Thinking of starting your own yoga business, but unsure exactly how to open a yoga studio that will succeed? You’re in good company. Given that it’s one of the most popular fitness and mental health practices on the planet, yoga studios are big business. More than 36 million Americans are hitting their yoga mats, and yoga’s rapid growth shows no signs of slowing. It’s a tempting time to make the leap from yoga teacher to business owner.
Although the yoga market is a very competitive space, with the right planning—and the right business tools like good yoga studio software—it can be an amazing chance to build a community that you love.
Here’s how to build a thriving yoga business from the ground up, as well as common mistakes to avoid.
What is a yoga studio business?
A yoga studio business offers yoga classes and services to a group of clients. This can be either at a brick-and-mortar location, or within an existing gym, studio, co-working space, or store. The pandemic also made virtual yoga practices more popular, with sessions taught and taken anywhere in the world. A yoga studio business can also have additional revenue streams like branded apparel or products.
How to open a yoga studio
So you’re going to do it—you’re finally going to make your dream a reality and open a yoga studio of your own. Just like the practice of yoga itself, you’ll need plenty of hard work and dedication. But to truly set yourself up for success? You’ll need to strategize carefully and follow these crucial steps.
Step 1: Get certified by an accredited yoga body
If you haven’t already, start by getting the proper accreditation from a recognized body like the Yoga Alliance. Your training should teach you the inner workings of running successful yoga classes, as well as demonstrate to your clients that you’ve achieved a high level of ability as an instructor (something you can also market to your advantage).
Step 2: Build a clientele of yogis
Start building a loyal following before you strike out on your own. When people already know who you are, they’ll be much more likely to follow you on your new venture. Spend time working within an established yoga outlet to hone your craft. Consider building interest with one or two free or donation-only classes at a local gym or retail shop. This is a great way to gain experience, grow your client base, and draw more attention to your instruction style and technique.
Step 3: Develop a clear vision for your yoga business
Once you have the certification and the client pool you need, make a business plan and vision statement. Look closely at your goals and your defining features—in writing. You’re much more likely to see your business ideas clearly, and to actually execute them, if you have a written document to refer to.
This will probably be the most time-intensive part of your planning process, with good reason. Your plan will serve as the backbone of your yoga business and shape every part of your decision-making process. In your document, be sure to include these elements:
An executive summary
Write down your story, and what you want your business to be. Think of it as an elevator pitch to explain who you are, what you offer, and what makes you special. This summary will help a potential partner or investor decide whether to keep reading the rest of your plan.
Answer the question of who your target customers are, and which specific yoga classes and services you’ll be offering. (Ashtanga? Vinyasa? Hot? Power? Prenatal?) Is your focus on teaching advanced practitioners only, or do you want to attract clients of all levels?
Decide on the kind of athletic or meditative experience you want to create, specializing in one general style so as not to confuse people. Also consider whether you’ll be selling any apparel or products at your yoga studio as an additional revenue stream.
A marketing plan
Think about how you’ll get the word out about your yoga studio. Are you going to run Google ads, host events, or market your business on social media? If you plan to open your business in an area with a lot of other yoga studios, what will make yours stand out compared to your competitors? What classes, services or products are missing in your community? How will you meet people’s unmet needs, and how will you communicate your unique offerings?
A management plan
Who will manage your studio? If you’re going to be running it alone, this is the section where you’ll introduce yourself with a biography of your background and qualifications. If you’ll have multiple instructors, consider how you find them, pay them, and structure the class schedule.
A financial plan
Look at how much capital you have to work with, and how much revenue you think you could generate in your first year. A key question here is deciding where you want to operate your yoga practice. Are you going to be a sole proprietor within an existing yoga practice, working with private clientele on a one-on-one basis at a local co-working space, gym, or dance studio? Or do you want to open your own brick-and-mortar studio, covering your own rent and utility expenses, doing any needed renovations, adhering to zoning requirements, and managing staff?
You’ll also need to decide if you’re charging per class, selling packs of classes, or offering monthly subscriptions. (Or all three.) Settle on the pricing model that makes the most sense for your business.
