International Cycling Studio Startups are Growing

Over the past several years, a number of international visitors to U.S. studios (or ex-pats living abroad) have considered bringing the idea of a dedicated cycling studio to their homes overseas.   We have worked on business plans and startups in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, Ireland, India, Malaysia, Philippines and elsewhere.  While there are always regional differences, many of the primary elements of the business model are proving to also be attractive in markets outside of North America

  • Pay-per-class (non-membership) fee structure
  • Online scheduling and purchasing
  • Dedicated, high-quality studio with amenities
  • Overhead expense structure
  • Instructor / entertainment driven programming
  • Appeal to high end demographics

Just like in North America, indoor cycling has been around for a number of years in many countries and has proven itself an effective longstanding workout routine.   Also like in North America, cycling classes have historically taken place at large multi-purpose fitness centers.   Around the world there is a movement towards niche or ’boutique’ fitness where studios offer high quality dedicated services.  Not just Spinning® and indoor cycling, but also Barre, Yoga, Pilates,  Rowing and other niche offerings.

These types of businesses seem to tap into a need and a trend toward fitness as a regular part of  a health-conscious lifestyle.  Something that becomes part of a healthy living routine.  Here are a few examples of successful international cycling studio offerings:  TorqCycle Hong Kong, Vicious Cycle Sydney,  Psycle London

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar for entrepreneurs in North America.  If you are outside of North America and looking for help with a studio startup….we offer business planning and other specialty consulting.   Feel free to call or email to set up a free phone discussion.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@spynergyconsulting.com
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Why Franchise? Cycling Studio Franchise

The demand for quality indoor cycling studios is strong and growing and the business model has been proven in a variety of urban, suburban and small town markets around North America.  If you want “in” on this business, one of the options is a cycling studio franchise.  (note: for trademark reasons this cannot be called a Spin® studio franchise*.)

QuestionimagesThere are a number of reasons to consider franchising, but probably the most powerful is a simple one:  To reduce the risk of starting your business.  Any startup business carries inherent risk,  and as an entrepreneur, the goal is to minimize as much risk as possible.  Franchising leverages an existing proven model, and existing operating procedures, thus reducing the risk by deploying known factors.

There are of course other reasons to consider franchising:  Branding expertise, operations support, training, marketing assistance, real estate assistance and more.  I’ve read a number of articles on franchising, one of the most thoughtful and thorough is called  Why choose Franchising?  by Eddy Goldberg.   Here is one excerpt:

….let’s apply common sense: Comparing the payment of: (1) an up-front fee to buy into the support, reputation, and track record of a franchise system with (2) the research, development, and startup costs involved in creating your own, independent business, the odds of survival clearly favor franchisees…..

This article goes on to discuss a number of key issues including  financing, site selection, branding, marketing peer networking, territories and more.  For the new business owner, getting support in each of these areas, is what contributes to the risk-reduction referenced above.

*Note:  For trademark reasons there is no such thing as a Spin® studio franchise.  CycleBar is the first and only indoor cycling studio franchise.  To read more on this trademark issue Click Here.

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.;;

Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
bill@cyclebar.com
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Spin®, Spinner®, and Spinning® are registered trademarks of Maddog Athletics

Opening a cycling studio: The big question

If you talk to your friends or family (or a lender) about the idea of a dedicated cycling studio, something comes up that I call The Big Question.   If you want to start a studio you better learn to answer it crisply, because everyone’s going to ask you, and it strikes at the core of the viability of this business.

“…Why will people pay-per-class for spin classes when they can join a nice big gym and get unlimited Spin® or indoor cycling,  and other cool stuff along with their membership?….”

OK, there are several ways to answer this.  If you want to be a bit fresh, you can answer a question with a question:  Why are there a growing number of highly successful cycling studios around the country that are right near big gyms?  Or Why are there THOUSANDS of successful yoga studios when you can do yoga in almost every big gym?

But actually, you can answer the question by citing several of the specific reasons people like (and will pay) to attend a well-run niche cycling studio:

  • the creation of a powerful and inspirational fitness experience (as opposed to just a workout) is something people love
  • the convenience of an online reservation and purchasing system
  • the ability to get in and out of a class without waiting or stressing
  • the flexibility of “pay-per-class” options and not having to “join”
  • the feeling of intimacy and community in a small studio
  • the attention to quality and detail that a studio provides in every aspect both in and out of the class

These are the things people want and these are the things consumers have demonstrated they will pay for. (Just look at Soul Cycle and FlyWheel”).

