How to Open a Yoga Studio: A 9-Step Guide

Three women in a yoga session

Yoga is believed to have originated thousands of years ago in India, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it got introduced to the West. The industry clocked $9.09 billion in annual revenue in 2022 from the US alone. Thus, it is easy to say that the yoga market offers a huge opportunity to enter an industry in high demand and growing in popularity.

If you are an individual looking to grab the opportunity the yoga industry offers and have thought about how to open a yoga studio, you have come to the right place.

As a new business owner, there is a lot that you will need to think about, but you don’t need to worry. To help you in your journey, we have put together a step-wise checklist to guide you on how to use your skills and knowledge to start a yoga studio

Steps to follow when opening a Yoga studio

  1. Establish a clear vision for your studio
  2. Carry out a market research
  3. Prepare a business plan
  4. Work on the finances
  5. Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses
  6. Pick the right location
  7. Work on your brand
  8. Hire the right staff
  9. Develop a solid marketing strategy

Step 1. Establish a clear vision for your studio

The most crucial step in opening a yoga studio is developing a clear vision for your business. You will need to visualize in great detail what you want your business to look like in the future, taking into account all of your goals and aspirations. If you don’t have a specific goal in mind for your studio, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly.

Start by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Who are you, and what do you have to offer? 
  • What is driving you to open the studio?
  • What are your long-term plans for the business?

Along with finding your vision statement, you will need to have a clear understanding of your target customers, the type of classes you are offering, and what are your defining features.

To identify your target customers, you could think about whether you want to focus on teaching only to advanced practitioners, or do you want to include students of all levels in your classes.

Knowing the broad categories of yoga classes you plan to provide is also an essential step while establishing your vision, as it’ll go hand in hand with the type of students your studio would attract.

Do you plan to provide a more classic flow type of Vinyasa yoga, hot yoga in a heated room, or the more meditative and restorative Yin yoga? Yoga can be practiced in many different ways, so you can choose to provide a variety of classes or specialize in one.

One final thing to consider while defining your vision is – what will set you apart? What is going to be your USP that will promote students to keep coming to your studio? Maybe you incorporate some themes in your lessons that make them more inspired and renewed. Maybe you offer some fruits or herbal tea after the classes. Whatever it is, it will help you stand out from the crowd and gain a loyal following.

Step 2. Carry out a market research

With your studio’s vision in place, you can go on to market research. You could look into other yoga studios in the area you are looking at, and what do they offer? You could drop by the studios and try out their classes.

  • Is there anything missing in those studios that you could bring to the table? 
  • What aspects of each yoga class did you enjoy, and what are the things that could be improved on? 
  • From registering students at the front desk until the final asana, try to focus on the smallest of details and note down everything you find relevant.
  • You could create a table listing the key differences and traits. It would help you get a better picture and guide you on what things you could work on.
Competitor research template with different traits

Analyzing whether you could address a demographic that is not being addressed by existing yoga businesses and if you could price your classes differently compared to others would help to provide a direction to your business strategy. 

An easy way to go about your research would be to use templates. We have linked Hubspot’s templates on market research so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time developing the layout for your plan. Their templates will guide you on the right things to look into and what steps you need to take for comprehensive research.

Step 3. Prepare a business plan

A women working on a yoga business plan

Creating a business plan for your yoga studio is the next step once you’ve gained some insight into the market and settled on your vision. A well-documented plan helps plan out your goals efficiently and could include the following.

1. Executive summary

An executive summary is the first section of a business plan and is generally considered the most important. Typically 2-4 pages long, it talks about who you are, what are the plans for your business and what makes you stand out.

2. Services offered

This section highlights the services you plan to offer. It can include the type of yoga classes you plan to provide and any other products or merchandise you might want to sell.

3. Marketing plan

Your marketing plan should put light on the marketing channels you will use to boost your brand, the campaigns you have in your mind to help promote your yoga business as well as the influencers you would like to work with. The plan should lay down the overall marketing strategies for your business.

