Manon Vis – Flow Yoga Bristol
Manon Vis is the owner of Bristol based Yoga studio Flow Yoga Bristol, offering a variety of yoga classes and Aerialfit Pilates classes to the local community.
In August 2015, Manon turned to Outset Finance and secured a Start Up Loan, which helped her cover her start up costs and, most importantly, secure premises for her new business.
Check out our interview with Manon to find out more about her business journey and working with Outset Finance.
Business name: Flow Yoga Bristol
Founders’ name: Manon Vis
Based in: Bristol, Gloucestershire
1. Why did you decide to become your own boss?
While working as an office manager for hospitality enterprises I found myself being good at attracting new customers and I was always creative with increasing revenue. I didn’t enjoy not having the final say in decisions (maybe this is part of my personality!) and I knew I wanted to control my decisions in my professional life as much as I could.
I’m also passionate about offering yoga and love to make others feel better. However, teaching yoga in the South of Bristol isn’t easy if you don’t have a dedicated space. I encountered problems with every space I rented and had to pay high rental rates. Having spoken with other teachers who encountered the same problem, it motivated me to organise a space, which is clean, warm, and dedicated to holistic practice – great for both teacher and student.
I had a baby and it gave me the time to think. I decided I didn’t want to commit to full days in an office and wanted the flexibility to see my child and do something I feel passionate about. Opening a studio ticked all these boxes and felt like something I could do to benefit my local community.
2. What were the main challenges you faced in starting or growing your business?
The main challenge I had was time. Writing a business plan, sorting finances, talking to people and sorting out contracts took time, especially when it is was my first time starting a business. When you’re also working with and waiting on other people, it can take patience to get through these processes before you can move forward.
3. If you had not been able to access a Start Up Loan, what would have happened to your business idea?
I would have done it eventually, but it would have been more expensive. We would have borrowed the funds on our personal finances, but that would not have been ideal as the very high interest rate makes it much more costly and it doesn’t come with any additional support.
4. Tell us about your experience working with Outset Finance – would you recommend us to other business owners?
I am very positive about my experience of working with Outset Finance. Although I was confident and had the experience of writing a business plan, I did feel Outset Finance was there to assist me if I had any questions during the process.
5. Have you or your business benefitted from post-loan mentoring support? If so, tell us a bit about it.
I’m still in the post-mentoring support process and I’m making use of it and really love the help. It’s great to talk to someone who has a business mind and is not personally involved so can offer objective advice.
6. What is your vision for your business in the future?
I’d like to grow my business quickly. The space I have now was a bit of a ‘safe’ start and I am using it to get teachers in, build a brand and establish a regular income. Ideally I would like to grow into a bigger space with two studio spaces, massage rooms, a reception and vegetarian cafe. My vision for the business is to create a real holistic hub for the local community.
7. And finally, what advice would you give to others who are thinking about starting a business?
Do your research. It is good to find out if you have competitors and if there’s a need for the product or service. I’d advise anyone thinking of starting a business to talk to people from a variety of backgrounds; like people with experience in finance, marketing or sales. Also speak to people that will buy your product or service; not forgetting your friends and family. And enjoy the experience. When I started my business, I knew that I was on the right path. Even if I failed, I would be proud that I tried. I strongly believe that the greatest failure is not to try.
To find out more about Flow Yoga Bristol visit their website.