Running a business that's reliant on bricks and mortar is tough. There are many overheads to pay, and making the rent each month can be a nightmare for retailers, cafes, restaurants, and clinics alike.
||Physiotherapy and fitness studio
| Head office
| Contact details
| Be realisitic: "Do this by projecting numbers based on what you've been able to bring in the past, and by how [competitors] in the area are doing."
|- Joshua Norris-Ongso
Joshua Norris-Ongso is the founder of S3 Studio - the world's first barre and pilates studio with classes designed and choreographed by a physiotherapist (Joshua). Having rented several studios and moving locations over the years, he has learnt many lessons along the way. Below, he shares his three main considerations when choosing a business premises.
Convenience for customers
Joshua has a strong understanding of what potential revenue can be generated depending on the crowd. For example, in the suburbs he can run classes all day, as the location is convenient for parents and students. On the other hand, his studio in the city is limited to three timeslots only (before work, during lunch, and straight after work) as the location is suited to working professionals. Coupled with a higher cost of rent, this quickly burns holes in Joshua’s pockets.
Based on this experience, Joshua recommends thinking about how many people you can realistically bring through the doors during business hours. He says, "Do this by projecting numbers based on what you've been able to bring in the past, and by how other studios in the area are doing."
Irrespective of the type of bricks and mortar business you have, compare these forecasts with the monthly rent. These figures will help you calculate what you can afford.
Costs required for interior design
Whether you're a business owner with a dream, or a customer looking for a worthwhile experience, Joshua says "everyone loves beautiful design". But rather than refurbishing or building from the ground up, he recommends finding a venue that has the facilities you want - then investing in keeping them sparkling clean and decorating. This strategy will save you time going to market, as well as capital outlay required for materials and labour.
If you are spending money on upgrading the fit-out, know your numbers. Calculate the costs involved versus what people are willing to pay, so you know how many months it will take to break even.
However, just a warning... If you go down this route, ensure you're very clear with your landlord about who foots the bill and what happens to the features after you leave. Joshua has unfortunately walked away with losses after such misunderstandings in the past.
Connection with people
If your lease is up and you can't negotiate rent that works for you, you'll have to move. But "people stay with a studio because they love their instructor". So Joshua is incredibly consistent with bringing his A-game to every class, every time. He also learns the names of all his students and throws free events (such as open days with free food and drink), so they feel part of the S3 community.
In addition, Joshua understands the value of building your personal brand. By diligently curating content for his Instagram account (and actively encouraging students to check it out) he can share the effort he puts into his business, make others feel part of the journey, and maintain ongoing relationships with students outside of class times. Because of this, Joshua has found students are more likely to follow him wherever the studio goes.