4. Financial plan

It will tell about how much funds you will need to get started. How will your pricing work, and what other cost estimates can you make?

For a more in-depth guide, have a look at how to craft the perfect yoga studio business plan

Step 4. Work on the finances

Financial stability is essential for any organization to achieve sustainable growth. From your business plan’s initial research, you should know how much money is needed to launch your studio and keep it afloat in the first few months.

Your investment capital will majorly depend on your past financial planning and can come from a variety of sources, including bank loans, other assets, and savings.

While formulating your plan, you should keep the following points in mind.

1. How much does it take to start a yoga studio?

The initial investment required to open a yoga studio is relatively small. Depending on the location, the cost of renting or buying a space may account for most of your budget. If you are trying to minimize your investments, renting a cheap location on an as-needed basis is a good option.

Buying mats and liability insurance are two further costs to consider. Additionally, you will need to factor in the transportation to and from classes and access to a computer and telephone to contact your students.

2. What are the ongoing expenses when owning a yoga studio?

Your studio can have a few primary ongoing expenses. They will include rent, utilities, and maintenance costs. In addition, if you have employees, you will also have to consider their salaries as an ongoing expense. 

3. How can you set the prices for your classes?

There are a few different ways that yoga studios set their prices. Studios may charge per class, give discounts for buying a certain number of classes or have a monthly membership fee.

In our blog post, how to actually set your yoga class prices, we cover all the bases when it comes to pricing your yoga sessions. You can use it to research and develop a fair and competitive price structure for your studio.

4. What can be the additional streams of revenue?

Personalized merchandise, such as t-shirts, sippers, yoga mats, and water bottles can help boost your revenue. Research numbers show that retail items are a significant component of the thriving yoga economy, and generally speaking, yoga enthusiasts have a strong affinity for branded apparel.

Moreover, your brand merchandise can help you get the word out about your yoga studio when your customers use it in public.

Step 5. Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses

Establishing your business’s legitimacy will increase its credibility and provide you with guidance on taxation, hiring, and other legal considerations.

The chart below is from a year-end economic report from the NSBA. It shows the legal entities under which several small businesses have been registered.

2018 year-end economic report of different businesses
Source: NSBA

We can see that a large percentage of the businesses have been registered as limited liability companies. It can be attributed to the fact that with an LLC, your personal assets are shielded from creditors. So, if your yoga company gets sued or defaults on a debt, none of your personal assets will be at risk.

Liability protection is important when you own a yoga studio because of the potential for injury to students, misconduct on the part of instructors, and damage to the physical space where classes are held.

Still, you should not jump on an LLC. Do your own research and find out which legal entity suits your studio’s vision and idea the most. We have explained the primary business structures below to help you make the right decision.

1. Sole proprietorship

If you plan to run the yoga business entirely on your own, you should opt for this structure. You should know that if you opt for a proprietorship, how well your business does will affect your personal life and things as well. Your business would not be considered a separate entity.

2. Partnership

When two or more people form a partnership, all owners are jointly and severally accountable for the debts and obligations of the enterprise. If you can locate a business partner whose abilities complement your own, it would be a good idea to go for a partnership.

3. Limited liability company (LLC)

A limited liability company lets the owners, partners, or shareholders limit their personal liability while getting a partnership’s tax benefits and flexibility.

4. Corporation

If you want the business to be a separate entity from you, this is the correct choice, but setting up a corporation can be costly. It is often suggested for businesses with a medium to high risk that wants to raise money to go public or finally be sold.

Once you have finalized the type of legal entity for your yoga company, create a business bank account. It will allow you to keep your business and personal funds completely separate.

Licenses and permits 

The final step would be to work on your licenses and permits. You will need to find out what local, state, and federal licenses you need to run your business legally.

Like any other business that operates out of a physical location, yoga studios must get a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before opening their doors to the public. A CO ensures compliance with all building codes, zoning laws, and regulations. It is your responsibility to acquire a valid CO from the appropriate governmental agency in your area.

