How to build a successful yoga & pilates studio

Written by clarissa adkins
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Building a successful yoga and Pilates studio requires the same business sense necessary for other small enterprises. Get as much knowledge about starting a business and managing it as possible before making your yoga and Pilates studio a reality. Bob Christenson of SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business, reiterated the importance of getting business training in his article, "Good Managers are Trained, Not Born."

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Business plan
  • Business loan or saved money
  • Yoga and Pilates studio management software
  • Filed state and federal paperwork

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  1. 1

    Teach yoga and Pilates classes at several health clubs and studios. This grows your network of yoga students who might follow you to your new studio.

  2. 2

    Take classes on opening a small business. Whether or not you plan to have a business manager for your new Pilates studio, it is important that you know the details of running a business.

  3. 3

    Visit the IRS website and your official state, city or county websites to read their information about starting a small business. Find out what paperwork you need to file to open and run your yoga studio. Keep track of everything n a folder or binder, so when you formulate your business plan, you will have everything in one place.

  4. 4

    Find out what kinds of grants and loans are available for opening a small business and what paperwork you need to apply for them.

  5. 5

    Create a business plan. Spotts Fain, PC, says a business plan "allows you to determine what your projected start-up costs are (how much money you'll need to save) and what your marketing strategies are (how you'll reach customers to make sales)."

  6. 6

    Lease a building for your yoga and Pilates studio. Choose a location for your studio that will not have to compete with too many places that already have yoga and Pilates classes.

    Alternately, you can rent space from an existing dance studio, community centre or church until you are ready to set up your own studio. If you plan to build a studio from scratch, get names of contractors in your area from state or government websites, or ask other local businesses for trusted contractors.

  7. 7

    Consider incorporating eco-friendly materials into your new yoga studio. Using recycled materials and furniture, and VOC-free paint are some of the ways you can create an environmentally friendly studio. This also gives you attractive marketing points to present to prospective students.

  8. 8

    Design for your students' comfort. Incorporate men's and women's bathrooms and showers, and a small lounge that can double as a boutique for yoga mats, clothing, jewellery and props.

  9. 9

    Get software for running your business. Several companies specialise in software that helps organise student lists, keeps track of accounts receivable and payable, and manages class schedules.

  10. 10

    Build a thorough website. You want your website to include contact information, directions to your studio, class descriptions, class times, prices for classes, bios of instructors, special events, an "about us" page that describes how your yoga and Pilates studio is unique and how it got started. You also want an FAQ section that might answer questions about what yoga and Pilates are, refund policies and general studio etiquette.

  11. 11

    Advertise. Social networking sites are a great place to advertise for free. Advertise in your city's local guides and magazines. Hold a few open-house events to get people interested in your yoga and Pilates classes. This is a good time to offer discounts on class packages. SCORE recommends to "be consistent in your ad message and style," and to "promote benefits rather than features."

  12. 12

    Establish a way for your students to pay for yoga and Pilates classes and stick to it. Some yoga studios let students pay for a group of classes at one time for a discount. You can use punch cards to keep track or give each student a number that they give to the front desk each time they come to class.

  13. 13

    Offer extras. Many successful yoga studios have special workshops, events and guest speakers throughout the month. Hold a donation-only class once a month to attract new students. Get involved with the community by having classes to raise money for special causes. Teach yoga and Pilates speciality formats that are not offered by any other local studios.

  14. 14

    Keep your yoga and Pilates studio clean. Hire a cleaning crew to come through once a day or once week if you do not have time to thoroughly clean the studio yourself.

  15. 15

    Hire an accountant and attorney to make sure you are completely up to date with federal and state taxes and paperwork. If resources do not allow you to hire outside help for these matters, then make sure you are completely confident about your business know-how.

  16. 16

    Keep up with your business plan. Continue to advertise. Keep track of short-term and long-term goals. Make new goals and plan for growth.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember that you are offering a service that deserves payment--so do not be tempted to let members regularly take classes for free just because you know them.
  • Do offer discounts for students, military personnel and seniors.

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