Mindbody CEO: Advice & New Features to Help Studios During COVID-19
You aren’t in this alone—and seeking out support for your business is paramount. Check-in with chambers of commerce, small business associations, local governments, and other advocacy groups about what relief may be available. (Here is a comprehensive list of resources where you can get started.)
In this video, Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer shared his tips on what to do in the coming days and months:
Video is a great way to maintain relationships (and memberships). We’re seeing growth in both virtual class offerings and class bookings across the board, especially in the Mindbody app. We’re also gearing up for the launch of Mindbody’s virtual wellness platform—there will be more information to follow. In the meantime, here’s how you can take advantage of the Mindbody app and your software as you navigate the virtual world:
- Make your digital classes bookable via the Mindbody app. This will help you track who attends, as well as easily communicate with them.
- Include the word “VIRTUAL” in all caps in the class name. We’ve created an enhanced search feature that will help people discover your classes.
If you aren’t offering digital services, read more about how to get started.
Look critically at your finances
COVID-19 and coronavirus stopped your business, but they haven’t stopped the bills. Now’s the time to think about how you can save money (or get creative about how to generate revenue.) We’ve created a guide to help you think through where you might be able to cut expenses.
Other things to think about:
Around the world, the owners and staff of fitness studios, spas, salons, and integrative health centers are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. While we’re all facing fear and uncertainty, we need wellness—and each other—more than ever.
Be sure to think about social support—social isolation can be tough for anyone, but as a business owner in the business of serving people, it’s especially hard. Join your peers in the Mindbody One community to share ideas and connect with others going through the same things as you.
Connect with your peersJoin the Community
This is Rick Stollmeyer, CEO and founder of Mindbody, and I wanted to reach out to each of you personally to let you know the latest on what's happening on our end, and also how deeply we're feeling the impact that this crisis is having on you, and your businesses.
In recent years, you know, with Mindbody's success, a lot of people have asked me, "is this stressful? To run a business as large as Mindbody?" and I always say to them “no.” That's not stressful. I'll tell you what's stressful: On Thursday, I have a rent check to make, or a payroll check to make, of let's say $15,000, and it's Monday and I only have $8,000 in the bank. That's stress. That's the stress that I'm going to bet almost every one of you has experienced multiple times in your business career, and it's a stress you're undoubtedly feeling right now. And we know, and I've heard first hand from you, from many of you, that you've taken the actions necessary to reduce your costs. And I know how tough it's been, the layoffs you've had to announce, to idle good people—teachers, trainers, therapists, stylists—who are just unable to deliver value. And I also know that you're facing a rent check on the first of the month.
So, one of the first things that I want to pass along to you, as one entrepreneur to another, is that this is an extraordinary, unprecedented event. And it is entirely appropriate to have a conversation with your landlord. And in many cases, landlords are deferring rent entirely during the crisis. And in other cases, it's not possible for the landlord, and there's some negotiation. But I urge you to do so. Because what you need to do right now is to conserve as much of your cash as possible, so you can hunker down during this crisis. And, God-willing, when this crisis is lifted, and we're able to return to some semblance of normal, that your businesses are there to serve your clients. Because one thing we're all learning during this crisis is, while working from home might seem kind of fun at first, it gets really, really really old. And I firmly believe that hundreds of millions of people are going to come surging back into your studios, your spas, your salons, your yoga centers. We're going to need that human contact. So you're going to weather through this crisis, and you're going to come out the other end an even stronger business. To help you do that, we've been accelerating a number of things at Mindbody.
