you stand out. Find your sweet spot and use it to set your studio apart in your community.

You’ve settled on your brand identity. But, how do you let everyone know? Messaging. 

This is where consistency and content domination come in. People need to know about your studio and what you’re doing. You have to interact with them, and the best way to do this is with content. Create quality content that adds value to your students’ (and potential students’) lives.

Creating content can seem daunting. Where do you even start? The first thing to realize is your content must be quality content – something that’s usable, actionable and strong. 

It’s not always easy to think through what your audience wants and create it for them. The good news is it’s hard for everyone. From the biggest brand names to the smallest mom-and-pop shops, creating quality content is hard for everyone. It’s one thing that levels the playing field.

Ready to get started? Here’s what I recommend. 

START WITH THE BASICS. Yoga is pretty mainstream now, so you don’t need to explain yoga to people. But, lots of people in your town are probably still unclear on its benefits. What do your students get from the type of yoga you offer? Why should people practice yoga (and check out your studio) instead of doing other forms of movement? What makes your yoga studio special?

Competition is high and income is low, so people often choose based on convenience and price. That’s our normal default decision making, but we are willing to make better decisions when we have more information. Your job is to give potential students the info they need to make good choices. 

Who among us isn’t willing to go an extra 10 blocks and pay four times as much for good coffee? And just think of the arguments over what defines “good coffee.” We go to these lengths because we understand the value our favorite coffee offers.

Take charge of the conversation about your type of yoga. Teach people how to think about “good movement” and why YOUR STUDIO is worth the effort. 

THE NEXT STEP IS CONSISTENCY. You’ve provided high quality content and gotten new students through the door. That’s awesome! But it doesn’t stop there. In my experience it takes three to six months for people to become committed regulars.

During that time, they haven’t fully grasped what your studio is about. They haven’t  made up their minds or embraced your community. That’s why consistency is so key. Communicate your value to new students – -> heavily and frequently. Plant those seeds and water them so they clearly understand what you do and why you do it. That’s how you take them out of the intro offer and into membership.

Clearly defined messaging brings new people into your yoga studio and keeps them there for the long haul. 

Once people in your community know who you are and what you do, your classes will fill up. Your retention rates will increase. People in your town will even become brand evangelists for you… bringing new people in your doors. All this goodness starts with clear messaging and content domination. So, get busy! 

Unsure what your messaging should be and how to create great content to promote your studio and make your brand memorable? Hop on a FREE Strategy Session with me. Let’s talk about how you can use content to keep your classes filled and build the amazingly successful studio of your dreams. 

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Studio success starts with vision!

Studio success starts with vision! 

Think about this — > Most people don’t start out on a road trip unless they know where they’re headed. Sure, the route might change because of construction or a traffic jam, but we don’t set out for San Francisco and end up in Boston. We start out with a clear vision of where we’re going, and we get there. The same is true for your studio.  

Without a clear vision, you just end up lost somewhere you never wanted to go. Maybe you add a little boutique and start selling clothes… and then jewelry… and then you start offering drinks too. Suddenly you find yourself running a juice bar with some yoga classes on the side, instead of the studio you want.

You strayed away from your vision and got lost and confused, and so did your students.

When I put it in simple terms like this, it seems easy to know what went wrong. But when this drift happens over a year – or five – it’s harder to see. How do you keep your studio focused and moving forward in the direction you want to go?

Everything must come back to your core vision.

Your vision is what your studio will be like when it is most successful. No dream is too big here. Make it audacious and bold. It’s your description of the mountain peak and the gorgeous view… not a set of action steps or how you plan to hike there. 

Don’t aim low with this vision either, it’s a mountain-top view not some nice landscaping in your backyard. And guess what – -> The way it’s written matters.

Create space for yourself to define your vision. Meditate on it in the morning or before bed every day for a week or two. Write down your thoughts. Explore your intuition. Gather your dreams. 

We often think about the future, but it never becomes a powerful vision statement we can use. Time to fix that for your studio! 

Block out time – an afternoon or even a weekend – to turn your ideas into a statement that really gets you excited. Creating time and space away from the studio is key for most people. A fresh location, free of distractions will make the process easier.

Tips for writing your vision statement:

  1. The vision statement is futuristic, audacious, and must be a destination. 
  2. Write it in the present tense, as if it is somewhere you have already arrived.

You’ll know your vision statement is ready if reading it gets you amped up! If you’re not amped up reading it, no one else will get excited. Make your vision so powerful that your team, your partner – and anyone you talk – can’t help but get excited when they hear it! Make your vision inspiring and empowering – something people can get behind and believe in.

