In many parts of the tech world, there is a feeling in the air that the big opportunities have been missed. That market share, and power, have been consolidated amongst Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook, and that the rest of us are fighting over scraps. At the same time, we’re starting to come to grips with the fact that we don’t really entirely understand the impact that the internet, and social media in particular, is having on us.
If you’re not careful, you can start believing that not only have we lost the magical powers of the internet, but that it’s turned against us as well. And while this probably could be the case, it doesn’t have to be, and there are important lessons bubbling up to the surface for those living in the world of brick and mortar independent studios on how to keep your business thriving.
Are there more distractions? Yes. Is there more competition? Probably. But these realities are merely a signal of the fundamental truth that we still hold the power and original promise of the internet in the palm of our hands. Individually, we are more empowered than ever to build the businesses and lives we want, and ultimately, we’re still the ones choosing how and where to spend our time on the internet.
Facebook has indeed wreaked havoc on countless publishers who believed they would always be able to reach their audiences through the network. But that needn’t lead you and your studio down the same path with Groupon, Classpass and Mindbody.
There’s a great cartoon by the Oatmeal (via daring fireball) the other day explaining the situation with Facebook, that could just as easily apply to your studio, swapping Facebook with any number of marketplaces vying for your studio's “inventory”.
What is truly fascinating today, is the degree to which the tech industry has turned it’s sights to the brick and mortal world. Amazon has acquired Whole Foods. Warby Parker has retail locations. Instagram celebrities promote clothing lines and YouTube celebrities go on tour. Google and Facebook are doubling down on Events (with Google Reserve and Facebook Local) and Facebook’s new mission is to "Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." (Protip: Your studio is better at building community, bringing people together and holding space for transformation than Facebook could ever hope to be.)
The lesson is that over a long enough time horizon, the internet alone is not sufficient.
We want, crave and need physical places with physical interaction. The biggest, most powerful players in the industry know and understand this fundamental truth, and they are all actively working to expand their physical footprints with massive investments.
Your independent studio is now the holy grail over which billions of dollars of investment money are battling, and you should be fiercely be aware of any internet company that tells you it is you who needs them.
Indeed it is they who needs you.
They need your schedule, your classes, your instructors, your website traffic, your customers, your desk staff and your physical studio itself. And the truth is, a lot of studios (of course, not the smart studios using Tula software) are giving all of this away for $0 per month in exchange for the false promise that giving away your students and control of your pricing to a billion dollar software company is somehow going to be good for your business.
What does seem to have changed with the internet today, and what I do agree is happening, is the sense that internet companies are no longer working to serve and empower us. It feels in a lot of ways like they’ve all become a newer, grosser version of Comcast.
The internet is still serving us. But a lot of Internet companies, have started serving themselves.
What always has, and what always will separate Tula from everyone else in our space, is the degree to which our only aim is to provide you with the most modern tools available so you can manage your studio, grow your business and maintain high quality relationships with your students and customers.
It probably won’t turn us into the biggest company serving independent studios, but our bet is that it’ll continue to make us the best.
And with this as our goal, the future for our customers - and for us - has never been brighter.
Has the software your studio uses stopped serving you and started to serve themselves? Check out tulasoftware.com and see why we’re the best software in the world for independent studios.