Ask Lindsay- Big Biz Problems

The small businessman

 

My business is growing rapidly, which I know is a good problem to have. I just don’t know which area to focus my expansion on first. ~Busy Business in Manhattan

 

 

I picked this question not just because it’s something that inevitably every successful entrepreneur deals with, but also because it’s something I’m dealing with myself these days. Growth is good, but also fated. In the infancy of such an undertaking everything is shiny and new. Every little step it takes and every new client makes you beam like a proud mama, but like every baby it grows, and GROWS. Suddenly, your life is spinning and each day you have new experiences, ideas, and well, stressors. Let me share with you what I’ve learned about bringing up a business…

Follow The Money

If you ever find yourself scratching your head as to which brilliant idea you should pounce on first….focus on the thing that makes you the most moola. Look at all of your revenue streams (private, duet, mat class, products) and determine which are bringing in the big bucks. How do you find out such things Ms. Lindsay? Tracking and analytics, my dear. Mindbody software has reports that are helpful, or if you use Quickbooks that’ll work too. If you have yet to invest in business or accounting software (the former I recommend immensely) start keeping track on a spreadsheet or notebook. While numbers are pretty banal, they are the key to a successful decision. If you don’t know what is making you money you can’t mirror that. Conversely, you can spend a good chunk of cash on a new offering or idea only to see it fail horribly.  Your now empty pocketbook could have been avoided if you just kept simple records.

Map It Out

A wish without a plan is just a dream (simply click to tweet;) Jumping into a new idea just because it gives you butterflies in your belly does NOT constitute great business decision. Write out the full idea and then seek advice. Clarify your ideal client for said offering and then poll or survey them specifically. You’ll either gain insight on how to tweek your idea to make it fit or even the foresight to trash it and head back to the drawing board. The best news is this fact finding mission doesn’t have to be costly. Use a free survey service like Survey Monkey to send your questions out professionally. Consider offering an incentive for filling it out like a discount or even the chance to win a free session.

Move Forward Fearlessly

In the end, all the preparation in the world will not guarantee a happy ending. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” You’ll still need to test drive your idea with toes and fingers crossed, (maybe even pray a little) and then…let it go. There are no promises in business and in life, but being prepared for when the luck finds you will assure you are ready for your turn! Move forward fearlessly, and know that entrepreneurs all over the world are doing the same thing!

Need more clarity figuring out which way to grow your business? Book your FREE 30min session with me here. I can help you raise your baby biz just right!

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Ask Lindsay: Are your clients your BFFs? Then you HAVE to read this…

Me and my client Lisa at a Vegan Supper Club photo courtesy of Pure Wow

My Client Lisa and I at a Vegan Supper Club
           photo courtesy of Pure Wow

 

Dear Lindsay-

How do you keep a professional relationship between you and your client? Is it dangerous to become friends with them, especially when it’s time for them to pay you?

 

 

I will admit that I’m one of the luckiest Pilates instructors I know. I have made a living working with, shaping, and guiding bodies that just happen to be amazing people and yes- some of my best friends. Maybe it’s because my first studio was in my home, where I’d serve up coffee in the am and appertifs at night, but my clients like to hang out after their sessions and I don’t mind because well- we like each other. I have made life-long friends that I see inside the studio and out with no bad-juju kinda breakups to date. Sounds too good to be true? Well honey, whether you are dreaming of having such customers or maybe are already buddy buddy with your regulars, read on to keep the good keeping on. Here’s how:

Set Boundaries

A relationship, including the one with the body in front of you, must have limits. When you bring a new client into your practice and life, make sure they know the rules of the road before the proverbial shit hits the fan. In a professional business transaction there is always a contract, both verbal AND written. Your policies need to be in writing. Talk them over with your client, have them sign off on them, don’t be afraid to remind them nicely, and then…here’s the kicker – STICK TO THEM! They will respect you for it if they’re the real deal, which leads me to my next point…

Know Your Match

In the ugly land of scarcity the motto is, every man for themselves. There may not be enough so grab what you can and hold on tight!!! In a broader more expansive universe (that exists when you stop being afraid of losing every client), there are more than enough prospects to go around. Imagine there are abundant resources, you get to PICK your clients! Crazy concept, I know, but it is true. It’s what I’ve been doing for years now. If I meet a client that gives me a hard time, orders me around, tries to not pay me, or shows up late they get a slap on the wrist. If they continue the unwanted behavior, I simply show them the door. This no-nonsense approach to my business has kept away the blood-suckers and brought me peeps that make my day. YOU TOO can have this. Start to imagine your ideal client and manifest them!!! What you focus on persists so focus on what you want not what you don’t.

FORM instructor Alissa Alter and BFF/client Abbey Matson

FORM instructor Alissa Alter and BFF/client Abbey Matson

 Be Real

Let’s face it, not every client is going to get the other half of your best friend necklace, and they don’t have to. Feigning affection for every client makes you inauthentic and people can smell it a mile away. You don’t have to kiss ass to obtain or maintain clients- you just have to be you. The right clients will like you for who you are and NOT for how much you love them. They will respect the great teaching you’re doing and all that they are learning, not necessarily all the compliments or back rubs.

So to recap- having bestie clients is cool IF you are tough enough to not lose yourself. Stay true to who you are as a person and whatever rules you’ve set in place. Remember you’ll only have yourself to blame if your new favorite client skips out on her sesh last minute or writes you a bad check. Pick your clients carefully, and your friends even more wisely.

