Tag Archives: fitness studio

6 Reasons a dedicated studio can out-cycle big health clubs

We launched our first studio in 2005 and have had 11 consecutive years of growth in attendance, revenue and profit.   How is that possible when we have a ’boutique’, pay-per class offering, and big health clubs nearby offer cycling classes or Spin® classes as part of their low-cost membership?   A cycling studio, done well, is a classic “niche” business.  The good ones create a unique, effective, entertaining fitness experience that health clubs don’t.  They work for a few reasons:

1) Focussed Mission. A dedicated studio pays attention to the details and focuses on one thing:  the best  classes possible.  Equipment, sound system, decor, amenities, teachers………are the best available.

2) Convenience.  A studio is single purpose, “in and out”, simple, easy to reserve, easy to purchase, easy to participate.

3) Flexible payment / no membership commitment.  In a studio, you can pay-per-class and when you don’t attend….you don’t pay.  People are increasingly turning to “best of breed”  fitness offerings from boutique studios and don’t want to be locked-in to long term memberships.

4) Customer experience. No waiting in lines, no getting “shut out”, no calling the night before to reserve.  You can easily reserve online, show up 2 minutes before the class, and enjoy!  The environment is comfortable, and the classes are not just a workout…they are an experience!

5) Community. A small intimate studio encourages sharing and interaction amongst students if they so desire.  Instructors and students interact to optimize fitness, growth and enjoyment.  Local charity fundraisers and other events are a key part of the studio vibe.

6) The little things matter. Quality sound, outstanding teachers, attention to detail, lighting, mirrors, equipment, announcing schedule changes and subs, personal touches, amenities

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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 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

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Questions asked before opening a SPIN® studio or indoor cycling studio

While helping “studio starters” around the country (and around the world) — there are certain questions that come up again and again.  When I answer these questions, I do not speculate —- I base my answers on the actual operating history of the many studios I have been directly involved with.   Surprisingly, very few people ask “how much money can I make on one of these studios” — though that is probably the most important question when determining how much time, effort and capital to expend.  More often, folks are passionate about moving ahead and really want to know about details that can help.

  • Do I need showers?  (surprisingly the answer here in more cases than not……is ‘not really’, for several reasons)
  • How do I find teachers ?  (this is tougher than you might think……but is an ongoing process and probably the most important thing you can get good at)
  • What kind of equipment should I get?  (3 words to be concerned with here:  durability, durability, durability)
  • What are the key factors in selecting a location?  (access to the right demographic market, parking issues, noise issues)
  • What are the best pricing models to consider (this depends, but a key is looking at other niche fitness studios in your area)
  • What is a solid “grand opening” strategy so I can get off to a fast start?

There are dozens more, and each of these have nuances that need to be considered, happy to discuss at your convenience: billpryor@comcast.net

Fitness studio website, energize it, optimize it.

For many successful boutique studios, a key ‘content marketing’ strategy is simply blogging.  By switching over from a traditional static website — to a Blog, studios I have been involved with were able to  energize their  “google juice” (search engine rank) and upgrade their online footprints.   Some studios outsources this, but for kind of intimate community-oriented business, I believe the best “voice” is from an owner or someone directly engaged in the day to day of the business.  If you’re not a good writer, find someone on your team who is!

Today’s blog platforms like wordpress, blogspot, and squarespace are amazing tools for small businesses like boutique fitness studios.  First, they are very easy to set up and manage — which can minimize the need to call an outside web expert once they get going….second, they allow you to build a large archive of searchable content (blog posts).  This cranks up your google juice!  The biggest challenge is finding the time to keep cool content flowing into your blog…..you need a commitment.


6 reasons to launch your own boutique fitness studio studio

If you are evaluating the prospect of owning a fitness studio, here are a few of the things I found attractive about this kind of business.

1) People become passionate about your place and in many, many cases you are making a real difference in their mental and physical health.

studio lobby2)  For most studios,  your hours are limited to the times there are classes, it is not a business where you need to be physically present for long consecutive stretches (like retail or restaurants)

3) The financial model is a good one…..F you can reach a certain attendance level.  Extra revenue after that has no costs associated with it.

4) Your clientele becomes a close community.  Because of your business, they interact with you and with eachother in a wide variety of ways.

5) Virtually 100% of your customers pre-pay for services, and most of that payment comes online.  Thus, no worries about cash in the studio, and no billing or accounts receivable issues.  These models are great for cash flow.

6) Decisions you make every day directly impact the  success of your studio

Using social media to market fitness studios

Are you using social media to help build your business?  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media are growing in usage every day by your customers.  Using these media for marketing is a relatively new concept, but the potential is enormous.  Social media is the “next layer” of Internet marketing.    First you get a website, then you “optimize” it with words so people can find it, then maybe you buy Google search words.  The next step is to ENGAGE people.  To get your customers and prospects to interact with you and with eachother!  This does several important things:

1)  Gets you into a fun and interesting dialog online with your community

2) Increases your “Google – rank” in relevant searches in your area

3) Increases traffic to your website

4) Increases word-of-mouth and referrals

We have experimented with a variety of social media marketing programs and found some things that really work.  With a minimal amount of time (and money) you can get this kind of thing going.  If you have an anecdote you would like to share, please let us know.

Online Scheduler and class reservations

Absolutely critical to the “studio” nature of your facility. Scheduling is not only a convenience and an amenity — if done well, it also has a subtle and powerful way of encouraging regular commitment to your classes. On a recent half-blizzard morning in Boston, 32 of 39 scheduled class participants showed up to an 8:00 am Sunday morning class. They had all made reservations, and viewed that as an inviolable commitment.

Important considerations in developing your online scheduler and reservation systems.
1) How far in advance do you allow reservations?
2) How close to a class are reservations accepted?
3) What is the specific cancellation and penalty policy?
4) How are late arrivals treated if walk-ins are waiting?

It is very important to get the answers to these questions solidified —- in your policies and in the minds of your customers.  Shifting or changing them causes confusion and stress for everyone.  This is not a minor matter when it comes to the studio model where attention to detail is so critical.