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About Coach Al

Helping Yoga Studio Owners Unlock Business Secrets

So who is this Centered Business Guy?

I've been self employed most of my working life. I started by helping people fix things, but back in the early days, it was more like fixing computers and broken radios and the occasional toaster.

In 1991, I led workshops in team building, effective leadership, and personal development, serving thousands of clients through Cal Poly State University. That's when I met my true calling: helping people to fix things. And not fixing things, but working on themselves and their creative ideas, such as their businesses.

My formal education includes an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science (the study of human thought), as well as two graduate degrees - one in Education, the other in Psychology.  These have really served me in helping people understand what they do and why they do it.

When I first started running my own business many years ago, I was terrible at it. I really had no clue. I thought everyone I hired was the best choice, and I sent them to their desk to figure out what I wanted them to do, and if they could just let me know when they were done. It took me a very long time to learn the key points of running a business - any business - in a sustainable and successful way. The best part of it all is that I've made the mistakes myself, and have real compassion for what my clients are going through.

When I finally cracked the business code, I realized that it wasn't hard after all. It's like baking a cake. There are certain ingredients you need to run a successful business, just like you need flour, sugar, eggs, and butter for a cake. But if you don't know the amounts and order of those ingredients, how good will your cake turn out? It's the same with businesses. My goal is to show you how you can do that just as well as baking a cake, without costing you a fortune or getting yourself overloaded.

Perhaps just as important as my formal education and business education is my ongoing development in personal growth and transformation. I regularly keep my momentum going through leading-edge workshops and constantly read business and leadership books. I am a graduate of life and business guru Anthony Robbins "Mastery University" program. I give talks and presentations to professional organizations during the year, and teach a comprehensive studio business workshop. I like to share my experience and knowledge, and I have a personal "give-back" philosophy that is important to me.

Speaking of giving back, the next place to go is the Free Stuff section, or you can continue reading a recent interview about me and my work.



Interview with a
Successful Business Coach,
Al Lipper



Al Lipper attended Occidental College, Los Angeles, where he obtained his Advanced Bachelor's Degree in Cognitive Science (study of human thought). While in California , Al received a Ford Foundation fellowship, based on his academic background, to pursuer further studies.

In June 1993, Al completed his Master's Degree in Education at Cal Poly State University , California with 4.0 GPA and was awarded Graduation with Distinction. As an avid aviator, Al earned a Commercial Pilot license, as well as Flight Instructor and Advanced Ground School Instructor certifications.

In June 1999, he completed a second Master's Degree in Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in the San Francisco Bay Area. During 2006, Al entered Mastery University at Robbins Research Institute.


Business experience

For over 15 years, Al has conducted workshops that focus on communication, teamwork for professionals. His clients have ranged from executives to students. Additionally, he has facilitated workshops emphasizing personal empowerment, self-confidence and leadership for clients of all ages. His business experience has grown as he initiated a number of start-up companies.

More recently, he served for four years as President & CEO of an engineering company. Based on his extensive background, Al was asked to be on the faculty at California Polytechnic University in the College of Business , where he taught for three years.

In order to serve people on a more individual basis and from more of the holistic perspective he embraces in his own life, he has directed his efforts to providing business coaching services to owners of yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and other holistically oriented, studios.


Personal Life

In February of 2002, Al and his wife, Aurora, joyfully welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Benjamin Martin Lipper, into the world. After many long months, they celebrated yet another miracle of life in March 2005 with Joseph Lincoln Lipper. Al, Aurora, Benjamin, and Joseph are now looking forward to spending many years together enjoying all the wonder and imagination that life has to offer.


Professional Focus

Many holistic practitioners have learned the business strategies needed for lasting success through Al's business coaching services. He shares his unique perspective on overcoming the stressful and overwhelming tasks of running a profitable yoga, pilates or tai chi studio through his experiences as a leadership coach, CEO, and motivational speaker.


Who do you help?

"I help studio owners struggling to grow their business. I help overwhelmed yoga, pilates and tai chi business owners who spend most their time wrapped up in daily business tasks, who can't handle any more clients, or who feel they can't make any more money from their business.

"I help clients find new business strategies which result in generating more clients, increased profits, and more free time for the studio owner.

