how to open a yoga studio

How to Open a Yoga Studio: 7 Step Guide

The first post in our "How to Open" Series! Becoming an is never easy, but with a focus on tangible steps, it's possible to follow your dreams and open a business you're passionate about. Today, we'll focus on how to open a yoga studio.

So. You're thinking about starting a yoga studio. Where do you start? Opening a yoga studio sounds exciting- and maybe a bit intimidating- but with some business planning, creativity, and drive, you can start and own a yoga studio.

Everyone has good ideas, but few choose to turn those dreams into reality. The first step to turn your dreams of owning a yoga studio into a reality is to get your ideas on paper through some business planning exercises.

Step 1 - Start your Business Plan

Business planning does not have to be difficult. Business planning can be what you want it to be. It’s a chance to write down all of the good ideas that you have. When you write things down, you are more likely to execute them. The essential parts of a business plan are:

  • Executive Summary - a brief summary of what your business is and what you do.

  • Business History, Background and Objectives - What's your story? What are the goals for your business?

  • Products and Services - What type of classes and services do you provide? Do you sell any products at the studio? Are you charging per class, a monthly subscription, packs of classes or all three ?

  • Marketing Planning - How will you get the word out about your yoga studio? Are you going to run ads or maybe utilize a social media marketing strategy?

  • Competition - What other yoga studios are in the area? How can I stick out or differentiate myself from the other studios? What classes, services or products are missing in your community?

  • Operational Plan - The how of your business. How are you going to deliver on your value proposition? Who is going to manage the studio? How will you find your instructors? How will you pay instructors and staff, and how will you structure a class schedule? How will you conduct classes and make them different?

  • Finances - How much funding do you need to start your business? What do you need to invest in to start the business? How much will rent be? How much revenue will you generate in your first year?

Our blog on the 7 Elements of a Successful Business Plan goes over all of these steps in detail. Need some help getting started? Mainvest's Business Resource Page has a business plan that will guide you through the topics above.

Step 2 - Scope out the market and do your research

Put yourself in the shoes of the potential customers for your yoga studio. If you are a yogi or wanted to get into yoga and find a studio in your area, where would you start?

I know what I would do - I would search for yoga studios on Google. So go ahead, search for yoga studios in the area where you want to open your yoga studio.

Look at other yoga studios’ websites, find out how much they are charging, find out what types of classes they offer, even drop by the studio and try a class out. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each studio. Write down the essential information that you find in your business planning template.

Think about how your yoga studio can stick out among the competition. Can you appeal to a different demographic that is not currently served? Can you provide different types of classes at different price points?

Step 3 - Decide on a direction, brand and business model for your studio

Now that you have done your research and have an idea for what the local yoga market looks like. It's time to think seriously about what type of yoga studio you will open, what will you name the studio. What type of customers are you going after?

What values does the studio embody? What makes your yoga studio different? What's your slogan? Yogis want to feel like they're entering a community and safe space to grow in their practice. Think about what type of studio experience you want to offer, and create a welcoming and inviting brand.

It's important to get these ideas onto paper. Write them into your business plan in the marketing section. You can always change them or incorporate new ideas later on.

Once you have a clear direction and branding idea for your studio, it's time to think about the organizational aspect. That's where software for yoga studios comes into play. An effective software can manage class schedules, track memberships, handle payments, and more. Choose one that suits your needs best, making management smoother and allowing you to focus on delivering quality yoga classes.

Step 4 - Gather feedback and test your business plan

Once you have a semi-solid business plan together, it's time to go test it in the real world. When you are starting a business, the best thing that you can do is figure out what is and isn’t going to work, for the lowest cost that you can.

An example of how you can do this would be to ask your fellow yogis questions like, would you be interested in taking this type class? What do you think about my business plan? Do you think there is a need for this in our community?

The key to collecting feedback is to make sure it's not biased feedback. Your friends might tell you it's the best idea ever just because they are your friends. Be conscious of how you ask the questions and encourage your peers to give you honest feedback.

