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How to Open a Yoga Studio: 10 Steps to Business Ownership

How to Open a Yoga Studio: 10 Steps to Business Ownership

Reading Time: 7 minutes

BY: ISSA

DATE: 2024-03-25


In the U.S., there are more than 33 million small business owners. Of these, roughly 48,500 are within the Pilates and yoga industry. If you’re considering becoming a studio owner yourself, it can feel scary to take the next steps. But facing your fears and embracing your inner yoga entrepreneur offers several benefits.

Benefits of Owning a Yoga Studio Business

As a business owner, you get to set up your yoga studio any way you’d like. You determine your hours, how much to charge for yoga classes, and even how many classes you’ll offer. This enables you to create a yoga business that aligns with your lifestyle and career goals.

Owning a yoga business also allows you to share your passion with others. People interested in creating a yoga practice can feel comfortable coming to you since you offer classes. You’re also in the position to provide them with some incentive to come in. You might offer them a free yoga session, for instance. You can do this because you own the yoga studio!

Another benefit of opening a yoga studio is you get all the profits. Work as a yoga teacher and you get paid by hour or session. So, if the studio has a good year, that’s great for the business but does nothing for your income. Owning a yoga business changes this. When it has a good year financially, you do too.

Before Opening a Yoga Studio: Determining Your Readiness

Becoming a yoga studio owner is a big decision. It’s also a decision that isn’t right for everyone. That’s why it’s a good idea to first determine whether you’re ready for this journey.

A new studio owner can expect to spend quite a bit of time building and growing their yoga business. This means early mornings and late nights. It also limits the time available to spend with family and friends. You must be willing to commit this time when opening a business. If you’re not, it may never get off the ground.

Opening a yoga studio also means that you’re responsible for ensuring that it runs smoothly. Yes, your staff can assist with this, but the studio’s success or failure resides with you. This requires that you make a lot of decisions daily, which can feel stressful for some. Recognizing this upfront can keep you from feeling the effects of the stress because you’ve had the time to prepare in advance to face them.

It can also be helpful to speak with other yoga studio owners. Ask about their experiences. This gives you a better idea of what to expect in real-life terms. The more information you have, the better your ability to decide whether opening a yoga studio is right for you.

How to Open a Yoga Studio in 10 Steps

If you’re ready to take the leap to business ownership, you may be wondering exactly how to open a yoga studio. Here are 10 steps to get you started.

#1: Conduct Market Research

Make a list of all the yoga studios in your local area. Note their basic information. What style of yoga do they offer? How often are their classes? What times of day are they open? How much do they charge?

Look for any gaps that may exist. Is there a potential customer base that isn’t being served? Are there plenty of classes for a particular yoga style, like Yin yoga or Hatha yoga, but no hot yoga classes? Offering hot yoga at your new studio fills this gap.

Also consider gaps for certain demographics. Maybe there’s a lack of local options for those who want to do prenatal yoga. That makes this a potential customer base to target at your yoga studio.

#2: Develop a Business Plan

Once you have a better idea of how to best position yourself within the market, the next step is to create a business plan. Developing a comprehensive business plan does take time. But it is time well spent because it forces you to think about things that you may miss if you don’t go through this process.

For example, maybe you know the type of yoga class you want to offer but have you thought about your marketing plan? Do you know how much money you’ll need or what your projected sales might be? You will have the answers to these questions after creating your business plan.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers advice for creating a solid business plan. It also provides a variety of business tools that can be helpful for launching your yoga business.

#3: Obtain Financing If Needed

Unless you have enough cash built up to open your studio, you’ll need some type of financing. This may be in the form of a small business loan, or you might have someone interested in funding your studio for part ownership.

Determine how much money you need (this will be in your business plan) and how you intend to get it. Shop around for the best terms and start any necessary paperwork.

#4: Register Your Yoga Business

Check with local authorities and regulatory agencies to learn what they require for registering your business. Some jurisdictions require that you register with the county clerk’s office. Others have different requirements. It’s your responsibility to know and meet the legal requirements.

During this step, you’ll also determine your yoga business type. You have a few basic options:

  • Sole proprietorship

  • Partnership

  • Limited liability corporation (LLC)

  • Corporation

Each offers different advantages, disadvantages, and exposure to liabilities. A tax attorney can help you decide the best structure for you.

