Giving Pilates studio owners a framework for success
11 February 2009 - Posted by James Raaff in In the press, News
First-time small business owners often make decisions that later prove detrimental to their businesses because they do not have a structure on which to base their decisions. MBA graduate and former business management consultant Anita Vos will provide such a framework as a key focus of the business solutions workshop that she will hold for Pilates studio owners at her Welgemoed studio on 13 September.
After 25 years of involvement in small and corporate business, including a decade in the management consulting division of Deloitte & Touche, one of the “Big Four” consulting and accounting firms internationally, Vos is well aware of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face in establishing and running a business.
Responding to the needs expressed by people working in the Pilates industry, Vos, a certified Pilates instructor, decided to develop a practical workshop to help aspirant and existing studio owners overcome the hurdles often encountered in getting a business off the ground and building long-term sustainability.
She explains that while many Pilates instructors shine at providing training to clients, they often lack the expertise to realise the full potential and profitability of their new ventures when crossing over into the arena of business management as studio owners.
In her workshop she and chartered accountant Jeremy Petersen, who heads the accounting and auditing company Jeremy Petersen and Associates, will provide straightforward advice to ease the way both for potential entrepreneurs who dream of setting up a Pilates studio and for existing studio owners struggling to ensure the viability and smooth operation of their enterprises.
While the advice that Vos and Petersen will provide is based on proven business principles, it will be “packaged” in a user-friendly format that will allow studio owners to implement the skills they learn in their businesses immediately.
Much of the learning will take place through group discussions sparked by questions contained in a workbook that will be provided to workshop participants. Vos believes these discussions will allow studio owners to share and benefit from each other’s experiences. To ensure that they get the most mileage from the workshop and are able to take home lessons of value, Vos, who rose to the position of associate director at Deloitte and is currently an advisor to James Raaff and Associates, a Pilates practice, will add into the mix the insights she has gained during her years of business experience.
While completing her MBA, Vos, then one of the youngest members of her class, found group discussions to be of immense value and benefited enormously from the input of more senior executives. She believes that the group discussions at her workshop will hold the additional advantage of acting as an ice-breaker, opening the door to future networking opportunities and encouraging a freer exchange of information among studio owners, many of whom work in isolation at present.
Vos’s workshop will cover a wide spectrum of topics, from addressing the question of why the entrepreneur is in business to examining what form of business entity is most appropriate for each of three different sizes of Pilates practices typically found in the industry; from discussing what documentation is required to apply for a bank loan, to providing information on how to structure employment contracts and client agreements; and from raising awareness of the labour laws and other legislation with which Pilates businesses must comply, to suggesting simple systems to keep control of client appointments and outstanding fees.
Her down-to-earth advice will even encompass pointers on how best to motivate employees, and touch on specifics such as how much to pay Pilates instructors employed at the studio, as owners of independently-run studios often have no means of accessing information about market-related salaries or commissions. “In fact, we’ll be examining the whole issue of ‘money in and money out,’ to try and help entrepreneurs feel more at ease with the financial side of business so that they can run their studios more effectively and place them on a more profitable footing,” she says.
Vos believes that her workshop is the first in South Africa aimed primarily at the Pilates industry. But she adds that business owners from other fitness industry sectors or, indeed, from any other field may attend the workshop as the business principles to be provided are generic and can as easily be applied by others eager to tip the balance of their businesses towards success.
The Saturday morning “Business Solutions for the Pilates Studio” workshop will run from 8am to 1pm, and the cost to attend is R900 per person. To book, contact the admissions office at James Raaff and Associates on 021 465 2870 or email email@example.com.