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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
"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
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
"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
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.