When Sarah and Lee Nightingale purchased Poway Pilates in September 2016, it was their first foray into owning a business in the fitness industry—Sarah had worked her way up in the studio from being a student, and while Lee had a business background, this was his first step into the fitness world.
“Business is what I do, business is what I breathe,” Lee said. “I think that the challenge I have as a new business owner within this industry is actually to learn it, because no two businesses are the same.”
Knowing the challenges he and Sarah faced, Lee registered to attend MINDBODY University—a three-day intensive study in business management and software education—in February 2017 to learn as much as he could about owning and running a Pilates studio. At MBU, Lee had the opportunity to meet and learn from other industry professionals and MINDBODY staff on a variety of topics, from staff management to marketing.
Of all of the sessions he attended during his time at MINDBODY University, Lee found himself returning to the topic of key performance indicators (KPIs) during and after the event. Because KPIs show the health of the business, Lee knew that they had the potential of showing opportunities for Poway Pilates.
“It’s important to look at those KPIs, or something very similar to any business you have,” Lee said. “I never used to use them before.”
With the help of the knowledge he developed at MINDBODY University, Lee dug into Poway Pilates’ KPIs, and he ultimately discovered that the studio’s pricing options didn’t match the lessons he learned from MBU. The legacy pricing options the Nightingales inherited with the studio didn’t match the value of the classes themselves—and they were losing money because of it.
Lee quickly took action and created a new pricing structure for the studio. He eliminated external discount and subscription service options in favor of opening more spots for full-paying members to get off the waitlist—eventually allowing him to increase the cost of his annual membership. While the change was difficult at first, the results have been worth it.
A year later, the studio’s sales were up 87% and the studio’s revenue has grown steadily, despite the elimination of discount offerings and correlating drops in attendance.
“I’ve been able to turn people out of low-paying memberships, which is helping improve KPIs,” Lee said. “I’m a big believer in getting the right people, the right price and the right class.”
While it takes trial and effort to find the right type of customers and keep them coming back, Lee knows that with the education he received from MINDBODY University and his MINDBODY software, he’s armed with the right tools and reports to succeed.
“I’m a big number analyzer. It’s okay to try stuff, and if it doesn’t work, MINDBODY will actually allow me to go back and see why it didn’t work and how we could improve,” Lee said. “I love going back year over year, month over month, day after day.”
And in looking back to the first year of the business, Lee can see the value of the changes he made to the business—and the investment he made into MINDBODY University.