View Full Version : Awesomeness at the Biznez.

12-12-11, 11:01pm
So, I have to share! :)

One year ago (Jan 15th ish) we started our yoga studio here. I have a yoga room that fits 12 people. It's simple and clean, and I like it. I have 6 treatment rooms.

When we started, most of the treatment rooms were used, but now, we have several practitioners who really only use three rooms.

In June, I'd developed the studio to an average class size of 4 students (40 regular clients), and my goal was to take that to an average of 8 students per class, an increase of 40 more clients. Of course, it's not simply "just add 40" because people will come and go. We want to retain most who come, of course, but I've had several clients move, for example.

So, we've been growing by a lot, and here -- at the end of the year -- i'm at an average of 8 clients per class!!!! I have three corporate classes that have 10 students per, so that's great, plus two classes that are 'rented' by other teachers.

Anyway, it occurred to me that if two of our treatment rooms are less than used, then we can expand the studio. It should allow us to have 20-24 students in the room!

My next big goal is to get the studio up to 15 students per class, so an increase of 6 students per class or 60 people, while maintaining the majority of the current students of course. And, as always, getting lots of people to try it out. I'm so psyched by this!

We also just got a great write up in a national paper, and i have several online articles pointing toward either me or our business (as a yoga teacher or as a yoga studio). Looks like 2012 is shaping up to be a fun, powerful, and exciting year! :D

12-12-11, 11:01pm
Also, anyone else own a business? How is it growing?

How do you foster and promote sustainable growth?

12-12-11, 11:07pm
Zoebird, that sounds FAB! Congrats! Would you be willing to pm me the article link? I'd love to read it! :)

12-12-11, 11:09pm
There's not an online version of this one, unfortunately. we've created a file that we'll put on our web site (scanned in), but. . . yeah. best I can do. :)

12-13-11, 2:57am
One thing you might consider: As a customer it would make a difference for me to attend a 4-8 person class or a larger one. If I joined because of the small, individual studio I might be tempted to leave if the classes get bigger and less individual.

12-13-11, 4:23am

thanks for that.

i don't really see it as much of an issue. some people like the smaller classes (4-7), and once the class "fills" (8 or more), they move on to another class that has fewer, or set up private lessons (with one or two friends). they are relatively rare, though.

our biggest feedback is that larger classes are more fun, but everyone would like more room. by expanding the room, everyone gets more room AND we can still have a comfortable class size (under 25) which can be easily managed by one teacher.

i'm also committed to education, and so part of the studio will involve having an assistant-teacher apprenticeship program (which is the prerequisite for the foundational teacher training). It will also be available for trained teachers who want to learn to assist. The hope/plan is to have assistants joining us when the classes reach 15 students. Four of my classes currently have regular 10-12 students, and as those are popular days/times, I think they'll move into that place first. Luckily, I have three apprentices starting in Feb, so by the time those classes are there, I'll be able to have an assistant in them.

this will provide more personalized attention to the students -- with both teacher and assistant. It's a program I've run before that people have *really* enjoyed.

And once that is established, I might also run the 'in-class private lesson' -- where you have a teacher or assistant assigned just to you, to provide one-on-one attention throughout the whole of a regular class. it was fairly popular at a studio that I used to visit in NYC, and it might be something that takes off here as an intermediary between the private lesson and the classes.

The smallest classes in town are mine, with the next class cap at 18. So, i think expanding into the market is really great. Also, it makes sense. The demand is really high for the class duration, style, and times -- we're the only studio meeting this market at this time. So, my 4-5 most popular classes run a waiting list, and students have said they wished there was more space for them to practice AND for more people to attend.

I even had one say today "two of my friends wanted to come, but I saw that you were completely booked!" who knows when those friends would be motivated a second time?

Once the class sizes get up to 15-18 per, I'll then add more classes to the schedule in a controlled fashion (no more than two at a time). But since i'm trying to implement the educational component, that will take precedence over expanding the schedule itself.

