A healthy approach to growing a strong business
Five years ago, Emily Clark was working as a Pilates instructor in a small studio in Salamanca. Today, Emily and her partner Todd Skipworth own the business; have expanded across three sites; grown the services they provide; and built a team of almost 40 instructors. In between, they’ve also just welcomed their first child and still managed to lock in their goals and budget for the new financial year.
It’s been an impressive and very busy journey for Emily and Todd, but one they are thoroughly enjoying.
“We both love health and fitness, and we love a challenge!” says Emily, who purchased The Studio (formerly Pilates Please) in October 2013 with Todd. “I had previously been an instructor, and had been travelling overseas with Todd. After 8 months of travel I was ready to get back into Pilates whilst Todd pursued his Triathlon career.”
“The Studio has changed a lot since 2013” Emily continues proudly. “We have grown from one site offering reformer and Mat Pilates to three sites offering Reformer and Mat Pilates, Yoga, Indoor Cycle and Barrecode.”
“Our team has grown and we’ve started further developing and innovating our methods. We have recently introduced combination classes such as Cycle & Core and we are now delivering studio-based work at the Hobart studio. We’re offering private and semi-private groups on specific Pilates equipment, such as the Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Ladder Barrel – some of the original Pilates apparatus developed.”
While the growth has been exponential, Emily admits it wasn’t all planned from the start. “Initially the business was more of a project for me while Todd was competing internationally. He was away for the first two years, although still helped as much as he could from afar.”
“Some great opportunities came our way which allowed us to open our second site, The Studio SoHo. Since then we have been forced to become a bit more strategic, with plans for exactly how we grow the business and what shape it takes now and into the future.”
Expanding a business can be an all-consuming task. Fortunately Emily and Todd had the foresight to realise that working with, and outsourcing to, trusted professionals would allow them the time they needed to focus on their day to day responsibilities without neglecting the strategic side of the business.
“We have worked very closely with Simon since we started in 2013 and he’s been a huge support from day dot” says Emily. “His advice and guidance has helped us to achieve and set many of our business goals. Nothing’s too much trouble and Simon has made it easy to keep a handle on the financial aspect of the business even during our busiest periods.”
“The relationship with WLF works really well for us. Despite the serious topic of most of our discussions, Simon has a friendly casual nature – he is constantly ribbing Todd about how much better I am at managing our accounts!”
“Simon and Noeleen helped us move from MYOB to Xero, which integrated and streamlined all of our accounting. This has given us more visibility of the accounts on a daily basis.”
As the business continued to grow, WLF has been able to provide more bookkeeping services to The Studio, which Emily has appreciated.
“Noeleen has been a big help in setting up our payroll and facilitating with any questions. Both Simon and Noeleen continue to help us manage our accounts and keep up to date with the financial side of the business, which frees up a lot more time to focus on the other operational aspects of the business.”
So, with five busy years of growth behind them and a new addition to their family, are Emily and Todd planning to slow things down for the future? Certainly not – they’ve got too many goals they still want to achieve!
“We want to break down barriers that exist for a lot of people to start their health and fitness journey” says Emily. “I love helping other people, providing a place for them to work-out that leaves them feeling great when they walk out our doors.”
The medium to long term goal for Emily and Todd is to continue growing their business, bringing new opportunities to everyone in the community. The team currently works with everyone from school groups through to people in their 80s, and beginners through to elite athletes.
“But for the immediate future, we’ve just set our 2019 budget and projections with Simon which not only helps the growth of the business but also helps us know what we are working toward, so we can be confident our business will continue to thrive.’”
And a final piece of advice from Emily, for anyone starting out in business or looking to embark on a growth strategy?
“Surround yourself with good people. We have a fantastic team of passionate and energetic people, and they keep me inspired every day. And of course, let our team at The Studio take care of your physical health and wellbeing while WLF take care of your financial health!”