By Lindsay Lopez
If you ask a Pilates instructor what the best use of their disposable income is, they most likely will tell you that it’s continuing education. If that famous instructor from Timbuktu is in town and teaching a three day intensive…we’re on it! Never mind that it’s $1000 and we’ll have hours of homework, anatomy, physiology, and observation to get a certificate that only other Pilates instructors will recognize. We do it. We do it happily because being the best at what we do and learning more about how to help our clients is our first priority.
All of this is fine and dandy when we work at a studio and someone else is running the business show, but what happens when you go off on your own and no one is scheduling, managing, or growing your business but you? I see it every day in my studio and let me say it’s no bueno.
In our desire to be the best for our clients we actually do them a dis-service. While our sessions may be amazing the rest of the experience of being our client is less than stellar. We have no proper scheduling system in place, no policies, no structure, or business savvy. We pick our rates out of thin air, get burned when people late cancel, and barely keep our heads above water when clients discontinue or go away for the holidays. We rationalize by saying it doesn’t really matter.
There are SO many Pilates studios. SO many other instructors, just like you, that your client could hop to if they find you unprofessional or someone else more businesslike- and don’t think they won’t. This is not to scare you, but rather to let you know that people are paying good money for your service, and not just for a little Pilates but for an experience. What kind of experience are your clients getting and how can you make it worth more than just great posture and a perky butt? Here’s how:
Start investing in something business-y
Remember yourself as a wanna-be Pilates instructor. You didn’t know a teaser from a toe-corrector, but you learned, and grew into the kick-ass teacher you are today. Same goes for business, baby!
- Start investing in learning about how to manage, grow, and maintain your practice. Sounds boring? There are lots of great business mentors that aren’t stodgy or unimaginative. My mentor, Marie Forleo does hilarious videos that will teach you a thing or two and put a giant smile on your face.
- Don’t have the money? Come on honey, you find the funds for what you want them for (like that weekly session with your Pilates mentor). However, if money is really an obstacle head to your local library and check out some books and start reading.
- Also, Google is THE best free research assistant. Do some digging, reading, researching, and fill your mind with not just body knowledge but some business knowledge as well.
Get back to basics
First things first. Can you build a building without a strong foundation? Certainty not in a Pilates practice and certainly not when it comes to your business.
Get a basic waiver that your clients can sign to protect yourself from lawsuits. Legal Zoom is a great resource for legal forms that are affordable. Put together a list of policies like your
- cancellation policy,
- schedule changes,
- contact preferences,
- billing, etc.
Write it all down and have your clients read and sign it. Then here comes the tough part. STICK TO IT. People respect you when you respect yourself. You may think it’s “mean” to stick to policies but it keeps things running smoothly and for that your clients will thank you!
Think about before, during, and after
To start making what you have to offer better put yourself into the minds of your clients. What’s their experience – before, during, and after their sessions with you?
Do they have trouble reaching you to schedule, have to wait for you because you show up late, and then pay for a 10 pack only to see that you have no idea what session they are on?
A simple way to increase your customer service and keep you clients coming back for more is to make things seamless and professional.
Clean up your act in these three scenarios and I guarantee that your clients will start commenting on how great the session is and how great your business is as well!
Are you in the NYC area?
So what will you do today to up your business game? If you’re in the NYC area this Friday, November 21st from 1-3pm I’ll be hosting a networking event that is right up your alley! Hear a speaker from the health and wellness industry tell how they made it work and then mastermind with your peers and yours truly on any business obstacles in your path. Check out the details here – The Form Pilates Biz-nass Social.
Get $10 off as a reader of Pilates Bridge. Enter the code: BridgeP$10 at check out.
Note from PilatesBridge: If you can’t make it to the social then check out Lindsay’s blog right here. You will hear more business tips from Lindsay real soon because she is a new contributor right here on PilatesBridge.
Lindsay Lopez is a dynamic force of nature. Years in tutus and tights paid off with wild success as a dancer and actress. Years in the “biz” taught her that dreams can come true, with plenty of planning and TONS of action to back them up. After what had become ten years in the Pilates industry her devotion shifted from the bodies in front of her to the teachers educating next to her instead. Although Lindsay teachers less and less, she is breathing new life into a stale industry. Her wish is to provide her peers with the business training they so desperately need. As a positive coach and gutsy mentor, Lindsay Lopez is changing Pilates business for the better at www.formpilates.com