Yes, a studio can be more expensive but the reality is that the studio experience is often a much better VALUE.   You can buy coffee at the gas station for 79 cents but people routinely go to coffee shops and pay $3 because the experience and the product are better.  It is no different for a cycling studio.

*Note:  Soul Cycle and FlyWheel do not franchise, there is only 1 cycling studio franchise company in the market, CycleBar.

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
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Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com
wellesley.cyclebar.com

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Spin® studio franchise or Cycling studio franchise

If you would like to open an indoor cycling studio, now is a great time.  The buzz is great for this boutique fitness model, people love them!  One option is to “go it alone” (this is a tough road, with lots of potholes)……The other option is to consider a franchise.

Soul Cycle franchise?  No such thing.  FlyWheel franchise?  No such thing.  Soul Cycle and FlyWheel don’t franchise*.  But, if you are interested in an amazing cycling studio business opportunity there is some really great news!

CycleBar Logo #1Finally — a turnkey cycling studio franchise opportunity is available.  The very first cycling studio franchise is called CycleBar.  CycleBar  is using the model pioneered over the past 10 years by Spynergy and Spynergy Consulting  so you can have a state-of-the-art indoor cycling studio in your community.

The formal offering is now available!

*Note: Soul Cycle and Flywheel are not franchises.  They are corporate entities that own and operate their own studios, they will not part with their brands and do not franchise. 

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
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Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

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Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com
wellesley.cyclebar.com

CycleBar Logo #1

Spin®, Spinner®, and Spinning® are registered trademarks of Maddog Athletics 

 

 

 

 

Spin® studio versus Indoor Cycling studio

Here is a question we hear all the time from studio starters looking to get their business going:

1) What’s the difference between a Spin Studio and an Indoor Cycling Studio?……….Should I be an official “Spin®” studio, or an indoor cycling studio?

OK, it’s a bit confusing….but here’s the straight scoop.   Group exercise classes set to music on stationary bikes is commonly called Spinning.  That being said,   the words “Spin®”, “Spinner®” and “Spinning®” are closely held trademarks of a California company called Maddog Athletics.   Unless you are licensed by Maddog, you may NOT use those words in relation to your business, in the name of your business, on your website, on your schedule or in any promotional activity, or you are in violation of those trademarks.

Because the Maddog license carries requirements on branding, equipment, and instructor training…….many studio owners (CycleBar, Soul Cycle, FlyWheel and others),  opt to refer to their activity as indoor cycling, rather than Spinning®.  The reality is that many riders still refer to the activity as spinning, but technically, and for legal purposes it is actually ‘indoor cycling’.  For this reason, there is no such thing as a spin studio franchise.  There is one indoor cycling studio franchise which is CycleBar.

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.;;

Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
bill@cyclebar.com

cb logo sig

Spin®, Spinner®, and Spinning® are registered trademarks of Maddog Athletics

What makes the “wheel go round” for a studio business? INSTRUCTORS

 Lot’s of talk about technology lately — but let’s not forget what is STILL, the fundamental attraction of successful studios:  a gifted instructor that uses unique energy and the power of music to create an exhilarating experience in the studio. 

Katie 3_Spynergy_Portraits_161Earlier this week, I was powerfully reminded of the importance of instructors.  I took off my instructor/studio owner hat and became a student….a class attendee.  I went to the brand new FlyWheel and Soul Cycle — both in the Boston area.  Both had uber-trendy decor, both had custom-made bikes, both had great sound systems and cool lighting, one had ‘power-metrics’, one had free shoes……guess which class I liked better?

THE ONE WITH THE BETTER INSTRUCTOR…..PERIOD.

In the final analysis, it’s about instructors.  All the rest is trappings.  If you ask 100 hard core Spinners / Indoor cyclists what’s the most important thing about the experience — 98 of them will tell you the instructors.  Which would you rather attend?  A rundown studio with a fantastic instructor, or a state-Harry Victory_Spynergy_Portraits_912of-the-art facility with a boring / annoying instructor?  You’re not alone.

