This is the beginning of a two part series focusing on how to open your own studio. Before you start this process, it is veryimportant to get clear on your vision. This was heavily discussed in Episode 61 with Shay Kostabi- so be sure to jump back to those episodes first if you have not already! These next two episodes are for those who have flirted with the idea of opening their own studio or are getting ready to jump into that adventure. Our guests in this episode are Debbie Davis, fitness studio owner and consultant, and Tash Bean, formerly seen in FCM Episode 27: How to Build a Following as an Instructor. They are here to offer their experience and expertise with the FCM Community!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
• Find the perfect location for your vision
• The power of pop-up classes
• Set your mission and guiding principles
Here’s the Complete List of Tips:
(11:30) Debbie, how did you decide to open a studio that focuses on yoga and cycle?
Many people that do yoga are not fans of cardio, and many people that take cycle classes don’t feel that yoga is necessary to add to their routine. The truth is that they work very well together. It is a great way to encourage people to try something they may have never tried before.
(13:15) Debbie, how did you begin this career shift to enter the fitness industry as a studio owner? Would you have done anything different?
Many people enter the ownership position with background as an instructor, but we are from the business world. We came in with a very solid business plan in place, but since we were lacking the teaching background, that is where we recruited Tash as a consultant. She worked as a cheerleader for our teachers and trained them to be prepared to teach for our brand and clients.
(15:20) Debbie, at what stage did you find Tash?
We knew each other for awhile through a mutual friend, but after going through many different options – first, deciding if we needed a consultant in general, then deciding who – she was a natural fit. We started working together about 6 months before our first teacher training, and reasonably into the planning of the studio opening (1-1.5 years in).
(18:00) Once you say, “I’m going to open a studio,” what are your first steps?
Location, location, location. Decide the city, then decide where to go within the area. Things to consider: parking, demographics of the area, timing. Location will dictate accessibility to your studio, the structure of your class schedule, design of the facilities, etc.
Another key point that is often missed is that you cannot forget to sound proof your studio! Consider your neighbors.
Start your studio with a light schedule. Create momentum, fill those classes, and then you can add more classes in rather than cancelling. Create demand and then fill it. However, be sure to find a balance with this so that you have enough to offer to prospective members.
Start posting on social media about the location, what you will be offering, and ask your instructors to do the same.
Before you open your permanent location, have pop up rides in local restaurants/establishments that can combine an experience (free drink with ride) to start to build a reputation in the community.
(39:50) Shay Kostabi suggested that you begin with solidifying your intended class experience before setting your branding, rather than vice versa. Would you also suggest this?
Yes, because Tash had many class structures to choose from already so this is where we started. Valuable advice that we got was to choose a mission statement that you are going to stick to. Then when you have any decision that needs to be made, you can refer back to these guiding principles. Figure this out before you start to meet with possible consultants so that you know what you’re looking for.
(51:00) Once you’ve developed this, how much does that play a role in the physical build out of the studio and branding?
This will be answered in Episode 64!
Other References in This Episode:
Episode 61: The #1 Factor That Determines Your Growth in Fitness with Shay Kostabi
Episode 62: 6 Steps to Create a Clear Vision and Lead a Successful Career in Fitness
FCM Episode 27: How to Build a Following as an Instructor with Natasha Marshall Bean