MA-Yoga-Studio

Quick Summary

There can be a lot that goes into starting and running your own yoga studio.  You will want to sit down to brainstorm your mission, vision, and brand while contemplating the insurance aspects of running a yoga studio.  Next, you have to contemplate the financials of your own business, including start-up costs, ongoing costs, and where you will find revenue to cover those costs.  It is important to set up the services that you are planning to offer in a smart manner that make sense for your business.  Don’t neglect to create a positive online presence for your business to help get noticed and keep in touch with your current clients.  Finally, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to keep the momentum.  It can be easy to let the fire of a new endeavor lose intensity, especially once time has passed and you’ve been hard at work. Remember during this time that we are weakest not during times of success but rather when everything becomes steady or comfortable. In order to be exceptional, you must find a way to keep the flame ignited and the fire burning strong and always break out of your comfort zone.

Quick Links

Section 1: Getting Started
Section 2: The Financial Aspect
Section 3: Setting up Your Services Intelligently
Section 4: Class and Beyond

Section 1: Getting Started

Yoga class in lotus pose in fitness studio at the leisure center

Taking the first steps toward running your own yoga studio can be hard. Any new venture worth doing is going to be a challenge. It can be a good idea to sit down for a brainstorming session to go over what you want to accomplish with your business idea. You should think about your mission, vision, and brand to create a stable groundwork that you can build your business upon.

Mission

One of the first things that you need to accomplish after you have determined that you want to run your own yoga studio is to examine your mission and motivation in the first place.

Some questions that you should ask yourself include:

  • Why do you want to run your own yoga studio?
  • What gave you the idea?
  • Right now, before you start, what do you hope to gain?
  • In your opinion, what will be different once you own your own yoga studio?
  • Do you want to focus on one niche or more than one? (Vinyasa, Ayurveda, Bikram, Belly Dancing, etc.)

Answering these questions honestly can save you from experiencing a lot of aggravation later on, when you face the difficulties of owning a business. You will want to make sure that you’re opening your own studio for all the right reasons, and that you have a strong mission to rely on when the going gets tough. This can be a good time to start thinking of the mission statement that you will tell your clients to get them excited about your yoga studio – that one sentence or phrase that helps them connect with your concept.

Vision

Now, that you’ve got a great mission planned out in your mind, and you know that you’re ready to face the hardships of being an independent business owner, it’s time to evaluate your vision for the future.

This can be accomplished by asking yourself another set of tough questions:

  • Where do you see yourself going?
  • Do you see yourself opening up more than one location in the future?
  • What are your long-term goals?

You will want to write your honest answers down, and keep them handy for future reference. You may find that as you are growing your business, your vision may change along with your goals, and that is completely fine. There is a good chance that you will be able to accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible or that your five-year goals turn into something that may actually take in 10 years.

Brand

Businessman drawing Brand Building concept on blurred abstract background

“Brand” is a very popular word in today’s business world, and that’s for a very good reason. Your brand is what makes you stand out from the crowd of competitors and helps your clients want to connect with you. Take some time to contemplate the answers to these questions to help you form your yoga studio’s brand:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I represent?
  • What do I want my clients to think of when they think of my studio?
  • What will help me to stand out?

The last two questions can help you come up with some unique and original responses, and that is good – especially if you plan to open a studio in an area with stiff competition. This does not mean that you will need to reinvent the wheel, but you should put your own personality into your business. You are giving voice to your mission. Think back to how you answered your mission questions. Let the differences that you determined then help you pinpoint how you want to represent your brand.

Adequate Insurance

You may wonder why you need to look into getting quality insurance for your yoga studio or just for you as an instructor or teacher. The simple answer to this question is that we live in a very litigious society today, and many people are willing to sue over the smallest things. Medical emergencies and accidents can happen to anyone at any time, even your most fit and flexible client may trip and fall on a misplaced yoga mat or move wrong in a yoga pose. It’s better to be prepared just in case.

The type of insurance that will typically cover your needs as a business owner is Liability or Malpractice Insurance. Not all policies are created equal, so is vital that you speak to your insurance agent about what your insurance policy will cover. Some things that you will definitely want your policy to cover include legal fees, any judgments or settlements that come as a result of lawsuits and claims against you, and any lost wages due to the time and process of a claim.

Keep in mind that the studio or gym that you are renting or working out of might have a policy, but that it may not cover you as an instructor or teacher. When in doubt, ask. You may find that your location requires you to obtain individual insurance for yourself anyway.

Section 2: The Financial Aspect

Opening and running any business is expensive. It can be helpful to work on creating a business plan that will help you decide how to handle the financial aspect of getting your business up and running.

Start-Up Costs

Close-up of yoga mats and yoga cushion in yoga studio

One of the hardest financial aspects of opening your own yoga studio will be the start-up costs, as you will not have any profits coming in to offset these in the beginning. There are a number of things that you need to consider when creating your initial start-up cost budget, and this is not an exhaustive list. Factoring a little extra into your budget to handle unexpected costs can be a good idea at any stage of your business.

