March 12, 2013

What to Do When You’re a Yoga Studio Owner & There’s a New Studio in Town. ~ Shelley Lowther

Photo: tar0

When you are faced with competition from a new yoga studio, the best way to survive and thrive is to welcome it.

If you want more abundance in your yoga studio and in your life, you only need to know one thing: operate from abundance.

Yogis talk a lot about community. We talk the community talk, but when faced with a new studio opening in our backyard, do we walk the community walk? Chances are that if you own a studio, you are going to face competition one day. It may be a competitor from a nearby town or a national chain, or maybe even a former student or teacher.

Competition is inevitable, and it is not a death knell for your business. The only thing that matters is how you handle it when it happens.

As the owner of four small studios in the Southeast, I have encountered both community and resistance in the ways other studios have responded to me. So, I have compiled a list of what to do and, more importantly, what not to do when someone opens a studio near yours:

> Speak the truth.

It is okay to voice concern over another studio opening near you. If a new studio’s owner reaches out to you and announces their intention to open, welcome them. Remember that reaching out to you before they open is a courtesy, and they did not have to do it. You do not have to give away trade secrets, but don’t stop speaking to them or, worse yet, start speaking about them.

> Stay in integrity.

Competition is healthy when honesty and respect are present. If you are questioning someone else’s integrity, it may be time to look at your own.

> Stay friends.

Keep it friendly. Don’t gossip. Don’t unfriend your colleague on Facebook. Don’t talk about the style of yoga others teach unless you are saying how great it is. If you can’t say anything nice…

> Create community.

Photo: lululemon athletica

More yoga is good for all yoga. Try working together with the new studio and form a real community. Do community events together. Attend the opening. You are a leader and people respect you, so earn that respect.

> Create space.

Create space for people to grow. Don’t tell a teacher they need to choose between you and another studio. If you force a choice, you may not like the outcome. Allow your students space to explore the new studio. If you love someone, set them free—if they are supposed to, they will come back to you.

> Don’t take it personally.

This isn’t about you. No one thinks you are doing your work wrong. From my own experience, I just want to do it like I do it. And the good news is that you do it like you do it, so our studios will always be different. Celebrate that diversity.

> Be a leader.

If one of your students or teachers opens a studio, support them. You don’t have to give them access to your student contact information, but be for them.

As a trainer of teachers, I believe that I become great by making others great. And one day, one of those great teachers is going to open their own studio.

So, don’t be afraid of competition. When we open successful studios, we create a demand for yoga. If someone else opens near you, it means you have done a good job making yoga available.

If you want to be the best yoga studio in town, do it by teaching powerful classes and creating cohesive community.

We create our lives. Operate from abundance, and you will create abundance.


Shelley Lowther is the founder of Dancing Dogs Yoga in Bluffton, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island, SC, and Augusta, GA. She is a certified Baptiste teacher and self-professed possibility junkie. She is a writer, an artist and a goal-setting fiend. She loves practicing yoga on and off the mat, training yoga teachers and helping people discover their true potential. She gets great by making others great. Shelley is married to an amazing man named Josh, and has four four-legged furry children, most of whom weigh more than she does.

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Assistant Ed.: Jayleigh Lewis/Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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