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.
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.
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:
The vision statement is futuristic, audacious, and must be a destination.
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!
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!
An insanely profitable 2020 is available for you too! Looking to maximize profitability and change more lives? Check out our Yogapreneur Acceleratorprogram. 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.