Also, don’t take feedback too seriously, as not all feedback is good feedback! Don’t let a debbie downer or pessimist shoot down your dreams.

Another way that you can test your business plan is by hosting some classes at local gyms, retail shops or other venues. Can you develop a partnership with a local retail shop or gym to host a class or two there to gauge interest?

Step 5 - Put together a financial plan

Start by writing down all of your costs. What will you have to invest in to start up your yoga studio?

Take into account expected and unexpected costs.

Write down the different ways that you plan to generate revenue through your products and services . How much money do you plan to make from each product or service that you provide? As a new studio, you'll probably generate the vast majority of revenue through monthly and annual subscriptions rather than retail sales. If you provide retail, start small and gauge interest in various brands and products to ensure you don't overextend.

The important thing about financial projects is that you ground them in reality. Think about how many customers you can realistically get in your first month, second month, first year, second year, etc.

You can check out our full guide to financial projections here . If you are looking for more hands-on assistance, look no further than Mainvest's Financial Projections Builder. This comprehensive tool will guide you through the financial projections process.

Step 6 - Button up your business plan and get ready to get to work!

Now that you have gathered feedback from the community, friends and fellow yogis. Take that feedback and market intel that you have gathered and use it to make changes to your business plan. Your business plan will change over time.

Now it's time to switch from planning to execution!

The first thing that you want to do is put together a website and establish an online presence. You do not have to be a designer to make a great website. Find websites that you like and try to include elements of their website into yours. There are some really great tools like Wix or SquareSpace that make it easy to build a website and you can get started for free. You can also start a Facebook page and Instagram page for free. Keep you branding and messaging consistent to start building a follower base that trusts and is excited for you.

Once you have a web presence, you can use that to start to build hype around the studio that you are going to launch. Tease your opening and maybe start offering early bird specials for people who sign up for yoga classes before it opens. Try to establish partnerships with other studios, healthy food shops, or retail stores to reach your target market.

Think about the different ways that you will promote your studio. How will you get the word out about your studio and get people to attend your classes after you launch? Some different options for marketing might include social media marketing, Google ads, or attending farmers markets. Get creative!

Step 7 - Purchase or lease a space, launch, and start marketing!

The most daunting part of launching your yoga studio is probably going to be selecting and investing into a location. There are some ways that you can booststrap this. For example, you can work out a deal with a local co-working space, gym, dance studio, or other similar building to be able to lease part of their space at certain times to host your yoga classes.

If you are ready to invest into your own yoga studio, you can start by looking for buildings that will take minimal amounts of work. You don’t want to have so spend tons of money on renovating the space. Some websites to search for your space are LoopNet and Zillow. Take into account how much each location costs and what type of work needs to be done to turn it into an ideal yoga studio. Research the specific materials and requirements for your classes. For example, what type of flooring will you use? Will you need advanced heating and cooling systems for hot yoga classes? Is the space soundproof for restorative classes, or have a solid sound system for a hip hop yoga class? How hard will it be to design a look and feel that's conducive to both your brand and your practice?

Once you find an ideal space, you will have a better sense of how much it is going to cost you to start a yoga studio. Opening a yoga studio can cost anywhere from $15,000-30,000. Make sure to have a capital plan in place before getting started so that you don't get stuck on a build out that takes too long, or a material that's expensive to acquire.

Before you have a space, you may want to get a head start on marketing so that you have customers to attend your first class. The main elements you should have at this point are a website, social media profiles on all the popular sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. You might also consider reading our helpful guides on 8 Essential Marketing Tips for Small Businesses and 7 Low-Budget Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners where you can find tips and tricks that have helped small business owners acros the nation market effectively.

If you would like help with funding your business, feel free to reach out to our team!

What can Mainvest do for your business?

Mainvest allows you to raise capital from your community, without giving up any ownership or control in the process. By running a Mainvest campaign, you can engage the community and get buy-in from local stakeholders. If you are ready to take the next step as an entrepreneur, reach out to us here.

posted January 29, 2020
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