November 3, 2020
Author: Stella Hull-Lampkin, PMA Board of Directors
You have received the “ok” from local health officials to re-open your Pilates studio. So, what are your next steps? In the past few months you have transitioned to a virtual studio and expanded your “tech” savvy to build your business. During this time, my hope is that you have continued communicating with your clients, whether by phone, email, or social media, as this will help with transitioning them to return to your studio.
Here is a question for you: have you really laid the foundation for clients to return to your studio? Have you called them to see how they are doing, or if they needed anything that you and team could provide? Were your communications about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including mental health, during this time? If you answered “yes” – congratulations! Doing this kind of work is challenging especially when you are not even sure if you will be able to open or maintain a brick and mortar business, but it shows good will and compassion.
When communicating with your clients, do you put yourself in their shoes? What would you like to know? It is all about building a different kind of trust. Yes, they trusted you with their bodies, but now they need to trust you on a new level.
Here are some ideas to communicate to clients:
- Phone Calls: call me “old fashioned” but a phone call goes a long way. What to say? “Hi, this is xxxx from XYZ Studio, I’m calling to see how you’re doing.” The conversation will evolve from there. It can let you know their concerns and how to work toward addressing them. Texting is also a good alternative, or using Push Notifications.
- Surveys: Client surveys are valuable to let you know what clients are thinking while providing anonymity. Questions can include:
o Are they ready to return to the studio?
- o How are they doing?
- o Do they miss their Pilates sessions?
- o How do they feel from 1 – 10?
- o Have they worked out during this time?
- Video: Create video for emails and social media explaining your cleaning protocols and what you are doing to ensure a safe environment.
Remember communication is key. Even if you feel that you are overdoing it. Keep the lines of communication open.
Keep in mind that some clients may not be ready to return. Others may feel that working out from home in a virtual environment is best for them. It is important that you explain all the ways you are making sure that they can return to a safe environment, such as: masks, cleaning products and frequent cleaning, and staggering the schedule to reduce the number of clients in the common areas. Any and all protocols you are taking to keep them and your staff healthy should be communicated continually and clearly.
Even if you do all of the above, Pilates is not cheap. You may need to consider different pricing options in these times of economic uncertainty.
Do you want to analyze your financials by the numbers, or revenue? Here is a simple equation as a starting point. Calculate dollars per square foot per minute of time. In other words, find out how much you’ll make given your adjusted capacity, per minute/hour of time. Compare that to your overhead to determine what you’ll need on your schedule to be profitable. Doing this exercise will help you evaluate current pricing numbers and how to schedule for profitability.
The process of clients returning to the studio is going to be a slow one. Encourage your clients to continue doing what is best for them. As a studio owner, you will probably continue using a Hybrid Business Model.
Be confident in your policies as you are confident in your teaching and your clients will have confidence and trust in you.
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