12-13-11, 4:29am
Congrats, that is very impressive growth. You must be offering terrific instruction to have had such steady success. Well done!

12-13-11, 4:31am
Thank you, Acorn.

I think it's a combination of quality instruction, solid customer service (quick, friendly, consistent), and being responsive to the market overall.

12-13-11, 5:17am
Well done! Wishing you even greater success and positive growth in 2012.


Float On
12-13-11, 7:00am
Well done!

12-13-11, 4:31pm
Thanks, guys!

Next year is a dragon year (chinese calendar) and I'm a dragon, so I'm sure it's going to keep on growing. I started sketching out the new angles of our marketing plan in the new year. We're increasing some of the things that have been working, plus adding in a few new angles. I'm really excited about it!

Our goal is to receive 90 new "regularly attending" clients by July. I think that this is possible with our current and newly planned marketing strategy and includes the possibility of some of those being corporate groups expanding the studio as well. With our plan for January, March, and May, I think it's totally possible. I"m really excited by the prospects!

Also, I keep decreasing our expenses, so I'm doing well.

12-13-11, 4:36pm
Yes, congratulations!! It sounds like you visualized your goal and you "manifested your destiny" as Wayne Dyer says. It's amazing what happens when you really commit to a goal. I'm very goal-oriented myself.

And growing a yoga studio sounds like a dream! I wish you continued success, Zoebird!

12-13-11, 4:39pm
Congrats Zoebird!! I don't know anything about running a business, but it seems like you have made great strides (and had great success) in a year. Way to go!!

12-13-11, 4:51pm
Sounds like its really taking off, congrats!

12-13-11, 6:27pm
So nice to hear.

12-13-11, 8:46pm
I think that sometimes, when online, we forget to share the real excitement and triumphs. I'm more likely to share my vexations online. LOL But, things like this -- people do like to hear. They like to know that people are doing well, and maybe that they had a part in it too -- when being supportive, etc. It's good stuff. :)

It is goals, commitment, consistency, and adaptability that brings the success about. I'm learning more and more every day, which is cool. It's getting better and better.

12-14-11, 6:58am
Not to freak you out, but your "本命年 (ben ming nian)" (your birth year in the Chinese zodiac) is actually considered to be a time of great danger/risk. Friends and family were a little freaked out when I was pregnant with my second child during my ben ming nian.

Here's a funny little video about ben ming nian customs -- and if you ever come to my house, now you will know why we have a ridiculous amount of unworn red socks and underwear in our drawers (thanks, MIL...)



12-14-11, 8:47am

12-14-11, 8:53am
Very cool! It is very hard for me to feel comfortable about promoting my business, which is a major reason I feel I've been unsuccessful as an entrepreneur in the past. But I'm so glad you can do it, and are bringing such a great service into your community. Good for you and congratulations!

12-14-11, 2:56pm

since i don't put a lot of stock in these things either way, I would say it's no big deal. :) I always find dragon years to be powerful -- this is just my observation -- and so I figure how I choose to see it has a lot more power than everything else. :)


a lot of people have that issue. i suppose the first step is identifying what about promoting makes you uncomfortable, and see if it's "real" or not. a lot of things are just stories that may not be factual, and yet greatly impact our behaviors and beliefs. In my family, for example, i'm "too lazy to succeed at a business." and so for years, I feared running one. But, now i realize that it's not true.

so, the issues around promotion can be much the same.

for me, promotion is a lot of fun. i think that what i offer has a lot of value, and it is different from what other people offer. that's a good thing, and that's worth promoting. People want what I offer, too -- i've specifically designed what I do for them. So getting the word out to them is important. And i do that in a variety of ways, of course.

Customer service is a huge part of my business, and I am complimented on it a lot. I think it's *the* most important aspect. Just this week, I started to send out personalized emails to all of our yoga clients from the past year. I thank them for their time and energy, for having made an excellent 2011, and wishing them a happy holiday. I look forward to seeing them in the new year, and share what we are looking forward to in the coming months. It's really exciting!

