As a yoga teacher, it is a great feeling to fully committed to sharing your practice with others via the decision to open your own studio. Plus, it’s a great time to do so. Yoga is growing in the United States. In 2016, the number of American yoga practitioners was 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012. It might also seem like a daunting task as there are many more things to keep in mind that you didn’t have to think about when you were just teaching classes. Whether you are just starting out or have been running your own studio for a while, here are some tips for running a successful yoga business.
First and foremost, be yourself. Create a yoga studio environment that is authentic to you, your practice and your yoga philosophy. Your students will see the authenticity and like-minded people will be attracted to your space.
If you have the bandwidth, diversify your schedule. Try not to have the same teacher teach the same class multiple days in a row, or back-to-back. If some of your students don’t resonate with one teacher, they may look to a different studio if that teacher is always teaching at the times they like to practice. This can look like alternating instructors throughout the day, and/or alternating instructors each day of the week for the same class time.
You can also diversify your schedule by having different class offerings. If your specialty is something more active like Vinyasa or Power Yoga, your students might benefit from a once per day or once per week Yin Yoga or Yoga Nidra class. Conversely, if you offer mostly Hatha classes, your students may find that they enjoy the occasional dynamic movement of a Kundalini class. If your studio is located near a college campus, consider offering a ‘Yoga For Athletes’ class to attract college students. Offering different styles of yoga will help each student find something they like and can also be combined for different results.
Another way to diversify is to have other business offerings. Many yoga instructors also have backgrounds in massage therapy or other healing bodywork. Could you rent out a small room in your facility for them to provide their services? You can also use less-attended midday times for instructors to use your studio for private yoga sessions for their own clients or your clients that are interested in deepening their practice.
Offer Specialty Events
You can also diversify by adding workshops and Teacher Trainings. Many studios have evening and weekend workshops and the possibilities here are endless. Do you have a lot of students interested in learning inversions? Offer a two-hour Inversion Workshop on a Saturday. Consider your community and the demographic. If you live in a small town where it’s difficult to find places that offer meditation or techniques for meditation, offer a “Learn How to Meditate Workshop” one evening per month. For tips on logistic planning for specialty seminars, check out this helpful event planning article.
In order to offer a Yoga Alliance certified Teacher Training Program, you’ll need to become a Registered Yoga School (RYS) through Yoga Alliance. This is an internationally-recognized credential showing that you’ve met YA’s minimum standards. A Teacher Training program can provide quite a bit of income separate from the yoga classes you are offering, as well as give you a pool of new teachers to choose from when you are looking to hire. Again, if you live in a smaller community, this can be especially helpful. You can keep your current teachers active and engaged by offering internal continuing education workshops for your staff. This also ensures that you have the most knowledgeable, best instructors out there.
Selling retail items—yoga apparel, malas, jewelry, water bottles, books, etc.—can also bring in additional revenue. You don’t have to have a giant space to do this; just a few racks or shelves in your lobby or check-in area is sufficient. This is especially helpful when a yogi has forgotten their clothes or water bottle because they won’t have to forego class, knowing that those items are there for purchase.
Have a Website
Without a website, potential students cannot find your studio, explore your class options or see what you have to offer. A website will help you grow your business, track potential students and allow your students to register for classes or events online instead of having to do so in the studio. Websites nowadays are affordable, offer a huge return on the investment and do wonders for your business; just ask small business owner Conrad Long!
Here are a few additional quick-hit tips that can help you different your studio from others in your area:
- Keep your packages simple. Simplicity will avoid confusion for your staff and for your students and it also helps you with reporting.
- Offer a free trial. Having a free trial class will bring new clients through the door and allow them to figure out what they like or if yoga can be a good complement to the physical activity they already do.
- Test out Groupon. If you are just starting out or opening a brand new studio, consider running a Groupon promotion. Again, this can be a great way to get new clients through the door. Ensure that the terms work for you and that you aren’t undervaluing your business. Offer a good, but fair, deal!