Recently I completed a road trip in the Southern states of Texas and Louisiana, and one of the best people I met was the owner of a small yoga studio in New Orleans. We had some great conversations, and I decided that the visit was a great impetus for a new series.
See, systems sound great in theory, but how do real business owners make systems work?
Policies are nice and good, but what happens when your employees don’t follow them?
Today we start a three-part series on Systems for the Yogapreneur and cover the client and money side of business (because this is a business and not just a hobby, right?).
You could be the most talented yogi in the world but without clients, a small yoga business will quickly fail. Speaking out about your new venture can happen in a variety of ways, and the number of classes you’ll teach, times to meet, and price per class will vary based on your overhead expenses.
Some studios provide member pricing, punch cards or free trials, so visit yoga studios far and wide to get an idea of their policies before creating your own. No matter how you choose to charge, you’ll want to set a goal for how many paying clients you have each week and month in your business to make ends meet.
System suggestion: test a lot of marketing methods from speaking in the media, a great website, social media accounts, word of mouth, strategic partnerships and advertising. But whatever you try, measure what works and refine your process by writing down what you do and the results. This can be as simple as asking a new client “how did you hear about us?”
When you’ve got clients, you also need to charge those clients for your service. This can be a difficult task for those who love the practice, crave a sense of community, and wish to share enlightenment with others. But, just like every business, people will not truly appreciate and honor what they don’t invest in and so it goes with yoga.
If charging clients is difficult for you, remember that you’ve provided a safe and clean space, equipment, the environment, your expertise, a carefully selected playlist, support and an experience. Each of these elements provide value.
System Suggestion: For the yogapreneuer, it maybe helpful to write a few sentence answers to keep as a system. Just answers to questions like “can I try it for free?” or “it’s a group class so it doesn’t matter if I’m a member… right?”
You’ll also need an easy way to collect money whether that’s cash, Stripe, a membership payment automatically deducted, or even PayPal.
It would be nice, of course, if there were only income to expect and not expenses. But everything from materials, rent, merchant fees, and teacher fees are all expected and should also be counted.
Everyone has their own preferences around how to track expenses so you’ll want to work with an accountant or bookkeeper to find out what software is easiest to use.
System suggestion: set aside one afternoon per week to sit down with your accounts, receipts and track cash outflow. This is the best way to measure if expenses are in line and when you might need to cut costs or increase income before the month’s end.
Even if your bills are automated, it’s worth the time to read through invoices, balance your business checking account and evaluate expenses since it’s easy to sign up for a service or subscription that doesn’t get used (essentially flushing money down the toilet!).
The bottom line
It may not seem like having these systems in place is going to afford you incredible freedom; after all, you’re the one swiping the cards, sending out advertisements, and teaching classes day to day. But while there is the short-term investment, having these financial ducks in a row will allow you to make good decisions about how to grow you business and automate financial transactions, which will be fantastic when you’re on that extended vacation, maternity leave or stuck in the hospital. Imagine you’re in one of those scenarios and instead of feeling the financial stress, you can relax into the moment, knowing that your bills are paid, expenses are tracked and income collected, even when you’re not present.
If you’re a yoga teacher, have a studio or would like to start a yoga based-business, share with me in the comments! And bookmark this page since I’ve got more systems for yogapreneurs coming this month.
Blog #1 – Clients, payments and expenses
Blog #2 – Cleaning, social media and media
Blog #3 – Team members, policies and vacations