The online world might convince you it’s necessary to operate your business at full throttle year-round. Quite the contrary is true, however. There are actually four seasons of a yoga business. And when you recognize the traits and pace of each season, you can plan accordingly. Better yet, you will be prepared to thrive under any and all conditions that come your way.
I’ve known the cyclical nature of business for quite some time. It’s natural that our body has energetic fluctuations throughout the year, and the fact that our business would too is a no brainer. Yet I just couldn’t quite find the right way to put my ideas into words.
Then, a blinding-flash of the obvious appeared as I drove along our mountain stream a few weeks back. The water looked almost stationary on the quiet, fall morning. It was as though the entire river was stagnant.
As I turned around another bend, though, a very rocky section of the river emerged. Here the water flowed vigorously around the stony blockades. The river came back to life before my eyes. It was still moving, but just had the appearance of stillness in previous sections.
It’s then that I realized that the elements of nature can serve as one remarkable guide.
FOUR SEASONS IN NATURE
There are four basic seasons in nature–winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Each have unique changes in temperature, rainfall, water levels, and vegetation growth. What’s great is that these differences allow you to experience familiar surroundings with a fresh perspective.
There are times you might look forward to these changes. You can bundle up in cold climates, and bare your skin in the summertime. Or, if you don’t care for a particular time of year, you find reassurance that climate and pace will soon pass. You know the seasons don’t last forever.
Perhaps the best part about the cyclical nature of the environment is that by the time the same season returns 8 or 9 months later, the scenery is completely different. Trees have grown taller. Evidence of new life is all around you. And you’re likely unphased that the same season is back again. You’re not surprised or caught off-guard.
In fact, you’re actually prepared for the shift. And, you can find ways to best manage your time and energy during those seasons to stay well during the upcoming season.
SEASONS OF A YOGA BUSINESS
The same is actually true for your yoga business as well. Each cycle has specific characteristics that indicate the season you’re in. This is slightly different than the seasons of nature, though. Instead of focusing on outside temperatures, yoga seasons are mostly influenced by pace.
The winter season is your slowest time of year. Depending on your location around the globe, this may or may not actually coincide with decreased temperatures. Similarly, during the summer season, you get the most traffic. This is when you are most busy and your schedule most intense. This could match the scorching heat outside. Or, it may not.
Your location, the size of your community, and your specific target market can also impact your seasonal swings.
I created a worksheet to help you discover which time of year you actually have a “winter” in your yoga business. This will help you understand all four seasons of your yoga business with far more clarity. This video walks you through the process.
Photo Credit: Bex White
WINTER SEASON IN A YOGA BUSINESS
The winter season in nature is characterized by cold climates and shorter bouts of sunshine. Animals hibernate or migrate at this time of year. There is also a slower pace in winter. Keep in mind, though, that the winter season of your yoga business might not necessarily coordinate with snowy weather. Your slow season could be in the middle of the year with hot temperatures
The point is that your slow (winter) season of yoga business will likely demonstrate the following traits:
- Fewer new clients
- Decreased engagement of existing clients
- Less cash flow
- Decreased need for additional staff
- Email communication slows
- Web traffic, including social media engagement, decreases
What to focus on in your business during this season:
- Use the time to work ON your business. In other seasons, you are too busy to do the behind-the-scenes work to keep you growing in a smart way.
- Establish systems within your business so you can operate more efficiently when things pick up again. Tracking analytics is one example of this.
- Automate areas of business to streamline your energy before high season.
- Facilitate team-building events to increase trust and communication with your staff.
- Enjoy the quiet time to turn inward and foster new ideas. Remember, dreaming big is one of the 3 essential skills of an entrepreneur.
- Fill up your own energy tank (perhaps spend more time on your mat as a student) so you are ready when the rush of spring begins.
- Refine your spending habits so you can stay cash-positive.
- Create new workshops, product lines, or services that you can roll out in the spring. The extra time on your calendar will give you the much-needed freedom to innovate.
- Modernize or upgrade your space.
- Decorate your yoga space to align with the actual season outdoors.
- Work with a mentor to gain new ideas.
Other creative marketing ideas to try at this time:
- Partner with niche markets that are in high season during your slow period (and could use your yoga expertise to support their fast pace).
- Offer off-season packages or challenges to inspire student participation.
- Promote early-payment specials for the upcoming high season.
- Reach out to populations that are not affected by your seasonal swings, like seniors or athletes.
- Rent out your space to other businesses.
- Craft email sequences to stay in touch with your community, without having to see them face-to-face.
- Volunteer in your community to make new connections. Basically, you want to get out of your bubble and see what other people are up to in your community. Then let the word-of-mouth about your business send you clients year-round.
SPRING SEASON IN A YOGA BUSINESS
The cold of winter melts into the fresh days of springtime. Leaves return to trees and more sunlight spans the sky. Flowers are in bloom. Fresh produce abounds. And you have greater zest to explore and create.
