Tag Archives: spin studio consulting

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

 

Summer marketing for fitness and cycling studios……take a deep breath

Summer Marketing?  Yikes….take a deep breath.

Whether you operate in the colder states of the Northeast, the Midwest and the West, or in the moderate climates of the South or the Far West…….the summer slows down.   Even in places where the summer heat is intolerable for outdoor work outs, the summer slows down.
Outdoor exercise and nicer weather is part of the reason, but more importantly the “rhythm” of people’s lives changes dramatically in the summer.  School is out which directly or indirectly affects a huge percentage of your customers, and of course it is a time where many people take time for special trips and vacations.  For most local business, and definitely for fitness businesses….the summer slows down.
|Can you change that?  No.  Remember that old saying about “Give me the strength to change the things I can….etc. etc. etc.?   It’s true!  Remember it this summer.  Can you take some steps to minimize the slow down?  Yes.   Here are five Spynergy Consulting strategies for dealing with summer.

  1. Target specialty niches. Even though your core customers are fewer, there may be groups you don’t typically target during the year.  Students are an obvious one, what about seniors?  Teachers?  Tourists and visitiors?  Town employees?  Others?
  2. Good time for discounting. Since your sellouts will be fewer, what about Groupon deals, or annual “sales” where you discount.  Make the offers limited time and for limited term (“40% off 10-class package, must be used by labor day”)
  3. Specialty classes. Heartrate training, outside ride themes, Tour de France, musical themes, anything to spice things up a bit.
  4. Customer events.  Informal outdoor “group ride” starting at your studio, or even a “thank you” beach party that you ride your bike to.
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  5. Most important….”take a deep breath”. It’s OK to be slower.  Plan for it to be slower, don’t beat your head against the wall.  Use it as a time to spruce up, organize fall marketing, complete long-delayed projects, work on your playlists and take some time off yourself to re-charge your own engine!  C’mon…give yourself a break.

Each part of the country and the world  has it’s own rhythm…don’t fight it.  After 7 years operating in Boston, we know we have 6 months of “high season” (Nov thru April)  4 months of mid-season (Sept, Oct, May, June), and 2 months of “down season” (July and August).  We budget and plan for it being sure to optimize efforts when they will do the most good —- and “taking a deep breath” when our customers do too.

Spynergy Consulting provides marketing and operational consulting to fitness studio owners and mangers. Contact Bill to brainstorm: billpryor@comcast.net

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.

2010: Indoor cycling studios are a great business because…..(8 reasons)

Year-end is a time to be reflective, right?   2010 has been a whirlwind for spinning and indoor cycling activities of all kinds and I feel fortunate to be deep into it on a daily basis. My own studio is finishing its best year ever based on attendance (or “butts in seats” as we say in the industry)……..but even more rewarding is the work I have been privileged to do with dozens of entrepreneurs and studio starters all over the world.  (Yes, the world!  This year we worked with folks in 14 states as well as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and England).

Before plunging into the cycling world 8 years ago, I worked in a variety of high tech, marketing, energy and other industries.  I can honestly say I have rarely felt such a consistent level of energy and passion as what I see in this business.  Is it the endorphins?  Sure.  But I also think it is the sincere belief that what we are doing by building community fitness businesses is palpably making people’s lives better.   How many people can say that about their jobs?

In the spirit of David Letterman, here is the Spynergy Consulting’s  year-end “Top 8 List”.   This is the 8 Best Things About Indoor Cycling Studios:

1)   People love them! Customers constantly thank you for what you are doing and are telling you how it helps them.

2)   The market is growing! Baby boomers and Gen-Xers are aging and as their joints wear out, their search for a quality low impact workout intensifies.  Niche studios are exploding in popularity around the world.

3)   They appeal to diverse groups! Specialty classes are emerging for teens, seniors, competitive cyclists, cross-trainers, moms, dads and everything in between.

4)   There’s Cool Tools to Run Them! Entrepreneurs can focus on creating great classes by using the web and online tools to automate a ton of the marketing and logistical stuff behind these businesses.

5)   Cycling is green! The more indoor and outdoor cyclists the better as the world looks to non-carbon burning transportation activities.

6)   It’s a community! Unlike the huge box gyms, the intimacy of a cycling studio builds a unique camaraderie amongst folks who ride together.  Studios can link to schools, teams, clubs, churches and groups in a ton of cool ways.

7)   Mind and Body! Well done classes are medicine for the body, the mind and the soul of the rider.  A respite and a haven from the chaos of daily life.

8)   The benefits are undeniable! More and more research is emerging on the documented benefits of exercise in general, but also of cycling and cardio-workouts on fitness, aging, disease prevention, stress, mental health and more.

There are a variety of articles covering studio startup and operations on this Spynergy Consulting blog.  For a free consultation or brainstorm session contact Bill Pryor    781-254-3677   billpryor@comcast.net

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

Indoor cycling and SPIN® instructors….studio lifeblood

Early this year, we conducted a survey of over 500 active customers of the Spynergy cycling studio in Wellesley, Mass.  This was a tremendously interesting look at the demographics, activities, attitudes and preferences of our customers: spinners and indoor cyclists.  Among some of the interesting findings:  less than 30% of  studio visitors are regular outside cyclists….WOW.  Some studio owners might find this surprising, but the reality is that the hard core outdoor cyclists are often……you guessed it, outdoors.  To build a critical mass of customers to a studio like this, you need to attract outside cyclists AND others seeking a great workout for cardio fitness and/or weight control.

Revelation #2.  When asked what was the single most important factor in keeping them coming back for more classes?  The number one factor was not the quality of the bikes, it was not the studio, it was not the parking, it was not the pricing model —– all these were important, but the number one most important reason people return to an indoor cycling class is….THE INSTRUCTORS.

When you think about it, and when you think about your own class enjoyment, you know this to be true.  If you own or operate a fitness studio, cycling studio, personal training center or any group exercise that is instructor-led, it is absolutely critical — from a customer retention standpoint that you have well defined practices for a) recruiting teachers, b) training teachers, c) evaluating teachers and d) replacing teachers.  This is not an HR issue, nor an operations issue, this is a marketing issue as teachers are the single most important factor in retaining customers.  In a future post, we will address training, evaluation and recruitment.

Note:  one of the best resource for indoor cycling instructors to get ideas is a website called Indoor Cycle Instructor the good ones go there to become better.

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

Over the past 6 months….since posting this blog and setting up to help “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 several studios I have been directly involved with.   Surprisingly, very few people ask “how much money can I make on one of these studios” — thought 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.

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

There are dozens more, and each of these have nuances that need to be considered, happy to discuss at your convenience:  781-254-3677  billpryor@comcast.net

Fitness studio website, energize it, optimize it.

Late last year, the websites for our studios underwant a radical transformation…….By switching over from a traditional static website — to a Blog, we dramatically energized our “google juice” (our search engine rank) and upgraded our online footprint.   While this was a radical change “behind the scenes”, we retained the established look and feel of our brand and for many customers, the change was invisible.

Today’s blog platforms like wordpress, blogspot, and squarespace are amazing tools for small businesses like our cycling studios.  In my opinion they are amazing for 2 primary reasons.  First, they are very easy to set up and manage — which alleviates the need to call an outside web expert once they get going….and second, they allow you to build a large archive of searchable content (blog posts).  This cranks up your google juice!  This biggest challenge is finding the time to keep cool content flowing into your blog…..you need a commitment.

If you would like to hear more about how Spynergy uses a blog platform to communicate the brand and find new customers—-cheap….contact me at billpryor@comcast.net