I’ve known Ryan for a long time as a teacher at BYSJ, but his true itch was to travel. He did the bulk of it in Chile, rock climbing and wilderness guiding, with his gal, Isidora! Ryan is super special, so it was pretty cool getting to see him this year in January – after three long years – and then even more special to hear him say, “I want to stay here and open a studio.” What?!
How to Grow – When the Time is Right
Community over Competition
My days at Il Fornaio were never about competing. In fact, it was common to have one of our restaurants close to other Italian restaurants. It never bothered us. We focused only on creating what we did with very high standards: delivery of authentic Italian food. That same concept carries over easily to my life now in Bikram yoga. I never considered altering anything we did because of what others were doing around us. The product we delivered was working – and it was working over and over again.
After 16 years of owning BYSJ, I still hear, “Thank you, you saved my life.” 16 years and we still get an average of 170-200 new people each month. 16 years of non-stop testimonials of how people have transformed their one life. Even today, as I was lingering in thought finishing up my make-up in the bathroom, the last member to leave leaned in to where I was and said, “Thank you for all you do.”
So, it’s clearly not the yoga that’s broken – it’s the lack of business acumen of the studio owners. In other words, maybe like Il Fornaio, the business ran formless for awhile but by the 10th restaurant or, in our case the 10th studio in the Bikram world, we needed form: guidelines from a mother ship. Because it never happened, those studio owners with some business experience had a better chance of survival than those that didn’t. What made it worse was the fact that this yoga was so good that it masked any business problems or lack of business organization until it was too late.