Two yogis practice together in front of a brick wall at Synergy Yoga.

9 Steps to Consider Transforming Your Yoga Business During the Pandemic Crisis

Confessions of a Recovering Studio Owner

In this week’s blog, we’ve invited former studio owner Sara Cain-da Costa to share her insights into how yoga and fitness studio owners can make smart decisions about keeping their studios open or making the tough decision to close. This three-part blog series is Sara’s story about how she made those hard decisions, shifted quickly, changed, learned, and on the other side of it all, began to feel peace.

 

Part I: To Close or Not to Close is the BIG Question

By Sara Cain-da Costa, E-RYT500
Founder, Synergy Yoga & Wellness

I’ve just tackled the most difficult, unexpected decision I could ever make for my brick-and-mortar yoga studio. I closed it. It wasn’t part of my plan, BUT maybe it was part of the Universe’s big-picture plan. After 8 years in business, the location, instructors, and clients had all become a part of my heart. I was ALL in.

Sara Cain-da Costa at her studio.

At times, being an entrepreneur is lonely, so I hope this series may help other entrepreneurs and ‘solopreneurs’ gain some insights into navigating business during the pandemic, or any crisis. Whatever storm heads your way, know that you’re not alone.
Part of the beauty of running your own business is that there’s both freedom and risk. There’s the freedom to decide what to do with your business, with your life. On the flip side, there is always a risk with change and making hard decisions. I believe this is a time in history for us to consider the power of freedom and risk to move towards a massive shift—to transform and re-engineer what our industry looks like.
Many yoga studio owners do what they do because they love yoga. We often forget that there is a business side, and maybe the business side just hasn’t been the natural part. To help guide you, here are the exact steps I followed as I decided whether or not to close.

1. Know your numbers.

Create projections for 3, 6, and 12 months on how long you can last operating at your current new norm. Review this in detail weekly. If you’re not sure how to do this, get help. Seriously, it’s ok. We don’t have to be experts at everything.
Listen to your community.
Don’t just guess what they think and feel. Find out what you can expect from them. Hold virtual “Town Hall” meetings with clients and with your team. Ask them how they’re feeling about coming back to the studio during a pandemic. When do they expect to come back, if ever? Ask them how you can serve them in creative ways.

2. Present a plan.

If you’re renting space and are in a lease, have an honest talk with your landlord. Be real. This one was really hard for me because I respect the contracts and commitments I’ve made. I’ve never thought I could break a commercial lease. I took a risk and went to my landlord with the financial facts, along with a well-thought-out plan and offer for what we could afford. Don’t look for them to tell you what they can do. I actually feel kind of bad*ss about this, because I negotiated out of our lease 2 ½ years early.

3. Listen to your community.

Don’t just guess what they think and feel. Find out what you can expect from them. Hold virtual “Town Hall” meetings with clients and with your team. Ask them how they’re feeling about coming back to the studio during a pandemic. When do they expect to come back, if ever? Ask them how you can serve them in creative ways.

4. Spend time in quiet.

Sculpt out intentional time alone to let all of this above sink in. Brainstorm what you learned from your Town Halls, conversations with landlords, the numbers. If you think you’ve exhausted all your options, you haven’t.

5. Trust your intuition.

Listen to the wisdom inside, I promise it will not fail you.

6. Shift quickly.

Make a decision of how you will move forward and stick with it. Ask for help. People really do want to help you.

7. Connect with your tribe.

Surround yourself with people you trust and support you. Let me say it again. Ask for help. People REALLY do want to help you.

8. Make Time for Self Care.

Seriously, don’t sacrifice your emotional, physical, and financial well-being. It’s just yoga.

9. See #1

Deep inhale, long exhale. You’re stronger and braver than you think you are. Watch for the next blog where I talk about how to re-engineer your business.

If you’re on a similar journey and need help, I’m here to support you; reach out to me [email protected] Check out Synergy Yoga’s new virtual home livestreaming on Yogavibes.

 

advice for yoga teachers, covid-19, pandemic