i will never forget 3/15/20, the day DHF shutdown due to covid-19. two studios completely closed overnight due to a disease spread causing a pandemic. a pandemic spread that at the time we knew not much about with zero timeline of what the future held.
fear, sadness, rage, anxiety….this is the image we sent out.
but first let’s talk about what led us to closure. how we came to the decision. AND what are thought process was. first and foremost, DHF puts our people first: team & clients. all our decisions put safety over profit. people over profit. it was february when as we started to hear of the outbreak making it’s way to the states. we immediately started our surveillance, as did most americans and businesses.
business tip: put your people & clients first. this is ALWAYS good business practice.
our initial thought was to limit class capacity & increase cleaning precautions. but after much consideration, we thought it would be best to announce a closure. AND try to get ahead. knowing things were about to change, we wanted to be able to provide our squad with safe werkouts from home! to be honest, there wasn’t a lot of time to think. it was all about taking action. at the time we were focused on fast & effective decision making.
business tip: try to stay ahead of the game, even when under pressure! be proactive vs. reactive!
making the decision to shut down as a small business was difficult, but we didn’t have time to dwell on the negative. we went straight to next steps. our first course of action was taking classes online/live somehow. have you heard of ZOOM before the pandemic? neither did we! but, after some research…. ZOOM LIVE CLASSES were launched. if you still haven’t heard of ZOOM, it’s ultimately an online meeting app. as always, nothing went smoothly. our first class was ruff! ZOOM is not designed for workout classes with lot’s of sound. opposite actually, it’s designed to block out background noise for an enjoyable meeting atmosphere. cue lives class disaster! what now? we dug a little deeper and learned that there were ways to internally share screens/playlists to activate a better sound output! with that, we had to leave the mic off. AND of course, after a week of doing live classes in studio, our next hurdle was upon us. HTX called for a mandated stay home order. WHAT NOW? just when we were kind of getting our groove. time to take classes HOME with us! no breaks, no pauses. we adjusted! with make shift home studios, we continued to stream live zoom classes.
time for a better user experience:
simultaneously, we started to research what we could do outside of ZOOM for a better user experience. this is where the idea of an online subscription platform came in. not knowing how long we would be in this pandemic, we again wanted to be proactive in our decision making! we took action. after researching we found a platform that we wanted to host our on demand & live class content. DHF DIGITAL was born! the technical team helping us design the site said this project would take a few months. skrttttttt. to which we responded how about a week? that’s right it was all hands on deck. we had to create content for our on demand feature, organize the platform & learn how to use a new live streaming service. challenge accepted! we officially launched our own global streaming & on demand platform on 3/30. JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER SHUT DOWN. tbh, writing that out makes me so proud. that was a HUSTLE!
still on an at home order, we took our first DHF DIGITAL from home. my home to be precise! you didn’t think things went off without a glitch did you? NOPE. now que connection issues! go figure the internet was about to give us a run for our money! i guess everyone working from home at the same time isn’t great for broadband, go figure. but we didn’t know that at first! so our first few classes were a HOTT MESS. frustration was real! when is the last time you used an ethernet cord? never…SAME! bye bye wifi, we connected via ethernet. AND boom we finally saw a positive response!
business tip: when things aren’t working, seek solutions! try all your options. don’t give up!
DHF DIGITAL was something positive that has come out of this time. you could call it the silver lining. it’s something we are taking with us into our day to day business as we reopen. the goal with digital during the pandemic was to keep our already existing clients engaged & active from home. + have the opportunity to build a new global community! as we move back into operations, my hope is that digital continues to grow & we have the ability to change people’s lives all over the world.
if you are looking to join our squad and don’t live in houston, DHF DIGITAL is for you!
talking about the hard stuff, financials:
i couldn’t talk surviving covid19, without the really hard stuff. financials. the reality is we have been hit really hard, but we are better off than some. another way we immediately took action was learning about all the loans/grants we could apply for. at first glance, i was sick to my stomach looking at these forms. i couldn’t help but feel stressed & overwhelmed. THEY WERE A LOT. luckily, we have been very diligent in our bookkeeping & have an amazing CPA. blessssss you sara! we took to applying fast. not knowing & not having any guarantee if we would even receive these loans, we applied. FOR EVERYTHING. if you think about it, every small business was applying… at the same time! we didn’t have our hopes up, but stayed as positive as we could. we didn’t get funded via the first round of loans to go out. feeling a bit stressed, we knew congress was voting on another bill to allow for disaster relief loans. we finally heard back & it was good news! we needed this to survive.
business tip: seek the proper experts to assist you when needed! our CPA was a gamechanger during this time.
in the midst of waiting, i heard back from a special ambassador grant i applied to through lululemon. they showed up BIG for me, for DHF! this grant was designed to help small business owners who were also lulu ambassadors across the globe receive financial help. this grant was the first major sign of hope we received! this grant allowed me to feel like i could take a moment and rejoice.
without these loans, i am not sure we would be able to survive this ongoing pandemic. here is what didn’t happen through this all. the ugly truth of it all. and most small businesses reality. we didn’t get any type of help from our landlords! hard to believe, but it’s the truth. we were responsible for every bill. AND paid every bill. think about it! you are closed for three months, making minimal money off your online platform….all while owing bills + rent for two locations. it’s been a challenge.
but again, we are thankful & lucky to be better off than some.
where we are now
still closed, but reopening in phases starting 6/15. it’s been three months since we closed. three months since we had an in studio class. things are going to be different, nothing is back to normal. we have created a set plan with phases for reopening. one studio at a time, limited class capacity & ensuring the safety of our clients/team. opening means there is light at the end of the tunnel. opening gives us some hope.
business tip: be sure to let your community and clients now as things change & evolve! keep them informed & allow them to seek information/ask questions!
how will we move forward
i don’t think things will ever be the same in how we operate. to be honest, that’s not a bad thing. we have learned a lot about where we can grow as a business though this difficult time. learning how to evolve and be better is our greatest opportunity! moving forward the good news is that we have a new digital platform that has opened a wide range of growth opportunity for us. it’s all about momentum now & trying to get back to where we were. AND grow more!
business tip: with every moment of adversity try to learn & grow from it! what takeaways are there? put them to work!
this has not been easy, but we are thankful to still be here. most importantly we are thankful for our community & squad for sticking through it with us! the journey is not over, but we have come so far!