Nature or Nurture?  Are great instructors born or made?  In my opinion its 80% nature.  The ability to capture a roomful of people using the power of your personality — and to truly engage and motivate them…..is an ability one is born with.  Yes, you can hone that skill and improve it through practice and training, that’s the other 20%.   If you believe this, the challenge for a studio owner is primarily hiring and retaining great instructors.  Training is important, but useless if you’ve hired the wrong people.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look at all the fancy bells and whistles at IHRSA — and I’m curious what the latest products and technologies are, but when push comes to shove the secret to getting ‘butts into seats’ is only a little bit about the products….it’s a LOT about the people.

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.

Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.
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Cycling Studio Trend: Peformance metrics as one way to differentiate and build loyal client base

Summary:  Indoor cycling studios are opening at an increasing pace,  and studio owners are looking for innovative ways to differentiate themselves and to motivate clients.  In that effort, many are choosing to add “performance metrics technology” where clients can view, save and track workout performance data.

yin yang imageLast year, we posted an article in the Spynergy Consulting blog on the “Yin” and “Yang” of indoor cycling experiences.  “Yin” classes as exemplified by studios like JoyRide and Soul Cycle, stress the immersive, escapist experience that can be created using music, lighting and talented energetic instructors.   “Yang” classes, as exemplified by studios like Full Psycle and FlyWheel  use some of those same elements but also stress performance data as a key element in class construction.   Both kinds of studios have been successful but recent technical developments have led a number of startups to take a hard look at integrating performance data in some way to their business. (Note:  the new CycleBar Franchise has elements of both Yin and Yang in their classes)

In a number of cases, the use of performance metrics is changing the face of the traditional indoor cycling or Spin® class.  Outdoor cyclists have long had access  tools like Computrainers to allow them to measure and analyze their efforts, but for indoor cycling  classes, the introduction of this kinds of technology is a recent phenomenon that is picking up steam.  Many new studio entrepreneurs are building some form of performance metrics into their cycling studio model and many of the early adopters feel it is a differentiator and selling point that helps their business.

What really is “performance metrics” as it pertains to a cycling class?  The major bike manufacturers all offer consoles or metrics capabilities as a built in feature or as an add-on option.  These consoles measure, present and track a few different kinds of data:  Cadence, Heart Rate, Power (watt) output, Calories burned, and mileage.  This information can be viewed in several ways

1)    On-the-bike….so each rider can see real time data and instructors can refer to the data and coach/teach using the info

2)    In front of the class….so class participants can see their own information as well as data on fellow class mates

3)    After the class (data tracking)….performance data can be stored online so riders can view and compare historic performances including some interesting stats like average and maximum power/HR and power per pound of body weight.

Different studio owners are deploying this in different ways depending on their vision and their clientele.  CycleBar offers a unique approach in this area and has a custom performance metrics system in it’s studio offering.  We have spent considerable time getting up to speed on the technologies and issues that enable all this.  It’s getting better all the time!

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
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Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com

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Start-up Cycling studios are growing — Challenges to startup

Spynergy Consulting has helped dozens of entrepreneurs launch studios in the past 5 years.  Some have done well, others have struggled….one of the reasons we have embarked on our new franchise company: CycleBar, is because the franchise option addresses many of the kay challenges you see outlined below. 

Indoor cycling and Spin® studios are here to stay!  All market indicators are up.  That being said — like any business, there are challenges to getting started, and signficant work to be done.

 

1) Planning.  It is important to get your arms around a) the investment, b) the income potential, c) the timing, and d) the key things that need to be done to make the business successful.

 

2) A Vision for your studio.  Successful studios create an experience in each class.  There is no one right answer and different studios create very different experiences.  What is your vision?  Ideally it should be unique based on your area, your clientele and your own unique approach.   

 

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3) Location, Location, Location.   Our clients have launched over 80 studios in the past few years.  If you asked them all the toughest part?  Here would be the answer: “finding a the right location at the right price and building out the space”.  This more than ANYTHING is what can delay your startup, and is also where you may need professional help

 

4) Marketing, Marketing, Marketing.

Other than choosing the wrong location a key mistake made by startups is NOT TAKING MARKETING SERIOUSLY…..You need to spend time AND money on marketing (especially on Grand Opening).   If you aren’t good yourself, then outsource it.   By marketing I mean creating a ‘brand’ that is embodied in all you do….and a specific tactical plan to communicate that brand and its related elements.
5) Instructors, Instructors, Instructors.  Seriously, let’s not over complicate what makes a studio successful.  I wrote a blog post in 2010 on this topic and it is just as true today:  People come back to cycling studios because of instructors.  Bikes, studio decor and amenities are nice….but without top instructors your studio will struggle.  You know it in your gut….don’t forget it.
The brand new CycleBar franchise specifically addresses each of these challenges with tested solutions in its offering.
Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
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Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com

CycleBar Logo #1

 


 

Survey of cycling studio and Spin® studio owners

wheel imageHow are cycling studios doing?   Spynergy Consulting has aided over 80 cycling studio startups in the past 2 years.  Recently, we conducted a survey of independent cycling (and Spin) studio owners who have actually opened their doors.  43 owners responded to a variety of questions about the startup process and their business issues.