The first thing that you will need to consider is where you are going to be opening your studio. Are you going to rent or buy a building to host your classes? This is important because you may have to factor in your monthly rent. Until your classes are up and running, it is likely that you will not be generating a steady income. In addition, most locations require a deposit of first and last months’ rent, and many may even require an additional security deposit on top of the two months’ rent. If you decide to buy, you will need to come up with a down payment along with any mortgage payments until you have established your business. There are also taxes, escrow and other related fees that building owners have to worry about that renters do not.

Next, you will need to consider the inside of the property after you have decided where you are going to set up shop. You may need to make renovations to get it ready to hold your classes. These renovations may be to get the building up to code or for cosmetic purposes. This would also be a good time to decide if you want to do a full renovation now, while it won’t bother your clients, or do enough to get started and worry about working on the space around your classes.

You will also need to get furnishings for your space. Since it’s a yoga studio, minimal furnishings are necessary, but there are some furnishings that you will want to get. A reception desk, a desk for your office, benches, chairs, and equipment for locker rooms are all things you might want to consider investing in for your space. You will also want to purchase any mats or props that your students will be using. Don’t forget to decorate your studio. Yoga-inspired prints on the walls can help to cheer your studio up, and make your clients feel at home. Unless part of your brand is operating a luxury yoga studio, you can always buy cheaper alternatives and replace them as your business grows.

Finally, there are some business start-up costs that every business is going to have to pay out. These include getting the proper business permits for your area, getting a retail license, if necessary, getting a phone, turning on any utilities like water and power, and purchasing computer equipment. You will also want to consider your marketing and advertising costs in your financial plan, since this is what is going to get your students in the door – helping you start recouping your start-up costs and paying for your ongoing costs.

Ongoing Costs

Files Containing Utility Bills

You will also want to consider your ongoing costs. It is important to understand these costs because they can help you when it comes time to determine your rates and class schedule. If you don’t have enough revenue coming in to cover your ongoing costs, you will not start seeing a profit in your yoga studio.

Some ongoing costs include those that you considered in your startup costs, such as paying the rent or mortgage and your phone and utility bills. You will also want to have ongoing advertising after you have gotten your business more established to continue to grow and replace any clients that stop coming by. Your insurance premiums and taxes are also ongoing payments you will need to keep in mind. You may have banking fees for your business accounts or interest payments on any loans you have taken out. There are fees that you have to pay if you decide to accept credit card payments. You will have bookkeeping or accounting expenses, such as if you purchase a small business owner accounting software or go to a bookkeeper.

Other ongoing costs may be more specific to yoga. You may want to consider how often you replace your yoga mats and equipment when determining your ongoing budget. Also, think about what you are going to offer to the clients. Are you going to provide bottled water to every client for class? Alternatively, are there any other special services you want to give your clients that will help your business stand out? These are costs that you will want to carefully consider. Is everything you want going to be worth it for your business?

You may also have to consider salaries in your ongoing business costs. Are you going to have other teachers and staff on hand to help you with your business, or are you going to run it alone? You may want to consider the benefits of having a receptionist, other teachers, and staff members to help you to grow your business. As the owner, you may find that you just don’t have enough time in the day to market your studio, answer all the calls, schedule all the classes, teach every class, and so on.

Revenue Sources

You will also want to consider all the possible revenue sources that are open to your business. You may find that you are able to bring in more money than just through classes alone. Classes will probably be your biggest revenue stream, but you can certainly diversify where your money is going to come in from. You can offer specialized workshops to your clients. You can consider renting your space when you are not using it. If you do, you may want to make sure that letting someone rent your rental property is not illegal under your lease agreement. Look for any information on subletting your property, and ask your landlord if you are unsure. It is better to be safe than having to worry about finding a new space to bring in some rental income.

You can also bring in some revenue from community events. Your local community may want to offer free yoga classes at the beach or park for residents or even at community gatherings. This could be a win-win. Not only will the city offer you money to teach the class, but you will also be getting more exposure to new potential clients.

Don’t stop with your local community. Reach out to corporations in your area. Many businesses are looking for ways to create employee wellness programs, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to do that with yoga. You can do your class onsite if the company has enough room, outside on nice days if they have a grassy area, or you host them at your studio on certain days.

Another potential revenue source that you may not even consider is retail. You can offer popular yoga clothing and other equipment for sale in your studio. You should also consider selling branded items. Things like branded t-shirts, water bottles, bumper stickers and keychains can be sold to your loyal students and will help to build brand recognition for your yoga studio when these items are used in public. This is another win-win for your fledgling business.

Financial Tips

Businessman editing the annual report charts - working on a tablet computer

Let’s face facts, you probably want to start a yoga studio because you love yoga and want to share your passion with your future students. You might rather leave the number crunching to someone else, but these tips might be just the thing you need to stay on top of your finances.

Start by determining the income that you will need to stay afloat, and then add a small amount on top of that number. This means that you need to determine your bottom line of ongoing costs, and add a little cushion to it. You can then take this figure and use it to determine what you will need to do monthly to make that number work for you. This will help you decide how many classes you must give or which revenue streams you need to incorporate to stay in the black.

