Opening a Yoga Studio: 10 Things You Need to Know

Published on: 
21 March 19
Posted in: 
11 min read

Why Start a Yoga Studio Business? 

Yoga is a booming, thriving business. Over the past five years, the yoga industry has grown 9.1% reaching a revenue of $12 billion in 2019. With 36 million Americans practicing yoga, yoga studios are popping up all over the place as more people become increasingly more health and fitness conscious

Every year yogis are spending $16.8 billion on yoga classes, yoga clothes, accessories, and equipment. The yoga and wellness space is only set to grow and thrive. Opening a yoga studio can be a daunting task with so many more things to think about than just teaching classes.

So if you’re thinking of opening a yoga studio the fundamental question comes down to this:

How do you make your yoga studio stand out from the crowd?

Apart from offering fantastic yoga classes, put simply, you need an excellent yoga business plan and well thought out marketing. As a new small business owner, the first year can be challenging and tough and how well you plan is what can make or break your fledgling yoga business.

In this article, we will discuss the key things you need to know when opening a yoga studio. Our goal is to prepare you for everything the life of a yoga entrepreneur will throw at you!.

#1 Know Your Target Market and Research Competitors 

Before you start thinking about marketing your new yoga studio or designing your new space, you need to develop a business plan.

To create a yoga business plan, you need to:

  • Know your target market – the more you can know about your customers the better.
  • Research your competitors – research and understand your competition, who’s your biggest competition?
  • Set your business and marketing goals – these goals will help guide your marketing plan and fit in with your overall business goals.

The yoga market is saturated with yoga studios opening up throughout countless cities. The competition is intense even at the local level, so your initial research is critical. You need to find out where your customers are located and create an ideal client profile. Learn from your competition and use their strengths to guide your business model, avoiding their weaknesses.

Set measurable and achievable goals so that you can track your success. All this planning may all seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but it’s crucial to have a plan in place before opening a yoga studio.

When creating a business, it’s always useful to read books by thought leaders. Use their knowledge to set you up for success. For business inspiration read:

Another useful resource is the Being Boss podcast with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Being Boss isn’t a yoga podcast specifically but is 100% relevant for anyone serious about their yoga business. They focus on building a business you love, making bank and being authentically yourself at the same time.

#2 Find a Place For Your New Yoga Studio 

An essential step in opening a new yoga studio is finding the right location. The two main options are looking for a place to rent or buying a dedicated space for your studio. Your research and planning all come into action through each step and location is no exception.

Renting or buying space for your yoga studio can be one of the most significant costs you will incur in the beginning. At this stage, a more budget-friendly option is to find a place you can rent hourly while your yoga business grows. Invest in a more permanent space when you have the resources. This helps to minimize startup costs in the first year.

#3 Decide on a Name and Set Up an Incredible Website 

When opening a yoga studio, deciding on a name is definitely on top of the to-do list. The name will be the first thing a customer will see, and it will be a big part of your brand and identity. In today’s world, you need an online presence. Once you’ve decided on your business name, it’s time to set up an incredible website with a unique URL to connect with your students. Along with social media, your site will make up the majority of your digital marketing efforts.

There are a couple of reasons why you should have a well-designed website:

  • Reach a wider audience
  • Be searchable and found online
  • Build and nurture an email list
  • Create content such as blogs to attract new students
  • Provide extra information for students
  • Allow students to register online for classes

#4 Market Your New Yoga Studio 

The next challenge is getting the word out there about your fantastic new yoga studio. Wherever you’re based, the close-knit yoga community is a great place to start to initiate word of mouth marketing. A customer recommendation does go along way and can be very powerful in getting new students through the door.

As we already mentioned, having a website is essential to your online presence and yoga marketing plan. Content marketing is a great way to engage students in a fun and interesting way. Useful types of content you can share include blogs, infographics, and videos. The Content Marketing Institute says content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business with a massive 77% of internet users reading blogs.

Reach out to new customers with captivating and unique blogs to build your brand authority, trust, and image. Blogging also helps to increase website traffic and increase social media followers. Keep Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind for not only your website but content as well as 95% of people useful look at the first page of search engine results.

 

#5 Be Active and Engaging on Social Media

In this digital age, social media will form a significant part of your marketing strategy. It’s a highly useful tool and engaging your customers and giving them a reason to follow you is essential. Utilize your customer research to know where your customers hang out online and how to reach them.

Between September 2017 and October 2018, social media users grew by 320 million. The staggering growth in social media users shows how important it is to be active on social media. The difficulty is knowing where to start and which social media networks to commit your time and resources to.

