Posts Tagged ‘Pilates Business’
I was recently interviewed by Marguerite Ogle from PilatesAbout.com.
Topics that we covered included:
- Why copy-cat marketing doesn’t work,
- How to cross-promote your services without stress, and
- Why more training won’t necessarily result in more clients,
We’ve all heard time and again that if you don’t market yourself and your Studio – you “won’t make it”.
But what if the very thought of marketing, selling, promoting and advertising your services makes you feel sick – to your very core?
How can you truly step out and create a Studio of your dreams without having a massive freak-out that if you’re not marketing 24/7 you will be a failure?
Doing the opposite of what others are doing is hard and it will press a lot of buttons inside of you.
Your mind will be filled with thoughts of “what if…?”
But what if for a while you stopped worrying about marketing yourself and your Studio?
What if you consciously decided to stop doing the very thing that’s making you feel physically ill and start being who you are?
What if instead of putting all your energies into marketing yourself, you just gave yourself space to BE YOU?
Think back to that time when you felt that warm glow inside as you taught your clients.
You may have caught sight of yourself in a mirror and you looked radiant! Your cheeks were glowing with health, your eyes were sparkling and your smile was massive.
What could happen if you allowed this radiant feeling, that feeling of being “in the zone” and being “totally you”, to guide how you developed your classes and Studio?
When you try to push yourself into a marketing and business model that doesn’t fit you, is it any wonder you’ve been feeling inauthentic and out of alignment?
So step back from it – for a while.
Step back and enjoy the way your energy organically attracts all the clients you need.
Enjoy how standing in your truth allows you to radiate a lightness that’s contagious.
Allow yourself to “be you” – and if that means doing the opposite of what others are doing, so be it.
You’ve been taught that routines are good.
They keep you “on-track” and give you structure – sometimes they do…
You know having an early morning routine helps you:
- Schedule in exercise,
- Eat a healthy breakfast, and
- Get centered for the day ahead.
But when did you last check to see if your routines are really serving you?
Are your routines or are they keeping you in a “holding pattern”?
Check in with your routines, are they:
- Helping you move forward?
- Keeping you in a ‘holding pattern’, or
- Left-over from who you used to be?
OMG, here it goes again!
You try not to roll your eyes at your client as they justify why they haven’t been doing the exercises you gave them to relieve their pain.
She came to see you specifcally to improve her back pain, BUT is full of excuses:
- “I’m so busy at work that there’s no time to do the exercises…”,
- “I know I should do them, but I get caught up with helping my children with their homework…”, and
- “The pain was so bad that I had to take some medication and go to bed…”
You can see so clearly HOW she’s sabotaging her fitness, health and wellbeing!
Her excuses and stories aren’t serving her in moving towards a pain free life.
And it’s making you so frustrated that you want to scream at her:
- “For goodness sake, please help yourself and commit to these exercises,”
- “Can’t you see that your excuses are holding you back?” and
- “Aren’t you fed up with feeling so much pain?”
Your insights into your client’s health, fitness and wellbeing are what make you such an amazing Pilates and Yoga Instructor & Studio owner!
Do you need to stop the stories, excuses and procrastination when it comes to marketing your Pilates and Yoga Studio?
Sabotaging behaviors that you may need to cut out to move your Pilates and Yoga Studio forward include:
- Telling yourself that you’re too busy teaching classes to take time out and plan your marketing schedule,
- Listening to “that voice” inside that tells you that you’re not experienced or talented enough to actively promote yourself and your Studio,
- Believing the story in your mind that tells you that ‘promoting and marketing your Pilates and Yoga classes is hard work and expensive’, and
- Holding onto the story that you have to ‘teach day and night for years before you can make a healthy profit and live the lifestyle you really want”.
Your “prescription” to move forward?
STOP whenever the stories that deplete your energy come up and ask, “Is this story about my business serving me or sabotaging me?
It’s time to think different…
The start of a new week and you’re feeling energized and eager to get to work!
But then you notice the headlines in the newspapers or hear the news.
All of a sudden, the buzz you had about your week ahead in your Pilates or Yoga business has gone!
It doesn’t matter how hard you try to ignore the “doom and gloom” – some days it can really start feeling like this is your reality.
BUT, you don’t have to get swept up in this!
The economy is always going to have its ebbs and flows - you just have to re-read the classic book, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill to realize that ups and downs are what life is all about.
Running a successful and thriving Pilates or Yoga business requires more than teaching awesome classes and having clients booking in – you must also keep your business mindset strong, aligned and positive!
3-Steps to help you think differently and turn your “doom and gloom” mindset upside down…
Step 1. Shift your mindset from YOU to your CLIENT
As a Pilates and Yoga Instructor, one of your driving motivations is to help all your clients improve their health, fitness and wellbeing. But if you’re not giving your clients the packages and style of classes they’re looking for, they won’t come into your business!
