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More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

The small studio format is becoming more and more popular. And now in Moscow, in the manner of New York or Paris, you can find whatever your heart desires: yoga, Pilates, stretching or crossfit. But, unfortunately, not all studios can withstand serious competition with successful and large fitness chains that have long been entrenched in the domestic market.

An author's project, and even more so a family business, is a rather risky enterprise. Each of these studios is more like an original dish prepared with a sauce from your own vision, experience and instinct. Today we met a wonderful couple who inspire everyone not only in the vastness of social networks, but also in life (if you are lucky enough to talk or meet them in person).

Champion of Russia and medalist of the world championships in rhythmic gymnastics Samira Mustafayeva together with her husband Nikolai Kondratyuk told the Championship how to open their own business and keep the quality bar for a long time, not forgetting about balance and harmony in the family. We shake our heads and learn to make decisions that can radically change your whole life!

More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

Photo: Valeria Shugurin, Championship

Starting point: how did the idea come about?

Samira: at some point I realized that at the previous job I stopped growing and for a long time I stand still. I began to experience great discomfort from this. It was then that my husband told me: You can do more. Try teaching adult stretching. And I got a group. We trained twice a week in a rented room. After two or three months I already realized that I had outgrown the rented hall and that I needed to start looking for my own premises. This is how the story of SM Streching began.

Nikolay: I have my own, slightly different version (smiles). When it first started, I was passionate about my project in a completely different field. All the time and attention was directed there. Samira at that time really felt uncomfortable at work and came home in a nervous state. Therefore, everything else faded into the background for me. And therefore, my main task was to make Samira more likely to be in a good mood and not get nervous again because of work.

So we got the idea to form a group where we could do stretching with adults. Then, when everything started to turn around, we began to receive a lot of feedback that people like to study with Samira. Realizing that the product is interesting, we started actively looking for our first premises.

To be honest, I didn't really want to do this (smiles). I understood that everyone else, except for training: marketing, renting, would have to do me. But then Samira, to my surprise, showed complete seriousness in resolving the issue and did everything so that I only needed to get up and go to look at the new premises. It was in a very old building on the reconstructions. But the place was chosen well: the very center, the Kuznetsky Most metro station. By the way, one of our studios is still working there. In addition to the correct location, it was very important for us to feel the energy of the room: clean, pleasant. This is how a small room on Kuznetsky Most made us comfortable.

More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

Photo: Valeria Shugurin, Championship

A recipe for happiness: what a studio is made of

Nikolai: Like most entrepreneurs at the start, we didn't have the money to do everything as it should be. Therefore, the primary task was to find and equip a clean room within walking distance from the metro. Choose the most convenient location. Then we could not even afford a dressing room, because we would have to take an adjacent room, and it would be much more expensive. Therefore, we just put up a screen and divided the hall into two conventional parts.

Everything that we based on at the very beginning is Samira's experience and our vision of the final product. We tried not to do a blueprint business, it was important for us to stand out.

More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

Photo: Valeria Shugurina, Championship

Samira: The most important thing for me was (and still is) not even the location next to the metro or the presence of showers, although, of course, now we are trying to invest a lot in ensuring that everyone in the studio has as comfortable as possible. The most important thing for which people will be ready to go anywhere after work is a good coach, a real professional. The one who will lead you to the result. Therefore, for me, working with the team has always been in the first place.

It is also very important to always offer the client something new and interesting. For example, now we have a barre direction. This is a functional workout, but with small weights, a mixture of yoga, pilates and ballet. The workout is divided into three sections: top, bottom, and abs. All this is somewhat similar to dancing, everything is done to the beat. I studied this in America. In Russia, this direction is new. The effect of such exercises is that you literally crawl out of training, but in the morning your muscles do not hurt as much as after strength in the gym.

More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

Photo: Valeria Shugurina, Championship

Two halves: how to share responsibilities in a family business?

Nikolay: I am a manager by nature ... I like the organization process. And Samira devoted her whole life to sports, she enjoys it. Together we create synergy and quality. I would like to give advice to everyone who is in search of themselves. Each of us is good at something. Often times, you just need to find someone to apply your knowledge to. We were lucky in this regard, we didn't even have to look (laughs).

Partnership and the team are the basis of everything. It is almost unrealistic to launch projects on your own, you need to unite. Finding like-minded people is not so difficult, you just immediately feel who you can work with and who you can't. My wife and iWe talked for a long time, made friends, traveled together ... Therefore, when the business appeared, we did not even have a thought that any problem might arise. We knew that everything would work out.

Samira: It will probably be difficult to understand what you are doing well. My story is a direct proof of this: after finishing sports, I did not want to think or hear about it. Seriously. Then I met my husband and a year later I realized that I really miss sports. To understand this, it was necessary to abstract and take a little rest. So I realized that mine is what I have been doing since childhood.

Nikolay: I would also add that it is really important: everyone should do their own thing. Samira does not meddle in my duties, and I in hers. Therefore, we do not swear. The coach must create, the manager must deal with everything else.

A product that speaks about itself

Nikolay: Bill Gates said: If you are not on the Internet , you are not in business. This is a popular expression today. Everyone understands perfectly well that when a consumer sees the face of a business, a credit of trust grows. Therefore, we actively use social networks to promote studios. They help both to expand the circle of clients and to add loyalty to our brand. But social media is not a panacea, it's important to remember this because advertising works in conjunction. This is advertising by celebrities, and promotion on the Internet, and the media, and banners around the city.

If you make a good product, sooner or later a lot of people will find out about it and the principle of word of mouth will work. That is why it is so important to do their job well, then people themselves will tell each other about you.

Samira: The methods of promoting a studio can be different: for example, I often train with the stars , I pay great attention to creating a personal brand, maintaining my page on Instagram. It is impossible to say for sure that some blogger explodes direct from advertising. Kolya is right, everything works together!

More than a business: how to open a studio in a metropolis and stay in trend?

Photo: Valeria Shugurin, Championship

The ideal client who does not exist

Samira: The audience in our studios is very different, so we basically don't want to be tied to one image that personifies the studio. People are all different and unique. But at the same time, everyone can train, play sports. We like our clients, they are all wonderful, because they want to be in harmony with their body, they want to look good, feel good.

Nikolay: We do not have an image of an ideal client, we love that all our clients are so different. At first, we focused on girls from 20 to 30 years old. Active, modern, self-conscious and interested in fitness. But now the audience has expanded greatly, both teenagers and adult women are walking. Everyone is comfortable. Regardless of age, everyone has a result. We can say that stretching has no boundaries.

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