Running a boutique fitness studio requires a strategic approach to ensure success and growth in an ever-evolving industry. As studio owners, we often get trapped working IN our businesses and lack the space or time to think about what we want the company to look like in six months, one year, or five years. Setting clear and achievable business goals is essential for reaching your studio's potential, but studies show that only 8 percent of people achieve them. How do you become one of the few who see their dreams come true?
According to Lock and Latham, two pioneers in goal-setting research, effective goal-setting improves energy, behavior, and performance leading to a better overall effort. From a studio owner's lens, you're rewarded with a positive feedback loop if you regularly set and actively strive to reach your goals. Better goal setting leads to improved energy and effort, which impacts your goal achievement for as long as you remain dedicated to the process. The best part? You can start your new goal-setting process whether your studio is brand new or ten years old. Let's break it down.
Before setting new business goals, take a moment to evaluate your boutique fitness studio's current position. Reflect on your studio's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. This assessment will help you identify areas that require improvement and lay the foundation for setting realistic and impactful goals.
If your studio is still in the planning stages, no problem. Reflect on your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges as a new business owner instead. What are you bringing to the table that you can nurture to help you reach your goals? Where do you foresee running into shortcomings? It can help to list all of the tasks you anticipate needing to master in your business to reach your goals, such as:
Think about what you'd like each area to look like in a perfect-case scenario in broad brushstrokes and start identifying what you'll need to outsource or learn to make it happen. We'll define each goal more specifically in the following steps.
Seek guidance from resources like industry coaches, our fitDEGREE partners, studio owners you know, or business owners you admire. Each resource can provide valuable insights into effective goal-setting strategies tailored for business owners so that you don't have to learn everything the hard way. Learning from experts gives you a fresh perspective on the process of setting goals and actions to take to achieve your goals.
If you're brand new to studio ownership, you may not even know what you want your goals to look like yet. Reference your fitness studio's vision and mission statements. Align your business goals with these statements to ensure consistency and purpose in your approach. When your goals resonate with your studio's overall vision, you'll create a more compelling narrative that resonates with your team and clients. Don't worry about what other businesses aim to achieve; focus on your own markers for success.
It's time to go from theory to application by clearly defining the objectives you wish to achieve for your boutique fitness studio. Your goals should be precise and well-defined, whether the goal is a specific revenue target, increasing membership, expanding class offerings, or improving customer retention. Use the SMART framework—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—to ensure your goals are actionable and focused.
Specific: As a consultant in the boutique fitness industry, when I ask studio owner clients about their primary objectives, I usually hear a variation of:
While each statement is valid, these aren't goals- they're wishes. Before you move to the next step, figure out exactly how many members you need to reach your goals (a coach can show you how to reverse engineer this goal based on your expenses and average client value) or how much net income you'd like to see at the end of each month. Specific is step one so we can build a plan.
Measurable: Without a concrete number to shoot for, you won't know how close you are to hitting it. Quantifiable metrics are your bumpers and early warning systems. They help you refocus if you get off track and warn you that a change is needed if you lose progress. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress toward your goals. These could include metrics like membership growth rate, revenue increase, customer engagement, or class attendance. Regularly analyze these metrics to stay informed about your studio's progress and adjust strategies as needed. If you're new to tracking your KPIs, start by pulling your fitDEGREE reports on the same day each week and month and tracking your progress.
Actionable- Your goal needs to be within your control and have action items to support it. When setting your goal, ask yourself, "Can I directly impact the success or failure of this outcome?" Often the difference between a wish (I wish I could win the lottery) and a goal (I will have $10,000 in saving in my business account by this time next year) is an actionable step that you can direct.
Reasonable- No one wants to fail before they've even started. If your goal is too far removed from your current state of being, you're setting yourself up for frustration. Aim for a 10 to 30 percent improvement from where you are right now. If you're brand new, ask your coach or other studio friends for what you can reasonably expect.
Timely- How long will it take you to accomplish your goal? Set a specific end date to encourage you to take action quickly so you don't lose steam.
Once your goals are established, break them down into smaller, manageable steps. This approach makes the goals less daunting and provides a clear roadmap for execution. Each step should have specific actions, responsible team members, and associated deadlines to help you achieve the larger goal. For example, if you want to take a month off for vacation, identify the timeline and the smaller action steps that will let you book that plane ticket.
If you have staff, their input is invaluable when setting business goals. Encourage open discussions and involve your teachers in the goal-setting process. Give them action items to foster personal responsibility within the team's purpose and support them as they work toward it. For example, if your goal is to add 20 memberships before January, task your staff to sell five memberships monthly and check in on their progress. Their buy-in can provide unique perspectives that contribute to the success of your fitness studio.
The fitness industry is known for its ever-changing nature. Be prepared to adapt your goals in response to new trends, challenges, or opportunities. A flexible approach ensures that your boutique fitness studio remains relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of your clients.
As you progress, remember to celebrate the milestones you achieve along the way. Recognizing your and your staff's achievements boosts morale, reinforces positive behaviors, and maintains a sense of accomplishment among your team.
Frequent reviews of your goals are crucial for keeping your strategies on track. Regularly assess your progress, identify areas that require improvement, and make necessary adjustments. Consistent evaluation ensures you remain aligned with your fitness studio's growth trajectory and prevents the cycle of constantly working IN rather than improving upon your business.
Setting new business goals for your boutique fitness studio is pivotal to achieving sustained success. If you're new to studio ownership and goal setting, give yourself grace as you follow the steps above. Steady progress may not feel exciting, but it adds up by the end of the year. Here's to your success!