#5: Secure Your Location

The next step is to find the right location for your yoga studio. You want someplace that will be easy for your client base to access. Adequate parking is also an important consideration.

Depending on your goals and finances, you may decide to purchase, rent, or lease a facility. Whichever you choose, make sure you know your rights and responsibilities. 

If you rent, for instance, are you able to modify the interior of the building to suit your needs? And if you do modify the interior, do you have to change it back once you’re ready to vacate? Get answers to these questions before entering into an agreement so you know what you can and cannot do.

#6: Get Your Business License

With a location secured, you’re ready to apply for any necessary business licenses. You may need to file for a Certificate of Occupancy, for instance. This ensures that your yoga studio is up to code and can legally provide services to the public.

#7: Purchase Yoga Equipment

At this point, you’re ready to purchase the equipment needed to offer yoga classes. At a minimum, you’ll need a yoga mat for each client. You’ll also need yoga props so poses can be modified based on individual client needs.

Also think about the equipment you’ll need to operate your yoga business. This may include:

  • Computer

  • Printer

  • Desk

  • Office supplies (paper, pens, paper clips, etc.)

  • Scheduling software

  • Tax software

#8: Get Business Insurance

Before you open the doors to your new yoga studio, you want to get business insurance. This includes liability insurance to help protect you if one of your clients gets hurt, even if it isn’t your fault. 

The SBA shares that some of the most common kinds of business insurance are:

  • General liability insurance

  • Product liability insurance (if you plan to sell retail products)

  • Professional liability insurance

  • Commercial property insurance

An insurance agent can help you choose the right policy or policies for you.

#9: Hire Qualified Staff

Unless you plan to have no employees, your next step is to hire staff. You’ll want to find individuals qualified for teaching yoga as well as any administrative or office staff you might need.

Consider the qualifications you want for each position. For example, you may want to require that your yoga instructor be certified. You might also look for teachers with certain skill sets, such as being patient, thorough, and a good communicator.

If you like an applicant who lacks in some of these areas, this doesn’t mean that you have to pass them by. You may decide to help them develop their skills as a yoga teacher. This enables you to ensure that your staff has the skills you want while also playing a positive role in their professional development.

#10: Market Your Yoga Studio

The final step to opening a yoga studio involves creating and implementing a marketing strategy. This strategy determines how you’ll not only reach but, more importantly, draw in your potential client.

Social media is a great place to place your marketing efforts. If a lot of people in the area enjoy running, share yoga poses good for runners on your social media page. Or maybe your ideal client likes to golf. You can increase their engagement with your studio by posting about the benefits of yoga for golfers.

Social media is also a good place to share your success stories. Do a quick 30-second interview with someone you’ve helped as a yoga teacher. Post it and let them promote your studio for you.

If you live in a small town, leave business cards in other small businesses that your clients would likely frequent. You may even partner with local businesses and promote each other’s products and services. 

Tips for Creating a Successful Yoga Studio

Opening a yoga studio is just the first step. You also want to be a successful studio owner. But what does this entail?

First and foremost, you want to always look after your business. Put in the time necessary to maintain the physical business, also constantly market it so it continues to build and grow.

Additionally, when making any decisions, always keep the yoga practitioner in mind. What classes could you offer that benefit them most? What steps can you take to ensure that those teaching at your yoga studio are providing the best instruction?

One way to ensure your instructors are top-notch is to require that they complete a teacher training course. Taking this type of course yourself can also further help you create a successful yoga studio. In addition to learning teaching basics, a yoga teacher training course can provide effective tips for setting up and growing your business.

Ready to get started? ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy offers a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course. This course is approved by the Yoga Alliance and enables you to earn your yoga certification online, at your own pace.

References

Advocacy, O. O. (2023, June 9). Frequently asked questions about Small business 2023. SBA’s Office of Advocacy. https://advocacy.sba.gov/2023/03/07/frequently-asked-questions-about-small-business-2023/

IBISWorld - industry market research, reports, and statistics. (n.d.). https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/pilates-yoga-studios-united-states/

Write your business plan. (n.d.). U.S. Small Business Administration. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan

Launch your business. (n.d.). U.S. Small Business Administration. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business

Get business insurance. (n.d.). U.S. Small Business Administration. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/get-business-insurance

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