I’m Gonna Do It! My New Business Idea: One Life Foods Market

It’s often said the best business ideas come from solving a problem.  And that you have to be passionate about a startup business for it to succeed.  As the owner of 2 Pure Barre studios, I’m extremely passionate about fitness and living a healthy life.  I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I can’t imagine not working out.

But there are two parts to that … what about the healthy life?  Yeah, there’s this whole healthy eating-thing that goes along with staying physically fit and you can’t really ignore it.

Unfortunately, the business that I already own doesn’t integrate healthy eating into its offerings … so, I’m gonna do it!  I’m going to start a new business to help solve a pretty big problem I’ve been facing: How to eat healthy meals when I’m too busy to cook.

Something tells me many of you struggle trying to solve this problem too!

What if there was a solution?  What if a business existed that eliminated most of the time required to eat healthy at home?

I will be launching One Life Foods Market (www.onelifefoodsmarket.com) to do just that.  Sorry, the website isn’t up yet—but it will be soon!

One Life Foods Market will be the place for busy people to buy healthy meals when they’re too busy to cook for themselves.  The business will have 3 tiers:

  1. One Life Foods Meal Plan—Want to cook, but find yourself totally uninspired when you get to the grocery store? Me too.  But it’s funny, when you have a meal plan along with a grocery list of all the things you’ll need for the week, shopping is a breeze and cooking is fun.  There are enough things in life to worry about, eating and making good food, shouldn’t be one of them.

This is how the business will start—the website will have monthly meal plans for sale.  I’ll be able to gage interest in the concept with minimal investment and spend time getting feedback on what meals customers like best or what could be improved upon.

  1. Pre-Made Meals Membership—You just don’t have time to cook, but want to eat healthy. Ordering your meals in advance for the week and picking them up would be your dream come true.  It’s mine too.  Luckily we know each other!

You may be wondering where the “market” part of One Life Foods Market comes in.  Assuming the feedback from the meal plans is positive, One Life Foods Market will open a store front for the pickup of pre-made meals.  The business plan will be to sell various types of weekly meal memberships—think meals for 2, 3, or 5 days made just for you.

  1. Hungry Now for a Healthy Meal—You got it! Simply walk-in and grab a meal or two.

Couldn’t plan ahead and order?  Work deadlines cutting into your cooking time?  Or just made a snap decision not to cook?  Walk-in and select a tasty meal.  Grab some healthy snacks, maybe even a bottle of wine.

So, what do you think?  Lots of work needed to build One Life Foods Market—branding, building and launching the website, marketing, finding the store front, opening, and hiring employees.  My first tasks will be to build and launch the website as well as do all the legal stuff that you have to do when starting a business.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress right here on www.shesonhertoes.com

I’ve made some big progress on outfitting my new home office, and on Thursday, I’ll reveal some pics!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Why You Need to Hire These 3 Personalities to Run Your Membership-Based Business

Not gonna lie, owning a business with a membership-based model is pretty stellar.  Having reliable, predictable revenue coming in each month gives any business owner a lot of confidence when planning a budget, knowing when to reinvest money back into the business, or when it might even be possible to give your hard-working employees a bump in pay.  A business with a membership-based model has a lot of options that a business relying on one-off sales simply does not.

There are, however, some unique considerations when hiring a team to run a membership-based business.  You can’t rely on one type of salesperson to take care of your members or clients.  Since clients may be visiting your business multiple times each week or even every day, it’s important to match your employees’ personalities with those of your vast, diverse group of clients to provide excellent service and keep your clients coming back for more.

Here’s why your membership-based business needs the following 3 personalities:

The Natural

We all know someone who could sell ice to an Eskimo or a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white on a 90-degree day—basically, a sales natural.  When you walk into a business and you are greeted by The Natural, you feel welcome and at home.  Everything is easy.  They’re easy to talk to and you feel comfortable.  So comfortable in fact, that you can’t help but find something to buy.  Whether it’s a product or service, you are excited about your purchase.  Maybe you frequent the business more often or start spending more time there because The Natural is so friendly.  Hell, you might even become friends!

