So you’re starting your own fitness, dance or Pilates studio. We’ve been there and it is daunting. In this post we’ve briefly summarised some of the key things you should consider.
First it’s important to realise that everyone is different. You need to understand your own goals, skills, resources and budget. If you haven’t already seek out people who have been there and done it. Most people in the fitness industry are outgoing and friendly and many will be happy to give advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you might just get an answer that saves you lots of time and or money. You might also consider finding experienced consultants or business coaches who have worked in the industry to help you on your way. Ideally create a business plan and understand your timeline and goals.
The paragraph above is all about doing your homework and getting help. The next sections focus on some of the areas that might cause a few bumps along, what we hope, will be a fun and rewarding journey.
The Right Location
Location, location, location we’ve all heard it but now is the time to really pay attention. At the end of the day your business will be all about getting and keeping clients. A big factor is location. Do a walk around, consider your competition, and think about other things like parking. Now of course, you may start in a spare room or somewhere where you can get a fantastic deal on rent. Keeping your costs low to start is excellent. Remember, be realistic. You’ll need to consider how much space you need, equipment and fit-out. Don’t try to be everything for everyone, find your niche, focus on what you’re passionate about. If you can build a loyal following you’ll then have options.
Instructors, or more accurately the lack of instructors can spell the end for many excellent studios. As a studio owner it will be tempting to teach every class, to micro manage everything, and to not spend time finding talented Instructors who you work well with and who you trust to represent your brand. Like anything you need to find balance. When you start hiring Instructors it also means you’re the boss. You’ll need to keep everyone happy and make decisions. If someone isn’t working out you may need to make some hard decisions, our advice, be fair and fast.
Equipment and Systems
Obviously the type of equipment and fit-out you’ll need will very much depend on what your studio is. This might include Pilates Reformers, a ballet barre for Barre classes, and a range of gym type equipment. If you’re just starting this can represent a big cost… so be smart. Start small, shop around, consider different finance options. If you’re doing Pilates consider starting with mat classes, if it’s fitness related you might develop an equipment plan for what you need and how you’ll introduce this over time.
The next thing is systems. By systems we mean how you deal with clients, how you attract clients, how you manage your money, how you do your marketing, and broadly how everything operates from opening to closing. We recommend talking with other owners and spending time creating a list of all the things that need to happen every day, week or month. Like most things you may start with a flexible approach as you find your feet but, and this is important, for things not generating you revenue you should seek good, simple ways to get them done.
Setting up your own studio within the fitness industry is a big step. With a bit of luck and lots of hard work it will be rewarding both financially and from a personal goal perspective.
Get help where you can, keep it simple to start with, limit your spending and focus on getting clients in the door and keeping them happy. Remember, now that you have a business… ‘cash is king’.
Above all else though, be passionate and keep smiling!
We wish you every success.