Owning a yoga studio can be the perfect way to turn your love for physical practising into a successful and fulfilling career. However, being a skilled yoga teacher does not necessarily guarantee success as a studio owner. From creating a solid business plan to finding the perfect location and marketing your studio, there are many crucial decisions to make before opening your doors.
In this article, we'll guide you through the essential steps you need to take to start and run a thriving yoga studio that not only supports your passion but also your financial goals.
The Benefits of Running a Yoga Studio
Opening a successful yoga studio comes with plenty of benefits:
- Making a positive change in the lives of others
- Helping individuals recover from injuries and alleviate pain
- Assisting in the management of stress and anxiety
- Promoting mindfulness
- Creating a local community
- And finally: making money from your own business
As you can see, running a successful yoga studio has numerous advantages, but you may still wonder – is it truly worth it? The answer is yes!
The yoga industry is growing rapidly, with 41,953 Pilates & Yoga Studios businesses in the US as of 2023, up from 37K in 2017.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the yoga industry generated $37.46 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $66.22 billion by 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.6% from 2021 to 2027.
While online yoga classes have gained popularity during the pandemic, most practitioners still prefer the in-person experience offered by brick-and-mortar studios. Factors driving people to join yoga studios include the positive impact on health, celebrity endorsement of yoga practice, government-related and Yoga Alliance-related activities, and the need to unwind from hectic lifestyles and elevated stress levels.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Yoga Studio?
Opening a yoga studio can be a lucrative venture in the long run, but it's important to recognize that it's not a "get-rich-quick" business model. As a yoga studio owner, you must remember that it's business and treat it accordingly. Many new owners are so passionateaboutsharing their knowledge that they often overlook the business side of things.
While the cost to operate a yoga studio is lower than that of a traditional gym or CrossFit box, the start-up costs can still be significant. Unfortunately, in the beginning, you need to anticipate low-profit margins initially as you invest heavily in start-up costs and build a strong clientele.
These start-up costs often include:
- Studio rental – it can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month, depending on location and the size of the space
- Yoga equipment (like yoga mats, straps, and blocks), as well as furniture like chairs and tables for the reception area
- Fees for your yoga teachers
- Yoga studio software for managing the studio
The Challenges of Opening a Yoga Studio
While you may assume that opening a yoga studio is a spiritual and peaceful experience, the reality is much more grounded.
A yoga studio is, first and foremost, a business, and it comes with all the challenges and responsibilities of running any other fitness facility. As a business owner, you'll need to:
- Navigate lease negotiations to secure a desirable location
- Handle paperwork, obtain permits, and insurance
- Manage scheduling and bookings
- Maintain the studio, including cleaning equipment and repairing damages
- Put in the effort to effectively market and promote your business
- Find and retain quality staff to create a welcoming environment
- Manage day-to-day operations to ensure the smooth running of the business.
For new business owners, all of these tasks can be overwhelming, but having the right tools and resources can make the process smoother and more manageable.
How to Open a Thriving Yoga Studio? The 10 Crucial Steps
Setting up and marketing a new yoga studio can be tough. Here are the 10 most important things you have to keep in mind to build and maintain a healthy studio income.
1. Start With Creating a Sound Business Plan
You may have started your studio out of your love of yoga, but to survive, you need to tap into your entrepreneurial instincts.
“Yogis often love their jobs too much, which causes them sometimes to make poor decisions, be overly lenient, take things personally, have poor boundaries, and not see things objectively,” says Ava Taylor, founder and CEO of Yama Talent, a firm specialising in health and fitness businesses.
How to open a yoga studio? Foremost, you can not go any further without creating a business strategy which is critical to your success. A comprehensive plan should cover all aspects of your studio, including the executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, products and services overview, marketing plan, sales strategy, financial plan and projections, and funding (if you're planning to raise money).
What should a business plan for a yoga studio include?
When creating a strategy, there are several important issues that must not be overlooked:
- Start with a brief overview of your business idea and how it will be executed.
- Next, create a company description with detailed information about your business – its legal structure, management team, and mission statement.
- Conduct a market analysis that assesses the potential demand for your services and identifies your target market.
- Get to know your future competitors. Carry out an analysis of their businesses so you can see how they operate, discover their strengths and weaknesses, and learn about their pricing strategies.
- Plan and describe your yoga classes, workshops, and any additional products or services you want to offer at your studio.
- Don't forget about a marketing plan that outlines your promotional strategies, including your budget and advertising channels.
- Conduct a sales strategy as well as a financial plan for your business.
2. Work On Your Identity
Do you dream of creating a strong brand that people will identify with? There are many ways to achieve it but you have to remember that nothing comes on its own. The more solid foundation you lay, the more likely you are to succeed. This is why creating a strong brand identity is a crucial step in opening a profitable yoga studio. Your whole further strategy should be based on it.
Finding your brand identity starts with articulating your mission and vision which you will be communicating clearly both internally and externally. Consider what kind of experience you want your students to have, how you want them to feel during interacting with your brand and what sets your studio apart from others in the area. Use this information to develop a brand personality that resonates with your target audience and is reflected in your logo, website, and marketing communication.
A strong and consistent brand identity can help you attract and retain loyal members and build a positive reputation within the yoga community.
