How to Open a Yoga Studio

Have you been thinking lately that you’d like to open a yoga studio? Seeing how the wellness economy is booming in 2018, it’s a great idea for anyone who’s a passionate yogi and has some business sense. Read on for our advice on getting started with your venture in zen!

More and more, yoga and mindfulness practices are becoming an essential part of day-to-day life for many people. As life becomes busier, more urbanized, and simultaneously more connected and more “remote,” the health and wellbeing industry has exploded. As new buzz words like “self-care” make their way into our everyday vocabulary, we become more and more conscious of the fact that we should be investing our time, energy, and money in our own wellbeing.

It might have already occurred to you to open a yoga studio, especially if you already have been practicing for years or are already well-connected to this network, which also tends to include other wellness-oriented professions like naturopaths, dietitians and nutritionists, reiki and massage specialists, and more. The market for holistic wellness is only growing, and now is a great time to consider putting your plan to open a yoga studio into action.

Open a Yoga Studio: First Steps

After naming your business and checking that the name doesn’t already belong to another registered business, you’ll need to decide upon its structure (check the following links for information on legal structures available to your business venture in the United States, the UK, and France). The decision you make about your business structure should be based on several factors, like whether you’re partnering with someone, taking out loans, and more.  Making this decision will also be a determining factor in other choices you’ll need to make in order to open a yoga studio that becomes a booming success in no time.

After making this important decision, you’ll need to follow the appropriate process in your country and region in order to register your new business with your local government authorities. You’ll also need to make considerations about insurance. Any business that uses sports practices or equipment should seriously consider taking out Accident Medical coverage, which will enable the studio to pay for any students’ eventual medical bills in the event of an accident at your studio; this in turn lessens the likelihood of that student suing you for damages. You may also want to look into Sexual Misconduct coverage, a relatively strange-sounding form of insurance that is very valuable in professions where you’ll probably end up touching your clients for professional purposes only, of course. Aside from this, you’ll also need  General and Professional Liability, Personal Injury, Product Liability and Stolen Equipment insurance. Hey, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and if you’re looking to open a yoga studio, that’s probably a proverb that you subscribe to!

Finally, you’ll need to register with the appropriate authority in order to obtain an Employer Identification Number or equivalent, obtained from the IRS in the United States. If you’re opening a yoga studio or a wellness-based organization, you’ll most likely need to hire people who can form a team that offers a unique take on yoga and wellness. The best way to ensure the quality of your business is to ensure the quality of your employees. With some great teachers on your roster, you’ll soon open a yoga studio that’ll be the talk of the town.

Selling Points

1. Space

Yoga Studios don’t need to be large, and often aren’t, but this is a business where the quality of the space is extremely important. If you’re opening a Yoga Studio, and you aren’t just operating as an independent yoga teacher, you’ll probably be either renting or buying a commercial space in which you can set up your studio. But of course, mindfulness and wellbeing businesses need to be extra picky about the space they choose, as this is the major component in making an impression upon your first-time visitors, along with the quality of your classes and workshops themselves, and how many students you’ll be able to fit in the space per class. Spaces that lend themselves well to yoga, mindfulness exercises, and wellness workshops are well-lit with principally natural light — they feature windows and glass- and mirrored-surfaces that reflect light and make the space seem bigger, airier, and brighter. Plants are beneficial not only aesthetically, but for keeping the air quality pure and odorless. In general, think light. It’s something that inspires calm and contentedness across socio-economic categories, gender, age, and other such factors. You’ll need to know how you’re going to obtain (rent, buy) this property, and how (a bank loan, investors, etc).

Before you’re ready to open a yoga studio, but after you’ve secured your location, you’ll need to start deciding who you’re going to work with (how many teachers will you hire, and based upon what specialities and accreditations?) and what your class and workshop schedule will look like.

2. Offer

When they’re just getting started, many yoga studios offer loads of promotions and free/extremely inexpensive classes in order to attract a following and perhaps hook some fresh clients. This is an extremely risky strategy, and statistically-speaking, it doesn’t do anything to ensure your business’ success as it grows.

A more sustainable strategy, and one that will definitely drive more interest in your business, is making sure that your class schedule and roster of teachers is diverse, interesting, and most importantly, packed. Everyone knows there are loads of different kinds of yoga, and even beginners are becoming more and more interested in the different kinds: Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram, Pranayama, the list goes on and on, and you certainly wouldn’t want to fall short on offering your clients the best of the best. Heat (Bikram) yoga has long been quite popular; Pilates, a yoga-like exercise that’s great for toning and core strength, is perennially popular; Vinyasa and Hatha yogas, while different, are often considered the “classic” styles in the West, and Pranayama is great for clients who might be recovering from injuries, are above a certain age, or would really like to ease into a practice that is more focused on breath than perfecting physical poses. Obviously, you can expect your Bikram classes to attract a younger a demographic and for Pranayama to appeal to more specific groups than classic styles like Hatha yoga. And because of the great wealth in styles of yoga, when you open a yoga studio you’ll need to be sure to also hire teachers that can handle the volume of class you’d like to work in, as well as the styles you’d like to teach your new students. The more diverse your studios class offering is, the more potential clients you’ll interest. And keep in mind that your class schedule hours can make or break you: while day-classes are great for students, housewives and husbands, the unemployed, seniors, and others, keep in mind that professionals with office jobs usually wish to attend class either before or after work. Keeping a number of these options available will mean that you can accommodate a wide range of clients. 

As for price, it’s always intelligent to offer customers several pricing options. Most yoga studios stand by a pricing scheme rather similar to certain gyms: customers can buy a one-time entry or class (usually anywhere between 15 and 30 dollars), a package of entries or classes that offers a couple dollars discount per class relative to the single-class, or an unlimited monthly or weekly pass (often quite pricey) that allows clients to come to class as many times in a week or month as they would like. Making sure that people are flexible in terms of how often they come to class is a good idea for several reasons: single classes or even unlimited weekly passes allow newcomers to decide how they feel about the studio before they commit to it, and it is always beneficial to be as flexible as possible for your clients (no pun intended!). It also opens up your studio to people who may be in town on business or temporarily, people wishing to accompany friends, and more. Having a wide offer will make it easier for people to profit from your business.

3. Diversify

Offering speciality workshops and events geared, for example, is a great idea when you open a yoga studio. Offering workshops for aspiring teachers (for this you’ll need to register with the international Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga School, here), as well as classes and workshops specifically for back pain, for example, is not only lucrative, but good for your clients on a number of levels.

Selling merchandise (yoga mats, water bottles, carbon filters for water bottles, jewelry and crystals, local artisanal wares, and other wellness-oriented products) can be a great idea for yoga studios to bring in a bit of extra cash.

In 2018, more and more people are turning to yoga as a form of stress relief, physical therapy, sport substitute or alternative, and as a great way of getting more in touch with their bodies and souls. If you’re thinking you’d like to open a yoga studio, you’re probably already a passionate yogi. Keep in mind that even wellness-oriented businesses are still businesses, and can’t be sustained on passion alone. In order to make sure your yoga studio is the roaring success we know it can be, make sure that you download our free business plan templates and make sure that your business plan is foolproof before you open. With the information provided above and by making solid business choices when you open a yoga studio, you’ll be up and running in no time !

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