Here are some yoga marketing tips to help you engage with customers on social media:

  • Ask questions that encourage conversations
  • Post a poll on Instagram Stories to get feedback
  • Hold fun competitions and free giveaways
  • Respond to any queries
  • Always be authentic
  • Share high-quality images and videos

In terms of monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social media network. Generally, the best social media networks for businesses are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. What you share and how often is entirely down to you but remember to be consistent. To get you started crafting a marketing strategy for your fitness business, we’ve already broken the main strategies down into a comprehensive guide.

Social media content creation and management can take up a lot of time, so decide how much time and resources you have from the beginning. Social media scheduling tools can help streamline your social media content strategy and save you time.

Here are some of the top social media scheduling tools to use:

Once you’ve set up your website and social media channels, you can start investing in advertising. There are many different online channels you can run effective marketing campaigns with Facebook, Instagram Google Adwords being the most popular for a small fitness business.

It’s Facebook where you can make a real killing though. Its advertising platform allows you to target your audience demographic within a specific location. Smart marketers understand the importance of Facebook with 94% of marketers using Facebook advertising regularly. We’ve put together a useful guide to help you create ads for lead generation using Facebook advertising, which will ultimately help grow your yoga business.

For insights and interviews around the business of yoga, listen to the M.B.Om Mastering the Business of Yoga Podcast. Host Amanda Kingsmith dedicates every episode to bringing you the most inspiring stories from successful yoga entrepreneurs to help teach you about the business of yoga.

#6 Try Different Strategies to Acquire Members

Offering free yoga classes or workshops is a great way to bring in new students. Free yoga classes are a good incentive and can be very useful in marketing your yoga studio. Once you have them in the door, you can provide them with a positive experience that will hopefully incentivize them to return as a member. Make sure you get the email addresses of these attendees so you can begin an email marketing campaign to nurture them along the path to becoming a full paying member.

Other great ideas for getting new members is to target the quieter periods during the day.  For example, you could offer yoga classes for children and teenagers if your yoga studio is located near a school or get into the corporate wellness game by offering lunchtime courses for companies nearby. These are super strategies to generate revenue during the traditional quite 9-5 part of the day.

#7 Be Creative with Your Business

If you can, make sure to diversify your class schedule. People like to try different types of yoga experiences, and a recent American study confirmed as much. It found that 66% of people do at least one class per year in an experimental setting. The study also found the different yoga experiences that yogis want to try with laughter yoga coming out on top, followed by hot yoga and silent disco yoga.

The demand for varied forms of yoga is strong, and yoga studios need to meet this by offering a selection of different classes. Have a range of yoga styles such as Vinyasa, Bikram or Ashtanga.

If a teacher or a specific style of yoga doesn’t resonate with a student, they may look to go to a different studio. Having different teachers, offering a variety of yoga classes and styles gives students more options, making it easier to retain them.

#8 Sell Retail Items 

Adding another stream of revenue to your own business is a great way to keep profits coming in. A survey of 2,000 Americans found that the average yogi spends $62,640 over their lifetime on yoga classes, workshops, and accessories, equating to around $90 a month. Yoga is big business and offering your customers retail items is also a fantastic way to grow your brand.

Yoga clothing, yoga mats, water bottles, and books can all bring in additional revenue. With many people trading in jeans for yoga pants, the athleisure trend is booming. Athleisure is expected to be an $83 billion market by 2020 with no signs of slowing down. Whether you have a huge retail space available or not, simply putting up a few shelves stocking your products is a perfect way to start.

#9 Prepare for Low-Profit Margins in the Beginning 

Opening a yoga studio is by no means a get-rich-quick plan. As with most companies, you will spend the first year investing in a whole range of necessary things. This will be things like buying yoga mats at wholesale cost, employing yoga teachers or renting a studio. Determine what your budget is and where best your capital can be utilized.

Often the most significant initial investment is leasing or purchasing a space which can vary greatly from one geographical area to another. While you build up a steady clientele and business, prepare to work long hours to build your yoga studio from the ground up.

Consider joining the Yoga Alliance, a non-profit organization that represents the yoga community. They can help to guide both yoga teachers and yoga schools with conscious and effective business practices. It also gives you access to some online workshops and product and service discounts that you can use for your business.

#10 Be Patient

Nobody is perfect, and you will likely make mistakes when opening a yoga studio for the first time. Don’t beat yourself up about it and learn from your mistakes. Create realistic goals and expectations from the beginning.

A super podcast to keep you inspired and educated is The Love Teaching Yoga podcast. Start with episode #58 Philosophy, Business, & Money w/ Amy McDonald to get you feeling motivated to stay on the path.

In Summary

Many different elements go into opening a yoga studio and hopefully the essential steps we have laid out here should help you make your yoga business dreams a reality.

As with any business, there will be ups and downs but if you put in the time and some good old fashioned hard work, you can take on the challenge and come out on top.