Step 6. Pick the right location

A hand putting a pin on a map

While setting up a yoga studio, one of the hardest things you will have to do is find a good place that fits your budget and is in the right part of town. Picking a suitable space is crucial since it has far-reaching effects on your productivity, customer satisfaction, and brand image.

Here are some factors to think about when picking your location

1. Budget

For any location, you must ensure it falls under your budget. You should consider more than just rent and utilities to get an accurate idea of how much you might need to spend. Renovation costs, salary requirements, taxes, and other expenses should be factored in.

2. Size

Think about how many students you expect per session and choose a location that comfortably accommodates that many people. Generally speaking, you will need about 600 square feet, or 55 square meters, to fit 15 to 20 people.

3. Accessibility

Is the location easily accessible, and does it have enough parking spaces? Those factors will become increasingly important as your business grows. It’s beneficial not only for your consumers but also for your employees that commute to work.

4. Distance from competitors

Ideally, choose a location away from big chains that offer yoga classes. It is easy for a famous brand to overcome any local competition, but when starting from scratch, avoiding areas in the vicinity of already existing well-known studios should be a priority.

5. Surroundings

Is your space favorable for bringing in your ideal clientele? Placing your services near your target customers will only get them to you quicker.

Step 7. Work on your brand

Once you’ve settled on a location and finalized the rest of the finer details, it’s time to start thinking about your studio’s brand.

1. Name your studio

Choosing an appropriate business name is a huge part of your brand’s identity. Your studio’s name should convey precisely what you offer to potential customers, making it simpler for them to find you. If you are finding it difficult to find inspiration, you can go with tried and true techniques of naming businesses. Use your location, name, or service and make a simple name that way.

2. Design a logo

After you have decided on a name, you will need a logo. It is usually the first thing a customer sees about your business. A good logo will bring in customers, but one that doesn’t quite fit what you do might turn people away. This is why it is essential to find the right fit.

Following is a list of the most commonly seen symbols used in yoga studios worldwide. You can incorporate them into your logo to make your studio appear more connected to the yoga community.

  • The Om symbol
  • Mudras. These are the hand symbols used in yoga.  At their most basic level, these symbols represent oneness and are used to induce feelings of happiness and joy. 
  • The Hamsa symbol. It symbolizes the hand of God and is commonly used to ward off evil.
  • The Chakra symbol. It is the symbol of the spiritual power that resides within each of us.
  • Mandala patterns and even the lotus flower can give good inspiration for your logo.

3. Create a website

The final step in your branding process is to work on a user-friendly website. While designing your website, you should keep the following points in mind.

  • Information such as the style of yoga you teach, its advantages, pricing structure, contact information, and so on should be included.
  • Get the balance of colors, fonts, photos, and content just right so that the website leaves a good impression.
  • Make an effort to boost the website’s exposure in search engine results when individuals in your area are looking for yoga studios.

An important thing to remember is to ensure that your branding is consistent across all platforms and your website.

Step 8. Hire the right staff

When your studio is just starting out, you will be able to handle everything by yourself, but as the business grows, you may need to hire a few people.

During the hiring process, you should put in ample time to get to know the candidates and make sure they share your passion for yoga and align with the goals of the business. You should try to figure out what your weaknesses are and look for people who can fill those gaps.

Another important factor to consider is the qualifications of your staff. You should try to ensure that your yoga instructors have certifications from well-known official yoga bodies like the Yoga Alliance.

Step 9. Develop a solid marketing strategy

Once your studio is up and running, your success and your position in relation to the competitors will depend on your marketing strategy. During the initial stages of the studio, it is preferable to adopt strategies that cost less and bring in many people, as spending a lot on elaborate marketing plans would waste time and resources.

Here are a few ways that can help you market your studio

1. Use social media

In today’s tech-savvy world, social media is a great way to get your brand out there for minimal cost and effort. By keeping up profiles on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, you can increase your visibility and inform potential customers about the benefits of coming to your studio.

