In general the Pilates industry is not the most innovative. With that I don’t mean the Method but the way studios tend to operate. It is a competitive world. Clients don’t necessarily see the difference between classical pilates, fitness pilates or any other hybrid version.
So you need to make sure you stay fresh with your approach and offering. How you can use automation to generate more leads via social media, email marketing and website tracking. And how to use technology to make working with remote teachers smarter. Before.... someone else shows up around the corner who will do all these things plus offering great Pilates.
Below are five tips to Think Like a Startup:
1. Test everything
In this day and age, you can run lots of tests online and inside your operation where tracking results is pretty easy. New pricing? Run a promotion to a landing page. New product on the horizon? Leverage social media to get your followers involved in its development or early-bird buying.
With all the free (and near-free) tools available, it’s never been easier to test concepts before a big investment. Spending lots of money in anticipation of launching something new is a huge waste - and the old way of rolling out new ideas.
2. Fail fast
Make the goal of new projects to fail quickly. So, set expectations that we are going to learn what not to do and pivot quickly as the data confirms something isn’t working.
Reposition failure as ‘learning’ so that your team is willing to take risks and share their results openly with others.
3. Compete with yourself
Always be asking how others can beat you and do that thing before they do. Bigger, better-resourced companies can throw money and people at opportunity, so always be looking for your own gaps.
As a side note, established businesses sometimes launch alternative ‘competitor products’ to fill a void and spin-off an opportunity that isn’t their core focus (see below on this point). When these spinoffs are a risk to the parent company's core revenue, it is better to have toes in both waters.
4. Spinoff talent, don't lose it
If a great idea comes up and your smartest people are excited about it...don’t risk losing them. Instead, prepare to spin off a new venture and keep a piece of the pie.
Your most entrepreneurial people will leave anyway once they find their ‘aha’ moment, so capitalise on them rather than lose them for a good Return Of Investment (ROI).
5. Keep learning about new technology
I know it’s not always the first thing on your mind but the stuff coming down the pipe is incredibly transformative. Block chain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and more. Read blogs. Watch videos. Absorb as much about it as you can.
And don't just watch your industry. Be looking for how other industries are doing things so you can have your 'aha' moment before someone else does.
⚠️ Fair warning: People will always be looking for ways to use (new) technology to disrupt industries, including ours. As technology rapidly advances, individuals with fresh thinking will come out of nowhere to steal your customers. Be that disrupter!
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Marco Dingemans is a certified Authentic Pilates Education International (APEI) instructor