Many of them have written back -- wishing us the same -- and some have made the commitment (already buying cards) to come back in the new year! This added component really makes things work. :) And it's not really promotion, so much as connection.

12-14-11, 4:57pm
That's great news Zoebird! I wish your yoga studio was near my house - you'd have a new customer for sure!

12-14-11, 5:31pm
That would be awesome, Gardenarian. :)

I may end up doing live-streaming classes from the studio -- yogaglo style. Not sure yet, though.

1-4-12, 2:45am
ok, updating!!!!

the studio has been expanded, and while there are still a few minor things that need to get done, it's looking great!

I mapped it out, and we can fit 28 in two rows!!!! I can fit 24 in 6 rows of 4, but I think that two rows actually gives everyone MORE space and yet allows for more people. So, awesome! This also increases my profit margin by $800 per week should those extra 8 spaces fill! (i was expecting 20-24 spaces, and estimating my profit margin at 20).

In addition, I was working on my member spread sheet, as well as my current class cards on holiday hold, and determined that I have pre-sold 110 spaces per week!

My goal -- pre build -- was to get to 80 spaces per week, and I'd gotten to 96. But, I hadn't realized that I'd actually increased that to SO many spaces filled! That means the class average starting in about a week or so (some start next week, some the week after) will be 11!

And, new people are coming in each week. I already have 3 people booked for next week who are brand new to me, and a new person bought a class card today as well! Our next goal is to get the classes up to 15 students each, and then from there, keep moving them up until we get to that 20 mark.

Once we get to 15-18 per class, I'm going to start the assistant training program to train some assistant teachers. it's just great to have an extra pair of hands to guide the students through the practice along with me. Then, everyone gets lots of personal attention, just like they do now. I'm very hands on in class. :D

I was thinking that we'll reach that number around July or so, but now I think it might be sooner -- which would be awesome.

Now, I have to write a blog about the awesome studio expansion!

1-4-12, 7:47am
So neat. Thanks for the updates, I am finding your business really inspirational. Congrats! Keep 'em comin'.

1-4-12, 3:05pm
I'm glad. I'm so excited about it.

I also just started mentoring a friend of mine to help her get her very small (three classes/wk) business started, which will provide the foundation for her to start a franchise. I'm so psyched about this. My job this next year is to get the franchise book up and running.

Well, I really have several:

1. take classes from 12 people per class to 20 people per class (an increase of 80 people);

2. start the teacher training program "for real" -- meaning I'm running a small, ad-hoc apprenticeship foundational training Feb/Mar/Apr, then an advanced teacher training May/june/July, and finally starting the assistant teacher training when the class size grows to about 15 people per class. The assistant training will become the foundation (or prerequisite) for the foundational training in 2013.

3. expand the on-site business which currently has two components: A. onsite massage and B. in house yoga classes for corporations. I have another two companies that I'm courting (well, one approached us), and another private group that's looking to start a class in March. ANother area that we are building is satellite classes in children's yoga (parent/child class). I'm really excited about this program. :)

4. getting the stuff together for our franchising! :)

1-4-12, 4:11pm
ok, i redid my math in doing my spreadsheets -- i hate math errors. :) i have the number that I expected -- 92 spots sold, not 110. Who knows how I mucked that up. Oh well. Still, it's a good starting place for the new year!

1-17-12, 4:21am
so, like, two weeks after the new year, right? OMG classes are going SO awesomely. :)

I will explain.

I run 9 public classes and 3 corporate classes.

The corporate classes are running at good numbers (which I will now be able to increase, and they have consistently increased by about 3 new people per session so far -- so it should only take 3 sessions or 18 weeks -- for me to get to the numbers that I'm looking for there), and I'm happy with that!

Of the 9 public classes, 5 are currently running at 9 students per class. This is above the number that I was expecting coming off of the pre-sales before christmas, and some of those people aren't even back yet and using their concessions! The remaining 1/3 of folks return *next week!*

2 of the classes are running completely booked (13 spaces -- the current number of mats that I have; the rest are on the way). And, they run waiting lists abotu 2-4 people deep (depending upon the week), and so I think that those classes will grow to the goal-size pretty quickly.