You have a clear vision. Start acting that way today!

Once you have a vision for your studio, look at it regularly. Make sure what you’re doing will take you to your vision. After all, there is no point in heading east if you’re trying to get to San Francisco.

There are a million things you CAN do in your business. The key is to do the things that really matter AND do them really well! You have to stay focused to move the needle and get the insanely profitable studio you want. Remember, you can always circle back to the others later.

Define your goals in light of your big-picture vision.

Now that you know what the view is from your mountain top it’s time to talk about hiking there. Start with a five-year target. This is a specific, measurable long-term target. It should get you excited for the future and maybe make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Examples could be $750,000 in annual revenue, a month of personal vacation time a year, a fully staffed front desk team or a 35-hour work week. 

Make a bullet list of what goals are important to you and make sure they line up with your vision for your studio.

Break your target down into a 3-year plan and a 1-year plan. Notice these aren’t targets or a vision anymore. These are specific, dated goals dialed down to help you reach your 5-year target. Can you feel your vision becoming more and more attainable? I can.

Part of your 1-year plan is choosing the 3-7 priorities that will keep you on track to reach your 3-year goals. Then define what success will look like. You need to pick a statistic, feedback or measure that will determine if you’ve met those goals. You need to be able to look at things objectively and know exactly when you’ve been successful in meeting these goals.

Get ultra-clear on your priorities. This is what will keep you on track. Look at your 1-year plan and your vision statement often. They will keep you amped up about moving your business forward and give you the energy you need to get where you’re going!

You can have a thriving, successful yoga studio and make enormous strides in just a year. I’ve seen it happen in our Yogapreneur Collective time after time. All you need is a clear vision, priorities to keep you on track and the drive to make it happen.

Struggling to lock in a powerful vision for your studio? Finding it tough to translate your vision into measurable goals? Grab a seat at the next FREE Strategy Session! I’m here to help you get unstuck and set your studio on a course for real success! 

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How to build an insanely successful yoga studio in 2020

How to build an insanely successful yoga studio in 2020

As we enter 2020, for the first time in history there are more yoga studios closing than there are opening.

Yoga is more popular, and more accessible than ever. People can view thousands of yoga videos online for free, not to mention competition from local gyms and other brick-and-mortars. The market is changing fast, and you don’t want your studio to be left behind. It’s important to set yourself apart and get on track right away.

I’ve worked with hundreds of studio owners to give them the training and resources that they need to run an insanely profitable studio that changes more lives and have a personal life at the same time. I know what it takes to make YOUR studio succeed. 

Ready? This is my plan to make 2020 your studio’s break out year!

Make yoga and your studio synonymous in your community. 

With all the competition out there, you need to become your community’s go-to for yoga. To do that, you need brand recognition. When you create a brand around your studio and set yourself up as an expert you will have loyal students who show up to class after class.

What is brand recognition? It’s a measure of how often people think of your business and how memorable you are in your market. Without brand recognition you’re operating your studio like an airline. Here’s what I mean… 

When you or I decide to fly somewhere we don’t head over to our favorite airline’s website and book a flight. We usually don’t even have a particular airline in mind. It doesn’t really even matter to us which airline we choose, most of us can’t even name them all in under a minute. 

To book our flight, we go to a third part site where we put in our information and pick the flight that’s cheapest and most convenient. Why? Because most airlines aren’t successfully establishing a brand. All they have are a few colors, a logo, and a plane. They compete based on convenience and price. Believe me, this is a race to the bottom that you don’t want any part of. That’s why you need to build brand recognition. 

So how do you create a brand around your studio and set yourself apart in the minds of your potential students? With a curated experience and high-value content.

Interaction and engagement are your most important metrics. Over this year, your potential clients should receive enough high-value content from you that they recognize you as an expert in the yoga market. When they think “I should really do more yoga” they should immediately think of your studio – and your brand and the experience your studio offers.

For the potential client in your community, yoga IS your studio. This is your goal. 

That’s what high-value content can do for your brand. Automation can handle your distribution… but you’re the only one who can create new content. It’s a great equalizer between a smaller mom-and-pop business and a big corporation.

How do you create new content consistently? I recommend using the batching method and blocking out time once a month (or once a quarter) to get it done. On the first day record videos, then write blog posts and finally edit and schedule everything to distribute. 

After a few batching sessions, you’ll have a storehouse of content that never goes bad.  You can recycle it or atomize it into smaller parts and redistribute it again and again.

Curate their yoga experience.

Yoga is more accessible than ever. I could pull up an online class with any of a hundred instructors right now for free. In the summer there is probably yoga in the park in your community and at least one big gym with a $5 drop in the price of a class. With competition like that, what is going to get students into your studio instead?

