The pole industry is made up of wonderful people, who, for the most part, want the community to thrive. It’s common to see dancers loaning hairspray backstage at competitions, competing studio owners sharing hugs and business owners trusting each other with booths and cash boxes at events. However, there are times when jealousy and panic about making money can win out over communal empathy and overall support. Here are some ways to fight those urges and instead focus on being supportive business and community members to create win-win situations for all members of our industry.
Start with a plan
As a business owner, have a plan for how to run your business. For more more information on planning your business, refer to the Business Model Canvas and the Business Plan Template. Creating a business plan should also include analyzing your marketing and branding. For more information on a marketing plan, refer to How to Create a Marketing Plan and the Marketing Plan Template.
As your business grows, reexamine and, possibly, restructure these concepts. There never is a “wrong” time to start thinking (or rethinking) strategically about your business and your marketing!
Differentiate your business
Make a list of the factors that make your business unique. Do you have an exceptional, award-winning staff? Is your clothing made from 100% recycled plastic bottles? Does your studio boast the tallest ceilings in the country? List anything that you can think of that makes you special.
Next, make another list of the factors that influence your customers’ purchasing decisions. Does their income impact their ability to purchase your products/services? Does your brand reputation matter to your customers? What about the number of competing pole-based businesses in your space? Keep in mind, not all of these factors will have a positive impact on your business. If you’re in a very saturated market, the number of competing pole-based businesses may have a negative effect on your business (customers have more options) or it may be a positive factor (consumers may be more educated about your offerings). Remember, no matter what kind of information you learn about a market competitor or what decisions your competitors make, you only have control over yourself and your business.
You may consider using a SWOT analysis to help organize your thoughts. A SWOT analysis is a straightforward, yet powerful process to help you make informed, business decisions. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Align your identity
Think about some ways that the unique qualities of your business can take advantage of existing market factors. If you’re a pole studio owner with a huge membership base and your clientele has lots of disposable income combined with a desire to take classes with guest instructors, consider offering monthly/quarterly guest workshops that align with your brand identity. If you’re a social media influencer with lots of fans, but those fans aren’t willing/able to travel to see you, consider hosting digital events. By aligning your unique qualities with the market’s demands, you can set yourself apart from your competition in a way that naturally aligns with your brand identity.
Remember, focus on the unique traits that make your business successful rather than comparing yourself against your competition or spending valuable marketing time explaining how you are “not them.” Not every client will be perfect for your business. Believe in the concept of win-win, a situation in which each party benefits in some way, and support other members of our community. This applies in all situations. Do not in any way set up a dichotomy of “us vs. them” for a media interview, a cute shirt, or a catchy hashtag.
We are stronger together
The pole industry is unique that, for the most part, members encourage one another and advocate for community wellness. As our industry grows, there may be more concern about there being “enough” business for all of us which can create a win-lose, scarcity mentality. However, by realizing that we all have a unique place in the industry and all provide unique offerings to our intended clients, we can capitalize on our differences to create a diverse, welcoming and booming industry.