Put yourself in your clients shoes:
- Who are they and what are they concerned about?
- Are your marketing and promotional activities really appealing to them – or are you “going through the motions” because “it’s the way you’ve always done it?”
- Ask yourself, “If I was my client, what would I care about? What would I get excited about?”
Step 2. Revisit your vision
Teaching classes can seem easy compared to running your Pilates or Yoga business. If you feel like you’re avoiding marketing your business or “hiding out” by doing what you’ve always done with your marketing, chances are that you’re in a rut.
To get out of this, you must revisit your vision for owning your Pilates or Yoga business:
- Does your original vision still inspire you?
- Do you get excited about where your business is heading?
- If you couldn’t say “YES” to the questions above, your business vision needs to be refreshed. Taking time out of your Studio and putting pen to paper with your new vision is an investment in your business future!
Step 3. Conduct a Survey
If you don’t know what to do next in your Pilates or Yoga business, ask your clients!
Ask them via a survey about:
- What challenges they’re needing help with,
- What they like and don’t like about your business, and
- What new classes or services they’d love to see!
There are many no-cost on-line surveys available that allow your clients to let you know anonymously what they love and don’t like about your business.
Your clients are your business – if you’re not giving them exactly what they want, and how they want it, they may not be your clients for much longer!
You can get out of the rut of believing that the future of your Pilates or Yoga Studio is in “someone else’s hands”.
Where could your Pilates or Yoga business be in 3 or 6 months time if you released the old business mindset and adopted a fresh and vital business mindset?
Life moves pretty fast…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller
One of my all-time favorite movies is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
And the recent Super Bowl car ad, featuring Matthew Broderick, prompted me to watch it again!
In typical Ferris Bueller style, I decided I wouldn’t do what “normal people” were doing on weekday afternoon.
I decided to “crack my routine” and sat down to watch it – because I knew I needed to give myself a break.
Yes, I still had many things on my “to-do” list to action and like you, I have commitments.
But you’ve seen first hand how habits, patterns and routines affect your clients lives – in a negative way:
- The client who has spent years at a desk and now has the “office worker” posture (forward neck & rounded shoulders),
- The client who always places their handbag in the same place, and
- The client who jostles for the same spot in your class.
We get taught from a young age that routine is “good for us” – and maybe it is, at first.
But when was the last time you questioned the habits, routines and patterns in your business?
You have some very important routines:
- Paying wages,
- Returning email enquiries, and
- Working on marketing your Studio.
But are there other routines that have become a part of who you are, that you don’t need anymore?
These strategies can help you “crack your routine”:
- Stop and observe what you’re doing on a daily basis: at home, in your business and in your relationships,
- Notice what actions, patterns and thoughts feel good and that are serving you,
- Now look at any of the routines you’ve got in place that don’t feel so good and that may be hindering you,
- Specifically, look at how you behave, act, feel and think in your Studio.
- Do these routines help you move toward your personal and business goals effortlessly and in alignment with your values?
- If not, it’s time to stop and replace this routine and pattern with a new one.
Taking time out of your daily routine (like Ferris did!) can seem like a “waste of time” – but what if it wasn’t?
What if shaking up your daily routines helped you create better outcomes?
You’ve had a fantastic break from your business, but now it’s time to return.
And even though you’re madly in love with what you do, there’s a small and secret part of yourself that is dreading returning to work!
Deep down, you’re feeling worn out before you’ve even got your foot in the door of your Studio because in the past it’s felt like you have to “reinvent the wheel”.
But it doesn’t have to be like this anymore!
In fact you already have the skills and mindset to create amazing momentum in your business…it’s just that you haven’t been shown HOW.
I know you’ve got an enquiring mind (like me!) and it’s useful to dig deep and figure out what you normally do when you return from a short (or long!) break from your Studio.
- Look at the upcoming client bookings for the week/s ahead,
- Return phone calls and emails, and
- Get in touch with your staff.
So far, so good! But these are all “administrative” tasks – not marketing tasks.
Administrative tasks won’t grow your business, only marketing will.
And underneath all this “busy-ness” is the endless loop of worrying self-talk…that you don’t dare to discuss with anyone else, just in case they think you’re bonkers!
It goes like this:
- “I know it’s just the first day back but I’m freaking out about how I’m going to make ends meet this month…”
- “I just heard there’s a new Studio opening up and I’m scared about what that will do to my business…”
- “My friends all say I should be signing up for those group buying schemes but it doesn’t feel right…”
- “I just want to teach what I love and have the business run smoothly…”
So what can you do right now?
Here’s your 3-step process to create and maintain marketing momentum in your business:
- Get aligned with your personal vision and business mission.
