As a yoga studio owner you know you operate an “offline” business but that you need to get “online” in order to attract more students because everyone today is “searching” for a studio. Many studio owners hire a developer to go through the process of creating a website for them, but then the developer says they need to hire a designer to make the website look pretty, and that’s when the costs start to add up… Setting up the technology you will use to run your business is no different than setting up your studio. If you are building or re-modeling your studio you have to hire a contractor, and that contractor needs to hire an electrician, painter, carpenter, and so on. The same rules apply to technology. To make sure that you’re not surprised the next time your developer tells you its going to cost more to integrate a Facebook fanpage, Twitter account, or to change your logo here are some basic questions that you should ask them, and in general ask anyone you’re doing business with:
1. How do you charge? Is it hourly or per project?
2. When do you expect to be paid? Is there an initial deposit of like 50% and then you pay the second half on delivery of the website?
3. What is included in the cost? (Web Hosting, Design, and Installation)
4. What additional services can you install or integrate into the website? (Twitter, Facebook, integration with Google Calendar, Online Store, etc.)
5. Is support included in the cost? (This is a big one, because if you decide you need to change your schedule, your logo, or anything on the website its essentially the same as having to pay to re-design a brochure, and pay for printing it.)
6. How long is it going to take? And who is going to be building what? (With any vendor relationship you want to know who the sub-contractors are that are involved, and how good of a relationship they have so that you don’t get stuck.)
7. Where is everything located? (At the end of the day you want to get all of the “assets” or “code” because you never know when you’ll need to either hire someone else to manage the technology.)
Part of running a successful studio is building relationships. You’ll be building relationships with your students, but you also need to build relationships with your vendors and suppliers. Don’t shy away from having open and honest conversations and exposing hidden costs early on, it will either strengthen the relationship or you will save yourself the headache of dealing with a bad vendor