And it’s obvious why having The Natural around benefits a membership-based business model.  You can always count on The Natural to win the trust of your clients and make the sale, over and over again.

 The Friend

But not all clients respond to The Natural.  In fact, many prefer the quieter demeanor of The Friend.  You know … someone who is just so nice, you can’t help but want to be around them.  The Friend might not be as out-there or gregarious as The Natural, but hiring The Friend to serve your clients is critical.  The Friend is honest.  The Friend is trustworthy.  The Friend would never push you into making a bad purchase—they’re looking out for you.  And that’s why many of your clients prefer to be helped by The Friend.

Make no mistake, The Friend, can make the sale.  But, The Friend is more concerned with ensuring your clients get genuine help and honesty when contemplating a purchase.

 The Achiever

Every business needs The Achiever—the ringer!  You know, it’s 5:00 PM and unfortunately, you had to make a big return … um, we need to make $600 in the next 2 hours otherwise we don’t make our daily sales goal … or we’re $15,000 shy of our monthly goal and it’s the 30th.  Ah!  Who do you task with saving the day and making it happen—that’s right, The Achiever!

When presented with a seemingly impossible challenge, The Achiever, finds a laser-like focus and gets it done.  The Achiever is highly motivated by challenges, SPIFS, a bonus, or even recognition of being the best.

And I wouldn’t know anything about this motivation, even though when I worked at Victoria’s Secret during the summer in high school, I won every single SPIF just to prove I could do it—including a contest to open the most Victoria’s Secret credit cards.  I opened 25 in one day!  I think the second-place finisher opened 7 over the 2-week contest.  It was a landslide and I won what seemed like a life-supply of underwear.  Turns out it was just enough for 4 years of college, but I won it!  Whoop!

But back to your membership-based business … you’ve gotta hire The Achiever because there will be a time when you need someone to rise to the occasion and save the day, ‘er goal.

Fortunately for me and my membership-based business, I’ve managed to hire several Naturals, Friends and even a few Achievers (besides me).  It’s worth noting that The Natural and The Friend could also turn into The Achiever under the right circumstances—the personalities do have some crossover.

If you own a business with a membership-based model, take a look at all your employees.  Do you have a good mix of the 3 personalities to match your vast, diverse group of clients?  If not, make an effort to incorporate some ways to identify either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever in your next round of interviews.

I spoke with several members of my team before writing this post and they all easily identified themselves as either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever.  So, if you’re trying to think through each role in my studios, give it a go and post a comment.  I’d love to hear which personality you are in your own business.  Or if you’re an employee, which of the 3 personalities you most identify as your own.

If you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share to help grow the She’s On Her Toes community.  And if you haven’t already, please follow She’s On Her Toes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @shesonhertoes.

On Thursday, I can’t wait to tell you all about my new Vitamix blender and how it’s literally changed my life.

Until then, stay on your toes!

 

The Best Ways to Beat the Summer Fitness Slump

It seems counterintuitive.  Wouldn’t you want to workout in the summer?  All those shorts, cute sundresses, rompers, and bathing suits show more skin and require more confidence than your baggy winter sweaters.  But, alas.  No.  What seems like a busy time for fitness is actually known in the industry as the dreaded summer fitness slump.

You know, that time when it seems like almost all of your clients head out of town to the beach, the mountains, fabulous trips to Europe and the Caribbean, and a few more trips to the beach for good measure.  It’s a time for fitness studio owners to hunker down, spend as little money as possible, clean out your back-storage room, and anxiously await your vacationing clients to all come back for a busy Fall—please come back!  Pretty please!  You haven’t forgotten us, right?!  You have to workout eventually …  seriously, we miss you.  Come back soon …

But what if you could evade the summer slump?  Is it possible to actually grow your client base in the so-called slow summer months?  You’re damn right it is.  In fact, adding clients in the summer is possible—yes, there is a segment of the population that doesn’t take a 3-month vacation.  Unfortunate as they are (poor “vacationless” souls), they can keep your summers busy which is a great morale boost for your Team not to mention nice for your finances.  Here are my top 3 ways to beat the summer fitness slump:

Don’t Switch to a “Summer Schedule”:  It’s tempting to think that when a large segment of your client base heads out of town, you’d be better served to switch to a “summer schedule” and eliminate or consolidate classes.  While it seems that you would save money by not having to pay a teacher for a class that’s not full, you’re actually giving clients a reason not to visit your studio.