2 of the classes are slow -- running anywhere from 3-5 students per class, depending upon the week.

One of my clients asked me if I would be willing to do a class for her company. I offered her one of the "lagging" class times -- and they have filled that class with 26 students (max capacity!) and prepaid for 6 weeks! So now, a class that was under-performing is FULL!

The demand is high for another lunch-time class (tuesdays, the only day that I don't have a lunch time), but I'm going to hold off until the other classes grow to 15 before adding a new one on that day. I'll be adding it at a "new" time (a time that hasn't been 'tested' yet in our market), and see how that flies.

What is really exciting to me is that we are only a couple of weeks into January, and we are already performing ahead of our goals and timelines! I'd expected to see a bit of a new year's rush -- and we have -- but I hadn't expected this much growth so quickly!

So, just looking at those numbers, we are seeing (5 x 9) + (2x13) + 26 + (3 x 10 -- corporates) + 3 (low end for last lagging class) = 40 + 26 + 26 + 30 +3 = 125 students per week right now!

And, we are still looking to see 27 students return on their pre-paid memberships/cards -- most of whom are coming in next week or the week after. This means in two more weeks, we are guaranteed to be up at 152 students per week. And our goal is 200 people per week!

And we still have to get our big marketing pushes in place (and execute on them, of course!), and our previous average of new-students-per-week (brand new, first time visitors) was 4. I usually was able to turn over 75-100% on any given week (some weeks all, some weeks 3 of 4). If that number is accurate, then we could see the necessary 48 remaining people (to meet our goal) in as little as 12 weeks!

That is *so so so so so so so* thrilling to me!


For Goal 1: we are well ahead! (I had literally given myself 12 months to accomplish it, and if things continue as they have before with walk-ins and inquiries, we are set to hit this goal in the first quarter of the year here!

For Goal 2: no real forward movement per se. still in planning phases.

For Goal 3: have added one corporate client thus far, there are two groups "outstanding" who are going to get back to us in the next week or two. I've started the planning phases (that is, getting the budget together, etc) for the kid's yoga, with a plan to get it off the ground in April (second term of school year) or July (third term).

For Goal 4: have already started on this process as well -- taking the admin down to about 4 hours per week, for example, as well as getting into the research on how to do that.

Another goal -- Goal 5: Begin to expand practitioner base in the business. I have 8 "time zones" that I'd like to fill. That can be filled with a variety of people (eg, 2 people; 4 people; 8 people), but my preference is for more people. 3-6 would probably be best!

So, that makes me happy! :D

1-17-12, 5:52am
Way to rock 2012, Zoebird! You have good reason to be excited. Amazing work. I'd think about franchising for you in China, but a friend here is already in the yoga business and I wouldn't want to step on her toes. I think she could use a bit of your focus, though -- she's trying to run a yoga business AND doula, and her husband has started a restaurant. They are spread a bit too thin, in my opinion. But who am I to judge -- I'm sitting pretty in a good paying day job. I admire you entrepreneurial types, though. My role at work looks like it will be expanding soon, and one of my goals is to try to treat this as my own little "business" -- we have a global brand with good name recognition, but some serious brand awareness issues in China and we also need to work on some quality, efficiency and "customer service" issues. I'm actually quite psyched about what my team and I might be able to bring to our little "bizness" with a bit more autonomy and focus, so let's hear it for a great 2012 for everybody!


1-17-12, 1:39pm
2012 is shaping up awesomely, for sure!

1-18-12, 1:51pm
last lagging class had 8 people last night, 5 of whom were new who then bought class cards. Also, right before class, I spoke with 2 walk-ins and they have booked for evenings next week.

This means, no lagging classes. Next week's wednesday night (the last lagger) has 5 people already booked, and more to come as we head into next week.