Step 4: Make a strong logo and web presence that helps your yoga business stand out
With a solid business plan in place, choose your studio’s name and logo and start establishing your internet presence. These are often the first things that clients notice about your business, and what will shape their first impressions and serve as a point of recognition.
Always remember that people are drawn to yoga because of its sense of community. They’re seeking a safe space to grow, so make sure your brand feels welcoming and inviting, just like the kind of studio experience you plan on offering. Your website should be easy-to-use and informative, and your branding should stay consistent across your website and your social media platforms.
Step 5: Hire top yoga instructors who share your vision
If your yoga business is going to have multiple instructors, a stellar team you can trust is essential. You want to give your clients an experience that’s consistently high value, so make sure your instructors have the right accreditation. Most importantly they should share your passion and your vision for your company’s culture. Put in plenty of time to get to know your team members, and have a solid onboarding process in place for bringing someone new onto the team.
Step 6: Get the right licenses and registration for your yoga business
Research what kind of legal entity suits your plan the most. Find out whether you want to operate as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Then get to work on any local, state, and federal licenses and permits you need to make sure you’re running your business legally and staying compliant.
If you’re opening your own physical location, you’ll need to get a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before opening your doors to the public, showing that your business complies with all building codes, zoning laws, and regulations.
Step 7: Get your yoga studio space ready, start marketing, and plan your launch!
Start your marketing efforts early. As you’re hiring your team members and preparing your space for its first classes, simultaneously start building some hype for your studio.
The earlier you create a Google Business Profile, the sooner your studio will be visible to people searching online for things like “yoga studios near me.” You might also consider offering early bird specials for people who sign up for your studio’s classes before it opens. A partnership with other studios, healthy food shops, farmers markets, or retail stores can be a great way to make people aware you’re coming onto the scene soon.
Tease your grand opening as it approaches. If you’re going to be having retail items like yoga clothes, mats, water bottles, jewelry, books or other accessories, try to get some of your personalized merchandise ready at the same time. Brand merchandise is a significant part of the yoga economy. The numbers show that yoga enthusiasts are drawn to branded apparel, and it will also spread the word about your studio when your clients use and wear it.
Common mistakes when opening a yoga studio
A deep love for yoga is obviously a fantastic place to start when launching a studio, but it’s important to keep your yoga business grounded in the real world at every step of the way. When a yoga studio business fails to thrive, it probably fell victim to one of these common missteps:
Not testing and adjusting your business plan
Remember that business plan? It’s vital that you keep coming back to it, continually testing and adjusting it. Keep it at the core of everything you do. Collect honest, unbiased feedback from your clients. Find out whether they feel satisfied with what you’re offering, and what they wish were different about your studio.
If you have a retail element to your business as well, make sure you’re always assessing and reassessing people’s interest in your products so that you’re not overextending yourself. If you don’t know enough about your clients, and make changes accordingly, you risk losing financial viability.
Not doing enough market research
Ongoing market research is another essential part of keeping your business successful. Look at other yoga studios’ websites and study how much they’re charging for which types of classes. Better yet, drop by other studios and give their classes a try yourself. See what aspects of each class you enjoy, and which things you think you could improve upon.
From the moment you walk up to the front desk, pay attention to the small details—any apparel they’re selling and how it’s laid out, any extra touches like fruit or herbal tea after class. If you don’t compare your way of doing things to that of your competitors, you won’t see the places where you could stand out, or where you may be wasting time and resources.
Spending too much money on the wrong space
Your space needs to work for the kind of classes you’re offering. But if it doesn’t stay on budget? That’s a quick road to financial problems for your business. From the flooring to the sound system, to heating and cooling systems (especially for hot yoga), to soundproofing for meditation, your renovation budget can balloon quickly. Make sure you’re not going to be stuck with a building project that takes longer than you can afford, or using materials that are more expensive than planned.
Another important factor to consider? (And one of the most expensive parts of your business.) A location that isn’t working in your favor. Make sure your studio is easily findable and accessible, with ample parking or public transit links. If there aren’t enough people in the area who can easily reach your studio, then the location isn’t ideal—a factor that will lead to financial problems very early on.