The first summer Pure Barre Winston-Salem was open, we decided to eliminate the 9:45 AM class because attendance was really low.  We rationalized that clients would just come to the 8:30 AM class or another time in the early morning or afternoon instead.  This was a huge mistake.  Clients who regularly took class at 9:45 AM thought we had taken the class off the schedule permanently and we actually lost about 15 clients who just couldn’t understand that the class would be added back at the end of August.  Head hits desk.  Bourbon is poured.

Lesson learned.  Now, I don’t switch to a temporary “summer schedule” which eliminates otherwise popular class times.  Removing classes can confuse your clients and thus give them a reason not to keep taking class at your studio.

Do Schedule Pop-Up Classes or Community Events:  The key to attracting new clients in the summer months is to host community events or free classes that are open to the public.  In addition to creating interest in your studio for new clients, community classes are also fun for your existing client base—a win-win for your business.

We actually just had a Pure Barre Pop-Up class this past weekend at Village Juice Company, an amazing local restaurant that serves cold-pressed juice, smoothies, grain bowls, and salads.  It was great!  We had a class outside and then all got to hang out drinking and eating some healthy treats—a nice little Sunday.

But as a business owner, there is a lot of risk involved in hosting a class outside.  You’re trying to re-create an in-studio experience outside where things such as traffic noise, weather, and a host of other factors could potentially ruin the experience for your paying clients and any new clients just learning about your business.  Ah!  It’s a lot of pressure!

If you invest in the proper equipment and have some back-up systems in place, hosting a Pop-Up or outdoor class should be pretty painless.  How did we do it?

First, we invested in the proper equipment including a branded tent, branded table and tablecloth, a portable speaker, and wireless microphone.

KD Canopy:  We purchased our tent from KD Canopy several years ago and it’s been used a lot!  While the company will tell you this tent can be set up by 2 people, you’ll have a much easier time with 3 or 4.  The quality of this tent is great and it’s easy to pack up, move, and store.  We also added on a branded tablecloth, which we’ve used many, many times more than the tent.  Definitely get the tablecloth!  It was an easy add on that is a staple to our marketing efforts at events.  Both the tent and tablecloth have been great purchases and make a very professional first impression.

Weltron WAS-TUBE 5 Portable Bluetooth Active Tower Speaker ($455.04):  We literally just bought this speaker after learning about it from a company we had been renting equipment from for our previous outdoor classes.  While the cost seems expensive, we were paying the rental company $400 for each use of their equipment, so this speaker has already paid for itself and we have several other outdoor and off-site events planned before the year is out. I bought this speaker through Amazon using American Express points, making it virtually free (another way to save).  Pretty amazing—which also describes the sound quality of the speaker.  Did I mention it’s extremely easy to set up, break down, and transport?  Simply connect your iPod or other player to it and turn up the volume.  If you’re looking for professional-sounding equipment for indoor or outdoor use, look no further.

Samson Airline 77 Headset Wireless System with Fitness Microphone ($299.99):  This is a similar model to what we use in our studios, which is a huge advantage to teaching a class in an unfamiliar environment.  You can easily connect this system to the Weltron Tower Speaker and have both music and the mic working at the same time.  Just plug the mic in, connect, and use.  It’s that simple.  We had a back-up mic just in case.

Announce a Multi-Month Challenge:  Initiating a multi-month challenge is a great way to keep existing clients engaged and regularly taking classes in your studio during a time that would typically be slower.  It’s also a great way to keep client energy high and keep your studio relevant.