*so psyched* -- while we're going to keep working it and working hard, it's good to meet your first set of goals (getting classes to average 12) before the first month is out!

2-8-12, 9:24pm
So, met the goal of 12 and have started to exceed it.

The really cool this is what is next. Once we get my 8 public classes to an average of 15, then we'll shift the other classes (private group classes) to rentals. Then, the next step is to increase all rentals across the board.

To do this, we are working in two angles:

1. creating a prospectus for potential practitioners who would rent from us. This will show the basic health of the business and the benefit of joining us.

The business is very healthy, and we are currently seeing about 160 people across all of our practitioners (most of that is yoga, of course). Our growth is showing about 15 inquiries a week, with a turn-over into bookings being around 13. For yoga inquiries, we are currently seeing about 7 new people/bookings for people whom we do not know per week. On average, one of those turns out to be a no-show. The remaining 6 buy class cards after their first class if not at their first class.

Roughly 10% of the current yoga students see other practitioners on a regular basis. Another 20% see the other practitioners on an ad-hoc/as-needed basis. So far, fewer of the people have streamed from other practices to yoga -- in my experience anyway.

2. expanding the yoga studio.

Obviously, the physical expansion was a great thing, and has done wonders for our business. But, our schedule is expanding as well, as demand continues to increase. Several of our classes during the week are hitting 15 students per, and we also are getting more enquiries regarding corporate classes. It is quickly reaching the point where I won't be able to teach any more classes during the day!

And, it is also imperative that I be "replaceable" in the business to an extent.

So, the next level is expanding the number of teachers renting space at the studio -- for their own corporate classes or special interest or general public classes as well. I'd like to get the class schedule -- via slow, sustainable growth of course -- up to 35 classes a week or so. Considering our market, the sizes of our classes, etc -- this is completely possible. I think that we will be around 20 classes by the end of this year, and slowly working our way up from there!

In addition, I'd like to get the weekends rented out with different sorts of workshops and trainings that would be continuing education for teachers and professionals, as well as workshops that will edify the students who are here.

This will transition the business over to it's rightful format -- of rentals -- and then from there, I can start working on the franchise in earnest.

I'm excited about it. Things are going really well. We are able to make the income that we need -- for thebusiness and for ourselves. DH is doing a bit of side work (contracts), and that's going well, too. So, we feel quite healthy all and all.

2-8-12, 11:37pm
Wow -- I have never done retail/sales, but I am quite impressed by your ratio of queries to bookings to people who actually show up and pay. Seems like it is really high -- are you doing the bookings yourself? If somebody else is doing it, hang on to them -- they are good!

I love how you have thought through the expansion process so clearly. So many small business owners get stuck by the limits they have on their own time, and the fact that they only have so many hours in a day.

I have an acquaintence here who runs a yoga studio. It is very popular, but in another part of town. I've always kind of wondered why she doesn't open a branch in our neighborhood. Kind of tempted to ask her if she's interested, and also see if she's looking for investors. She's also doing doula training, which is exploding for her -- until last week we shared a helper, which is how I know she is so busy (helper would get called to cover the kids when she was helping with a birth). Hmmm....


2-9-12, 12:29am
Well, the best thing is that we have an online booking system. People find our classes online, and can book right away. It's great for impulse people. Very few of these are "no-shows." If I have one a week, I'm surprised.

When a person queries -- by email, phone, or in person -- we make a point to try and book them right away. I encourage them into a specific class (usually one that is less populated so they can get more hands-on attention). Once they come, I make sure that the feel safe, feel heard, and get an opportunity to ask questions.

Typically, I ask them what they are thinkng and feeling behind joining a class, coming regularly, and encourage them to come back. I give them feed back about how they did, and what we can do to make their time easier/better the next time. It does get easier the more you do it, and I tell them that making the commitment to once or twice a week is a good idea. I explain how it all works -- and how flexible it is for them.

The majority of people will either buy the class card then, or will book their next class within 48 hrs and buy their class card at the second class.