As a professional Instructor, you know how important alignment is to your personal practice on the mat. You set an intention before you practice, align your mindset and your body responds effortlessly to each exercise and posture. Use this skill as you start to create marketing momentum magic! Take time to reassess what your personal vision is and how that relates to your business vision and mission. This is the foundation of all your marketing. For example, your personal vision may be to “help your local community improve their fitness and wellbeing through Yoga”. Your business mission then aligns with this. In this example it could be, “providing beginners and pre-natal Yoga classes and workshops”
- Stay balanced.
As with Pilates and Yoga, your marketing foundation must be balanced. To work out what a good balance for your business is, you must know exactly who your ideal clients are and where they are most likely to find out about you. Once you’ve discovered this, allocate your marketing time in these areas accordingly. For example, if 75% of your clients are finding your Studio through Google searches and Social Media, invest 75% of your marketing efforts in these areas. The other 25% will be with your offline marketing such as face-to-face networking.
- Be consistent.
You know how important it is to eat well, drink plenty of water, work-out most days and get sleep. In fact, your clients tell you they get sick of you telling them to “be consistent”! So transfer this skill to your marketing momentum magic…
Each day (no matter what!) devote 15 minutes to marketing your business. The types of marketing activities you do every day will depend on what objectives you have for this year. For example, you may want to have 20 classes of 4 clients in each fully booked. WIth this objective, set aside some time to work out how you can do this using the “SMART” goal-setting objectives i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and with a detailed Timeframe.
Creating and maintaining marketing momentum in your Studio doesn’t need to be a process that fills you with dread.
Just follow the ABC’s: Alignment, Balance and be Consistent…
Let’s face it, one of your least favorite things is raising your class fees.
Everything else is increasing in cost: petrol, food, electricity, water, rent…
And if you’re serious about staying in business, you must also increase your fees or else how can you remain a profitable Studio?
One of the biggest mindset blocks around increasing your fees is your fear that your current clients will “walk”.
Yes, some of your clients will walk, but most of them will stay.
Because you’ve helped them transform their health and well-being; you’re an integral part of their life.
So how can you make sure the “fee increasing” process is smooth?
Step 1: Assess how much you need to increase your class fees
The most common reason to increase fees is if you’ve just been notified of an increase in Studio expenses.
Once you’ve determined what your new expenses are likely to be, you can easily work out how much you need to increase the fees by.
Step 2: Prepare for the worst case scenario
Look at your client database and work out who is likely to “walk” when you increase the fees and who will stay.
This will help you prepare and avoid any panicked marketing attempts.
Step 3: Send your fee increase notification by “snail mail”
- Personally address each client and explain why you’re having to increase your class fees.
- Enclose the new prices and be crystal clear when they are in effect from.
- Acknowledge that you will honor current class sessions outstanding.
- Let the clients know they can contact you personally with any queries or concerns.
You’ve worked hard to attract clients to your Studio.
But what can you do to make sure they keep coming back, week after week?
There will be legitimate reasons why your clients won’t come back to your classes:
- Financial stress,
- Divorce or relationship stress, and
So how can you ensure your current clients keep coming back to your Studio?
Here’s 7 strategies to help you build a sense of community and connection:
- Establish what your client’s goals and objectives are from Day 1 and revisit these regularly.
- Educate and inspire your clients with regular eNewsletters and Social Media updates.
- Celebrate your client’s achievements.
- Send thank you cards and birthday cards.
- Keep in touch and personally connect with them at regular Studio functions.
- Ring them up if they haven’t been to class and say, “Hi, we miss you, are you okay?”
- Remind them of how far they’ve progressed with their health and well-being
Remember, retaining your current clients with these marketing strategies is easier (and cheaper!) than connecting with new clients.
It can sometimes feel like feast or famine.
One moment all your classes are booked out for weeks in advance, and then your Studio feels like a ghost town!
Having class numbers dip up and down so dramatically is stressful:
- You get financially stretched,
- Emotionally wrung out, and
- Your self-worth gets battered.
Here’s 3 steps you can take to stop this roller-coaster ride...
Step 1: Always be consistent with your Marketing
When you get busy teaching and running your Studio, you tend to brush off your regular marketing activities.
BUT this is the time you must keep going!
Consistency with your marketing activities is as important as consistency with exercise and healthy eating!
Your new approach?
Set aside 20-30 minutes a day for marketing your Studio.
Step 2: Get out into your Community
Being busy in your Studio is awesome!
You get to hang out with your clients, your Instructors are happy and the entire Studio feels alive.
This is the time to get out of the Studio and invest time building relationships and networking with other small businesses.
When you’ve got the “happy vibes” of being busy and having full classes, it’s the perfect time to let others know what you do!
Step 3: Stay Connected
Keeping in regular contact with your current and lapsed clients via a weekly or fortnightly eNewsletter lets them know:
- The latest news from your Studio, including new classes and Instructors,
- What achievements your clients have accomplished, and
- What new offers and packages your Studio has
No more feast or famine in your Studio, but consistent class sizes for a healthy and thriving business!