Starting your own studio can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be.
The key is to be prepared. We sat down with Josh Leve, Founder and CEO of Association of Fitness Studios to learn more about what you can do to prep to open your studio doors.
Merrithew: What kind of preparation do you recommend for someone thinking of opening a studio or fitness facility?
J. Leve: Do your research. Conduct a competitive analysis of fitness facilities in the area, and see what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. Make a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) list for the industry in your area, and one for your planned business in particular. Secretly shop the competition—take as many classes at different studios as you can, call up their reception and ask questions about schedules, deals and pricing.
Know your numbers. The research is out there. The Association of Fitness Studios publishes fitness industry studies that can help you identify what to prepare for and how much money to allocate where.
Merrithew: How can studios differentiate themselves?
J. Leve: It’s all about the client experience. Identify what you do, or what you plan to do, better than anyone else. What will make your studio stand out? The studio market is built upon results-driven coaching. Do you have access to fitness instructors with established client followings? How will you grow a loyal client base?
Merrithew: Even with extensive research, not every situation can be anticipated, or controlled. How can unexpected situations be handled?
J. Leve: Be prepared to pivot. Sometimes things don’t go as planned for a variety of reasons. There could be an economic downturn. Perhaps a new fitness modality that you don’t offer becomes popular. Maybe a new studio opens down the block from you. Part of being successful is planning what you can, and effectively reacting to what you can’t.
Josh Leve is the Founder & CEO of the Association of Fitness Studios. AFS provides studio and gym owners running facilities of up to 10,000 sq. feet and entrepreneurial fitness professionals with the platform to effectively start, manage and grow their businesses. For more information, see afsfitness.com.