If I don't get a chance to talk to a person after class, I send them an email that afternoon/evening to check on how they were feeling/thinking about the class. If I did get a chance to, but they didn't rebook within 48 hours (even if the booking is for next week), then I send them a personalized email just checking in to see if they have any questions or concerns or other feedback for us, and always finish with "Looking forward to see you again!"

Another aspect that is *very* important is that I learn their names. Our booking system allows us to get their names (obviously, you leave a name when you make a booking), so I make it my point to learn the names. Today's names were: Leann, Lily, Johan, Mooi, Alice, and Anu. When a person walks in, I can say "Ah! YOU must be one of my new bookings? Are you Lily? And they might say yes or no, but it demonstrates that I'm trying to be welcoming, right? And then they introduce themselves, and I introduce myself, and there it is. :) I learn their names within the first two visits, and usually can ask them a question like "how was your holiday?" or "how was your shoulder after that last practice?" and so on -- something personal but not too personal.

I also make it a point to try and introduce a new person to a person who is already coming to classes regularly. This person "shows the ropes" to the new person. This creates a friendly environment, and people are usually quite chatty before class. I encourage this -- I want people to feel welcome.

I think that these elements make a really big impression.

I'm also much quicker to answer emails and phone calls, and willing to take a lot of time with people before and after classes.

2-9-12, 12:47am
OH, and for other practices and their bookings, it's the same process. They are also online, so people can book right away, or they can contact us, and we get them sorted into a booking right away. That's been really great.

2-9-12, 5:16am
Sister, you are GOOOOD! But you knew that, right? Seriously, if you ever get tired of New Zealand you could come to China a do a bangup business in Beijing, not to mention the rest of the country, teaching good customer service skills and approaches. It is one of the things that makes me so weary of this place sometimes, the poor attitude and lack of good, honest customer service. To be honest, one of the things that drives me to be so responsive to my grantees is I know that by responding to their emails within a day (that is my outside target -- if I'm not too busy I can often respond within an hour) -- even to just say it will take me longer to come up with a response to a more complicated question or request -- I am doing just a little bit to help them from feeling like nobody cares.

I love businesses that put people at the center of what they do. Maybe it's a New Zealandy thing, too -- we've got an amazing new pizza place in the neighborhood that has GREAT customer service and the guys who run it are Kiwis. I fell in love our first time in when not only was the pizza great, but one of the owners came over to chat as we were wrapping up our meal and ask if we had any suggestions of how they could improve. And their delivery guys wear black leather while riding around on hot pink mopeds! Yeah, Beijing needs more hot pick mopeds and black leather...


iris lily
2-9-12, 8:40am
zb it's very impressive what you are doing, your focus and analysis of every step. I enjoy reading about it.

2-9-12, 2:05pm
Thanks Iris lily.


I think that you might have gotten some exceptional kiwis, to be honest -- customer service here is largely abysmal. In many cases, I find it to be antagonistic. It's like they ignore you, and then when you ask for specific help, they are antagonistic toward you. It's truly annoying. LOL

I don't get why they don't get that it's important. I would say that the yoga studios, overall, have good customer service, BUT they aren't quick. If you call or email them, it might be a long time before you hear back, or it may be never. I get back to people the same day -- unless they leave a message at 10 pm or something, then it's the next day. I think that for some people, things just slip through the cracks.

2-29-12, 11:33pm
So, as ever -- here we are at the beginning of March and things are going great.

Our January rush had a large retention rate -- we only lost 6 of the people who were newbies during those first weeks. Considering we saw an average of 7 new people a week until last week (when we saw five), and that at least 5 of every week bought cards, that means that we saw 35 new people buy cards and 29 of them have continued beyond their first one or two months! This is most excellent! (We will know more about last week this week and next -- still have tomorrow to get through!).

We also put out a survey to our students -- so far we've had 50 people respond (our mailing list of active/semi-active students was 105 people, and we had 10 out-of-office replies, so 95 people received the email), so we are quite happy with that result so far. The feedback has been really great. They love the location, pricing, and the teaching -- so I couldn't ask for much more.

