August 4, 2013

13 Steps to Opening a Yoga Studio or Wellness Center. ~ Keeley Mitchell

Have you developed your unique approach? Or designed a plan to follow that will help materialize your business?

Yoga studios and wellness centers are increasingly becoming more in demand as people are turning more to alternative medicine for their healthcare needs.

With that said, many markets may be saturated with studios and centers. This is by no means meant to discourage you from a chosen career path that you are passionate about. Instead, my words are meant to encourage you to effectively prepare to ensure the success of your business.

Below are 13 tips that encompass concept development, operation all up to sustainability that will ensure the success of your business.

1. Services.

The first thing you need to decide is what services you will be offering your customers.

If you are opening a yoga studio, then you need to decide if you want to focus on one style of yoga, such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, or will you provide an eclectic dish of yoga styles. As a wellness center owner, will you have yoga and meditation classes along with acupuncture and massage services? Will your center include spa services as well? Deciding what services to provide will impact how you target potential customers and your anticipated volume of candidates.

2. Business Plan.

Remember that your yoga studio or wellness center should be treated as a business, because it is one. 

Developing a business plan that sets forth the necessary goals, timelines for the business, and the necessary financial funding needed is the first step to creating an actionable plan to start your business. It is also the first step to ensure your business will be a success. Your business plan should be a blueprint that addresses every aspect of your business, and thus provides the instruction for building your business. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for guidance on business plans.

3. Protect Your Brand.

Chances are, you thought long and hard about the name of your business.

Your business name plays a huge part of your image, and you should protect it. When you are hugely successful, you do not want someone trying to copy your brand and/or steal your name. Be smart, hire an attorney and speak to him or her about trademarking your name and logo.

4. Location! Location! Location!

It is easier to attract customers if you are convenient.

When determining your perfect location, you need to also focus on your target market and identify where they would want your studio or center to be located. Your location should be in the best possible area for the greatest potential for marketability and profitability. Keep in mind that no one wants to drive out of their way if they do not need to.

5. Parking.

Parking is major!! 

It goes along with location. People do not like obstacles. Therefore, if parking will be an obstacle to getting to your studio or center, then most likely, people will go to your competitor with the abundance of parking.

6. Leases and Other Business Contracts.

These are probably up there as one of the least favorable tasks in running a business.

Reading the legal mumbo-jumbo is a necessary evil of doing business and should not be taken lightly. Besides hiring a professional to assist in negotiations, another tip is not to be afraid to ask for what you want. If you need time to build out your new space, ask for free rent during the build out period. Even better, ask the landlord to build the space out for you. Look at it as you are improving their space, and therefore landlords are likely to want to help.

7. Practitioners.

Your yoga studio or wellness center, at its core, will be defined by its people.

The staff you hire will play an important role in your business’ success. Recruiting top practitioners is imperative. Everyone working at your business should hold similar beliefs and values toward physical therapy and healing. Therefore, when hiring make sure you are clear about your vision and beliefs so that you hire people who share that vision and belief.

8. Licensing and Permits.

Make sure you have the proper licenses and permits needed to run your studio or center. 

Your business promotes health and wellness, and therefore it is important to incorporate those principals into your business by making sure safety and health standards are met. It is important to hire the right people equipped to advice on the licenses and permits needed to run your business legally.

9. Business Formation and Insurance.

To limit your liability and exposure to legal risk, you will need to form an official business entity with the state and obtain insurance. 

Registering your business as a corporation or a limited liability company, will protect your personal assets should you be sued. Even further, you should obtain malpractice insurance. Your studio or center should also be covered by business insurance, which will cover against fire, theft and certain types of lawsuits such as slip and falls. If you have employees, you may need to explore medical and disability insurance. Consult an attorney and an insurance expert to determine the best business entity to form and your ideal insurance coverage.

 10. A Website is a Must.

The internet has become the “go- to” place to look up and research companies.

If your business cannot be found, there is an inherent assumption that your business is not legit.  Just think about your reaction to when you try to find a business online and you are unable to do so. Your website should be easy to navigate and provide clear and updated information that is easy to understand. In addition, your website tells something about you and your business personally and what makes your yoga studio or wellness center unique.

11. Show Your Uniqueness.

It is important to offer something unique to your customers.

You need to create reasons why customers would prefer your services versus those of your competitor. This can be easily done by being authentic and true to yourself. When you find your unique voice and essence and embody it in your business, you will create your own unique magic.

12. Yes, Marketing is Required.

Marketing these days include the signage above your studio or center to word of mouth to social media. 

The purpose of marketing is to let people know you are there to provide services that they seek. Furthermore, marketing is not about the hard sell or begging people for money. Instead, it is about creating compelling content and sharing it with your target audience. Your marketing should entice, interest and engage your target audience to the point they are seeking you out for your services.

 13. Breathe.

Lastly, remember to breathe. 

Starting a business can be stressful so remembering to breathe and have faith is important. Being diligent about following the proper steps to set up your business can help ensure your business is a success. However, remembering to breathe will allow you to take time to enjoy the business you are creating and keep you excited about your passion.

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Assistant Ed: Gabriela Magana/Ed: Sara Crolick


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