Yoga and business?? Do these two go together? Teaching Yoga is my full time profession, my business, my love and my unwavering passion. Running a successful business is hard but I’m proud to make soulful business decisions so that I can spread the wonders of yoga in my community. And this is what today’s blog is all about a sneak peak behind the scenes with tips on running your business with soul. I was honoured and star struck when Racheal from the Yogipreneur asked me to be part of the ❤ Your Community Blog Tour! I’ve loved ready what all the wonderful Entrepreneurs have had to share so far, yesterday Hillary Rubin shared wonderful insights and I can’t wait to read what Allison Braun has to say tomorrow. I’m writing on a controversial topic today, the daily deal sites . . .
Groupon – Like working with the Devil or a Fairy Godmother?
My dream was a simple one, to train as a yoga teacher and share my passion with the world. Step one complete: I have my yoga certificate and all the enthusiasm and eagerness of a puppy. Now what? There’s not a single yoga studio in my city and teaching in a gym to the hum of the treadmills is not my thing, that only leaves one option . . . local village halls here I come! Money is tight; I’ve already spent thousands training to be a yoga teacher so I print some DIY posters at home and plaster them up all over the city; I print flyers and spend hours walking the streets posting them through doors getting my fingers nipped at by yapping dogs. Judgement day arrives, my first proper class and guess what . . . 5 people showed. I went on like this with a handful of classes for about 6 months, 5 people one week, 1 or 2 people the next week and occasionally a whooper class packed with 7 students! I loved the teaching but it hardly covered my hall hire let alone my time and I was still busting a gut working 50 hours a week at my ‘proper job’. Then enter my Fairy Godmother, Groupon, and overnight my classes were full. I cherished, engaged and nurtured my deal hunters and they have become a truly wonderful community I’m proud to serve. I built my community thanks to Groupon – could they be your Fairy Godmother too? Daily Deal companies are slippery fish and they have to be handled with care but as a heart centred entrepreneur you can do this! My tops tips:
1) Why Discount? People have said to me that they value themselves and their work too much to work with the likes of Groupon. I believe in yoga and I believe in my skills as a teacher, offering a discount to new students is me putting my belief out there saying ‘come try it, once you start I know you’ll be hooked’.
2) Align with Your Values. I feel great about offering discounted yoga classes and online programmes just once / year as I believe wholeheartedly that everyone should have access to yoga, and appreciate that cost if often a barrier. The number of people who have said ‘I’ve been thinking about doing yoga for ages but never got around to it and then I saw your deal.’ Whatever it takes to get people on the mat, my mission is to share the teachings of yoga.
3) What to Offer? Think about programmes you are already offering where it is just a matter of maximising capacity so there is no more time or costs incurred. Offer higher value programmes or bigger packages so that even with the discount people are still investing and are incentivised to see it through. Discount only one programme so that you can cross sell your full price offerings. Controversially, make sure your deal is for ‘New Clients Only’ otherwise you’ll take a big hit in your takings. Keep your existing clients happy by offering them a little treat to say thank you for their custom.
4) Timing. Choose carefully what time of year to run deal. As a yoga teacher, the summer holidays is a quiet time so this is when I run a deal. January is my busiest time with people incentivised to try yoga without the need of deal, so no discount then!
5) Treat it as a form of Advertising. When you run a deal your business gets a massive amount of exposure with your brand being seen by thousands of people in one hit. When creating the deal have your ‘Head of Marketing’ cap on, be strict and protect your brand. Provide Groupon with as much of your own marketing material as you can: your photos, your copy, links to your website/facebook/twitter, an intro video that they could embed on their site.
6) Have a Strategy, it will go crazy! Figure out in advance what capacity of people you could handle, then increase that number by a further 25% as on average only 75% of vouchers bought get used. Put really long expiry dates on your deals so that you can manage the flow of new clients without disturbing your existing clients with a sudden influx.
7) Customer Service. Groupon have done the work attracting your customers but this is just the first step to creating a loyal community. Spoil your customers and make them feel special. Decide in advance how you are going to do this, what would make you feel wanted and appreciated? Make it your mission to remember people’s names, send them welcome emails, thank you emails or whatever else is in keeping with your brand. Treasure your clients and they will treasure you!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you run a deal before? What did you learn, what would you do differently? Got a question I didn’t answer?