They have also asserted a desire for beginner, intermediate, and gentle classes as well. I was already looking to expand into different styles -- and wanting to add a gentle class or two -- and so we started to work in that direction.

Thankfully, a teacher (also from the US) came by to talk about her options and opportunities, and she prefers to teach gentle yoga classes. She'll be out of town for several weeks over the next 3 months, so I'm going to 'soft open' her classes for her -- with her subbing when she can -- and then in July, she'll take over the classes officially. This will allow us to get the style and marketing right, and start to make in-roads into the market in our area before she takes over.

Likewise, one of my other practitioners wants to teach a "Chi-Power" class -- which is the working title for a class that focuses on energy development from a Chi Gong/Tai Chi perspective. He'll come in for two classes per week as well -- getting that started in a month or so.

Another teacher here who teaches Feldenkrais is going to enter the stream, too. He's been holding his classes independent of the yoga schedule -- so you would have to pay separately for that class. It's decreased the number of students who actually "find" him because the yoga program is so "easy" with it's method and price-point. I also recommended that he not only join the way we do things (so that a student could buy 1 class a week and take yoga, chi, or feldy), but that he consider adding a second feldy class to the schedule. He may not get that rolled out until July as well, which is not a problem --a nd he may just stick with one class, which would be great. :)

There's another teacher who is interested as well. I'm not going to bring her in right away -- I want to get these new classes rolling out and underway first. Also, she needs some more mentoring really. So, I'm setting that up for all of the teachers (more like peer supervision), and from there, we can all grow together and develop classes (descriptions, finding the market etc), and we can work on opening that with success!

I also want to do some client appreciation -- so I've opted to comb the 'intermediate class' into a free offering for clients who have A. been with us for 6 months or more and B. are on a current class card. It will be once a month, and the beginning of the "challenge" or "intermediate" class. I have a teacher in mind who I think would be good to lead this class "all the time" -- every Saturday morning for example -- but I want to go slowly and still provide the free class once a month. And this group will "feeder" into the intermediate class anyway. I don't want to be stuck doing Saturdays for very long, though -- I'm quite enjoying having weekends back!

We're going to expand the work-study program as well, which will be available to anyone on a class card for the last 3 months who wishes to add a class to their schedule. That means if they are paying for 1x per week, then they can join the "cleaning crew" to come for a second class that week for free. The process is simple -- after class you straighten the mats, spray them with the vinegar/tea tree oil/water, and then vacuum the room. It takes about 15 minutes all told. But, it's great for community building and also getting some help with the room (i've been spraying after class, straightening mats, but only vacuuming twice a day, and some of the surveys said it needed to be done more often -- so after each class would work well).

We are still rolling out our affiliates program -- for both students (free classes) and fellow practitioners (kick backs!). With the new teachers and new classes on the schedule, this might be more difficult, but it does help build the client base.

And, we're looking at doing another large group-voucher deal. With all of the new classes, we have about 225 available spaces to fill (based on current numbers and filling up to capacity for each class) -- and we will "withhold" at least 25 and potentially 50 for drop ins, new students, and when students want to take an extra class during the week. We're not sure right now what that deal will be -- the question is really around the ability of a given teacher to 'turn over' the client.

I think that before we do that, we'll have a time with the teachers to talk about the practices that I utilize that helps bring a client back -- which goes beyond just a good experience in class itself. That's definitely part of the equation, but another part is learning people's names, follow up, asking the person questions, and so on.

If we do a lower-cost deal (ie, 1 class for $5 for 200 people), then we'll probably sell out. But if we do a series of classes -- such as our last deal which was 8 classes for $48 and had a high retention rate -- then we may not sell as many (we sold 40 last time -- when we had only 80 spaces to sell).

The real delicate balance is not only turning over the student, but making it affordable/comfortable for them to 'turn over.' Moving from paying $8 per class to $10 isn't huge, or to $9 (for twice a week) and that's why retention is high. But moving from $5 to $10 might be too much.

