Tag Archives: 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

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

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

 


 

Flywheel and Soul Cycle are good for the cycling studio business

For many years, cycling studios and official SPIN®  studios, a relatively rare phenomena,  have flown “under the radar”.   There are some awesome and successful studios, but most communities are not familiar with them and the basic concept has been largely unknown.   No longer.

Two high-profile New York studios: Soul Cycle and Flywheel have recently received significant national press. Soul Cycle was acquired by national chain Equinox, and Flywheel has partnered with investors who have announced aggressive expansion plans throughout the U.S.

If you are a studio owner, or contemplating a studio in your area….this is good news!  Actually, let me correct myself….this is great news.  Here’s why.

1)   It helps legitimize the concept of a stand-alone cycling studio.  This is important if you are trying to raise money for your studio, or convince a landlord of the viability of the business.

2)   Their presence expands the market.  The more people that hear about indoor cycling studios….the better.  Cycling studios don’t just steal riders from health clubs they expand the market and make the workout available to a broader audience.  Their existence creates broad awareness that is helpful to all.

3)  It’s a cliche and it’s true.  Competition is good.  It makes us all better.  Knowing they are expanding makes studio owners evaluate how to do things better and secure their local position.

Would I want a Soul Cycle or a Flywheel to open across the street from my studio?  No, of course not.  But there are thousands of communities in the US (and abroad) that could support cycling studios…..and the more they open, the more the tide rises for the rest of us.

At the end of the day, cycling studios are not Starbucks, which serves up an identical product in every store you go into.   What we’ve learned at our Boston, Detroit and Cincinnati studios studio is that cycling studios are true local businesses that ultimately thrive on three things:  A) The creation of an awesome fitness experience, B) Talented, committed instructors, C)  The building of a vibrant community, and D) Smart local marketing deep into a community or neighborhood.

Net, net?  There is plenty of room in the market for Soul Cycle,  Flywheel, and also for talented entrepreneurs to build new, compelling cycling studios.   There are a few hundred cycling studios around the world right now, let’s not worry about market saturation until there are 10,000 (like there are in yoga).

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

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

A tour of new cycling studios / lessons learned

Last week I had the pleasure of flying South to Philadelphia, hopping into a rental car and driving up the east coast visiting cycling and spin studios along the way.   My primary visits were to my own clients —- folks I have worked with primarily via phone and email to develop business plans and get their studios launched.  Each studio had its own character and its own challenges —- each was at a different stage of development, but they all had one thing in common:  energetic and committed entrepreneurs striking out and creating something cool in their communities.

Interestingly one is urban, one is suburban and one is in a midsize community.  Here’s a quick snapshot:

BodyCycle Studio, Philadelphia
Profile:  10 month old urban studio right in the heart of Philly.  Upstairs studio in a cool neighborhood with Keiser bikes, high ceilings and wood floors.  Growth has been steady and solid for the first 10 months, very close to original financial projections.  Owner is looking to expand # of bikes and # of classes and my need to find a new location to do so.  Has built a solid database of customers and prospects via Groupon, word-of-mouth and some great instructors.

Lifestyle Mechanics,  Martinsville, New Jersey|
Profile:  One of the quickest start-ups I have ever seen.  I connected with the owners in early September and after the business plan development they were able to take the necessary steps on funding, real estate and marketing to be able to shoot for a mid November start-up.  Chose to go with Star-Trac and the SPIN® brand to become an official SPINNING® studio.  Biggest challenge?  Finding the right spot to minimize start-up / build out costs.

CycleOn Studio, Washington Township, New Jersey
Profile:  After business plan development, this entrepreneur faced a lengthy effort to receive SBA funding (bank loan), and then a series of real estate “issues”.  Finally he settled on an awesome space, Star-Track bikes, video projection system and had his “grand opening” on October 29th.  Biggest challenge?  Juggling the massive start-up details while working full time at another job.

My 4th visit was to be to JoyRide in Westport Connecticut — a client group that has been opened since early summer, but unfortunately a massive Rte.95 traffic jam prohibited me from visiting……next time!   They are growing nicely and providing a range of interesting types of classes and events.  Biggest challenge?  finding great instructors.

4 different studios, 4 different entrepreneurs, 4 different communities but all relying on the same fundamental appeal of a “pay-per-class”  dedicated studio that provides a tremendously effective workout.  It has been a joy working with each of them providing guidance based on our own experience at Spynergy Cycling Studio in a suburb of Boston.

 

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

6 reasons to launch your own indoor cycling or SPIN® studio

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

2) You’re always around music!  Creating and presenting the musical mixes is awesome!

3) As a studio, 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.

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

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

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

Opening a spin studio. Are you an entrepreneur?

Part of creating a special studio environment is your understanding of the indoor cycling experience….and your ability to recognize and create it! Yup. But if you want to own a studio, it’s more. It’s running a business. You’re part accountant, part disc jockey, part sound technician, part web developer, part baby sitter, and ALL customer service. Do you absolutely love people…….even the ones that are, well, annoying? Good. There is something awesome about knowing every decision you make is having a direct affect on your business, and that the more successful you are — the healthier people get. Wow. It can also of course at times — be a bit overwhelming. Wanna give it a try? Check us out. Call Bill at 781-254-3677.

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 and powerful 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.