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The following is a small sample of what you'll get in the Super Studios Manual.

This is an excerpt from just one interview. There are over 170 pages of information in the full manual.

What do you think was primarily responsible for your being able to grow the business?

We all are extremely hard working. My partner had great vision; he is able to see the big picture. He basically said teacher's training has huge potential as a revenue generator for the business. From the very beginning he said yoga studios usually don't make much money. It's a $17 per class business. In New York , the average class is $17. So he was very big in creating alternative revenue streams other than just classes, which he viewed as a vehicle to up-sell to the students to buy retail, to buy workshops, to go on yoga retreats, to do teacher's training, and to do other areas of the business that generated more income for us. That was one thing. When I left being in charge of teacher training in New York it was continuing to grow. It was a $500,000 a year business of which our net profit was about 50%, depending on a couple different variables (like how much I taught ¨C we'd save money if I taught more of it because we didn't have to pay someone else to teach it). The net profit on a class is much lower percentage. You have huge overhead, at least in New York City , you have rent. Everyone has those expenses, but in New York those expenses are more.

I created a very successful teacher's training program. When we bought the studios it was held twice a year, with 20 people, making $60,000. In four years it was 200 students a year making $500,000 a year. I'm just giving ballpark figures. We were a school that ran teacher's training 365 days a year. We had all these different formats. We had one month intensive where people would fly in from all over the world. We would do a four-week consecutive teacher's training. Then we had a weekend one for the local clientele who all had day jobs and wanted to do teacher's training on the weekends. We had two different levels, specialty training from kids' yoga, to restorative, prenatal, seniors, ¡°mommy and me¡±, etc. There were all these specialty trainings that developed out of our more generic 200 and 300 level trainings.

Subsequently, we had teacher's trainings taught by amazing teachers. The quality of the programs was really high, so our training was really successful. We would bring in specialty teachers, nationally known teachers, but we also had our senior staff teaching part of it, as well as local experts¡­.

We didn't have any money in the beginning. For the opening, we had all of our peppiest and most outgoing teachers literally standing on the street and handing out fliers. It seems cheesy, but our first weekend open we had to turn people away because we had so many people coming in through the doors. It was a great location and that was important. We also just did a lot of innovative, inexpensive marketing through our entire time owning the studio.

What was your policy for paying teachers?

It was flat rate with a per-head over a certain amount. We explored a lot of different options and we found that teachers want a certain amount of security. They want a guaranteed base. But we also found that if we could give them incentives to view their class as a business, in fact, my partner would always say your class is a business and you're responsible for marketing it. We're marketing it too, but every interaction you have with a student is an opportunity to either get them to come to your class or scare them away. We really tried to empower them to think that way, so we always had per-head amount as well.

How did most of your students and clients hear about you?

A successful strategy we did was Internet marketing. We did a lot of creative things. Another strategy we used, because we had no money, we used a lot of work-study people. In talking to people in the yoga world, I often hear what a disaster they've had using work-study people. We had huge success with it. We actually had a work-study person who was a genius in doing all the web site stuff, so when you Google yoga or teacher's training -- we had a really high position in a natural search ¨C we were the first to come up. When you Googled ¡°yoga New York ¡±, you got us, and when you Googled ¡°yoga teacher training¡±, you got us. We did a lot of that, especially for our teacher's training program.

We did all this guerilla marketing. Usually we did something just like a card with a picture of someone doing yoga on the front, with basic information on the back and we would plaster it all over New York City . We paid someone to go to the health food store around the corner, the chiropractor down the street, the dance studio, a coffee bar, etc. We would cross-refer with businesses. The card always had a pricing special on it. I'm a big believer that you need to draw people in with something, so we tried a lot of different pricing specials. We had a $40 intro offer that was unlimited yoga for a month. That was a big one. We also did the first class free. We would track these cards coming back in. I was writing an article recently so I asked my partner what the number was, but we had about 35% of our new students walking in the door who came with one of those cards. That's pretty high. We were pretty aggressive about distributing them. On all of our collateral advertising material we had beautiful pictures. On a side note, if you're trying to get beginners to come into your studio, you can't put a picture of someone doing an intense yoga pose on the cover, it would scare people off. So we had beautiful beginner poses on the cover of the card. We would have general information about the studio, and then we would have pricing specials. That would bring them in.

How did you optimize and make use of word of mouth to get referrals?

We would give students free classes if they brought a friend. We would run various specials like Valentine's Day, bring in your lover to get something, or we would have a raffle for everyone who referred a certain number of people. We were really big on teachers bringing people in. We would run contests with our teachers for whoever could bring in the most number of students and we would give them $250.

What were some of your top marketing techniques?

We offered special incentive programs that would encourage students to come back and sign up again and again¡­

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I feel privileged to be a part of this wonderful project. I sincerely thank all the yoga studio owners for giving generously of themselves, and Aurora for her tireless work in putting this wonderful resource together.


Coach Al Lipper