2. Network

Networking will be essential to getting your first few students as a new yoga studio owner. You could network by attending industry events, hosting meet-and-greets, posting fliers in public places, and even mailing out coupons to local residents. Commercials, yoga podcasts, and billboards are all great options for getting your name out there.

3. Get listed on Google

Your studio will be more visible in local Google searches, such as those for “Yoga studios near me” if you take the time to create a Google Business Profile. You should include your contact details, a link to your website, some images, and your business’s hours of operation to make it easy for potential customers to reach out to you.

Google SERP showing Yoga studios near me

Additionally, you can set up Reserve with Google. It will enable people to book sessions with you directly from the Google search listing. An important thing to note is that to get listed on RwG, you will need to select a yoga booking software that could help you manage your bookings through Google.

Read more: How can Reserve with Google Help your Local Business Make More Money?

4. Advertise

The extent of your advertisement campaigns will depend on your marketing budget, and you need to ensure the budget is in line with your financial plans.

You can tailor your advertisements depending on your studio’s location and demographics. Reviewing the local ads placed by competing yoga studios and adapting your strategy accordingly can also be helpful.

Another way is to opt for pay-per-click ads. Through Facebook and Google ads, you can create targeted campaigns to reach people who might be interested in your studio and your services.

5. Use referral programs

One of the most effective methods of expanding your clientele and maintaining the loyalty of your present customers is through a referral scheme.

In order to attract new members, it is essential to gain the recommendation of people they already know and trust, such as their friends and relatives. Even while your present students might help you spread the news, it’s usually a good idea to incentivize them to do so.

Giving back to your customers makes them feel valued, which in turn increases the likelihood that they will recommend your studio to their friends and family.

6. Get involved in the community

When you set up a yoga studio, your community is one of your most precious resources. What can you do to familiarise yourself with the area before launching a studio there? Get the ball rolling by introducing yourself to the different local businesses.

Local business owners often get together in groups to share ideas and resources. Building strong relationships in the community will help a lot and could even lead to future partnerships

You could distribute postcards to nearby stores offering a free trial week or host a yoga session in the park for no charge. Hosting a big opening party is another good way to get your name out there.

Read more: 9 Effective Yoga Marketing Ideas to Grow your Business in 2022

Mistakes to avoid 

Here are a few things that have caused problems for yoga studio owners in the past and should be kept in mind while learning how to start a yoga business.

1. Not knowing your clients

Starting a yoga studio without having a clear vision of your target customers can be detrimental to the studio in the long run. You should talk to your customers to find out what they are looking for in a yoga studio and try to create a space where they feel comfortable and satisfied.

2. Choosing a wrong location

With your studio still in its initial stages, it would be advisable to begin with a big space only if you are confident that you will attract enough customers to fill it. Otherwise, rent or routine maintenance costs will consume too much of your profits.

Accessibility is another crucial aspect to consider. The location is not ideal if it’s difficult to reach and has limited parking spaces.

3. Cutting back on marketing

Any successful business owner will tell you that marketing is a must. When done effectively, marketing may convert prospects into clients and draw in and keep satisfied students. It’s an essential investment if you want your studio to grow, and you should think of marketing costs as the building blocks of a successful business.

4. Not having a booking system in place

A lot of administrative work will unavoidably get piled up when the studio gets off the ground. Time-saving tools like scheduling software will simplify this process by eliminating the need to manually schedule appointments with customers.

Along with scheduling appointments, you might want to have website integration, automated customer communication, customer data storage for enhanced personalization, and more in your booking software. At Appointy, we have the perfect solution that checks all the boxes.

Appointy’s Yoga Studio Booking software is the perfect solution that checks all the boxes.

Final thoughts

Simply put, hours of hard effort must be put in before you can open a yoga studio, but with a clear vision and dedication, it could be the best decision you have ever made.

We hope our tips helped you find a basic understanding of the things you should keep in mind as a new yoga studio owner. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!