Maybe you have more questions about how to deal with clients and make your business rock? Sign-up for a FREE 30 min consult with me and get a plan to have the business of your dreams! Don’t delay…it today!

If you like this article, there’s more where that came from!  Sign up for my Teacher’s newsletter and get more Pilates goodness, as well as business & lifestyle tips every month! It’s free!

 

Ask Lindsay- To Discount or Not to Discount?

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“What do you do if someone asks for a discount on your rate? Does it always devalue your product to give the discount or is it better to have the client?” 

~Sandi New Jersey

If I had a dollar for every time a client asked for a discount I’d never have to teach Pilates again. I’d be rich! But honestly, I know what it’s like. When I was starting out on my own, teaching in my ultra-small home studio, almost 1 out of 5 potential clients would ask for a discount. At the time I took it as an experiment in pricing (or I was too chicken to stand up for myself;) and would change my prices willy nilly. It got so bad that I couldn’t even remember who’s rate was what! Now that I’m more established, I still get the occasional appeal for a rebate but very rarely. What’s different? Me! I grew a backbone that’s what! A favorite quote of mine is, “You teach people how to treat you” (tweet that!) How are you teaching people to treat you? Bottom line: If you believe you aren’t worth your rate, neither will they.

Now, how do you get from where you are today to where you want to be? Practice. Most likely you’ve heard that Joe Pilates said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” when he talks about learning the Pilates method. Whether it’s your practice of doing Pilates or being a killer biz-nass person it takes time, a little coaching, and LOTS OF PRACTICE to become good at it! Build your “business muscle” step by step with this advice:

Grow Some Balls or ovaries, if you please. ;) Here’s the thing with business (and you’ll hear me say it often), it’s not personal. You have to be tough since everyone and their mother will ask for a discount because honestly, that’s good business. If something is negotiable, then you NEGOTIATE! It’s your job as your own boss-lady to make your rates NON-NEGOTIABLE and stick to your guns. Know your worth and believe in it. You  are  worth  it. End of story. Period.

Know Your Market In Sandi’s case, and like most of the instructors I mentor, their biggest issue is recognizing their market. Did you know you have the ability to pick your clients? You should know exactly who you want to work with and focus on attracting just that. Spend some time investigating your ideal client. What do they do? Where do they live? Why do they want to do Pilates, and how much would it be worth to them to <insert one> get rid of back pain, have a sleek physique, or improve their posture? Look at your current clients, chances are there’s someone you just light up at the thought of working with and wouldn’t dare ask for a discount? Wouldn’t you want more clients like them? Focus on what you want and remember all that you bring to the session and what you are offering. Think of giving them a deal and imagine how you’ll feel working with this client for less than you deserve. Like sha-poopie that’s what.

Add Value Instead of Discounting A great marketing tool, which will keep money in your pocket and satisfy even the best of the coupon-clipping mamas, is to add more value to your offer instead of discounting it. Can you throw in a free mat class to a package of privates? Customize a little homework video for a new client? Send weekly recipes or tips on how to eat healthy? Get creative (sky’s the limit) and think of ways you can add to your current service to make it more valuable, and worth every penny.

Have you had this happen to you? Did you do the discount dance? If so how’d it go? Leave your comments below. Have a question you’re dying for me to answer email me here

If you like this article, there’s more where that came from! Sign up for my Teacher’s newsletter and get more Pilates goodness, as well as business & lifestyle tips every month! It’s free!

Ask Lindsay- Email Woes

email-marketing-stats“How do you do send out email blasts so the people won’t automatically toss it to junk?” ~Jamie Los Angeles

Great question Jamie! We’ve all had this issue. You kill yourself over creating content and then it’s all crickets and tumbleweeds. IS ANYONE THERE???? In my experience building a tribe takes time and patience, but here’s a few tricks and tips I can offer to make the waiting less painful….

  • Have an Organic List I’m not talking pesticides and fertilizers here. Your email list should consist ONLY of email address that people have freely given. They must have opted-in or requested your correspondence. Dumping the entirety of your address book into your email marketing program will leave you with bunk analytics and un-opens up the wazoo. Make sure to get permission to add emails to your list. It’s called SPAM if you don’t and it’s against the law.
  • Be Interesting to Your Client Base Know who you are marketing to, then figure out what it is they are interested in. Yes, Pilates articles, workouts, and tips are valuable but what else can you offer? Maybe nutritious eating tips, articles on health, or even fashion, shopping, or wine reviews. People will read your stuff if it’s interesting to them so figure out what you and your ideal client have in common and share!
  • Speak Like a Human Make sure that your marketing material has an authentic voice. Writing copy like a robot is a sure turn off. You can test your writing by asking your bestie to read it. If she’s like, “who the hell is that?” then it’s back to the drawing board. Write like how you speak, not like you are writing an essay for English Lit.
  • Testing 123 Test the times and days you send your emails. Most email marketing providers have analytics that you can see your percentage of opens. Try sending your correspondence at different times to determine which is best for your audience.
  • Grab them at Hello Your subject lines are the first thing people see and they need to be good. People love secrets. Instead of “Free Pilates Workout,” you could say “My Secret To Flat Abs.” Or maybe you instill a little fear. As a substitute for “Get Healthy” try out something like “Things You Should Never Do If You Want To Live a Long Life.”

Now go out there and send some emails! Be consistent and publish often. My rule is at least twice a month. Leave your comments and questions below. Let’s get this conversation started!

Want more attention than a blog article can give? Allow me to give you a taste of the goodness business coaching can bring. Schedule your 30 minute freebie session today!

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