7 Must-Do’s for Opening and Running a Successful Yoga Studio
Opening and running a successful yoga studio is a dream for many teachers. If you are thinking about running your own studio, a lot of questions might have crossed your mind. What do you have to do to start and manage your own yoga studio successfully? Below you will find 7 tips for opening a successful yoga studio.
1. Decide on a clear mission and vision for your yoga studio
Your underlying vision for opening a yoga studio is essential for its success. So therefore the first step is to create a clear vision and mission statement for your yoga studio.
Vision gives direction as to where we aim for in the future. It is aspirational, forward-thinking and creative. A vision statement outlines WHERE you want to be. Communicates both the purpose and values of the organization. A mission statement talks about HOW e will get to where we want to be. It defines the purpose and primary objectives related to our customer needs and team values.
When creating your vision and mission statements you can think about the following questions:
- What are my personal strengths and qualities? (Be honest, but not modest, as you note down your skills.)
- What are my core values?
- What are my ambitions? Where do I see myself and my yoga studio in 10 years?
- What is success for me?
Establishing a clear vision and mission, makes future decisions much easier. Decisions such as what classes, and possibly other services, you will you be offering. But also, what qualities are you looking for when hiring yoga teachers. All these decisions should be in line with your purpose and core values as written in your vision and mission statement.
Tip: When making your mission and vision statement for your yoga studio, also check it against your life vision.
2. Make a realistic financial plan
Starting your own business always includes the financial side. Have a look at the Chamber of Commerce’s step-by-step approach to creating a financial plan for your yoga studio. Also consider discussing your plan with an expert, such as an accountant.
You will have to think about how you are going to finance your studio in the long term. When is it going to be profitable? Do you need a financier? And are you prepared to price the services in your studio in a such a way that it will be profitable?
Again, your purpose can be of great help. Many yoga teachers and studio owners struggle with making money and realistic pricing. Think about your own relationship with money: what does it mean to you? How do you use it? Clarifying your own beliefs about money is key to success – not only financially. Once you have a clear vision for the profit of your studio, you can align the financial side with your intentions. This is very important, in order to be able to run your studio successfully in the long run.
3. Location, location, location
The success of your studio will depend greatly on the location you choose. To be able to make a living, the population in the surroundings of the studio should be large enough to run a successful and profitable yoga studio. This is especially true when your studio is going to be your only source of income. A good thumb rule is that you should be able to serve a population of about 50.000 people with your yoga studio. In that case, you can expect to be able to relatively easily acquire 100 memberships for your yoga studio.
When looking for a suitable location, think about the following requirements:
- The studio should be accessible, easy to find and to reach both by car and public transportation.
- When looking at yoga studio locations online, only consider options where you will have enough space for the students. You can calculate that you need approximately 2.5 m2 per student. Rectangular spaces are better than square or odd shaped rooms.
- Think about the basic facilities in your studio: a changing room, a toilet, and perhaps showers or a reception.
- Look for a clean, neat space that meets the requirements for a comfortable and healthy climate. The temperature of a yoga studio should ideally be between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius, and the room should be well ventilated. You should be able to control the temperature and ventilation.
- The rent, including all utilities like gas, water, electricity should not exceed 20% of your expected turn-over of the first year.
The accessibility, comfort and presentation of your studio are all important factors playing a role in its success. You may also have other personal preferences and criteria for the costs; add these requirements to your own list when looking for a location.
4. Choose a unique name for your yoga studio
A very important aspect is the name of your yoga studio. It tells your audience what you are offering. The name should be unique and include your main service. For example, instead of saying ‘Yoga Center London’, your name should rather be ‘Arhanta Yoga London’. The words yoga, center and London aren’t unique but ‘Arhanta’ is. Combining both, distinguishes you from the other studios in London and at the same time tells people what you offer and where.
Make sure that your unique name, as well as descriptive nouns, such as ‘yoga’ and ‘London’ also appear in your website URL.
5. Create a marketing and promotion strategy
After establishing your mission and vision statement and working out the more practical aspects of opening your studio, such as a financial plan and name, it is time to create a marketing strategy.
Your website is the most important factor in marketing! It often is the very first impression that students get of your studio and your services and therefore it is vital that your website looks professional and provides clear and concise information. Keep it simple, and make sure all information is easy to find. A great way to immediately build up trust and make prospective students curios, is to include (real!) testimonials on your website. Ask your students to leave a testimonial after they have been following your classes for a while.
You can choose several channels for advertising your new studio – think about local papers or magazines if you are in a small town, but rather choose to do social media marketing if you setting up your yoga studio in a big city. Also consider PPC (pay-per-click) marketing on Google, Facebook and Instagram to bring people who are looking for yoga classes in your area to your website. Make sure that your marketing strategy is in line with your financial plan.
6. Develop leadership skills
Being a yoga teacher and running a yoga studio are two different cups of tea. Starting of as a yoga teacher, once you become a yoga studio owner, your role will change. Because of this transition, you will also need to acquire an entirely different set of skills. Your job is not ‘merely’ teaching yoga classes anymore. You must give leadership to an organization – even at the start, when you are alone, and it is a one-man (one-woman) show. You will need management and leadership skills to do so effectively. If this is not your cup of tea (yet), consider taking some courses or cooperate with people who can help you set up effective management structures for your yoga studio.
If you are managing a team, choose your people carefully. Test them against your studio’s mission and vision statement. Only with like-minded team members, the message of your studio can be effectively transferred to your students and will you be able to run a successful yoga studio for a long time to come.
7. Monitor renewals and attendance
Without students. you cannot run a yoga studio! In the beginning, when you are teaching most or all classes yourself, it is much easier to build up a good relationship with students. It is very important that you know the names of your students. We often say (half-jokingly): “The sweetest sound for a person is their own name”. This does hold quite some truth and by simply knowing your students’ names you create the foundation for trust and loyalty. Knowing your students’ goals will also help you to guide them more effectively in the classes.
To run a successful yoga studio, you want students to keep coming back. This is called ‘renewal’. Usually the percentage of renewals, give you a good impression of the quality of your service.
When hiring and paying teachers to teach at your studio, make sure to instill the importance of building trust and loyalty with students. It is our advice to pay teachers at your studio based on renewals or attendance of their classes. A good yoga teacher does much more than just give instructions. A yoga teacher who is only concerned with leading the class, becomes very replaceable and students are much less committed to keep attending the class. A yoga teacher’s value lies in his or her ability to guide students individually, to challenge them, to help them and to make them want to come back for more. If you, as the studio owner, or your teachers are not performing up to these standards your studio most likely won’t flourish.
The Takeaway on How to Open and Run a Successful Yoga Studio
With these 7 steps in mind, you can start turning your dream of opening your own yoga studio into reality. Do not underestimate the amount of work it takes, though. Opening any new business takes research, planning, investment of time and capital, and readiness to take risks.
But with determination, hard work, and the initiative to overcome obstacles, opening of your own yoga studio and bringing yoga into people’s lives, is immensely rewarding. A yoga studio is a business that makes a difference in people’s lives – helping their mental and physical well being.
Opening and running a yoga studio successfully takes time. But with a solid plan, it is possible to make your dream come true.
About the Author
Ram is Founding Director of the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. Within the last 10 years, the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams have become renowned internationally for their professional yoga teacher training course in India and various other yoga certification courses in India and Europe, and have up to present trained over 4000 yoga teachers from all over the world.
Born in New Delhi, India, in a traditional and spiritual family, his yoga and Vedic philosophy education started at the age of eight years as a part of his primary school education. He teaches for several months a year in India and the rest of the year in the Netherlands, where he also lives with his wife and two children.