Cutting back on ongoing marketing
Once your business is up and running, it’s a mistake to ease up on your marketing. Whether it’s an email marketing campaign, a yoga blog or newsletter, or targeted Facebook and Google ads, keep trying new things to see what works. Reviewing the advertising choices of your competitors and adapting yours accordingly is another good strategy.
Of course, one of the best ways of attracting new clients is word of mouth. But on top of word spreading naturally between friends, a referral program can be an even better way to attract new people. Incentivizing your clients to recommend your studio to friends will not only boost your clientele, it will also give back to your current customers and make them feel more valued.
Whatever your marketing strategy, it’s crucial that you keep standing out in a highly saturated market, making your yoga studio one that people remember.
Not hiring and retaining the right team
People will come to your studio for the yoga, but they’ll stay for the experience. A huge part of this will be the meaningful interactions they have with you and your staff. If you hire the wrong staff, there’s no way you’ll build a reliable team who contribute to your success.
Finding the right team members starts at the very beginning, all the way back to your interview process. Whether you’re looking for a class instructor, a studio manager, or a bookkeeper to manage your accounts, you need people who share your passion and fit into your vision. And the chances of retaining those people? They go significantly up depending on the way you’re onboarding them onto your team, and whether you establish a culture of staff recognition and appreciation.
Your business is only as strong as the people who contribute to it. Failing to find—and hold onto—likeminded team members will sabotage all your other efforts.
4 tools to help you manage opening a yoga studio
Starting a new yoga business can be financially and logistically daunting. But when you make your business plan as detailed and up-to-date as possible—and have the right team and the right tools to help you execute your vision—you give yourself the best shot at success.
Your client experience begins with an easy way for them to sign up for yoga sessions. Time-saving tools like a client scheduling software made especially for fitness facilities are a great way to simplify your administrative work. It’s an easy way for you to save on labor costs, eliminating the need for someone to answer the phone and manage class schedules.
But there are a whole arsenal of tools at your disposal beyond just client scheduling.
1. Strengthen your team with all-team communication software
When your employees are coming in and out of the studio at different times and constantly busy helping clients, getting your entire team together can be a challenge. Whether you’re communicating a shift change or sending out a team-wide policy update, using team communication software takes the struggle out of trying to touch base with your team.
It helps build camaraderie, streamlines your team processes, and keeps everyone on the same page—even if they aren’t in the same place at the same time.
2. Make payday a breeze with payroll software
Paying your employees properly shouldn’t be a headache. Use a payroll software like Homebase to help you calculate wages and taxes at the click of a button, so you know your shift employees are being paid the right amount every payday.
3. Simplify staff schedules with employee scheduling software
There’s nothing worse than a roomful of yogis ready to hit their mats, waiting for a no-show instructor. An employee scheduling software makes sure you never miss an employee shift.
Robust scheduling software like Homebase even helps you send reminders and notes to your team, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
4. Track time more effectively with a time clock app
With a team of shift employees, it’s important that you accurately track everyone’s hours, breaks, and overtime. Save your employees time by eliminating the need for a manual time punch clock. Homebase’s online time clock app makes it easy for your employees to clock in and out, making payroll and labor compliance easy and straightforward.
There’s a ton of hard work that goes into opening a successful yoga studio. But with a clear vision—and the right tools to help you along the way—it could be the best decision you ever make.
Homebase has everything you need to manage a thriving yoga studio team. Easy scheduling, time clocks, payroll, messaging, HR, compliance, and more—all in one app. Make managing your yoga studio easier than child’s pose with Homebase. Get started today for free.
How to open a yoga studio FAQS
What is a yoga studio business?
A yoga studio business offers yoga classes and services to a group of clients, either at a brick-and-mortar location, or within an existing gym, studio, co-working space, or store. A yoga studio business can also have additional revenue streams like branded apparel or products.
What are some of the struggles with opening a yoga studio?
Common struggles when opening a yoga studio include not doing enough planning, market research or marketing to stand out within a saturated market. Other common pitfalls are spending too much money on the wrong space, or not hiring and retaining the right team members to help you build a successful business.
What do I need to open a yoga studio business?
To open a yoga studio business, you first need to get the right certification and build a loyal client pool. You then need to make a detailed business plan, secure your funding, get the right licenses and registration, establish a strong web presence, hire a strong team, and start executing your marketing strategy.