Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dahn Yoga Franchise: A Horrible Business Framework

I was having lunch at a local Korean-owned sushi spot this afternoon when I saw a little shelf of Dahn Yoga pamphlets displayed next to the cash register. I thought it was a good reminder to write another blog post; it has been a couple months, after all.

This particular post, as with all the content on my blog for that matter, is entirely from my own observations and/or experience. And, while today I'll be sharing my opinions about Dahn Yoga from a business/operations standpoint, I will say that I have absolutely no firsthand knowledge of how things are actually run.

Disclaimer aside, I think that the Dahn Yoga franchise is an absolutely horrible trap for the studio managers. I've taken the following into consideration (again, just my own personal observations):

The Good:
1. Dahn Yoga center managers are their own bosses. They run their studio as a full turn-key business, planning and managing every single aspect of a whole corporate body.

2. The managers get to "work out" every day and literally practice what they teach and preach. Sound body, sound mind (at least in the beginning in the honeymoon stage, before the reality and nightmares ensue).

3. Relatively safe and pleasant environment. Unless the managers are blatantly taking advantage of their clients, they get to work in a serene studio with like-minded, health-conscious yogis and yoginis.

The Bad:
1. Dahn Yoga is a $$$$$ trap for business owners. I don't know what what buy-in costs are to own a franchise, but I can almost guarantee that anyone who sets up shop is already coming in with MASSIVE DEBT. Read the stories for yourselves. Dahn Yoga "master" training is expensive. We're talking about $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars in classes, workshops, certification courses, and whatever other hurdles and hoops to jump through to get "accredited" to become an instructor. And again, we aren't even talking about (because I really don't know) the actual terms, conditions, and start-up capital and personal investments required to open shop.

2. Studio managers don't make money. I don't see how it's possible for any manager or instructor to make any money. Not only are they likely drowning in debt, but they are responsible for putting money in Ilchi Lee's pockets with ongoing franchise, advertising, royalty fees, etc. It's really no wonder that the instructors try so hard to cross-sell and up-sell seminars, conferences, books, and miscellaneous Dahn Yoga accessories (clothes, books, grip socks, etc.). They don't get salaries. These poor instructors/managers are working off of commissions of membership dues and seminar sales. Sad.

3. It's a never-ending, multi-hat wearing toilsome job. Most Dahn Yoga studios offer 3 classes a day. That means the manager/instructor is leading 3 hours of classes, preparing and cleaning up the mini tea ceremonies, signing up new members, upselling current members, working on customer retention, reporting sales activities and sign-ups to the corporate office, all while imagining how they will afford to pay the utilities for their center after all expenses are paid. These managers are stuck in their studios from early morning to late night running their day-to-day tasks as a one-man or one-woman show. One minute you're promoting Ilchi Lee's latest book or showing a prospective member some promotional YouTube videos. And then you're cleaning the toilets and mopping the sweat off the floor after each class. It never ends.

I will write more in my next post. I will focus on the aspect of conflict of interest. ie., studio managers are supposed to promote health, healing, and happiness through their services, but just how genuine can these intentions be when the machine is run by a money-hungry monster? After all, as much as you may desire for others to find relief from physical and emotional pain and wounds, at the end of the day, it is a business, and what matters most from that standpoint is the bottom line.

To be continued.

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