Last week my Small Business Interview focused on small business owners mental health, with Regina Brancato-Dunderdale, hypnotherapist.

This week, we’re still talking about wellbeing, but with a 360° degrees focus: I’m interviewing Joanne Sumner.

A client who attended her meditation classes recently described them as her haven at a difficult time.

Providing a haven for people is how Jo Sumner expresses her life’s purpose.

Whether you come on retreat with her, come to class, come to think something through in one to one coaching, or come for treatment. Jo’s job is to provide a safe haven and, over time, to teach the skills that she has learned to live a life of purpose, passion and peace.

I am so grateful to Jo for sharing some of her expertise with us in this interview.

How would you explain your business to someone who has no knowledge of it?

My job is to provide a haven from the stresses of life so that you can recover, learn new skills, and get back to life more confident in your ability to stay on track and be happy while doing it. You can access this haven through weekly yoga or meditation classes, coaching or holistic therapies, or quarterly retreats.

How long have you been in this business? And in other businesses?

12 years now.

Why did you choose it?

I wanted to have an impact on my immediate community’s health and happiness.

How did you get started?

I started by offering meditation classes, and things have grown from there. I’m now a teacher of other practitioners, so the ripples are spreading.

How do you attract your clients?

Through my website and through networking (socially, online, and in person business networking).

Can you describe your customers?

Most commonly I work with public sector professionals or small business owners – so teachers, health professionals, social workers, and solo or micro entrepreneurs. Stressed and dedicated people.

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years?

In one year, I see myself as opening my own holistic health centre in West London. In five years, I see myself launching a franchise of holistic health centres around the country.

Which things make you happy as a small business owner?

The mix of following my heart and passion to do good and making a living at the same time! A challenge, but one I enjoy.

Which is your best-selling product or service and why do you think your clients love it so much?

My yoga classes in Ealing are my bestseller. I believe in offering yoga that is peaceful, practical and psychologically informed – I bring my coaching skills to class so that people leave rested and renewed but also with new mindsets to take into their daily life.

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

Because I keep it real! I’ve been told I’m approachable, grounded, and I like to make people laugh. It’s the best de-stressor out there. We have a good time in class, and on retreats, and people feel they don’t have to put on any airs and graces.

Customer Retention: how do you keep your customers happy?

Talk to them – check in with what they need and evolve accordingly.

Which challenges did and do you face, running your business?

Doing everything! I’ve worked best when I’ve had good support from others rather than when I’ve tried to do it all on my own.

Is there any business lesson you learnt through experience that you wish you knew about earlier in life?

Good enough is good enough. Perfect is the enemy of done. I wish I had known that when I was employed. I spent so much time trying to get everything perfect, which was a hopeless task anyway.

How do you maintain a good work-life balance?

I see my friends, I love cinema, I go to yoga workshops, and I’ve become very good at just switching off.

Which is your best strategy for time management?

Do it now.

Photo ofJoanne Sumner
Joanne Sumner
Job Title
Trained therapist, practitioner, coach and trainer in Yoga, Reiki, Meditation and Flower Essences
Joanne Sumner Wellbeing