Category Archives: Starting Up

Information about business planning and the start up of your new cycling studio

The key to a great website is…

Fitness Studio Website Design
Now that I’m helping Cycle, Yoga and Pilates studios create beautiful websites, I’m learning even more that the key is great pictures!

I often get asked, “My studio is under construction- do you have stock photos I can use?” Yes, we have many stock photos our clients can use, but I encourage all my studio owners to hire, barter, negotiate, (beg?) the services of a professional photographer at the onset. A few good, original photos are better than a dozen stock photos.

No studio yet? No problem!  Grab some great shots of you and your instructors doing cool things- outside and around the town where your studio is located. Include familiar landmarks so potential new customers will recognize your location. Close ups of old and new bikes/ jerseys with familiar logos/ bike shoes/ helmets/ roads/ people being active are all eye catching. Can you get a photo of the outside of your building, or even your sign as it sits in waiting to be put up? How about taking one of the indoor bikes your studio will have and bringing it outside somewhere?

I know your studio is going to be wildly successful. The great head shots you begged, bartered, or negotiated for the ‘about us’ section of your website will come in handy each time an article is written about your studio and they want to include a picture of you- the owner (of course they do)!

A website doesn’t have to be expensive to be visually appealing. The website at the top is trainingmatela.liveeditaurora.com and it has just a few professional photos for background and head shots of the trainers. The rest are taken with an iphone 5S. This works brilliantly!

If you take professional photos and add in cool design elements like Charla and Coleman did for their Time Trial Cycle studio  you get a site like this:

desiging a new fitness studio website

And here is yoga practitioner Andrew Tanner’s site:

yoga studio website design

Andrew has just a couple professional pictures and the rest is youtube videos and iphone photos- works great!

Having the ability (and capability) to change out photos quickly and easily is something I’ll talk about in another post. Keeping things fresh and appealing, without having to wait on, or pay a webmaster, is a feature you may want in your studio website. It happens to be something that’s included with every design at the company I work for- LiveEdit.

Are you opening a studio? How exciting! If you’d like to talk about your website plans and options, I’d love to help.

You can reach me: amy.macgowan@getliveedit.com or feel free to call me anytime 320.685.0183.

Cycling studio market research from Spynergy Consulting

Screen shot 2010-12-30 at 5.23.39 PMEarlier this month Spynergy Consulting, a leading adviser to more than 80 cycling and Spin® studio startups, conducted a survey of studio owners to learn about their experiences.  43 studio owners responded to the survey and preliminary results were published at the Spynergy blog.  Perhaps most interesting, 29% are profitable or highly profitable and meeting expectations,  40% are roughly breaking even and meeting expectations, the remaining 31% are unprofitable (though only 1/3 of those described themselves as “concerned”).

Other interesting results from that survey:

  • Most important success factors:  Studio location and finding great instructors
  • Most effective marketing:  Search engine optimization and social media
  • 65% of studios were exclusively cycling / Spin®….. 35% had another offering
  • 50% had more than 20 bikes
  • Classes per week were between 15 and 45
  • Revenue per month was between $3,000 and $90,000

studio shotFurther results and analysis from this study will be published at Spynergy Consulting over the next few weeks.  In general, it is fair to say that the older studios, with more bikes and more classes were performing significantly better than recent startups….this is to be expected.  Owners identified their most significant challenges as “finding great instructors” and “getting the word out”.  Several noted competition with low-priced local gyms, a few mentioned concern with the big chains coming to town (Soul Cycle and FlyWheel).  For questions on the study, or on studio start-up assistance, contact Bill Pryor, bill@spynergyconsulting.com

 

One Studio That Really Got it Right

Over the past two years I have consulted with dozens of cycling studio entrepreneurs —- and sometimes I get a chance to visit in person!.   Earlier this Fall I visited JoyRide in Westport Connecticut, an amazing new studio that is really doing well.  I wrote up a complete account of my visit at the Spynergy Consulting Blog, but here are a few highlights!

  1. I’ve visited many studios around the country….JoyRide is clearly one of the best (preferable in my opinion to the hotshot NY studios Fly-Wheel and Soul Cycle).  This is a homegrown place that clearly “got it right”.
  2. JoyRide certainly has what you would expect in terms of the physical studio, online booking, and amenities.
  3. Instructor and Music were top notch, but not formulaic in any overdone way

But finally, and maybe even most importantly — this was a place that oozed community.  The whole feel was something that only comes with talented, committed, local ownership that works hard to make you feel welcome.   Read more at Spynergy Consulting….or better yet, visit JoyRide!

