Planning Your Yoga Business

In the last business support article the key features of the four different business structures (sole trader, partnership, company and trust) were outlined. The next step is to plan the direction of your yoga business as planning will be one of the keys to its future success.

Planning is the ‘how to’ of a business and is written in a Business Plan (BP). A BP is designed to capture a realistic and practical picture of your yoga business over the next three to five years. Your BP will provide you with a clear focus of where your business is now, where it is going, how it will get there and whether it got there.

Studies have shown that successful businesses are more likely to use BPs. This does not mean that developing a BP will guarantee a successful business, but it is ONE of the ingredients that make a business successful. The significance of a BP cannot be overemphasized.

Your BP can help you work through the following items:

  • who will be your customers/students?
  • the methods of marketing your yoga business
  • whether you will employ staff in the short, medium or long term
  • how much money you need to start up, operate and grow your yoga business?
  • your expected income, expenses and profit, and
  • realistic growth rates for your yoga business.

As you progress in starting and operating your yoga business you may start to see that there is a difference between working ‘in’ your business and working ‘on’ your business.

Working ‘on’ your business is spending time ‘on’ developing a BP, implementing the plan, monitoring budgets and cash flows, managing risks etc. Working ‘in’ your business is doing what you actually want to do, which is, to teach yoga.

Business advisors often find that many yoga professionals see their teaching as something other than a business, perhaps as an extension of their yoga teaching skills, their yoga technical expertise or their calling.

Running a business requires its own set of skills and disciplines that are quite separate from the technical skills of the Yoga Teacher. A key challenge (not only in the early days, but right through your professional yoga life) will be to find a balance between your professional yoga work and the management of your yoga business.

The Business Plan

A BP is a ‘living’ document that is reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in both the economic environment and your own objectives and priorities.

The key components of your BP include:

  1. Business details — This is where you outline your business structure, registration details and any licenses or permits your yoga business holds.
  2. Identify the services you offer — This is the ‘what your yoga business does’ part and identifies the areas your yoga business will work in. For example, my yoga business offers four yoga classes a week.
  3. Operations section — This section outlines how your yoga business works on a day-to-day basis. It includes information about:
  • how your services are offered — my yoga classes are 1 hour long and are held during the day and at night at the following times ……
  • your premises –my business has a 6 month lease on premises that accommodates a maximum of 15 students per class
  • your employees — hiring, developing and managing of staff — my yoga business currently does not employ staff
  • suppliers — my business buys yoga equipment from XYZ Pty Ltd
  • equipment — my classes will use the following yoga props in class …..
  • your insurances– such as professional indemnity insurance, public liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • how your students get in contact with you — students contact me by mobile phone, Facebook and email
  • how you receive payments from students — students pay for classes by direct deposit, cash, or Paypal
  • your credit policy — students will pay in advance or at the start of class
  • your refund policy — students who are not satisfied with my class receive a refund
  • your memberships with professional bodies — I am a member of Yoga Australia.
  • your technology, computer systems, software — in the short term my business will use my current laptop and software to track students, income and expenses etc. In the longer term I will investigate the use of software where students can book a class and pay online.
  1. Marketing, branding and social media strategy — This part looks at promoting your yoga business, acquiring students, monitoring your competitors and achieving your growth objectives. Your strategy should address the advantages, disadvantages, risks and results of your marketing channels.
  2. Financial strategy — This section includes information about your business financial goals, start-up costs, and projected cash flows. Your projected cash flow looks at your expected expenses and income over a specified period of time (usually over 12 months).
  3. The Future — This section covers your plans for the future, your short and long term goals and expected rates of growth. For example, after twelve months I will offer more yoga classes each week, one-on-one sessions for individuals, classes to businesses at their premises and yoga retreats twice yearly.
  4. Exit strategy — This part considers how you will exit leave your business. It is probably not something you like to think about it, but it’s inevitable that one day you will exit your business. Whether you decide to close down your business, sell up, retire or transfer ownership of your yoga business to family or a trusted employee, it is important you plan for that day.

Many government agencies offer advice, templates and tools including templates of business plans, financial forecasting, marketing and social media plans.

It may also be useful to obtain professional advice and assistance from a solicitor, an accountant or a business advisor. Seeking the assistance of a professional, can help you see your business in a more objective light. Your consultant’s external perspective and professional skills can complement your skills and knowledge about your yoga business to form the most effective on-going planning team.

So once you have prepared your comprehensive BP what is next?

The next step is to implement those plans, as well as, manage the day-to-day operations of your yoga business. This is the topic of the next business support article.

Toni Smart has been practising Yoga for over 25 years. She completed her Yoga teaching qualifications in 2015 and is a Level 1 registered teacher with Yoga Australia. Toni established her own accounting practice (Smart Tax and Accounting Services) in 2014 after 15 years working in the public sector specialising in taxation. Toni is interested in providing assistance and sharing her knowledge about the process of establishing and operating a yoga business, to new and established yoga teachers.
For more information email tonismart@bigpond.com