In the last 3 months, I have had over 40 inquiries from around the country from people curious about starting their own indoor cycling or SPINNING® studios. I am working closely with a number of these folks developing business plans as we speak, and several are launching studios this month! Congratulations to Jody at Just Ride in Plymouth, Mass, Lorie at Joy Ride in Salem, Oregon, and Russell at Body Cycle in Philadelphia, PA……..I have had the privilege of working with each of them over the exciting (and nerve-racking) months leading up to their launches.
At some point along the way, each of these folks, faced challenges in each of 6 critical areas……and you will too if you are serious about opening your own cycling studio:
1) Am I suited to being an entrepreneur? A few months ago we posted on this topic. In addition to a passion for fitness and the cycling experience, you also need to enjoy the business, planning, organization and marketing side of your new enterprise (or have a spouse or partner who does!). Think long and hard about this, it is not insignificant.
2) Where do I get the money? You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t there are some ways to get it, and they all involve having a compelling plan to show. People with money to lend or invest, whether it’s friends, relatives, banks or your own spouse —- need to see that you have thought through the issues, that you have a plan, and that the payback of the money is a reasonable risk.
3) Location, location, location? After money, this is the biggest stumbling block to getting a studio going. The right location cannot be rushed. It needs have 3 things, and 2 out of 3 aint good enough. It has to have 1) proximity to the right target audience (that’s another whole discussion), 2) the right logistical traits like parking, noise sensitivity, convenience, and 3) be reasonably priced on your build out and your monthly rent.
4) Instructors…..ya gotta have good ones or the whole thing collapses. You need to find them, recruit them, and keep them happy, all on an ongoing basis. This will be a challenge as long as you are open. A process needs to be developed.
5) Automation….this is not a business that can sustain a large or expensive staff. It is critical to automate (via web) your key operations like scheduling, payroll, marketing, financial and others so that it is easy and cheap to administer. The good news is that there are great online tools to do this now available.
6) Marketing….word of mouth will be huge and important, but it is also critical to continue marketing even as you become more and more established. There are are variety of online, offline and “guerilla” marketing tactics that need to be addressed on an ongoing basis.
Best of luck to Jody, Lorie and Russell! They’ve made it through the first 3 challenges and are now moving into the really fun part! Operating classes and making the world more fit……..one rider at a time! If you have questions on any of this, give me a call at 781-254-3677 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.