Exploring what it takes to open your own studio

The Australian fitness industry is taking off, with more and more Australians looking to make their health and wellbeing a priority. This is great news for people looking to invest in the fitness space, since it offers a chance to capitalise on the increased demand for places to exercise.  

Of course, opening a studio is a little more complicated that just buying equipment and hoping for the best. In order to be successful there are key elements to consider that, when done right, will create solid foundations for your business and attract the right people to your studio.

Below we’ve outlined in detail the most important factors to consider when opening your own studio, so you can get a head start on your journey into the fitness industry.

7 key elements you need to successfully open your own studio

1. A defined market

Before you do anything, you need to think about who your members will be. This will influence all other decisions, like your location, equipment, and even the staff you hire. These elements are all important selling points for your customers when it comes to selecting a studio, and getting people to choose yours means knowing who you’re targeting.

So, think about WHO, WHERE, and WHY. Who are they, where do they live and work, and why will they buy? Once you’ve answered these questions, the next steps will become a lot easier.

Plus, defining your market means you’re able to understand how to talk to them and attract them to your studio. Different marketing strategies will resonate with different audiences, so if you know your audience you can think critically about the best way to engage them – whether it be through search engine marketing, letter box drops, or social media.

At XTEND we know exactly who our members are, what kind of exercise they like to do, and the channels that they’re on. This makes it easy to connect with them and tailor all elements to suit their needs and demands.

2. A good location

When it comes to choosing your studio location, it’s important to think about the market potential. Business is about creating demand, which you can’t do without people who actually want what you’re offering.

You’ve already defined your market, so think about where these people might reside and look into the demographics of an area before making a decision. Here are some key questions to consider that can help you figure that out:

  • How many households are in that area?
  • What is the gender balance?
  • The age spread?
  • Average household income?
  • Number of owned homes versus rented?

Once you’ve thought about your demographics, it’s time to think about the type of location you want. Of course, there are pros and cons to any spot – for example, places with high foot traffic in a central location are ideal, like a retail unit in a shopping centre, but these can be difficult to acquire and more expensive to run.

You could go for a more industrial-style premises which offer more parking for customers, as well as a lot more space with the flexibility to make it your own. However, these locations may be less visible, and less convenient depending on the location. 

The best thing to do is weigh your positives and negatives up against your target market and consider what they’ll value most. Different studio types require different layouts, equipment, and facilities, so think about how these might fit into the space you’re looking at.

3. The right equipment

Your equipment will be your biggest expense when you open your own studio, so you need to choose the right kind that will appeal to your target market. Think about the results they’re trying to achieve, and what equipment will best help them get there.

You also need to think about how much you can afford to spend initially (you can always invest in more when money starts coming in), and whether you’re wanting to lease or buy. Buying is a higher upfront cost, but you walk away with an asset you can fully customise to suit your studio’s theme or aesthetics. Leasing will cost more long term, but means you’re able to update the equipment more often, and maintenance isn’t necessarily your responsibility.

At XTEND, we know our clients want good mind-body exercises, which requires very little equipment. We have everything they need, without having to make a big investment or buying studio elements for the sake of it.

4. An optimised layout  

Once you’ve got your equipment sorted, it’s important to consider the layout and look of your space. You should map out key zones to take full advantage of the room you have, including:

How these elements actually look will have a major effect on your clients. For example, certain colours have certain psychological effects. When your space is designed to cultivate high energy and help with motivation, you’re much more likely to have people coming back. At XTEND, we focus on creating bright, inviting spaces that keep our members happy while working their bodies.

5. Insurance 

Every business needs the right insurance cover, especially businesses in the fitness industry. This is a very important part to think about when you open your own studio, since members are consistently taking part in activities with varying risks. You and your business need to be protected both legally and financially from major accidents.

Some of the policies to consider are:

6. Membership structure   

How your members pay you is a vital part of your business, and it’s important that it works for you AND your customers. Think about whether you want to offer a free trial, what a membership includes, and how long it locks in. Maybe you want to have different membership levels with certain inclusions available in each, or maybe a one-size-fits-all approach is better.

Whatever you choose, once you’ve nailed down what the packages look like, you need to clearly articulate your terms and conditions. This should detail:

7. The right team   

The people you have on the ground can make or break your studio. You’ll need qualified trainers that represent your brand and your business. The relationships they build will ultimately be what keeps people coming back again and again.

They have to be right for your defined market, great at motivating your members, and safe to operate in your studio. Every prospective employee should be thoroughly vetted, so you can have confidence in their qualifications and ability to do the job consistently well.

We do exactly that at XTEND, which results in high quality instructors that empower our members to make the changes they need, while making a real difference in our community.

Cost to open your own studio

These vital steps to open a studio do involve some costs, so take the following into account:

All of this adds up, but you could save a lot more when you partner with a fitness franchise. They can minimise your start up costs, and allow you to leverage their brand power, marketing fund, and supplier relationships. Things like your insurance and licencing might even be covered as part of your franchise fee.

Make things easy by joining the XTEND franchise

Unlike a lot of other fitness and studio businesses, XTEND has a low equipment cost, meaning entry investment costs start from around $150,000 versus the typical $200,000 plus.

We have proven systems to show you how to open your own studio, and to help you succeed. You can access our buying power and expertise whether it’s for help with hiring staff, finding and leasing a location, a launch strategy when you open your studio, or ongoing support with your marketing, sales and branding.

You can also enjoy the peace of mind knowing you’re investing in a sustainable business with big growth projections. Allied Market Research found that yoga, Pilates, and other mind-body activities like our Barre workouts are expected to become a $66 billion industry by 2027. In fact, between 2005 and 2020, ‘Barre’ was the most search fitness trend globally (Compare the Market 2021).

So, if you’re ready to learn more, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch. In the meantime, check out the locations we have available.

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