Do I need to know what my competition is doing?
As a business owner with access to the internet, it can be easy to obsessively research what your competition is doing. Is it worth the effort?
What’s everyone else up to?
When I first became a fitness instructor, I wanted to know what every other instructor was doing, when, why, where, and for how much. I think I just wanted a lay of the local fitness landscape, to see if my prices were regionally reasonable, and to see if there was somewhere I could fit in. I noticed that no one else was doing outdoor fitness classes, which I had always enjoyed, so started organizing beach bootcamps. In this way, being aware of what other services are being provided locally can be helpful for finding gaps to fill.
Teaching these fun outdoor classes helped me to build my confidence in my services. I worried less and less about what other classes were available around me, and focused more on which activities we were going to do at class that day.
Other than that, though…
I learned early on that I couldn’t be responsible for everyone’s full-time fitness profile – we all need to get a bit of activity every day, and most of us love a little variety, so the more fitness opportunities available, the better!
The key as a teacher is to decide what you enjoy teaching the most, and teach that. You will get really good at teaching because it will be so much fun! Right now I love teaching upbeat, energetic flow yoga to unconventional music (let’s say there’s more than a little Yeezy in my classes). And I have such a blast teaching these classes, that it’s a great experience for students!
You also can shift your offerings as your interests shift. These shifts can come gradually or all at once. Sometimes your former clients might shift with you. Other times you’ll find new students to join you. Either way, it’s all good!
What do you like to teach? Do that, and don’t worry what anyone else is doing.
On a deeper level
The more we can honour our true self and our desires, the better. From moment to moment, if we can choose to focus on what is wanted in our lives, this wanted stuff grows. Similarly, if we focus on teaching the types of classes that light up our hearts, people will feel that good energy, and our classes will be vibrant and impactful.
This is the dance of life, and of yoga!
Instead of researching competition, and, like, ripping off class styles or undercutting prices (I don’t know if this is a thing, but this seems like something a traditional business book/Scrooge McDuck might recommend!!) we will attract to us a tribe of other teachers and students who want to collaborate and learn from each other and uplift each other. I am so lucky to know so many talented fitness instructors, coaches, Zumba stars and yogis to bounce ideas off of, refer clients and all around feel great.
So stop researching your competition, and start thinking about what makes you feel good! We are all running our own race. We aren’t running someone else’s race. If we can hone our offering to include only what makes us feel the best ever, this will have the most benefit for our students.