Bill Pryor owns successful 7-year old cycling studios near Boston and Chicago and also provides business plans, marketing plans and other consulting services to cycling studio owners and startups.  You can reach him at bill@spynergyconsulting.com or 781-254-3677

 

 

 

Groupon and other online / social media coupon deals…..what’s the deal?

As you probably know the online “coupon” business has exploded as a marketing phenomena.  I read an article yesterday that Google is now getting into the business with a service of their own.  It will compete with the established companies like Groupon, Buy With Me, Living Social and others.   Here’s how these coupon services work:  you agree to offer a highly discounted product or service (typically 50% or more) —- the coupon company broadly distributes that offer via email and incentivizes people to spread the offer further through social media like Facebook.   They collect the money and split it with you 50/50.  So if you offer a $100 product for $50, Groupon gets $25, you get $25 for each one that gets sold.

These things really work, BUT there are some things to be sure you take into consideration.

Cycling studios I work with have sold between 100 and 600 coupons.  Other small businesses report sales in the thousands.  That’s pretty amazing.  OK here’s the good news:

  1. It’s free.  There is no out of pocket expense for you like with traditional advertising or direct mail.
  2. It works, and it will bring hundreds of new customers into your facility
  3. Your name (your brand) gets widely distributed and the awareness for your business will increase

Now here are the things to be concerned with…..and some ideas on how to manage this

  1. Lots of people are pure bargain hunters living on coupons.  They will use it up and you will never seem them again.
  2. You need to be sure to have a strategy for dealing with existing customers who are paying full price.
  3. You need to prepare for the logistics of handling a large influx of new customers
  4. Since you have limited capacity, you want to be sure highly discounted riders are not filling up seats to the exclusion of others.

Most of these issues can be dealt with in the way you negotiate the offer.  You should be allowed to put an expiration date, also to limit the offer to brand new customers if you want.  Further you would likely want to use this at a slow time of year or if you have a large amount of excess capacity so you aren’t shutting out regulars.  Frankly I think these are outstanding marketing devices for start-ups, and even for established studios under certain conditions.

One interesting thing we found, was that almost 1/3 of the folks who bought the coupons NEVER showed up to redeem before the expiration.  In that case you are getting the revenue and not even offering classes—-this is “found” revenue.  I actually have a more detailed analysis of our experience with these coupons if you are interested in discussing, you can reach me at Spynergy Consulting, 781-254-3677.

3 articles about “opening and running your own SPIN® or indoor cycling studio”

Whether you own an existing cycling studio, or are looking to launch one — you will find these articles interesting.   They originally appeared at the Spynergy Consulting website, but the themes and ideas I think are highly appropriate to appear here in front of the studio owners community.

8 Reasons Why Cycling Studios are a Great Business. Anyway you look at it:  personally, business-wise, environmentally, a dedicated cycling or fitness studio is a great enterprise to be involved with.

6 Challenges to Consider in Launching a Studio.  The challenges in this business can be roughly divided into two categories:  pre-launch and business development challenges, and operating challenges.  Both need to be considered carefully, including the online payment system you choose.

De-Mystifying SPIN® and Indoor Cycling Classes. Whether you are just getting started, or an established studio, you will battle the perception that classes are brutal ‘sufferfests’.  It is important to educate your prospects and clients that this is a great workout for all levels.

 

Starting your own Indoor Cycling or SPINNING® studio…background reading

Starting a studio is exciting…..and daunting.  Best to read up as much as possible.  At the Spynergy Consulting website there are a number of articles that provide background and basics on the idea of launching a cycling studio.  Here is a summary of some the most relevant posts with links to the full text if you are interested in reading more:

Continue reading Starting your own Indoor Cycling or SPINNING® studio…background reading

Buying used spinning bikes for your studio

If your are operating or starting starting a new cycling studio, one way you can potentially reduce your costs is by purchasing used indoor cycles.  There are pluses and minuses and this decision should be carefully considered.  If Schwinn or StarTrac are brands you are considering there is some interesting video content from an expert that you may want to reveiw.

Jeff Wimmer from StudioCycles.com is The Expert on Indoor Cycling bike maintenance. He has a series of 75 YouTube videos that go into great detail on a range of topic including inspecting used Star Trac Spinner and Schwinn bikes so you can make an informed decision.