As I mark a year in business with In the Moment , I celebrate what has manifested over the last twelve months. Things I would never have imagined when I started on my journey as a yoga teacher. One of things I have always celebrated about creating the space and the project is the organic and intuitive process that brought it all about, that brought me to the space and brought teachers into my life to share the vision. I have a vision that is based on integrity, non-violent communication and love.
I never had a formal business plan. I did have a vision and a clear idea of what I wanted to create and who I wanted to help, and I had a clear handle on the finances. I originally applied for Social Enterprise funding - which I didn't get because my desire to be integrated and help everyone wasn't targeted at one specific group. The point is, documents exist that formally communicate about my plans, I am not completely flying by the seat of my yoga pants. I just don't have a "business plan".
My commitment for this year was to focus more strategically on the marketing of the business and felt that I wanted to take advice. Easy. There's lots of help out there for small businesses, right? Well... yes. But what I discovered was that there isn't much help for someone with my business "model", or with no business plan! One biggie is that I am not interested in growth. I don't mean I am not interested in expanding my business or catering to more people, or making money. I mean I am not interested in the capitalist idea of growth. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I don't align myself with the idea of growth. What I want to do is run a heart-centred business that also makes me enough money to live on. In normal business parlance - a "profit". I don't think my business is failing if my profit doesn't get exponentially larger.
I was excited recently by being offered free mentoring by a local business organisation until I read this in the criteria : "Growth potential £100K to £250K within 3 years." I turned the leaflet over checking that I had the one for small businesses! Apparently so. And apparently not for me!
Realising that business help was available to me only if I had the sort of business that fits this idea of growth, I decided to help myself. The business was born that way, so it wasn't a difficult thing to envisage. So I started looking online for business information from people that were running my sort of business. I found a site (recommended and endorsed) aimed at marketing for yoga businesses and studios. I downloaded all the free stuff. Great!
Every single piece of advice I read was stated in the negative. "Don't do X" and "Stop doing Y" and "You're probably not doing Z"
I kept going. Maybe there are things that I am doing wrong?
And then I got to the bit that said - and I am paraphrasing " Maybe your teaching isn't good enough!"
OK. Enough. I have my own inner demons and critics without someone who is supposed to be HELPING ME jumping in on the act. And in a week where my despondency monsters were manifesting, it is not what I needed to hear. It's not what anybody needs to hear. It's not that I didn't agree with the idea, necessarily. I believe sincerely that the teaching we offer in the centre should be high quality and I include myself. But there are other ways to say that, and better ways to motivate.
It was then that I came across an article in a yoga magazine which was written by business coach. Via her recommendation I came across The Heart of Business. Now we were getting somewhere. Other people run heart-centred businesses! :-) I have been enjoying some of the generous downloads from this site over the past week. I also discovered Leonie Dawson who embodies heart-centred business for women. I recommend both.
Just those two resources turned my thinking completely. Somehow, despite my rejection of the traditional business model, I had managed to get caught up in thinking that I needed to be doing something different to be successful. And what I really needed to do was to continue to believe in what I was already doing. To do what Mark Silver calls The Remembrance . And to do more of what I know I am good at, and give more of what I have to offer.
I discovered that my best business coach and mentor, is myself.
"Your amazing life and amazing business doesn't have to look like ANYONE else’s.That it doesn't have to be about sacrifice and burn out and disconnection from those things you hold dearest: your family, your peace of mind, your spirit, your integrity, your time out. It can be crafted the way YOU love it. The way it makes YOU happy." Leonie Dawson