Get familiar with a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. These can be great for tracking your business’s finances. You can treat this as your business dashboard, using it to help you make any financial decisions about your business. You should have a spreadsheet for tracking both your revenues and expenses. You may also want to create another spreadsheet for leads that can help you bring in more revenue as well as have a spreadsheet where your track your advertising.

Creating an email marketing list can be useful with your lead information, along with your current clients, to help you bring in a steady stream of students. This can be vital to ensure that you are getting a good return on investment or ROI for the money you are paying for advertising. You can keep what is working and ditch what is not as successful.

Your business dashboard can be helpful in other aspects of your business. You can use it to make a checklist of regular weekly activities. Create a new one each week that encompasses your financial plans as well as your day-to-day plans.

You will want to write up a weekly business report that can act as a state of the union for your business. It does not have to be overly complicated, but incorporate just enough information to help you comprehend where your business currently stands, and what you need to do to either improve it or keeping it running strong.

Determine what kind of business structure you want to have, such as a sole proprietorship or partnership. You will also want to open a separate business bank account for your studio. Your checking and saving accounts will be easier to deal with financially if you have one set for your business and one for your personal life. This doesn’t mean that they cannot be at the same bank if you find one that has the best terms and conditions, but they should be separate account numbers. It can be a good idea to use a savings account for your business, as this can be where you save money to pay for your taxes when the IRS comes calling, or keeping up with your teaching insurance so that your policy stays up to date.

Section 3: Setting up Your Services Intelligently

There are some steps  you can take when setting up your services that will allow you to rest easy knowing that that the revenues you count on to keep your business going will be coming in. You should create an introductory package that is very affordable to new students and makes them feel as though they can’t afford not to take advantage of it. This gives you money in the bank, even if they do not always show up to class.

Create other packages, such as offering 10 classes that are discounted to a price that is lower than the price clients would be paying if they just dropped in for the same 10 classes. Create a rewards program to bring members in again and again. You can also create monthly special offers that the client must take advantage of in that month. For instance, February is known for Valentine’s Day. So, create a special involving couple’s yoga that is only available during that particular month. You can also create a membership program where the student is committed to your studio for a certain number of classes and pay with an automatic online payment.

Keep in mind that you want to walk the line of getting your monthly payments through the automatic online payment without making it annoyingly hard to cancel the membership. Just be sure to spell it out in the terms of your commitment agreement.

Setting up Your Online Presence

Seven technology internet business websites are standing upright with a reflection. There is one big one and smaller ones fading in back. Has black isolated background.

The Internet is everywhere today, and can be a valuable tool for your yoga studio. Yes, you are encouraging your clients to get away from their screens to lead a healthier lifestyle, but most people today rely on computers. You should start by strategizing what your goals are with the Internet. For example, do you want to have a website, blog, social media, online scheduling tools, or advertising?

A website is a very valuable tool to have, and it can bring in business. You can get referrals, let clients know about upcoming specials, keep a class schedule, and introduce new people to your business with your website. You may also want to consider having a blog as that can help establish you as an expert in your field.

If you start social media pages, you will want to engage with your users by creating and sharing posts, as well as responding to questions or comments. This can help you to start building relationships through offering consistent value. You will also want to keep track of what you are doing online in the same manner as your other advertisements to see what works best and what does not.

Keep your Business Going

Now that your yoga studio is up, running, and off to a great beginning, you need to keep that feeling going with some upward momentum. Here are some topics that you should keep in mind during your first year and every year after that.

Ethics

Ethics can be a big issue for any business. Make sure that you have an ethical policy and stick to it. You are going to come into contact with a lot of students, and may want to determine what your boundaries are before you start teaching. Mixing business with pleasure can sometimes have negative results.

Section 4: Class and Beyond

There are plenty of ways to grow your yoga studio’s business beyond your typical classes. Constantly innovating your brand and what is offered will keep your clientele loyal as well as bring new people to your business. You can look into offering semi-private and private yoga lessons in addition to your typical classes. Private lessons can appeal to people that are uncomfortable trying out yoga in front of a whole group of people, or someone that is looking to get a more personalized yoga lesson. Semi-private lessons are great for groups of friends that want the benefits of a private lesson while spreading the cost among several people. Plus, this gives those involved a chance to spend time with their friends or family.

You can also look into expanding your classes into workshops, retreats or even a special class series that your students can book. You want to find ways to offer more to entices your clients to keep coming back. Some ideas would be to have a class series that explores different types of yoga, or a weekend retreat where you add other comparable activities to the yoga lessons you teach. Your students would probably love a chance to go away for a weekend, get pampered and relax with an expertly taught yoga class or two.

Finally, you can even expand your business to areas outside of your local community. Yes, you may eventually be able to open other satellite locations to grow your business, but you can think even bigger than that with your own yoga product line. Your students love you for a reason, so it is important to try to reach a larger audience with your brand. You can write books and film instructional videos for DVDs or even a YouTube channel to bring in revenue. Get your brand out there. People will be receptive to your message, and you might find that you have students around the world that found you from your books or videos.

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