Building a Successful Yoga Studio
So, you’re thinking about starting a yoga studio? It’s not surprising: many people want to turn their passions into their vocations. Running a new yoga studio isn’t easy – but it can be very rewarding if you put the hard work in.
Ask the right questions
Not everyone is cut out to run a business in a competitive market and not every market has room for another studio.
Am I the right type of person for this?
Yoga tends to attract creative, peace-loving types – which is one of the reasons so many people love it. However, if you’re going to be making a living from a yoga studio, you need to stay business-minded to succeed. Passion for yoga alone will not pay the bills: you need to be very clear – with yourself and others - that this is a business. Making money from yoga means being good at marketing, making tough business decisions and learning to sell yourself.
Is there a gap in my market?
We don’t mean “are you in a town with no yoga studios” because those towns are becoming few and far between (although if you do live in one, fantastic - you'll get an instant head start). We need you to work out if there’s room for another one.Consider:
- Are classes filling up? Do some detective work! Find out how quickly yoga classes in your area reach capacity. Do you have to book ages in advance to get a spot, or are classes rarely full? If it’s the latter, that’s a sign that there might not be room for another yoga studio in town.
- Are all types of yoga covered? Yoga fans will usually find a type of yoga that they prefer: whether that be Ashtanga, Hatha, Hot Yoga or Power Yoga. If a popular type of yoga isn’t currently on offer in your area, consider whether you could offer it.
Write a proper business plan
Source: Small Business Trends - 2010
The process of making a business plan will reveal a myriad of little issues you might not have thought about. You will need a business plan if you want financing for your business, but it’s a very good idea to make one even if you’ve got the cash for start-up.
Find the right location
This might not seem like a big deal – any reasonably large, sport-oriented room will do – but location and comfort will make up a big part of your clients’ decision to return.
Things to look out for:
- Is it accessible? Will people be able to find you easily? If some of your clients want to walk or cycle to classes, is that realistic?
- Is there parking? This is so important. If your clients have to drive around for ages to find a parking spot they’re unlikely to come back.
- Is it comfortable? Temperature is the big thing here. Is there a working and effective air-conditioning/heating unit? Being too cold or too hot can really affect your enjoyment of a yoga class.
Hire the right yoga instructors
Are you going to have more than one yoga instructor? If it’s just you, then this section is easy. If you want to hire other yoga instructors, then you need to carefully consider your choices. Will you specialise in one sort of yoga, and hire instructors from that discipline? Will you branch out and try to offer several types of yoga? How experienced do you need them to be? Should they be certified? Newly qualified yoga instructors are probably the cheaper option, but an instructor that stumbles over their session might put off new clients. Do you get on with them? This is incredibly important. You will be working together, even if you’re teaching separate classes, and voluntarily entering a business relationship with someone you don’t like is very foolish. Consider the different structures of employment. Will you require staff to be self-employed, or will you employ them through the business? It’s a very good idea to visit an employment lawyer to work out the best option for you.
Market your studio
You can have the most exceptional yoga studio in the world, but nobody will come if you don’t tell them about it!
What’s your demographic?
This is the first thing you need to work out. Will you be targeting young students, mothers, an older crowd, or a mixture of them all? (This last option is an option, as you can sell yourself as an “all walks of life” studio, but it makes it more difficult to target your marketing).
Don't forget online marketing
This is necessary nowadays. You can’t rely entirely on offline marketing.
Get a website
First, build a website. You can do this yourself through easy-to-use tools like WordPress and Wix, or you can pay somebody to make one from scratch. What you can’t do is try to build one from scratch if you don’t have coding and design experience. It will look terrible. Trust us on this. And remember to have a calendar with your class schedule!
Invest in social media
Link your website to social media accounts. This is good for Google, and it also gives you the opportunity to branch into the world of social media marketing. Set yourself a budget (small at first) and start experimenting with Facebook and Twitter campaigns. You can specify your target audience (hence the importance of having a target demographic!) and work in a “call to action” (in your case, this is probably booking a class).
Rock offline marketing
Leaflets, newspaper ads and good old-fashioned word of mouth will all be useful tools for you. Leave flyers in any local businesses you’re on good terms with (you can promise to do the same for them) and get your friends and family to tell everyone about your new studio.
Focus on returning clients
Consider a loyalty scheme, or bulk lesson buying: reward your clients for committing to several lessons.