General Highlights

  • Half the studios are less than 2 years old, half are older than 2 years
  • Most important “success factors” noted by owners: Instructors and Location
  • Most effective marketing:  1) Search engine findability, 2) Social media, 3) Groupon, etc.

Question was asked:  Do you have a non-spin secondary offering?

  • 70% are Cycling only, 30% have a secondary offering (barre, core, yoga, etc.).       Note:  5 of the top 6 studios in terms of revenue were cycling-only.

Question was asked:  What have been your major challenges?

” getting the word out is harder than expected ”
” runaway startup costs ”
” finding great instructors ”
” competition from cheaper alternatives  or the big guys ”

Question was asked:  Are you having fun?
YES:   84%
NO:  16%

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
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Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com

CycleBar Logo #1

 

 

Biggest Mistake by Startup Cycling Studios

“…..From the moment you sign your lease, you should think of having two simultaneous construction projects underway 1) The buildout of your space and 2) The building of a marketing  plan…..”

Many studio-starters obsess over space buildout and ignore marketing.  Marketing is not cheap, and marketing is not easy, but marketing needs to be done — especially during the “pre-opening” period.  It is building your community and it is driving traffic into the studio. Making a nice studio space is only one  component in making a successful and profitable fitness studio business. (Note:  one of the major  advantages of opting to go the franchise route, is that branding and marketing are heavily addressed as part of what you receive when you purchase a franchise.)

I have been somehow involved with the startup of over 80 cycling studios in the past few years.  I’ve seen raging successes and I’ve seen a few go under.  I am also a business owner of my own studios….I’ve launched them from scratch…..I taught classes in the early days with 2 or 3 people in a class…..I’ve worried about paying too much for rent…I’ve stressed over finding great instructors…..and I’ve also watched my studios grow to become mature, profitable, rewarding businesses.   My opinions flow from the day to day work of managing a studio, and from living off the income that a studio produces.  That knowledge and experience has been put into our new cycling studio franchise company:  CycleBar, the first and only indoor cycling studio franchise.

Biggest Mistakes Made By Cycling Studio Startups? 

Other than choosing the wrong location (a critical topic for another day), a key mistake made by startups is NOT TAKING MARKETING SERIOUSLY…..also known as focusing on the wrong things.  You need to spend time AND money on marketing.  If you aren’t good yourself, then outsource it.  Note:  with CycleBar franchises several key marketing elements are pre-built for you,  brand development and Grand Opening plan.

As an entrepreneur, you only have so many hours in the day and you will need to pick and choose what to focus on.  The things you need to focus on are the things that have the best chance of driving new attendees into your studio.  In my opinion that is 1) INSTRUCTORS and 2) MARKETING.  After years of operating  still wake up every day thinking about these 2 items, because they are the most important things to make our business grow.

….more important than what kind of bikes I have
….more important than lighting
….more important than flooring and fans

Yes, it is important to create a cool  studio and a nice environment….but ultimately it is equally important to have great instructors and to have a marketing plan that drives new riders into the studio to experience them. Many studio startups make the mistake of neglecting this business reality, and that creates a real business problem…..low attendance.

Let me finish this post the way it started.

“…..From the moment you sign your lease, you should think of having two 
simultaneous construction projects underway 1) The buildout of your space and  2) The building of a marketing  plan…..”

Spynergy Consulting has operated cycling studios for 9 years and has worked closely with over 80 individual cycling studio startup projects.  We have recently formed a new company called CycleBar:  the first indoor cycling studio franchise.  CycleBar will provide a turnkey cycling studio solution from top to bottom.
;;
Learn More / Get Complete Details
Click Here
 to fill out our candidate questionnaire and you will receive a call where you will learn full details on startup costs, franchise fees, financial history of existing studios,  operations, branding, marketing and more.

Bill Pryor
781-254-3677
bill@cyclebar.com

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