Tag Archives: Launching a Cycling or official SPIN® 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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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
wellesley.cyclebar.com

CycleBar Logo #1

 

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

6 current trends in cycling studios and Spinning® studios

In the past 2 years I have worked with over 130 entrepreneurs looking to open cycling studios. At last count, 36 of those studios made it through the business plan, funding and real estate challenges….and opened their business!   Yahoo!

Fitness entrepreneurs are a special breed and it’s been great connecting and brainstorming with this community.  Here are a few of the themes and trends that seem to come up again and again, if you have thoughts or comments on any of them, I would love to see them on the Spynergy Consulting blog.

  1. Music.  iTunes, and now Spotify have revolutionized the way instructors construct classes.  This is so basic, yet so critical to keeping classes full that it merits extra special attention.  What are you doing to be sure all your instructors “get it”?
  2.  Online marketing.  Very broad term, but the most successful studios are spending significant time (and yes, some money) on email, SEO, social media, social “coupons”, custom booking apps and more…..it needs a plan.
  3.  Pricing innovation.  Pay-per-class, monthly ‘unlimiteds’, specialty memberships.  With online booking systems able to accommodate these options and more, there is a trend for making pricing flexible….but also simple.
  4. Video.  The technology is now cheap and simple for displaying video.  Spicing up classes with music videos, heart rate data, power data, or virtual rides is a definite trend that should likely be explored.  The important questions:  how much is enough?  how much is too much?
  5. Instructor management.  Studios are separating themselves from the big gyms by innovating around the training and compensation of instructors.  No question, they are the lifeblood and most important attraction for your clients.
  6.  Complementary workouts.  Despite the success of the “pure” cycling studio model, many start-ups want a complementary core or strength training option for customers. (Note:  I have mixed feelings on this, read more 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.
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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

9 lessons learned by official Spin® and Cycling Studio start-up owners

Over the past year, we have built business plans and websites for dozens of energetic entrepreneurs around the country, people passionate about indoor cycling and launching their own studios. These people have taken a risk and “taken a shot” at a dream business…..I think they are really cool. Several of them have graciously agreed to share some advice “from the gut”. When asked “what piece of advice would you give a studio-starter” here are some of the frank answers we received from current studio owners.

1. Keep it simple and define something that sets you apart.

2. Be careful about zoning and licenses….be careful about the noise issue….have a lawyer read your lease carefully!

3. Treat every customer like gold…..word of mouth is so critical that getting one new customer is hugely important because they bring friends

4. Don’t worry about the bikes….worry about the instructors.

5. Spend time (or money) on marketing before you need it……By the time you realize you need to spend it, its often too late.

6. Don’t hire your friends as instructors. Ugggggh

7. The start-up is fun, but crazy time-consuming . Be ready for multiple days, nights, weekends, holidays dealing with hundreds of details.

8. Finding the right space, rent, neighbors!!! Hardest part, most important part.

9. Get someone good with numbers to do your Quickbooks and give you good reports from time to time.

10. Opening a new studio is like starting out on a bike, take off slow and steady and before you know it you’ll find yourself gaining momentum. (Keep expectations realistic, getting your name out there takes time and persistance)

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


Targeting all types for your indoor cycling or official SPIN® studio

targetWho’s your target customer?   If your studio is like most…..there is not one correct answer and there are multiple groups that you can attract.   One way to think about the two broad communities your studio will likely serve is as Fitness and Training oriented riders.

Fitness riders are not outside cyclists, are not training for an event and are likely primarily concerned with conditioning and weight control.  Training riders have a sport, race or event they are thinking about, it could be cycling but it could be something else.

Each of these types of clients can become  dedicated loyal participants if you cater to their needs and construct an environment they like…..AND they can co-exist nicely.  Our studio has 48 bikes and 30+ classes a week and I have seen it every day in my studio.

Four Tips For Attracting and Retaining ‘Fitness’ Riders
1)  Provide useful articles and content regarding nutrition, weight control and how the cycling workout can be most effective
2)  Provide free “intro” sessions so newcomers can learn properly.  It is important to de-mystify cycling classes for many who think it may be too intense.
3)  Be careful the environment is non-intimidating to all fitness levels.  One of the reasons you will attract people who won’t walk into a large gym is because your place is friendlier and less intimidating.
4) Actively talk about and promote your appeal to beginners as well as to advanced cyclists and fitness levels.

Four Tips for Attracting and Retain ‘Training’ Riders
1)  Find instructors that are outside riders or active athletes and speak the language
2)  Educate yourself and your team on Heart rate, cadence, power and other metrics that help folks understand what they are accomplishing.
3)  Create and note special classes on the schedule that promote
specific training objectives (endurance, intervals, etc.).
4) Provide informative articles and content about the latest in training methods and technology

