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When you do not see growth in your Pilates business, it is easy to want to blame the competition. I remember when I first took over a studio and was struggling to grow. At this time the studio I was running was one of 5 within one square mile. Our prices were the most expensive of them all.
I desperately wanted to blame these studios for why I wasn’t getting more new clients into our space. But, the truth was they were not the problem. Sure, they might be part of the problem, but if I wanted to be successful, I couldn’t blame these studios. They were not going anywhere, and I would need to figure out a way to rise above if I wanted to stay in business. Side note I ended up almost doubling our revenue in a year and all those studios still coexist except for one who had to move a mile down the road and on the same block as three other Pilates studios.
After assessing what each of these studios offered, their price points, instructor compensation, client benefits and what their overall vibe was I took a hard look at my space. The truth is you don’t want to be the only sheriff in town. Pilates is hard enough to sell/explain to people. Having Pilates competition in your area means more people will have heard of Pilates before they find you. The competitors make your job a little easier. And, think about the last time you didn’t have competition in life. What drove you to do better? Competition keeps us on our toes, helps us decide who we are and what we offer and forces us to be the best version of ourselves.
So, now that I have convinced you (at least a little bit) that your competition is not the problem in your business allow me to give you some advice on how to handle the competition.
1) Do not ignore the competition but don’t obsess about them either. Know what they’re about and make sure you, your community and staff know what you’re offering.
2) Do not be a copycat. Just because it looks like clients are picking up what they are dropping down doesn’t mean they are profitable. Stick to what you like to teach, how you like to offer it and do it the best way you can.
3) Don’t focus on what they have that you don’t have. They may be new and fresh, but you have the beauty of experience (which something you can’t buy). Take the time to educate your community on what you offer. Click here to sign up for updates for my webinar on “becoming known.”
4) Don’t gossip about them to your team or clients. The truth is very few clients jump ship for a competitor. Most clients drift off because they are not getting the experience they expected. (I talk about this in my Client Retention course). Focus on giving the clients and staff the experience you dreamed they would have when you first opened your doors.
5) Take a look at your revenue streams: are they all working for you? Where are you growing and where are you bleeding?
6) What benefits do you offer your team and your clients? I’m not saying you should go and out pay your competition. Or slash your rates. In fact, I will never tell you to cut your prices. That is not how you build a business. But, when was the last time you took a look at what benefits you offered those who work at your studio. How about your client experience? Maybe you started out just offering bottled water. Perhaps you can add a hot water option and a box of teas. Building a communal space, so clients feel welcomed to stay a little longer.
7) Focus on your strengths: what makes you or your studio unique?
8) Who are you for? Knowing who your ideal client allows you to attract the right clients to your space. The competitors will have their own ideal client. And, the beauty is there really is enough clients to go around.
9) Above all don’t play dirty, even if they are!
When competition comes to town, it forces us to take a hard look at what we are rocking and what we are dropping. This is a good thing. So ditch the blame game because they are probably not playing it which means all the time you spend annoyed and frustrated by them you are not working on growing your business and getting it in front of the eyes of your ideal clients.