Business plans are known for being hefty documents outlining an entire business, and Yoga teacher business plans often follow this structure. However, I have found that a more lean and light weight guide that’s straight to the point and actionable is the best format for busy Yoga teachers by offering all the direction of a traditional document but without the nuances, focusing directly instead on the where, when, how, and whats. It needs to be a plan with clearly defined customers, competitors, and goals which leads to specifically correlated actions. By having these measurable goals, you’ll know exactly where you are and be able to overtime, raise and meet your objectives with sensible tactics.
This first section in your Yoga teacher business plan defines your reason for being a Yoga teacher and acts as the motivation, inspiration and guide for all endeavors you undertake in this grand enterprise. What is it exactly that drives you? Is it to heal those for whom conventional methods have failed, to create and minister to a healthy and spiritual community, to be a global far reaching voice to spark better lives?
Personal And Business Values
What are the values and philosophies that you want to operate by? For example, do you want to ensure every action you do is compassionate, patient, mindful, disciplined and fair? Or perhaps, to strike a healthy balance between profit and service. To blur the lines between work and personal life to have deeper relationships with students? Know the conduct you want to adhere to and make everything you do consistent with it.
Now you know what you want, it’s time to research the actual market place, customers and competitors to understand the opportunities, barriers and potential solutions that are out there.
- Customer Segments: Thoroughly research, categorize and describe the different demographics out there. The more detailed and accurate the description the better. What are the age ranges, incomes, behaviors, geographies, yoga consumption patterns, yoga styles, yoga class type preferences, yoga goals, level of expertise, etc. of each group? Online secondary research, surveys and interviews with yoga students and teachers can all shed light on this information
- Yoga Industry Overview and Trends: Research, list and describe all the categories of services that are happening and sought after in the Yoga industry. Are there any trends that have been growing, or something on the horizon that might get bigger? We know Yoga retreats are everywhere but is there a specific group of people inclining towards more hardcore spirituality for instance, or is gourmet yoga really going to turn into a thing? Put down everything you know that’s out there so you know what you can work off of from the get-go.
Choose Specific Customer Segments To Target
With the gathered customer data, industry services list and your own ideas, choose the customer segments you’d like to target. Broadly going for every customer out there can be one possibility for yoga new comers, but eventually each yoga customer group has their specific needs and not bringing a yoga experience tailored to that subset can mean business lost. Once you’ve identified the groups you want to focus on, flesh out the descriptions of these groups with more detail through deeper research. These descriptions should inform what sort of product they are likely to respond most positively too.
It’s important to determine, depending on your overall goals, how profitable these groups are. Are they populous ones where you can get many customers, or are they smaller but you can juggle many different yoga classes/events for each groups together to meet your quotas?
How Are Other Yoga Teachers Catering To These Segments?
What makes the successful ones attract and retain while the others don’t do as well? What makes them difficult to compete against, and how would you get around that? Check to see what kind of marketing they are doing, what makes their branding work or not work, and what their students say about them.
Identify and Describe Your Products and Services
List out the product and services you wish to use to target your customer groups. Use what you’ve already seen from the industry research as well as your own thoughts. General common services are yoga classes, yoga retreats, private yoga sessions, yoga therapy, detox programs, while more specialized products may be advanced bikram yoga, books focusing on an advanced topic, silent meditation retreats, Ayurvedic merchandise or surf yoga.
Design each item to attract its intended segment and decide what the unique selling proposition is, or what will set it apart from products/services from other teachers. Are you competing on price, by focusing on specific niches like yoga for couples, or perhaps are meaning to have a higher incorporation of the full 8 limbs of yoga in your classes?
With your values, mission statement, target customers and tailored products, come up with a description of the essence of your brand. In one to a few sentences, declare what you want your customers to think of when interacting with and touching your brand. For example you may want students to think of “obtaining a completely transformed life,” “finding unforeseen levels of joy and bliss,” or “being vigorously empowered in mind, body and spirit.”
Also determine your brand style. What themes and sentiments do you want associated with your brand? On a visual and written level, decide on the sort of imagery, music and styles of writing that best depicts it. Example themes and sentiments attached may be, cutting edge international, non-trendy non-beautified genuine, pampering luxury, hardcore spirituality or benevolent healing and love.
Is the brand the “coolest and most progressive thing to do,” or “bringing the world closer together in one health and one joy?” A brand style may be natural imagery with soothing article tones, or colorful and playful imagery with more youthful and artsy wording. Once this is set, everything you do from marketing to events/product design should be consistent with the brand essence.
This is the section that sets the measurable goals of your vision and will act as your target to eventually think bigger, with higher impact and greater meaning on your yoga teacher journey. Make the objectives SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and with Timing(due date). Decide what SMART objectives you want to hit for the year, each month, each week.
Examples of such objectives could be: raise attendance for Yoga classes to 30 students in 3 months, increase the number of newsletter signs ups to 400 by next month, increase student return/retention rate by 40% for the next mindful meditation class. Remember, it’s not just how many students, objectives can also be for marketing milestones such as gaining more Facebook fans.
Meeting these objectives often begins with marketing whether it’s attracting or retaining students. Determine the platforms, channels, types of content, frequency and different targeting methods for different customer groups.
Social media helps both in promoting specific yoga services and driving traffic to your site as well as showing your values, providing credibility building advice related to yoga and health, connecting more personally with prospects, and setting the sentiment of your brand. Content in blogs, online publications, geography focused magazines can do the same but with greater depth. Don’t forget SEO to increase site traffic and also consider formal advertising networks such as through Google Ads. There are a plethora of other methods to market, but ensure they all align with your brand essence which you defined.
Once traffic gets to your site, decide how you’ll make services well presented, attractive, relevant to the prospective students, and how they can get more information easily. Will you use some sort of web tracking like Google analytics, or any 3rd party provider such as Mailchimp for sending out newsletters, or network with potential partners?
Gaining attention is only half the story as they have to like what they see. Flesh out out what your classes, events, and merchandise need to offer to remain competitive to your targets. Anything can be a factor, teaching styles, yoga focus, music used, philosophy, successful testimonial cases, level of difficulty, retreat initinary, etc. are just some examples of what to look at. On the purely operational sides are there things you need to do such as scout out best cost over benefit retreat locations, good studio deals, continue into your own advanced yoga education, branch off into holistic healing methods, look into the relationship between music and meditation?
Make it Happen
Make your Yoga Teacher Business plan straight to the point and concise with the essentials and no nuances to let you know exactly what you want to get out of this venture, what the customer groups need, how to adhere to your brand guidelines, what your products and objectives are and your clear marketing and product/operations strategy to get there. As you take actions, you will definitely return to revise this write-up, particularly marketing, product inclusions and general operations.
If you found this article helpful, please do like my Facebook page below, or send me any questions you might have on this topic. I am also hosting a 2015 Yoga Teacher Training in Dubai.
Contributed by kayayogatherapy.com
by Kaya Peters
(Kaya Yoga Therapy)