So, a lot to think about there.

But all in all, going well!

5-11-12, 1:28am
Things still going well here.

The first quarter did great, and now we are well into the second and going strong.

At the beginning of the second quarter, we opened up 7 new public classes, and we ran a promotional deal through an online voucher company. It has been *great!*. So far, of the people who have completed their vouchers, all but 3 have purchased class cards. we've only had about 1/10th of the people finish, though, so we'll see more. OUr goal is a 37% turn over (based on the volume sold), btu we already have 10% and we've hardly even started to see how many are going to continue!

For my goal of getting 17 people across 7 classes is also going great. This past week, those classes saw 13.3 people per class. For the remaining classes, we saw an average of 6 -- but that includes brand new ones (Chi Power) as well as speciality (Pregnancy yoga, fertility yoga), and then ones that are quite popular such as Feldenkrais and Gentle yoga (which have the higher numbers so far). What is exciting to me about this is that the majority of the people attending classes are on concessions rather than on vouchers! And, the majority of vouchers are turning over into concessions! So, we are seeing 181 people per week right now, with roughly 2/3 of them on concessions and 1/3 on vouchers are new people just dropping in (and usually buying class cards)!

In addition, I have a pilates teacher who is looking to join us in the third quarter, as well as talked to two different massage therapists about joining us as well. No news yet, but it's good to start a dialogue!

I also got offered the opportunity to go and teach in Australia!

First, I'm leading a Business course for yoga teachers, holistic health practitioners, and other creatives. That's a one-weekend course, and then I'm providing additional support by offering a monthly webinar at a reduced cost (for those who take the workshop), and then opening it up to a wider market to sell out any extra spots. In addition, when you sign up for the webinar, you get into a closed FB group where I provide dialogue, information, mentoring, etc. And, of course, there are opportunities for one-on-one sessions.

Second, the same studio is interested in having my come and do the advanced teacher training there! This one isn't confirmed, but interest is starting to develop, and I'm excited about this. :) This will also set up peer supervision groups as well as supervision opportunities for me (that is, for me to provide supervision to yoga teachers) which is another new area (different from mentoring, of course).

I'm psyched!

I've also got a lot of cool stuff happening "on the side."

First, I connected with the Africa Yoga Project and I'm doing some fund raising for them. In 2013, I'll be able to mentor one of their teachers, too!

Second, with the help of one of my students and the teacher's here, we are designing a special program for special needs children and/or their caregivers. My client provides wrap=around psychiatric care and therapeutic support groups for children. We're not sure which form this will take -- whether we will train caregivers in yoga, or provide yoga classes to the children's supports groups as part of that equation or what -- but we're gathering ideas and looking to work with the government agency that manages this through this student. She's very gung-ho about it!

So, we thought we would do fundraising for both organizations, but I couldn't figure out how to run them. The most common is to simply run a donation-based community class, but I really wanted to offer something of value to the students we already have, plus any others from other studios who would care to join us.

When we did our survey, students asserted that they wanted more information about philosophy and such, so I thought I would use these workshops as fundraisers. We'd do some asana just to get the blood going, the body calm so that the mind can be open and flexible. we (one teacher, probably on a rotation of teachers) will give a brief lecture and description of the basic 10 philosophical principles of yoga, and we'll then "workshop" as a community ways that we can live that value in personal, small ways but as well as in ways that supports our organizations in an active and profound way. We'll ask the students to create methods that we, as a community, can embody those values, and then put these forth as daily initiatives (practices, thoughts, contemplations, etc).

These workshops would probably be 2 hours -- with 45 minutes of practice, about 20 minutes of lecture and 20 + minutes of workshopping, and then the remaining time for community building (chatting and having tea and cookies! lol). And I'll put in a suggested donation ($20?) and then we'll see what crops up.

It would give me 10 months of content -- so one a month over 10 months as fund raiser isn't a bad idea at all! Yay!