It's been really thrilling to watch how many of you, you scrappy, determined people, have instantly adopted streaming video and video-on-demand techniques of delivering classes and appointment sessions. My personal trainer has been doing personal sessions with me via Zoom meeting. Many of you have implemented Facebook, or Instagram, you've used all kinds of different techniques, FaceTime even works. And it's amazing, right? I have two emotions, doing personal training in my bedroom with my personal trainer. My first emotion is, "wow, isn't it cool that we can continue to do this," because I really, really need that workout, with all the stress that's going on right now. And the second emotion I have, again, is, "man, this really sucks. I can't wait until he and I can be in the studio together again." And so, embracing both of those is both the opportunity of virtual-based fitness, virtual-based wellness delivery, and of course, the promise of face-to-face. Because, I'm sorry, I do not believe that Mirror and Peleton are ever going to fully replace what you folks do for your clients, in towns and communities and cities all over the world. We as human beings need human contact, we need the face-to-face experience. And 3,000 years of human evolution isn't going to be changed by a few months of a virus crisis. So, the Mindbody team, realizing this a few months ago, accelerated plans to deliver a video platform. And that platform is, what it does, is enable you to deliver classes and appointment-based experiences, but have the proper paywall behind it. Right now, of course, and if you're not doing it you should be doing it, if you say by Facebook or by Zoom or by Instagram that you're going to open up your classes, it's cool, right, because you're staying connected with your clients and your members. But the down side, of course, is that I can share that link with, you know, 5,000 other people, and you're not collecting any revenue from those people. So the key element of this integrated platform, integrated video delivery platform, is that it's going to have the paywall functionality. In other words, you can extend this to your members, and your members only, and your paying clients. So, this product, which we've been scoping for many months, and been researching and developing, to originally deliver it in Q3 — in fact, we had it all planned for a big debut at BOLD in August, in New York City — we've accelerated and we're actually releasing the first version of that this weekend. And we've got about 25-50 beta customers lined up on it, and we're going to be sending out, if all goes well, a general release to all of you before the end of next week. And we're not going to charge you anything for it. This product is going to be free to you for any of you who want to use it, and there will be a link on this email that you got this video with, that tells you how to apply to get it. And our amazing team of customer support, and onboarding folks, are standing by and they'll be there to help you implement it, along with any other add-on or upgrade of our product that you're interested in. As I said in my last email, this is a great time to be looking at what Mindbody can do for your business better, both during the crisis and also as you emerge out of the crisis.
The third thing I wanted to talk about is government relief. So, we're very pleased to see that, after weeks of wrangling in the United States, our Congress has seemed to finally align around a massive relief package. And that that relief package has included in it small business relief for precisely the kinds of businesses that you folks own. We also understand that there are different relief packages in Canada, UK, Ireland, EU, Australia, New Zealand, and multiple other countries around the world. And so, we know this stuff is dynamic and rapidly changing, so on our COVID resources page, which also is linked in this email, you're going to see, you go to that page and see the latest updates from our team on how to apply for these relief packages. And by the way, we the Mindbody team have been advocating for this, actually directly lobbying both Congress and the White House, for this particular relief package. Because we want to be sure that small business owners like you are not getting forgotten in this.
I want to close by saying that we are all just deeply, deeply impacted by this, and we feel the pain that you are experiencing first-hand. We're all in this business at Mindbody because we love what you do. You inspire us. You've devoted your lives, you've devoted, in most cases, your net worth, everything you have, to help other people live healthier, happier lives. You're beautiful, amazing people, you're the reason I've been doing this for 20 years, and our entire focus and energy right now is devoted to how we can help you weather this crisis. And come out the other end even stronger business owners. Because this wellness revolution is nowhere near ending. The wellness revolution — hundreds of millions of people around the world devoting significant portions of their lives to improving their own health and happiness — it’s not going to be turned around by COVID-19. It's going to continue, I believe it's going to continue even faster in the years to come. I believe that the growth in the 2020s is going to be twice the growth of the last 10 years. And your objective right now is to get to the other end of this crisis so you can be part of that revolution.
So I wish you all well, I wish you health and happiness, I wish you the silver linings in this crisis: greater connection to your family and to your loved ones, the recognition of what really matters in our lives and that's the most important thing of all. And also time to just be out in nature, and experience this beautiful planet of ours. Take care, everybody. Be well.
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