3. How to Open a Yoga Studio? Hire Well-Trained Teachers
Running a yoga studio alone isn’t impossible, but it is extremely difficult. One of the most important things you need to consider is hiring well-trained staff who would support you in everyday tasks. Investing in reliable instructors can help you build a loyal customer base and ensure the success of your yoga studio for years to come.
Choose them carefully. Your trainers are the backbone of your business, and the quality of their instruction can make or break your reputation. When looking for teachers, make sure they are passionate about yoga, have completed a reputable training program and are experienced in teaching.
4. Get the Right Yoga Studio Software
Investing in yoga studio management software from the start can help you streamline your operations and save money down the line.
With the right software, you can:
- Increase yoga class bookings and manage cancellations
- Schedule classes and send reminders
- Quickly process new clients
- Send in-app notifications to your members to keep them engaged
- Automate customer communication – including class reminders, payments, renewals, and other yoga studio messages
- Manage payments
- Sell and manage stock
- Identify where there is potential for profit and where your studio is losing money
Everything written above you can find in the Perfect Gym platform. By implementing this all-in-one system in your yoga studio, you will be able to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your business operations, enhancing your bottom line and offering a more seamless experience for your clients.
5. Run Different Yoga Classes To Attract New Audiences
There are two ways you can approach positioning your own yoga business:
Going wide with multiple yoga styles, such as Ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, Hatha yoga, Bikram yoga (hot yoga), aerial yoga, Pilates
Going narrow and specializing in one style of yoga – i.e. Ashtanga-only
While you're likely to get away with opening a niche or boutique yoga studio in larger cities, most owners still decide to keep it broad to widen their appeal.
Most studio owners tend to opt for the first approach to ensure they can monetize various age groups and demographics. Some also add other activities like Pilates to the mix to add more revenue streams.
6. Consider Yoga Class Timing
When planning your yoga class schedule, it's important to consider the timing of your classes. Are you an early bird? According to Statista.com, you should be because most yoga enthusiasts prefer to practice in the morning between 6 AM and 10 AM to start their day off on the right foot. Therefore, it's essential to offer classes during this time to cater for those who want to exercise before work or late in the afternoon. Some classes, like the daily Mysore practice for Ashtangis, typically start around 6 AM, while others get busy in the evenings.
Offering a diverse range of class timings can help attract a broader audience and accommodate the busy schedules of your clients.
7. Get Your Pricing Strategy Right
When opening a yoga studio, the biggest challenge is acquiring members without devaluing your service. To ensure you strike the right balance, it's crucial to simplify your pricing strategy and avoid offering free services.
When clients pay for your services, they are more likely to perceive the value of what they are receiving. Providing classes for free can result in attracting trial hoppers who are merely interested in a freebie and won't necessarily derive any actual benefit from the experience.
Instead, think about offering incentivized deals such as “two classes for the price of one” as a way more successful tactic for gaining momentum. Implementing a referral program that leverages the networks of your existing members can also be an effective tactic for gaining momentum and expanding your client base.
8. Generate More Sources of Income
By diversifying your revenue streams, you can create a more stable and sustainable business model for your yoga studio.
A great idea is selling yoga merchandise. Most studios sell books, apparel, yoga mats, mat cleaners, Ayurvedic cosmetics, supplements, and Yogi Tea products – you name it.
Of course, there are many other ways to generate additional streams of income for your yoga studio. For instance, you can offer workshops, organize events or private yoga sessions or small group classes, which can often command a higher price point than regular group classes.
9. Prioritize Customer Experience
Creating an exceptional customer experience is essential for the success of your business. If there's one thing the best yoga studios have in common, it's being customer-centric.
Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment is crucial. You need to ensure that all equipment, including yoga mats, blankets, and straps, are thoroughly cleaned after each use. Additionally, the reception area, bathrooms, and floors should also be regularly cleaned and well-maintained.
The design of the studio space plays a key role in promoting a calming atmosphere. Choosing a colour scheme that incorporates natural wood, neutral tones, and pastels can create a soothing environment that enhances the yoga practice. You need to consider the lighting, temperature, and layout of the space to ensure it's conducive to relaxation and mindfulness.
Lastly, delivering on promises is very important for building trust with your customers. This means following through on class schedules, ensuring high-quality instruction, and providing a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all students.
10. Adjust Your Marketing and Services To Your Customer's Needs
While 84.5% of yogis are female (according to Yoga Anatomy), the good news here is that the target market is constantly widening.
- 43% of yogis are 30-49 years old
- 38% are over the age of 50 (a 300% increase!)
Adjust your messaging and social media marketing communication to fit the needs of your target groups. Remember that diversifying your audience can do you some good. Think about adding pregnancy yoga classes, Pilates classes, and other activities which can help you attract new audiences who will hopefully stick around.
How to Open a Yoga Studio?
Opening a yoga studio can be a fulfilling career, but it's essential to approach it as a business journey rather than a spiritual one. As a yoga studio owner, it's crucial to remain calm and resilient in the face of challenges that may arise.
The challenging truth is that it'll take time for your company to prosper. The key takeaway here is that you should not forget that every decision you make from the very beginning directly impacts your bottom line. By prioritizing your business's success and investing in the right tools and strategies, you can build a thriving yoga community and achieve long-term success.