I’ve learned that you can plan the most fantastic month for your school but you can’t plan the weather. For the last 6 years, we have been shut down by off season blizzard, record snowfall, ice storms and even tornadoes. Just last year we were closed for 11 business days in a 6 week period. I realized that I just can’t sit by and give up so I came up with my Beat the Winter Blues Plan. These are basically tips that any business owner can take to stay ahead of what Mother Nature throws at you.
First before making your plan, you should first know your numbers. What is you average in-house gross per day in a month? Which days of the week are you busiest? For my school I find that our gross income is very low on a Saturday so when we have to close on that day I know that I’m not going to lose that much business so I don’t have to overcompensate for it. However, if we do close on a peak day, then we have to earn back that gross income that we lost. That is why its important to prepare a plan for those days.
First off, you would want to take care of your current customers. You wanna keep them motivated because eventually some of them are gonna get frustrated when their missed classes keep piling up due to weather disturbances so you really have to engage them by communicating with them through your members’ Facebook group. What you can also do is to have a live online training session with them through periscope or Facebook live. Periscope is a live streaming app that you can just download on your phone. When deciding what to use between these 2, find out what social media channels your members tend to use. For me, I use both of these because Periscope helps me reach out to other people outside of my normal target audience whereas Facebook helps me connect with my current members and people who I’m already associated with. When you set this up you have to choose the location in your house well. It should be clean and well arranged. It should not also require a lot of room because this is after all a home session so you wanna make sure that your members will have enough space to execute the exercise at their homes. Identify who will run the class. Is it you or your head instructor? And then you wanna write a lesson plan that relates across the board to all your programs whether its for your Martial Arts students, or your Krav Maga students. This is good for your viewing ratings and interaction because they can all jump in on one video instead of having different videos for different programs. You also want to keep it to less than 30 minutes. You can have 10 minutes for introductions and engaging with them and the next 20 minutes for the exercises.At the end you can ask for feedback and also encourage them to share it to their friends.
The Next tip is to think about future members. How can you increase future membership even in times of weather disturbances? You need to have a new member’s special to bring people in. You can do 50% off your normal starter package. It creates a great call to action and a lot of urgency You can create ads using canva.com and post this on your school’s Facebook page. You have to create a separate ad for the different programs that you have because people won’t pay attention if you put too much information in one ad. You should also prepare this already even before snow day comes so its just a matter of posting and implementing it.
The third tip is to have a super savers special. If you have any events coming up, you can use that as an opportunity to cover the income that you lost. For example when we had a blizzard last year we were down by 2,000 dollars for our monthly gross. What I did was to run a summer camp special. I offered 99 dollars for a 10 week Kids’ Martial Arts summer camp for the first 10 buyers and 150 dollars for the 2nd 10 . This was a very good deal considering our regular fee was 229 dollars. Before dropping the price and giving discounts, make sure that you can still cover the costs because otherwise you will just owe more than you’re gonna get back. We made 2,000 dollars in 20 minutes after that deal was released. Its important to give a substantial amount of discount to excite your members, but not so much to devalue your program or seem desperate. Plus the added condition of it being available to the first 10 buyers gives them the sense of urgency to purchase it now.
You can also do a social media challenge. Challenge your members to make best version of their logo in the snow and post it in their social media account. The one with the most likes can get a cool price like a school sweatshirt or a private training session. Make sure to create a cool hashtag when you do this to make it easier to find. Doing these kinds of challenges creates a buzz on your business even on snow days.
Help your business survive anything when you have a plan in place like this.
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