One thing that is important to remember is that whatever you invest in starting your barre studio, you really need to make that money back before you are truly profitable. One of the things that I often tell a potential owner is that if you invest $15,000 into renovating that bathroom, you need to be able to make that $15,000 back. This is just one example, but it is a significant example of all the decisions that you will be making while running a business.
So, here are five simple tips to protect your budget before and after opening your first barre studio!
1. Identify the Must Haves in your budget. Before you open, what do you really need? Often people start off buying tons of business cards, more props than necessary, doing more build out/renovations than necessary, and overall just spending more than they absolutely need to. Sometimes it is better to buy what is absolutely necessary, and save the opportunity to buy “more” after you open and know you need it.
2. Keep costs low… When you first open your barre studio, consider how to keep your costs down so you can get to profitability as quickly as possible. When I opened my first barre studio, I taught every class for two weeks. I did it for a couple of reasons. One, there was significantly less in payroll costs. But two – it gave me the opportunity to meet my clients. Any time you are running your business, remember – every dollar that goes out is a a dollar that does not go to your pocket. Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in the subscriptions and outsourcing everything. If you have more time than money – consider keeping more projects in house for a while (and when I mean in house – I often mean you). In Barre In a Box TM – we cover a lot of different ways to keep costs down, and get revenues up – especially in those first few months of business.
3. Get a loan… I believe in having access to capital – even if you don’t need it. Consider a potential line of credit, a small home equity loan, a small business loan, or a new credit card, so you have access to capital if you need it. You just never know when an unexpected expense will pop up and you need money quickly. Try to have access to it – even if you aren’t using it!
4. Get some help from your family and friends. Some of them may want to help you financially. (Be careful about spelling out expectations.) Or some of them may have a talent or skill that they can bring to the table. When we opened our second studio, one of our friends who was a contractor, was the person who oversaw the build out. He not only took pride in his work, but he really wanted to give us his very best. And because of it – the studio really is a gorgeous representation of all the love and hard work he put in on our behalf. If you have a friend who is a great graphic designer, see if she’ll donate some her services in exchange for promotion to your clients.
5. Barter!!! This was a hard thing for me to get used to when I first opened my barre studio. But I quickly found that many people wanted to be able to take classes, but maybe didn’t have the money. So if you have the studio capacity – a great way to get promotional support, or get goods and services on a budget is to work out a barter system with other business owners. This is a great opportunity to get your logo, business cards, website, or even maybe just to save money on your hair, nails, and other services!!!
Whatever decisions you make, constantly re-evaluate your income, your expenses, your needs, and your budget. By keeping your budget under control, you will experience business profitability much faster and have more money for the things that really matter to you in your life!
If you have been considering opening a barre studio, a pilates studio, or a fitness business, and don’t want the rules or regulations of a barre franchise – contact me to schedule a free consultation to discuss Studio In a Box TM. Studio In a Box was created to give you the tools and systems to start a successful fitness business – while saving money, avoiding the big mistakes, and getting to profitability quickly!