Pilates and the Economy

Pilates and the Economy

The talk of the slow economy isn’t leaving anytime soon. The news has covered it for over a year and we now know it is going to take a lot more time to recover. It is hard to be positive with the news surrounding businesses these days, but what do you do? In order for your business to hang on through this long downturn, you have to be hopeful. You can’t let the worry consume your energy. It will get better…it will take time…so right now you have to get out there and control what you can.

A recent article in the April 2009 issue of Entrepreneur magazine explains that you have to take personal control to feel in charge of your destiny. During these uncertain times, your perspective on what is going on in the world is entirely up to you. You need to perceive a positive future and keep working hard to arrive there. Focusing only on the negative will take your sights off the long term goals you want to reach.

With the stress of the economy, most people still want to take care of their health, which is good for us. A survey done by Zobha yoga and fitness apparel showed that “despite the economic environment, nearly all women surveyed who currently exercise say they will continue, with two-thirds saying they will scale back financially in some way”.

Pilates Pro recently had an article showing a strong outlook for Pilates jobs in the future…another positive sign. So how can we take personal control of our business during these times and help control our destiny.

  1. Don’t only attend the hottest Pilates classes at conferences this year. Check out the Business Lectures. More conferences are adding business informational sessions which provide great resources to instructors. The IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in August this year is offering a pre-conference session that is a full day of business seminars. It is the Fitness Business Forum with a few of the sessions specifically geared to the current economic situation.
  2. Take care of your current clients. It is easier to keep current clients than to find new ones, so don’t take them for granted. Maintain great customer service, add new classes, keep them up on the latest research from the industry and follow-up with phone calls or emails to check on them.
  3. Find affordable marketing techniques. Check out Peak Pilates instructor Connie Borho’s article on making this an “opportunistic economy“. She gives great ideas that are working for her in Sarasota, Florida. There are ways of getting your name out there, other than spending a fortune on advertising. Approach local chiropractors, massage therapists or physical therapists to create a relationship for referrals. Donate gift certificates to silent auctions in your town. Call clients you haven’t seen in awhile. Offer a warm-up stretch at a local 5K or golf tournament. Become a contributing writer to a local paper or magazine.
  4. Another great tip from Connie’s article is to spend time every day working on your business, not in your business. She says to take one hour per day and focus on the business.
  5. Many clients want to continue, but need more affordable options, so beef up your group class schedule. Research the needs of these clients, so you won’t lose them.
  6. Without reducing your prices, offer specials to new clients when they buy their first package. Offer specials to current clients when they buy multiple packages.
  7. Web presence is a must. Our Pilates Studio gets more clients through our website than any other marketing technique we use. Your website has to be user friendly and offer as much information as possible. Don’t miss this prime marketing opportunity to show yourself off to the world. We get visitors from other cities through our website when they are vacationing as well.

Remember not to sacrifice quality or customer service during these times. Also, don’t give in on your policies and pricing structure that has brought you this far. This is not a time to cheapen your business. Your clients know you provide a valuable service. They just need more options. There are more clients out there that need your services as well. Stay positive, they just haven’t found you yet…so help them.