60-second start-up: Blue Cow Yoga

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

Providing yoga, pilates and therapies to busy professionals in the City of London.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

Very simply it is the sale of group yoga and pilates equipment classes as well as therapies, including massage and Mc Timoney Chiropractic sessions.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

There are several established yoga studios in London, but no others in the Square Mile. Our most fierce competition comes from the 40 or so gyms in the City.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

We are the first dedicated studio in the City, and our focus is on providing access to top quality facilities for busy professionals.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We raised the money through the sale of equity.  It took us 18 months to raise the full amount we needed.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

It seems like such a long time ago now. Fran was working in the City running an online recruitment platform and Mark was in the army, so it is a bit of a change for both of us to be running a yoga studio.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

Initially a beach in Goa, which made us realise how hard it was to find good yoga in London as there were so few studios. I was stressed out and, working in The City, I knew there were no studios there.

The idea of a dedicated studio was formed during a conversation over a bottle of wine one lunch time and by the end of the second bottle we were convinced we were onto a winning idea.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

Leaving my job to start Blue Cow. Apart from that probably talking to anyone who would listen and persuading them to help us in any small way. Setting up the business has been the product of so many conversations and helpful advice. We would have really struggled if we hadn't been helped by so many people.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?
Allowing ourselves to be persuaded to spend a vast amount of money on market research forums.  The concept was right, but we went against our instinct on how we should go about it and we ended up having to repeat the whole exercise again ourselves and for a tenth of the price.

Luckily, the second attempt was fantastic. We simply ran a number of classes and asked people what they thought of our idea. We got some really useful data and great word of mouth exposure from it!

Knowing your market is absolutely vital, but make sure you are asking the right questions and the right people.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

One that is good for you but doesn't taste like the healthy option.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

The guy who invented the wrappers for the ends of shoelaces. You must have an amazing mind to be able to think about life from that angle.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

I hope we will be in the process of opening our second studio. The next 12 months are going to be spent building a community of like-minded individuals around our studio. It's going to be hard work, but it's so exciting. I want to continue having this much fun for the next 12 months.

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