During June and July, we have challenged all of our clients to participate in our Pure Health Challenge. Our past events this year seemed stale and uninspiring. We had just been recycling them from previous years.  It was time to shake things up and drill down to what really mattered most to me and my clients—a total health experience.  Here’s what we came up with and what we’ll be doing in my studios for all of June and July. That’s right!  60 days of Pure Health!

  1. First, we decided that we’d need a baseline to know where you are with your health. My chiropractor, Dr. Gray, has this body composition analysis machine called, InBody.  We partnered with him to bring InBody to the studios in the beginning of June for every Pure Health Challenge participant to get an assessment including weight, muscle mass, fat mass, water, hydration level and many other indicators to know where they were at the beginning of the Challenge.  After 6 weeks, Dr. Gray will come back to the studio with InBody to measure everyone’s progress.  We’ll literally be able to quantify all of the work completed during the Challenge.
  2. Everyone gets the Simply Real Health cookbook to start planning healthy and tasty meals.
  3. During the Challenge, we’re asking everyone to take 4 classes each week. This seems reasonable and doable.  If you complete 4 classes each week, you’ll earn a small reward from Pure Barre or our other partners, Village Juice and Kleur Shop.  If you don’t complete the 4 classes, just reset the next week.    But, sometimes just starting is the hardest part, so we’re partnering with Kleur Shop to host an evening to talk about what’s holding us back from committing to working out like we know we should.
  4. At Pure Barre, we have special Intensive classes which take our clients further out of their comfort zone to target specific areas of the body and do some exciting new things we wouldn’t normally work in a regular class. Everyone participating in the Pure Health Challenge will have the opportunity to take our Strength & Balance Intensive in June and the Full Body Burn Intensive in July.  Sweat!
  5. And what Challenge calendar wouldn’t be complete with an outdoor Pop Up class?! We had an amazing pop up at Village Juice the morning of Sunday, June 25th and got some great juice and healthy snacks after.  (This is the event I just described above.)
  6. Finally, one of my favorite restaurants in Winston, Spring House, agreed to create a Paleo Happy Hour for all Pure Health Challenge participants at the end of July!

Coordinating all these activities was a huge undertaking, so I’m glad I have my Team to help me. We’re about half-way through the Pure Health Challenge and this summer has started out strong with engaged clients and a new excitement for taking class and focusing on overall health.

While many of your clients will take the summer months to spend more time traveling than taking classes in your studio, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the so-called summer slump.  By taking the time to plan some great events and keep things fun and engaging during the summer, you can actually keep building your client list which can mean thousands in additional revenue for your business at the end of the year.

One of the reasons I like to purchase makeup and skincare online through Nordstrom.com is that sometimes there are great gifts with purchase.  Right now, you can double up on gifts—there’s a 19-piece gift with beauty purchase of $100 AND a Trish McEvoy gift with a purchase of $100 in Trish McEvoy products.  Since I need to get a few things, I’ll tell you how you can double up on gifts to get the best value in Thursday’s post.  On Friday, I’ll share my favorite sunscreens to avoid the dreaded burn.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Weltron WAS-TUBE 5 Portable Bluetooth Active Tower Speaker ($455.04)

Samson Airline 77 Headset Wireless System with Fitness Microphone ($299.99)

What’s the Lifetime Value of Your Average Client?

One of the questions I’ve been asking myself over the last three months has been, “How much should I spend on marketing and advertising on a per client basis?”  Essentially, I’m trying to figure out how much is too much so I’m not wasting money and eroding my net income.  Determining this value could also be useful when planning my monthly clothing expense budget.

I just finished a great book called, Buying Customers: Revolutionary new rules for you to get more customers with far less money, by Brad Sugars.  In his book, Sugars discusses the importance of looking at marketing and lead generation as an investment rather than an expense.  Why is that?

Well … when you calculate the Lifetime Value of your average client or customer, you might realize that you can spend more than you thought to attract new clients or “assets” to your business.