"While most studio owners are truly masterful in their practice, it is unfortunate that the majority of them have never been given formal guidance in operating a business. No matter what type of person you are, business skills can be learned. It's not that some people have it and some don't - anyone can learn what it takes to run a successful business.

"Think back to when you were new to your practice. Were there times that you thought you had a pose just right, but the instructor gave you all kind of corrections? Now, I bet you do this for your students - within moments, you can correct someone's form in ways that you would never have noticed when you started out.

"A business coach can do the same for your business. The coach can see and correct situations that frustrate you greatly, simply because he has experience in that area, just as you can do for your students."


What is coaching like?

"In our first session, we'll take a look at the current state of your business, as well as your long-term vision for it. We will develop a concrete plan for getting from where you are to where you want to be. We'll identify where you're blocked and implement strategies to move beyond the obstacles.

"Following sessions will focus on the implementation and revision of the plan as you move toward your goal. If increased revenues are on of your goals, we'll look at your monthly profits and determine strategies for reaching your financial goals. We'll continue to improve them based on the results you attain.

"During our coaching sessions, we'll discuss what is working well for you and what is stopping you or keeping you from moving forward. We'll examine any pressing issues that have evolved during the week. Whether it is a difficult employee or you're facing an IRS audit, we'll focus on the issue and leave you with a set of concrete actions for moving toward a solution.

"At the end of each session, we'll determine the next steps needed to go forward.  After each session, you will know exactly what you need to focus on that week in order continue progress toward your goal.

"You'll consider powerful and insightful questions and exercises to clarify your goals, remove the obstacles to what you really want. You'll receive the tools, structure, and consistent unbiased feedback from me to keep you on track."


What traits do you think can help someone succeed at their studio?

"About 80% percent of success depends on your mental paradigm and only 20% on your practical skills. In coaching we work on both - you gain the concrete knowledge needed, as well as seeing your studio in the ways that those who own the most successful studios do.

"Accept that every business - even ones that focus on people, not money - must make a profit. If they don't, they won't survive, and won't be able to continue to help people.

"Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Anytime you try a new strategy - whether it's offering a new class or doing a new type of advertising - have a way to measure your results. You need a sure way to tell 'Did I get more business from this or not? Did I make a profit on this or not' "


Who would a yoga instructor contact if they were starting their business?

"One of the best things a new studio owner can do is work on the business side of a successful studio for a year or so. Understand the ins and outs of it first, then go model your own studio after it. If you don't have this opportunity (or even if you do), consider a coach.

"A coach is an investment in your business. In other words, the knowledge and experience you gain from coaching will earn you far more than the cost of it. This is why I offer a full money-back guarantee.


What do you recommend for an established yoga studio looking for ways to improve their business?

"One of the key aspects of operating a business is evaluation. If something isn't working, then change it. If it is working, then optimize it.

"For example, if an advanced class only has 30% attendance, then either implement a strategy for getting more students in it (special promotion, arrangement with fitness centers that don't offer this level of class, etc.) or cancel the class.

"On the other hand, if you have a pregnancy yoga class that is doing great, then implement a class for new mom's - after all, they won't be pregnant for ever.

"The key is to evaluate your results, then come up with new strategies. Base these either on the experience of others, or on out-of-the-box thinking.


What additional tips would you be willing to offer someone interested in expanding their business?

"Have a plan. It doesn't need to be a formal business plan, but it should include a clear and reasonable path to get from where you are to where you want to be. Included in it should be both what you will need to physically do, as well as income and expense projections for each month for the first year.

"Have a mentor. A mentor can be a friend who owns a successful studio, it can be a coach, or it can even be someone who has small business experience in an area other than running a studio (but make sure it's small business, not corporate). The key here is that they must be successful! If they're not, the two of you will just spend hours griping about problems and randomly experimenting with new strategies.

"There's a saying that goes "Raw intellect is a poor substitute for practical experience." This is why if you go to a high school reunion, you'll usually find that the most successful people were not necessarily the brightest, but rather, the most determined. They figured out the value of experience. Learning from others is one of the best ways to save yourself the pain of re-inventing the wheel.


The next step is to go visit the Free Stuff section or the Yoga Studio Business Tools area.