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Revolutionising Studio Operations: A Journey from Traditional Models to Community-Driven Innovation

In the ever-evolving landscape of wellness and fitness, the traditional studio business model is undergoing a significant transformation. At BodyMindLife (BML), we have been at the forefront of this change, recognising the need for a new approach that harmonises business and community interests. Our latest venture – a new website and operating system – is a testament to this vision.

The Dichotomy of Community and Business

Historically, we’ve observed a clear divide between community and business. While businesses primarily focus on profit, communities thrive on shared values and goals, often hampered by the financial aspect. In the case of transaction fees, for example, a significant portion of revenue is siphoned off by intermediaries. For a $10 transaction, the transaction  cost can be as high as 8.5%, a substantial drain on both the studio and its members.

Valuing the Teacher-Student Dynamic

In our experience, the essence of a community lies in the value exchange. Teachers and students at BML share a common objective – to enhance mobility and holistic health. However, the need to cover costs in a low margin business can disrupt this synergistic relationship. There’s often a tension between teachers valuing their services higher than what studios can feasibly afford, leading to a compromise in the free flow of this energy exchange.

The Changing Landscape of Studio Operations

The studio business model has been under pressure, with profit margins shrinking from 15-20% a decade ago to a mere 3-10% today. I don't know of any studio that is not reeling from COVID and is under significant pressure now. This situation mirrors the challenges faced by the restaurant industry, with many studios turning into low-paying jobs for the owners, usually passionate teachers,   burdened with start up debt. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this issue, leading to the closure of numerous independently owned studios and paving the way for larger chains to dominate.

Our Approach at BML

At BML, we chose a different path. We focused on hiring experienced teachers, paying them well, and investing in their continuous education and training. This approach built a thriving community but also came with its challenges – higher management costs and the reality of training teachers who eventually leave to become competitors.

Embracing Technology for Empowerment

Recognising these challenges, we are pioneering a new model. By removing middlemen and leveraging technology, we aim to automate processes like real-time payments, minimising the need for extensive bookkeeping. This approach allows students to directly compensate teachers, landlords, and service providers, fostering accountability and strengthening community bonds. For the first time - teachers will be paid at the beginning of each class they teach. Normally teachers are paid anywhere upto 4 weeks in arrears. For an average studio we are seeing immediate cost saving benefits in the realm of 10% - 15% as we innovate through this time we can see even better returns occurring. Our goal is to support teachers so they can continue to explore and develop their passion and support of their students. We are making highly resilient communities.

Innovations on the Horizon

Our vision is unfolding in Byron Bay and Sydney, where you will witness these changes in the coming weeks and months. Furthermore, we are collaborating with property developers to establish the first community-owned wellness center, where the community itself will be the landlord, transforming the traditional dynamics of property ownership and management.

Educating and Transitioning

Change is a journey, especially when it involves adopting new systems. Education is a crucial component of this transition, and we are committed to guiding our students and community members through this learning curve.

Looking Forward

This shift is more than a business strategy; it’s a movement towards a more connected, accountable, and sustainable community. As we navigate these changes, we invite you to join us in this exciting new chapter of BodyMindLife, where technology meets community, and together, we redefine the essence of wellness and fitness studios.



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