This week I took the time to determine the Lifetime Value of my average client as well as my highest spending clients.  Here’s what I discovered:

First, I wanted to look at the value of an average client in 2016.  To calculate this, I took my annual sales divided by the number of active members and came up with $1,675.  Our clients on Pure Barre Platinum (12-month contract) pay $139 x 12 months = $1,668, so I find it valuable to know that an average client would spend about $140 each month on classes and clothing.

Next, I ran a “Big Spenders” report in MindBody, which is the client management software we use at my studios, to determine the value of my top clients in 2016.  My top 100 clients, or the top spending 100 clients, had an average annual value of $2,545.  My top 10 clients, or the 10 clients who spent the most at my studios, had an average annual value of $4,097!  This means my very best clients were spending about $341 each month or 144% more than my average client!

But these are just annual average values and my typical client stays on for about 3 years.  This number was a little tricky to determine, but I did the best I could looking at my top 20 clients and how long they’d been taking class.  Then I did a simple average to come up with the 3 years.

Based on this information, the Lifetime Value of my average client is $5,025 and the Lifetime Value of my top clients is $12,291.  Or is it?  Each client usually refers at least one friend, so the Lifetime Value of each client at my studios is between $10,050 and $24,582!

What does this mean?  Well, if we don’t get a client to purchase a package beyond our $99 Intro Month, we’ve lost not the value of the next package, but potentially $25,000 or more depending on how many friends that client refers.  Yikes!

It also means that I now have a baseline from which to determine my marketing and advertising expenditures to attract new clients.  If the average client has a Lifetime Value of $10,050, then I can probably spend a little more money than what I have been to acquire new clients.  Specifically, I want to host more events at the studios to promote our Pure Barre community and now I know that spending that extra money makes sense, especially if I can attract more people like my top clients.

Cue the G.I. Joe public service announcement!

I’ve received several inquiries over the last few weeks about what makeup and skincare products I use.  I’ll share my skincare routine with you in my next post.

I’ve also made significant progress writing my book on how to run a successful fitness studio—it’s almost done and I’ve started having discussions about publishing.  This means I’ll be able to increase my posts pretty soon.  Good times!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Buying Customers: Revolutionary new rules for you to get more customers with far less money, Brad Sugars

 

How to Make Your Business Matter

It’s time to get real—if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.  If it’s not important to you, you won’t.  Simple.

Being in the fitness industry, I hear a lot of excuses.  So many that I’m kind of numb to hearing them.  I’ve heard them all.  Occasionally someone invents one that is so outrageous that I have to applaud them for it—true or not, still an excuse.  If you really wanted to do it, there wouldn’t be an excuse.

I bring this up because last week I didn’t post because I just wasn’t into writing.  It wasn’t important enough to make time to do it.  I hate that it happened and I’m sorry, but I had a chance to recharge and work with my Team more this week, so now I actually have some great things to write about.  Good times!

Ok, so a few weeks ago I had a chance to attend an incredible presentation about business given by Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a non-profit organization with a mission to create a world that’s full of giving.  B1G1 helps small and medium-sized businesses achieve a more social impact by embedding giving activities into their everyday business operations.

The main takeaway from Paul’s speech was that the true challenge of business in today’s world of the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and countless other social media outlets is to matter.  As a business, you must choose to matter to your clients and move from being dispensable to being indispensable.

Paul told us that in 1 second, there are 7,519 Tweets typed, 2,472 Snaps sent, 58,875 Google searches made, 68,234 YouTube videos watched, and 2,566,295 emails sent.  Incredible!  But, as a business, how are you supposed to compete with that?!  How can you stay relevant or important to your clients with all those other activities?  Or ahem, distractions?  How do you make your business matter in the midst of all these other things happening each second?!

According to Paul, the answer is to get smaller.  What?  Smaller?  How is getting smaller going to make your business matter more?  It’s all about getting bigger and growing.  Having more, means your business is getting more successful.

Paul would argue that instead of marketing to the masses, you need to drill down and be irresistible to a specific group of people.  In order to get smaller and matter to your clients, you also have to figure out the “why” of your business.  Why is your business opening its doors every day?  Why do you do what you do?

