Silicon Valley SBDCSan Jose, CA

"My sessions with my SBDC Business Advisor were invaluable. Her advice was clear, sound and most importantly unbiased. She always followed up with more useful information than one would expect. What I value the most about my SBDC Business Advisor's advice is that it was specific, pertinent, applicable and executable. The fact that she is a yogi herself helped a lot. She advised me on things like locations, prices, insurance, contracts, grand opening launches, the list just goes on and on. I also felt like I could share my ideas and plans with her, whether they are half or fully baked, without the fear of being judged or measured. I cannot think of any small business owners who could not benefit from her advice."

Pik Chu Wong

BACKGROUND
The Yoga Studio owner Pik Chu Wong launched her business in September 2010 as a way of giving back to the community as a gift of health and life that was given to her through years of practicing and teaching Yoga. Mrs. Wong was diagnosed in her late teens with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a chronic disorder that results in bone erosion and joint deformity. Her doctors anticipated that she would require a wheelchair by age 30 and would never have children of her own. Mrs. Wong has been completely medication free for the last 7 years and has given birth to a daughter. Practicing and teaching Yoga were an essential part in finding a natural way to combat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The Yoga Studio is a beautiful and intimate 1500 square foot facility located at 505 E. Campbell Avenue in the Lloyd Square shopping center in downtown Campbell, California. The Yoga Studio is the first in the San Francisco Bay Area to introduce Unnata ® Aerial Yoga, the practice of traditional Yoga using a soft and colorful Yoga hammock to partially or fully support the weight of the body. In addition to Aerial Yoga classes, The Yoga Studio offers Hatha, Anusara, Mukti, Baptiste Power, Deep Flow classes and workshops ranging from Dharma Yoga to Restorative. The Yoga Studio supports the local community by providing work-trade opportunities, free yoga class passes to The Art of Yoga Project, and health education to schools. Owner Pik Chu Wong also sponsors a Make a Wish Christmas Tree community event at the studio.

CHALLENGES
Mrs. Wong came to the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center for assistance with legal entity planning and a location analysis for her new business. A SBDC Business Advisor and Mrs. Wong discussed possible locations, operating hours and the purchase of health care insurance for the self-employed. They also discussed staffing options, service offerings and launch, including discussions for marketing the grand opening. After launch, they discussed emerging competition, The Yoga Studio’s competitive advantage, and pricing options.

ACTIONS
Mrs. Wong had her business plan completed before meeting with the SBDC. Their advising meetings were primarily brainstorming sessions where her business strategy was refined. The SBDC and Mrs. Wong discussed ideas on location, pricing, the yoga market and demographics, the competition, marketing The Yoga Studio’s competitive advantage, and grand opening plans for the studio.

RESULTS
The Yoga Studio was a profitable business from the first month. The grand opening event was highly attended. The studio doubled their student base increasing revenue 60% by the thirdmonth. They were featured on Channel 2 News in October 2010, the San Jose Examiner in early December 2010 and the World Journal newspaper in mid December 2010. By January, the fifth month of operation, the Yoga Studio had received 13 student reviews on Yelp.com, all with a 5 star (top score) satisfactory rating.

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Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.