The springtime in your yoga business also carries this revitalized energy. Here are some common traits of a business in the spring season:
- Clientele increases
- Sales are increasing as well
- You need more staff
- You face new tasks and demands each day
- Communication increases from a variety of sources
- People are seeking you out
- Your staff is energized and eager to serve
Harness this vibrant energy in the best way possible. Here’s how:
- Test drive those new ideas you came up with during the slow season. Offer your newly-created workshops and run your new email marketing campaigns.
- Seek feedback from your community about these new offerings.
- Make changes to your workshops, courses, and business systems based on the immediate feedback you receive. This will prevent you from having to change course when high season kicks into gear.
- Save your increase in profits. This will be a practice of good money management, and put you in a better financial place come next winter season.
- Fine tune your workflow. Based on your natural talents, decide what you do best and when you do that work. Then begin to delegate some tasks that don’t lie within your wheelhouse of strengths.
- Clear out the clutter. Remove what is unnecessary now so it doesn’t hinder you come summer. This could be teachers, staff, or systems that are no longer up-to-speed with your yoga vision.
- Consider hiring seasonal staff, like college students or seniors, who know the work they do with you will be a part-time gig (until your slower season).
- Decorate your yoga space in harmony with the season. This invites clients into your space.
Spring Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
SUMMER SEASON IN A YOGA BUSINESS
Summer is full of adventure. You’ve got long hours of daylight in which to explore. And you have warm nights to connect with friends, listen to music, and savor the sweetness of pleasant weather. The heat and fire of the Earth’s climate are often reflected in the pace of your business.
During your most intense season of business:
- Your schedule is packed
- Classes are full
You have a waitlist for private clients, workshops, and regular classes
- You’re on the most, almost constantly
- Cash flow is high
- Profits increase
- You need all the help you can get from teachers and staff
To stay present with the people and process in front of you, try the following:
- Enjoy the fun of being in the yoga industry. You’re uplifting the lives of others, so savor those moments.
- Keep customer service a priority! Since your clients are the lifeblood of your business, show your appreciation by keeping them happy!
- Pinpoint what’s working. This will help you keep the momentum going through the season, and likely into fall. It will also prevent you from making decisions that don’t align with your values during the busy nature of the season.
- Avoid making large changes to your business. You can make minor tweaks without sending your systems into a tailspin. But only do so if it doesn’t create more stress or chaos.
- Make sure you stay at your best, by meditating, eating well, and staying hydrated.
- Save profits now, so you have a reserve for the slow winter season.
- Decorate your yoga space to match the new season. This increases a subconscious connection with you and your clients.
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
FALL SEASON IN A YOGA BUSINESS
Fall, or autumn is another transition season in nature. Temperatures cool, trees hint at the barren season ahead, and winds of change gather strength. You know a slower time frame is ahead. Yet, there are moments of summer intensity that linger at times.
You can tell you’re in the fall of your yoga business because:
- Clientele starts dwindling
- Cash flow slows down
- Sporadic spots of high client demand
- Your expenses can outweigh cash flow
- Fewer staff members are needed
To stay grounded during the autumn season of your business:
- Stick with a structure to keep you grounded.
- Get feedback from your community as to what they loved over the summer season. Use our 10 tips to craft a great feedback form now!
- Track the data you receive. This will help you project where you need to adjust your strategy to make the most of the market in the upcoming seasons ahead.
- Gather stories of transformation. The yogis practicing with you over the past several months have likely seen positive change in themselves. Ask them specifically about this, and use their stories of transformation on your website and in your marketing material to inspire new clients to practice with you.
- Slow down your spending.
- Offer seasonal events that assist your clients in this transitional time.
- Set time aside to reflect personally and professionally on the year behind you. Reflection is a skill that all masters in their field utilize well.
- Refresh your business health goals. If you know where you’re going, you can make decisions in the slow months that align with your intentions.
Re-decorate your space yet again to match the season outside. Your clients will love these subtle changes to your studio.
Photo Credit: Indigo Photography
REMEMBER THE ONE-THIRD RULE
The path to what you want in life rarely follows a straight line. The same is true for the seasons of your yoga business. Not all of your months in winter will be slow, and not all of the months in your summer might be intense. That’s where the one-third rule comes into play.
Remember that one month per quarter, or one third of each season, will likely be slower than the other two.
If you have a game plan in place for these slight dips, you’ll remain efficient and clear-minded regardless of these fluctuations.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Just as there are seasons in nature, so too are there four seasons of a yoga business. There are slow seasons in which you can turn inward, create, and boost your behind-the-scenes systems. You have a springtime where growth is clearly evident and you can try out your ideas with your increasing clientele. Summer requires all of your energy and focus to sustain the intense pace. And then fall is the time you get to slow down a bit, reflect on your progress, and get feedback on the entire year. Once you know about these cyclical changes, you can be prepared and ready to thrive in any given climate.
Take Action Now:
- Download our Four Seasons of a Yoga Business Worksheet.
- Answer the questions to gain clarity about your own yoga business. You can watch this video that walks you through this process.
- Start to craft the best approach