This article is written by our friends at MINDBODY.
So, you’ve finally decided to go for your dream and open a fitness studio—congrats! But in the excitement of taking that huge leap of faith, the challenges of creating a successful and profitable fitness studio are always lurking. However, if you have a solid business plan in place from the get-go, accomplishing this dream doesn’t have to be scary.
Here are four tips to help ensure your fitness business gives your competition a run for their money from day one.
1. Know your studio’s purpose and your target demographic
I’ll admit, this may sound fairly obvious—but defining your niche for your new studio is one of the most important steps in the process when you’re first starting out. What your studio offers must not only attempt to meet the individual needs of your potential clients, but surpass them as well.
Let’s say you’re opening up a yoga studio. Your typical yogi tribe probably has more than one reason they’ve all incorporated yoga into their lives, which means it would most likely work in your favor to offer a multitude of classes on your schedule. Let’s take a look at a couple of different clients that may walk into your studio:
The busy professional: Every studio will have a bevvy of these types of clients walking in. Not only are they on the path to health and fitness, but maybe they’re also stressed out and are due for some much-needed zen. It would be beneficial for your studio to not only offer high-energy Vinyasa Flow classes to help them conquer their fitness goals, but to also add a Yoga Nidra class or Slow Flow to help them unwind at the end of a hectic work day.
The timid beginner: Yoga always seems to be a great jumping off point for those who are new to their fitness and wellness journey. In fact, we have clients who are new to their practice walking into my studio on a weekly basis. Even though these clients choose to come to yoga, there can still be some hesitation for those who are taking a step into the unknown. By adding in classes that are fit for beginners, like a Basic Flow class or a Yoga 101 class, you can help put a beginner’s mind at-ease from the second they book their first class at your studio.
The advanced yogi: Of course, you’ll always have clients who are seasoned downward-doggers and back-benders wanting to learn something new at your studio. Try incorporating intermediate and advanced classes on your schedule to help cater to these individuals. You may even want to think about adding a workshop to your schedule on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, like an inversion workshop or one that teaches arm balances, to help show these clients you’re committed to their ongoing journey and drive in extra revenue at the same time.
2. Hire the right people
Once you’ve nailed your niche, make sure to do thorough research into your trainers and teachers to ensure they are a perfect fit for your target audience. The people you hire at your studio are the face of your brand. Make sure they have the same resolutions as you when it comes to the success of your business and your customers.
Naturally, what makes a perfect instructor will differ depending on your offering. Yogis prefer a teacher with patience, HIIT fans want a trainer that pushes them, while cycling aficionados are in need of an instructor with an energetic and uplifting teaching style. It’s important for your staff to build a kinship with each client that walks into your studio. Train your staff to create a community-like experience for every customer that takes one of their classes.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by learning each individual’s name. This encourages your instructors to greet everyone when they arrive to class and gives them the opportunity to give them a shout out in the middle of the workout. What client doesn’t want to be recognized for their hard work?
Bottom line—most clients want to feel like they are apart of something in order to buy into it. The way your staff interacts with them in class and out of class is a big part of this.
3. The price is right
Knowing your target demographic is key. If you’re in a big city, you have a lot of flexibility with pricing your classes to fit your needs. However, in a small town where the average household income may not be that high, you may need to rethink your pricing strategy to help accommodate those who live near your studio. This pricing structure rings true for both drop-ins and membership rates.
If you’re trying to coax new customers into your studio, it’s imperative you have a solid introductory offer strategy in place. Always know your worth. This means you need to create an offer that’s both a screaming deal but doesn’t take the value away from what your services provide. This means no free intro classes. Instead, you should create week-long intro offers to help customers get comfortable at your business for an affordable price like one week of unlimited classes for $15.
4. Take the guesswork out of running your business
Let’s face it, being a fitness studio owner is a 24/7/365 job and can be overwhelming on any given day. One of the easiest ways to get your fitness studio in front of clients is by integrating fitness software into your studio. You can take all the guesswork out of attracting and retaining clients because fitness-mind folks can access your studio schedule, learn about the classes you provide, and book a class with little-to-no effort. This makes class sign-up a breeze for both you and your clients.
Along with storing necessary client information, fitness management software also allows clients to sign any safety waivers before they come to class making the check-in process fast and simple.
These are just a few simple tips to help you get started on your journey to owning a successful fitness studio. While nothing can actually compare to the experience of starting your own business in this industry, hopefully this insight has been helpful and increases your confidence in owning your own studio.