Shortly after we opened our doors, Lisa Menard Schmahl gave me a simple piece of advice. She told me her grandmother was a gardener and kept to the motto: “The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps.” I learned this phrase is commonly applied to everything from ivy to perennials.
I wanted to open our doors and hit the button that would turn us into an established, well-oiled machine. I wanted to see a straight line on our growth chart, with all of our metrics – classes per week, students per class, teacher pay – trending in one direction, every single week and every single month.
Are you laughing yet?
This year, we did leap. There were times when the energy in our studio was so vibrant I wanted to declare “success” on every goal I’d set. Then, we’d take a little nap. On one particular day, we didn’t have a single student come to any of our four classes. I spent countless hours online researching how to help people find us, how to help people make it to yoga, how to connect in our community, how to (do everything related to running a business), and at times I felt like I was failing at all of it.
I went back to my business plan and vision. I realized I was often focused on the wrong things, and I had to reorganize my goals to be more in line with why we opened our doors.
I decided to focus on 3 things:
- Serve the students who attended class
You were our number one focus this year. All of your teachers, me included, felt rewarded each time you showed progress, shared positive experiences, or simply came back for more yoga. Many of you started your yoga journey with us this year. Today, you are yogis. That is pretty awesome and not at all sleepy.
- Determine the needs of our community
Torrance needed a yoga studio. I knew that, but I didn’t quite know what type of yoga studio Torrance needed. I have spent my career at studios in the Beach Cities and Northeast LA, and I know each neighborhood is unique. Learning about our neighborhood, it’s people and it’s flow, helped me to make sure we became the studio that this street was asking for.
- Build a dedicated team
Man, do I feel happy about this one. I have the best damn teammates in the business. They are growth-seekers, knowledge-lovers, people-servers, and damn good yoga teachers. Even on that day when no one showed up to class, our teachers showed up, on time, ready to go, and with a smile of acceptance when it was time to go home. Writing paychecks to our teachers is the most fulfilling part of my month.
I’m proud of these three metrics. I didn’t open this studio to change the world. I opened it to benefit the lives of people who interact with us, and I believe we did that. I also believe we contributed to our neighborhood, enhanced the lives of our team members, and taught some killer yoga classes.
I’m ready to creep ahead next year with a continued focus on those critical reasons why we are here.
What does that mean for you? Here are three things you can expect.
- Improved facilities.
The first yoga studio I worked in didn’t have heat for a year. It was 2 blocks from the beach, and it was cold, even with the space heaters pumping for hours before class. The next studio I worked in had slanted floors and no air conditioning for two years. It was in Northeast LA, and it was hot, even with the doors open all day long. I remind myself of these things all the time; the space we occupy is constantly evolving. There is no rush to make it perfect. This year, we’ll continue to improve the facilities with some secret surprises coming your way. I love the studio as it is right now, and I know these improvements will only enhance your experience.
- Diverse programs to fuel your growth.
We learned you guys love an opportunity to dig deeper into your yoga practice. Workshops like Demystifying the Vinyasa, Yoga for Low Back Health, Sound Baths, and Anatomy & Physiology filled up with yogis eager to learn. I’m thrilled to provide an even more diverse workshop schedule for you all this year. Yoga is multi dimensional and ever evolving, and we are ready to pump up your practice with new experiences.
- More community and connection.
My favorite days are the ones where everyone at the studio is saying hello to one another. I love bumping into our yogis at Torrance Bakery or Old Torrance Coffee & Tea. Sometimes, I even see one of our yogis walking on the beach. We want more of this! Keep your eyes open for times to connect and get out into our amazing neighborhood.
We look forward to serving your yoga practice in the coming year. Thank you for being a part of who we are and motivating us to creep forward to the new year.