This weekend, I had the chance to get together with several members of my team to talk about a lot of these things.  The purpose of our meeting was to figure out how Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons can matter more to our clients and specifically, how we can update our membership perks to add more value to our clients and increase the quality of their experience with us.

This is why I love being a business owner.  This type of meeting and interaction with my Team is what gets me going.  Solving problems like how to be better at what we do and getting my Team’s thoughts on how to solve these problems—there’s nothing better than that in the business world.  We spent 2 hours collaborating and came up with some great ideas!

In addition to attending Paul’s speech, I’ve also read 2 great books that I think you should check out:

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue, Robbie Kellman Baxter

Smart Retail: Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World, 4th Edition, Richard Hammond

To start our meeting, we first took some time to create a list of the qualities and likes of our typical Pure Barre Platinum client.  Pure Barre Platinum is our 12-month contract that offers the best pricing and most membership benefits.  Approximately half of our active clients take class as Platinum members.  It had been at least a year since we last updated our Platinum benefits, so it was definitely a priority to see what else we can do for our most loyal and engaged clients.

I’m glad that my Team was excited about talking through who our typical Platinum client is, because they came up with some great ideas, that I had not thought of.  Of course, our typical client lives within proximity to the studios and is health conscious with disposable income to spend on exercise and fitness.  But my Team also identified that they want to be ahead of trends, they are also goal-oriented and in some cases extremely competitive.  Once we had a good list of the things are clients represent and value, we could take a better look at how to add more value to our Platinum membership.

We realized that we could do a better job engaging our clients and incorporating nutrition and healthy eating into our offerings at Pure Barre.  Specifically, we discussed doing the following:

  • Allowing clients to bring unlimited free friends to the studio to take class. Right now, we just allow 1 free friend each month, although if someone wants to bring more, we are always accommodating.  This is something we’ll definitely adopt.
  • Working on partnerships or events around healthy food.
  • Creating a private Facebook group for Platinum clients that would give them access to all the things that are important to us as teachers, healthy eating, staying on trend, enjoying time with friends or getting support from the group.
  • Alerting Platinum clients when new retail comes in before it arrives.
  • Inviting clients to take over our Instagram accounts for a day and show us what they are up to.
  • Create videos to help clients stay on trend. We were especially excited about creating one called “How to take your best barre selfie.”  Who wouldn’t want to learn that?! Haha!
  • Offering birthday discounts so clients can treat themselves on retail when they are celebrating themselves.
  • More marketing of our Bride-to-Be and Baby-Bounce-Back packages on Facebook to bring in new clients.
  • Creating better or more-easy-to-understand marketing documents to sell Pure Barre class packages.

Ok, so some of these ideas don’t necessarily just offer value to our Platinum memberships, but that’s kind of the beauty of getting the Team together, you start to have great ideas about other parts of the business or you realize that doing something else that’s pretty simple would improve the business.  Since a lot of my clients might be reading this, I’m not sure if or when we’ll adopt any or all of these ideas.  If you feel strongly about one or all of them, please let me know so we have that input!

By completing this exercise, we also stumbled upon our “why.”  Sure, we offer Pure Barre classes and provide a killer workout, but that doesn’t really encompass why we do what we do.  Our “why” is this:

“We challenge people so they can learn their true strength.  Being strong is about being fit and eating well.  When you prioritize being fit and eating well, you live well and your possibilities are limitless.  Taking care of your mind and body allows you to take care of everything that is important to you.  We make that happen for you.”

 Pretty powerful.  Figuring out our “why” makes taking care of our clients easier because we know how to get smaller and matter.  We can now become irresistible to a specific group of people and that is how we’ll continue to be successful by increasing our clients on our Pure Barre Platinum membership.

Next week, I want to tell you about another presentation I got a chance to listen to given by the Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars.  It was a big pump-up presentation with jumping and shouting.  One of the chants was “I am a money magnet” and we all had to stand up and shout it.  But, what can you do with the money to matter?  I’ll delve into that in my next post.

Until then, stay on your toes!