Owning a studio is a balance of financials that requires a dose of creativity. Even if teaching yoga is your passion, you are probably required to step away from the mat to apply your natural problem-solving mind to your studio’s revenue stream. Offering class packs and memberships is a great foundation for cash flow, but why not expand your offerings? There are various ways to generate revenue for your studio beyond filling bikes, mats and spots. We chatted with Hayley Muth, a former studio manager and the Partner Operations Lead at ClassPass, about ways to increase your revenue—even when your class schedule is maxed out.
HOW CAN I INCREASE REVENUE AT MY STUDIO?
There are a number of things you can do to grow your incoming cash flow, but a few ways to get started include adding events, merchandise and educational offerings. Events engage your community outside of class, encouraging class patrons to socialize with one another and your staff. Events are also a great opportunity to sell merchandise—your clients love your studio and want to represent! Teacher training, private instruction or specialized workshops also help you target your high-value, loyal clients who love your studio and want more from you, especially those who are willing to invest in those types of opportunities.
WHAT SHOULD I KEEP IN MIND FOR RUNNING EVENTS?
To gauge interest, try transforming a class that’s already on your schedule into a weekly special. By charging a little more for a pumped up class (think: live DJ, themed playlist, fun lighting, on location, guest teacher), this will encourage a full room, bring a little extra money through the door, and provide a fun destination for your community, without you taking on too much risk with a completely new and out-of-the-box idea at first. From there, you can test engagement with events (how many people signed up versus actually attended? what learnings can you take away in regards to timing, theme, etc.?) to determine what’s worth your investment moving forward. Solicit feedback from attendees afterwards to help inform your next event.
You might also consider a special merchandise event. Do you have a unique product for sale in your boutique? Maybe a new foam roller or massage ball? Smoothie kit? Host a little gathering to teach clients how to use the product, then offer a small discount to attendees. This will help move inventory and highlight your unique items.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MERCHANDISE TO IMPLEMENT?
Even a small batch of t-shirts or reusable/tote bags with your logo will delight your regulars, who will sport your swag proudly. Having clothing for sale also helps their last-minute “oops I forgot my shirt” moments, too. If you’re new to offering merchandise, be sure to monitor and manage this inventory. Don’t start off with too many different SKUs as it’s expensive to stock with all the right sizes, especially when you don’t know what buying patterns you’ll see. It’s easier to start with 2-3 pants and 2-3 shirts that you really love and can buy in a bunch of sizes. This will help clear inventory faster, too.
What are your favorite inspiring or informative books on what your studio offers? Have a small library for sale so clients can expand their horizons and research more about what you teach.
If you use props or small equipment for class, make it all available for purchase. Sell the exact type of mat that you rent, for example, so that people can bring home the great accessories you’ve carefully selected. They trust your curation and love the familiarity—nothing like having your favorite weights from class at home!
Buy your favorite energy bars (long shelf life helps if turnover is slow), juices (buy fewer so you’re not stuck with expired goods), and post-class snacks at wholesale prices and keep them stocked for hungry clients to purchase on their way out.
WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN ADDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES?
Periodic deep-dive workshops are a must, and be sure to make yourself available for private sessions too. Even if what you typically teach is a group workout, odds are someone would love to brush up on technique and ask you questions one-on-one, and those who are new to your workout will appreciate the opportunity to get close attention outside the pressure of a full class of regulars. If you have teacher trainings, try continuing education add-ons (workshops for teachers only like “How to Teach Beginners,” etc).
HOW CAN STUDIO OWNERS DECIDE WHAT TO ACT ON?
As with any new offering, it’s important to consider the needs of your client base. It might be worth polling or soliciting feedback from your clients (sending out a studio survey, putting a suggestions box at the front desk or even the old-fashioned way of chatting them up before or after class). Look around at what your competitors are offering. You want to be able to deliver the same level of service—and even better—so if studios with similar classes are offering teacher training, it might be something you should consider too. Don’t get too caught up on how you measure up though, and always be sure to focus on your own situation and financials first. Make sure you have the market and the resources to make it work. Which is to say, don’t start a teacher training program just to have it—make sure some of your clients are really interested in it and willing to sign up first.
HOW SHOULD I PRICE AND POSITION THESE OFFERINGS?
A good thing to think about when positioning any additional offerings is how they serve as an extension of your community and brand. What works in the spirit of what your classes already offer? You can also position it as part of the lifestyle of your teachers, who your students likely already look to for wellness inspiration.
Keep everything affordable, but offer a range of price points and experiences so everyone can get involved, from people on a budget to those who have more money to spend. Add-on packages for your clients, like a class plus an energy bar deal, or a workshop partnered with a massage oil package discount, perform really well and give people that extra incentive to sign up.
For teacher trainings, consider the additional costs that may come up to run these classes. Do you need to close off a class to host the training, or utilize another space? What are your costs for paying the instructor/trainer? Make sure you are making up for that lost revenue through teacher training fees. It may be helpful to provide a range of offerings and say you can increase or decrease the price based on the benefits you offer (i.e. do they get their own mat and supplies, is there a retreat included, etc.).
HOW CAN YOU MARKET THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO YOUR CLIENTS?
Everything you might typically do to market your studio, you can do to showcase these new opportunities. Include it in your weekly email newsletter, or put up flyers around the studio. Enlist your front desk staff to share them with each client as they check in for class, or have teachers announce upcoming events or offerings before or after class. As always, word-of-mouth is great if you can get the buzz started around the neighborhood. Encourage people to spread the word about workshops to their friends with bring-a-friend or referral deals and you’ll have the added bonus of introducing a new client to your studio.
ANY HESITATIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE IMPLEMENTING?
Take your time to get educated before launching into something new. Listen to your clients and give them what they actually want, and keep it relevant to who you are and what you represent as a business. When looking into new merchandise, start small and buy conservative amounts of inventory to make sure your instincts are on track with what people are interested in purchasing from you. And above all, be open to trying and testing on a small scale while you feel out what works, whether that’s a new workshop, event or merchandise offerings in your studio for the first time.
Hayley Muth is part of the Partnerships Organization at ClassPass, heading up the Product & Integrations team. Before joining ClassPass, she worked as a manager at several New York City studios. Hayley’s experience in fitness also includes a 200-hour yoga certification and a lifelong involvement in studio culture as a dancer from a young age.