By Keeley Mitchell, Zi Living
Recently I had the pleasure of having someone inquire about my services and in our discourse she asked two questions.
1. How much experience should she have before opening her yoga studio?
2. How much money does it cost to open a yoga studio?
While I could not give her a definitive answer to her questions, I felt our discussion was still a positive one. You see, I gave my inquirer kudos for doing her research well in advance so she could plan accordingly.
As I discussed in the first article of The Business Side of the Mat, setting clear and concise goals is a MUST for having a successful business. So what do I mean by setting clear and concise goals?
I mean that if you want to run a successful yoga business, you need to write a solid yoga business plan.
If you already have a successful full-blown operation, don’t consider yourself exempt from writing business plans. It’s still be a good idea for you to still have one.
No matter what type of business you operate, including a yoga business, you need a written business plan. Business plans provide you with the blueprint for operating your business and they keep you on track to reaching your goals.
I can feel many of you beginning to protest and say that you ONLY teach yoga, and a formal written business is not needed.
“Business plans are an outdated practice reserved only for those seeking funding from investors.”
Or does this sound familiar?
“I know what goals I want to achieve. It is all in my head. I do not need to write it down.”
Hmmmm, I thought so. I have heard it so many times!
To all the naysayers, let me address this issue from a more familiar perspective.
On our mats, most of us are perfectly comfortable stating our intentions for the Universe to hear so clear action is taken.
So is it really a stretch to state your intentions for your business? As I tell my clients, writing a business plan is simply stating your intentions for your business in writing.
Trust me, I understand the resistance to writing a business plan. At one time, I fought against writing business plans because let’s be honest. Writing a business plan is sometimes a long and tedious process. For most, the process is more akin to torture. However, it doesn’t have to be! (See the end of this article for business planning resources to make writing a business plan enjoyable.)
Before starting my consulting firm, there were two other business ventures I attempted. I considered these ventures small and not complex, and therefore, no need for a business plan. Boy, was I wrong! Both of these business ventures failed. In both attempts, I had no clear direction.
Often I would forget what specific goals I was working towards or the budget parameters I had set for myself. I would jump from project to project without ever completing anything. It is painful looking back on my stubbornness and seeing how much I had sabotaged my own success.
With solid experience of failure behind me, when I started my consulting firm, one of the first things I did was write a business plan.
I thoroughly researched my industry and potential competitors. I included financial projections as well as short and long term goals. The need for funding is not what inspired me to write my business plan. It was my desire to have a blueprint for my business so that it could flourish and be a success. And by all accounts, sitting down and taking the time to get clear on my vision was well worth it.
I reap the rewards of having written a business plan every day.
Since I now understand the necessity of writing a business plan, I want to share my new found wisdom with you so you do not make the same mistakes as me. As a huge supporter of the yoga and wellness community, I want to see your business succeed.
Here five reasons why a business plan matters for yoga studios:
1. Writing a Business Plan Helps You Find Clarity about What Success Will Look Like for You.
Writing a business plan forces you to really think about your business and the direction you want to take it. Do you want to operate a local neighborhood studio? Or do you want grow your yoga business to the point that you have multiple locations and online classes? Writing your business plan will force you to think through such issues.
However, remember that just because you write a business plan does not mean you are permanently bound by your words. Your business plan should serve as a fluid roadmap and not be static.
2. Writing a Business Plan Keeps You on Track – All Your Actions are Then Guided by that Blueprint for Success.
Creating a business plan can help organize your efforts to grow your business and keep you on track for achieving your long-term goals. What goals do you want to accomplish within the year, and what steps do you need to take to accomplish those goals? How about in ten years?
Just as I did, you can easily get easily get-off target without a blueprint. It is easy to forget your five year goals, and the steps you need to take to get there while you are engrossed in your daily grind. Further, not only will going ourse make it difficult for you to run an effective or efficient business, your revenues will suffer as well.
For example, if you have not set forth a step by step plan for marketing based on thorough research, then you may not use your marketing dollars in the most effective manner. If your target audience are children ages 8-10, it probably would be a waste of money to focus all of your marketing dollars advertising on the local university’s campus or in an area of town known for single twenty-somethings. To get the greatest bang for your buck, you would want to focus your time and money in those areas with the highest percentage children ages 8-10.
3. Writing a Business Plan Helps You Know Your Competition.
One of the best insurances for a successful business is knowing your market and competition. It is important to know whether you are opening your business in a crowded market versus unchartered territory. If your market is crowded, you will need to think about what makes your business unique. You will need to be able to communicate why students should take classes from you versus going to your competition.
In addition, research the styles of yoga your competition is offering. What are their rates? What are their teachers training? How does the community feel about their services? Being able to answer these questions about your competition, will better prepare you to be able to distinguish yourself from everyone else.
If you discover there is no competition, then you need to consider whether there is even a need for your business. Using the example above, there may be a reason why no one else offers yoga classes for kids in your area. For instance, if your town is dominated by senior living centers and 1% percent of the population is 18 and under, then most likely there is not a viable need for your offerings. Only doing thorough research will provide you with this information.
4. Writing a Business Plan Helps You Determine Whose Expertise You Need.
When you start writing your business plan, you will begin to see and truly understand everything that needs to be done to accomplish your business goals. Along with looking at the tasks at hand, you will begin to see those tasks that you may not be equipped to handle on your own.
For example, you determine that you will need a website for your business. Are you equipped to design your own website or will you need someone to design it for you? If you need help, then you need to analyze how you will hire someone to build your website and what costs are involved.
Similarly, are you able to register your business or will you need to hire an attorney? Are there any other services you will need provided by third parties? Writing your business plan will force you to think about such answers and to find resolutions.
5. Writing a Business Plan Makes You Accountable.
Lastly, writing down your intentions allows you to articulate your vision for your business. As I discussed above, you are forced to think about your short and long term goals and the steps you need to take to achieve those goals.
With the words down on paper, you can then track your progress and hold yourself accountable for accomplishing the tasks that you set up for yourself. This process also puts the onus on you to be honest with yourself about the progress of your company. You will have some type of barometer to use to let you know whether you are on the path to success or failure. If it is failure, then you can determine what changes need to be made before it is too late.
So what are you waiting for?! Get your intentions down on paper!
Even if it is just one or two pages, putting your business plan down in writing will instantly bring clarity and direction to your vision.
Your business plan will provide the roadmap for you to build a successful yoga business. Trust me, you won’t regret it…And you will definitely be thanking me when you are reaping the rewards for having done so!
Need a definitive Yoga Business Plan Guide & Template?
We’ve put together a 25 page PDF that takes you step-by-step through the process of writing your business plan.
We’ve also included a blank worksheet for you to fill in as you read through the Yoga business Plan Guide.
Finally, to make it really easy to forecast your start-up costs, monthly operating expenses, average revenue per student and break-even point, we’ve created four Excel documents with built-in formulas. All you have to do is enter your particular numbers, and the spreadsheets do all the hard work for you.