Opening a cycling or official Spin® studio

7 Questions to ask yourself

  1. How much money will I need to cover the cost of launching….and to support myself until the business can? This is a core question that should come well before you get into the specifics of how you want your studio to operate.  The answer will only come from the development of an exhaustive business plan (see #7 below).
  2. Who is your primary target audience? Stay at home moms?  Outdoor cyclists?  Singles?  Baby boomers?  Probably some combination, but the mix will have a major impact on your scheduling, marketing and other factors.
  3. Are you opening a Spin® studio or an indoor cycling studio. There is a difference, and you need to know the specifics to avoid legal hassles.
  4. What is your strategy for connecting with the community?  Especially early on.  There are number of tactics, you need to implement them early on so you don’t see empty classes.
  5. When you open a Spin® or indoor cycling studio you will need to think carefully about your location. What are the factors with noise?  parking?  access?  How many square feet are needed to accommodate the number of bikes you will have to have to make your financial model work?
  6. Marketing? Ads, eNewsletters, Direct mail, Web 2.0, what’s the right mix?  How can you build a great website?  How do you build the all important word-of-mouth once you open a Spin® studio or indoor cycling studio.
  7. Do you have a business plan that takes into account the rate at which your business will grow AND the rate at which it will churn out profit?  This is a critical question.   Having opened a number of studios, we have seen that the business gradually builds…….but how fast?   We have a track record so we can help you figure that out.

There are a number of other posts on this blog addressing various aspects of opening a cycling or official SPIN® studio.  For a free consultation/brainstorm, contact  Bill at 781-254-3677   billpryor@comcast.net

Spinning studio business, business plans, opening a studio

If you are considering launching a cycling or spinning studio, you are probably researching and exploring existing studios……with good reason.  Before you (or your lenders) invest money in opening a studio, it is logical to want to see proven models of success.  They do exist!  In the case of our own Studio, Spynergy Wellesley,  we developed a straight forward business plan and model with some basic elements we have found to be successful.  Other studios around the country exist with variations — your own business will be tempered by the realities of your market, you customer needs and your own vision for the business.  One model:

  1. Small, single-purpose studio — cycling classes only
  2. Online reservation system, primarily “pay-per-class”
  3. Targeting fitness, athlete and cyclist participants

Other variations exist elsewhere: cycling classes combined with yoga or other group exercise, membership revenue model, targeting of specific niches.  Another interesting post:  how you can “outspin” big health clubs.

For a complete review of the Spynergy model, give me a call at 781-254-3677,  and also of course peek at a few of the other relevant posts on this blog.

Launching your own indoor cycling or official SPIN® studio: 6 challenges to consider

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!

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:

Pre-launch challenges:
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.

Operating challenges:
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.

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

Cycling or official Spin® studio website, automating and marketing your business

Spynergy Consulting, in conjunction with our partners at Indoor Cycle Instructor, has developed an integrated website and marketing package that you can easily deploy for your cycling studio.  It is not expensive.

At Spynergy, we have owned and run cycling studios since 2004, we have a great feel for what you need in your website to run an efficient operation.  It is easy to put up a basic “billboard” as an official SPIN® studio website, or a cycling studio website — but it will not grow your business.  Our experience shows you need a few critical things:

  1. A site where new prospects can easily get their most common and pressing questions answered
  2. A site that Google can find.  Fully 30% of our cycling studio’s new customers found us via search last year.  That is huge.  “Findability” is a special skillset we can offer to your web presence.
  3. A site that easily integrates with the best possible reservation and scheduling system to automate your business.
  4. A site that integrates easily with your email marketing program so you can do effective low cost promotions via email
  5. A site that you can self-maintain.  After some basic training you should NOT need to go to a web developer for each change.
  6. A site where you can easily connect and engage with your customers through blogging and social media —- this helps your business but also makes you more “findable” on Google and Bing.

Opening a SPIN® studio, or an indoor cycling studio is hugely rewarding on a number of levels…..By automating your business (through the online tools we can set up for you), you become hugely efficient….and you free yourself up for the more exciting stuff:  interacting personally with customers and making your classes great.

Contact us for a free proposal on building your web presence:  billpryor@comcast.net   781-254-3677

De-mystifying indoor cycling and SPIN® classes

Whether you are writing a business plan for a studio, teaching a class, trying to run and operate a cycling studio — or just trying to “spread the word” about this amazing workout, you will need to address a pervasive perception that these classes are insanely intense.

“Those people are crazy”.  “I almost threw up”.  “It’s insane in there”.  I remember the first time I wandered past the door of a spin room back in the early 90’s, peeking in and thinking to myself:  what the @#$% is going on in there?

To have a successful cycling studio, you will need to break down the perception that these classes are insanely intense “suffer-fests”.  Yes, there are people who seek that experience, but as you know, a class does not HAVE to be that way.  The reality is that each individual can adapt the workout to their own fitness level.  This is a critically important concept to communicate in your marketing if you want to broaden your customer base.  In every piece of promotion we do, we are careful to stress that these workouts CAN be intense, but that each participant can determine the intensity level that suits their needs.

As a practical matter, there are several ways to get this across.  You can run “intro” sessions (we do them for free at our studio), that provide an overview without all the distractions of a full blown class.  We have also produced a tri-fold informational brochure that explains the work out and attempts to de-mystify it.  Your website should address this issue in an “FAQ” section or in some other way.  The reality is that in order to attract a broad audience to this workout, it has to be marketed as something folks of all fitness levels can enjoy and benefit from.