JAI Yoga

  • SBDC - Small Business Development Center
  • August 11, 2015

JAI Yoga Photo
"The Harper SBDC keeps me motivated."

- John Sisson, Owner
JAI Yoga Studio, Palatine, Illinois

At JAI Yoga in Palatine, John Sisson and his staff promote mind, body and spiritual connection. Classes range from gentle and therapeutic to advanced and intense, and the studio strives to provide an inspiring yoga community that supports each of its clients on their personal journeys toward a healthy lifestyle.

Q: Why did you choose to open a yoga studio?

A: I had always thought about opening a business and had previously considered opening an online retail store. But a few years ago, my sister, who is an audiologist, told me she wanted to open a studio for the hearing impaired. That’s when the thought of opening a physical studio came to me. I was in a stage in my life when I told myself I would start saying ‘yes’ to opportunities. So I decided to pursue the yoga studio idea and figure it out as I went. I got certified as a yoga teacher, signed a lease and built out my space. It sort of organically happened.

Q: To what do you attribute your success?

A: Location has made a big difference. I picked a good location where there aren’t a lot of other studios. Ultimately though, people go to a yoga studio for the instructor. People are either going to like me or not like me. This business is so personal. The choice of a yoga studio for people often comes down to: Who do you like? Who do you connect with? Who offers what you need?

Q: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

A: Figure out what your role in the business is going to be. A lot of people start a business because they like doing something. But the crea-tive type, for example, might not be the best person to run the business. So find the right partners to help you. Find the person who’s pas-sionate about running a business and the person who’s passionate about generating revenue. Understand your role and find the right peo-ple who can complement and support you. Also, make a plan-and make it an extremely conservative and realistic plan. If you think it’s already conservative, cut it in half. What you think is going to happen probably won’t happen.

Q: Would you recommend small business owners use the services of the SBDC? Why?

A: Yes. The SBDC can be very helpful in formulating your plans and thinking through ideas. The collaboration is great. Marketing has driven much of why I work with the SBDC. I meet with my advisor every few weeks to review my offerings, and she helps me pare down ideas and narrow my focus. It’s nice to get a different perspective. The SBDC also keeps me motivated. They’re really good at keeping you on track with the things that need to get done. You go home with goals to accomplish. I always get excited to run back to work and execute what we talked about. Every time I leave, I’m reminded of my passion and reasons for doing this.