For me, as a student, to make the decision to get my butt off the couch, drive across town, find a parking spot and make it into your yoga studio on time for a class is a big action. I need to be properly motivated. 

The fact that I even showed up means I’m looking for more than some stretching postures in a room with a bunch of other sweaty people. I’m looking for a yoga experience. Your business says “yoga studio” above the door so I’m assuming you can give it to me.You better not disappoint! 

Why do students come to YOU? I can tell you right now, they don’t come to get ignored. My #1 tip to studio owners is this – -> any student coming to you wants specific attention.

If a student just wanted to see someone demonstrate a posture at the front of a room, they would go to an online course. They come to your studio because they want someone to talk to them and make them feel special. They want to get help during class, get a greeting and a goodbye, and have you learn their name. They want personal interaction. 

Your students also want an environment in line with your brand. You need to curate a yoga experience for everyone who walks into your studio down to the smallest details… with the understanding that everyone takes in the entire environment.

The lighting, smell, sound, touch and look of your studio are all important and within your control. Make sure your studio smells good and sounds relaxing. Create a high-quality feeling, and a studio that looks nice and is consistent.

You want your students to know what to expect so they can build loyalty and enthusiastically invite their friends. You want to keep them coming back again and again.

Get your staff on board with your brand. 

Your staff are key to the yoga experience of your students and the reputation of your brand. One of the biggest pitfalls and frustrations that any yoga studio owner has is staff management. It’s the hidden job you didn’t realize you signed up for when you started a yoga studio. Yet, it’s exceedingly important and ties into everything you do.

Think about this for a second. What is the product you’re offering at your yoga studio? You might say it’s your yoga classes or your environment, but the truth is it’s not. These are part of the puzzle, but in the end your yoga instructors are the product. They’re the ones helping your students move their bodies, clear their minds and feel good in the environment. They build the personal interactions your students crave. 

Your ability to structure your staff and get them on the same page – and delivering the curated experience you envision – is more important than ever. If you ignore this, you’re leaving room for your instructors to develop their own personal brand instead of yours –  meaning your students will be loyal to them, rather than your studio.

Yoga teachers have struggled to make a living for way too long and they’re trying to take back power through self-promotion. Often, they don’t believe in the studio to the point that they would go to bat for your brand. Convincing them of your vision makes a huge difference in your profitability.

How do you do this? Emphasize why the studio exists and why it’s important. Share what you’re doing this for and how they tie in to your vision. (Hint, you’re doing this for the students.) Enthusiastic staff – from the front desk to the classes – will take your studio to the next level.

Keep track of your data

We are currently in the Era of Marketing, which means your ability to communicate the value of your product is actually more important than what your product is itself. That ties into the ideas of content domination, brand creation and putting high-value content out there.

Where are we going next? The Era of Data.

In 2019, data surpassed the value of oil for the first time as the most valuable commodity on the planet. What we’ll see in the next 3-5 years is more and more power for anyone who controls data. They will be able to make informed decisions and react in real time to what is happening in the market.

As a yoga studio, you’re routinely collecting data from your students when they register and interact with you. It’s important to keep all that data in your control so you can readily make good decisions based on it. Occasional downloads of your entire MindBody list to Excel is a good practice. (Tip: You can do it from the mailing list report.)

But there’s more…  When you hire a third-party to do advertising on Facebook or another platform, they gather metrics for how successful different types of ads were, what the click-throughs are and other details and data. Too often, they don’t give that data to you. They continue controlling it and understand what types of ads are successful –  rather than you – which means you’re at a loss without them. In my experience, any advertiser worth their salt should give you access to this data. So be sure to ask about this before you hire, and collect this data after you start working with an advertiser. You’ll be glad you did! 

Take it in stride

As we head into 2020 it’s really easy to look at these challenges and how quickly the market is changing and get overwhelmed. Keep in mind that although there are more yoga studios closing than opening there are also more yoga studios that are hyper successful than ever before.

More than 10 members in our group have grown their business by over 100K in 2019 – and many have doubled the size of their autopay. We have member studios that are moving from single locations to multi-location because of their success. There is opportunity in this market… you just need to grab it! 

For more information on my predictions for 2020 check out my How to KILL it in 2020 – The Business of Yoga video!

An insanely profitable 2020 is available for you too! Looking to maximize profitability and change more lives? Check out our Yogapreneur Accelerator program. You’ll get the guidance you need to build momentum with 1:1 coaching that cuts through the confusion to focus on exactly what will make your studio successful.

Get started by booking your Free Strategy Session today!

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