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When Amber Borgomainerio started Breathe Hot Yoga in 2010 with her partner and husband, Ross Yearsley, they shared a vision for bringing authentic hot yoga to Seattle and establishing an accessible environment for people who wanted to enrich their lives. “But opening our doors took more than passion and inspiration,” she says. “It took financial resources, organization and a huge leap of faith.”
The couple used a home equity line of credit to finance the construction of their yoga studio and took the plunge. Today they have three locations around the Seattle area, and they’re expanding their teacher training and offering more retreats. Along the way, they also learned a lot about creating and managing a successful business.
Borgomainerio advises entrepreneurs to focus on their strongest skills, adapt as the market changes, and approach their business with realistic expectations:
“Two of our biggest lessons have to do with delegation and adaptability. First, we decided to embrace our core competencies, which include everything that goes into creating a positive experience for our clients. We’re willing to learn other aspects of the business, but for us, it makes the most sense to spend our time on what we do best. Beyond that? We leave it to other professionals. We hired wonderful architects to help us build our spaces, we have a great accountant who keeps our finances in order, and we invest in cloud-based technology so we don’t have to worry about IT.
Second, we’ve come to realize how quickly the market can change and new competitors can come into play. Just five years ago, the fitness industry was considerably different than it is today. Yoga was considered a realm unto itself. Then, unexpectedly, yoga got bucketed in with other mainstream fitness offerings. And when the landscape changes … we have to change along with it. That’s tough to do while staying true to who we are and the traditions we want to share with our clients. We now recognize how important it is to try to anticipate trends by analyzing our clients’ needs, developing relationships with other small businesses, and staying aware of new forms of fitness.”
To read the rest of Amber’s story and the stories of other small business owners like Amber, download our eBook, “What I wish I knew.”