Start a religious retreat center business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your religious retreat center business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a religious retreat center business?
Your largest cost will be purchasing the physical space to host your retreats. You may also wish to hire employees to run events at your retreat center. If guests stay overnight, you will need to provide food and sleeping accommodations as well. Nevertheless, it is possible to keep your initial costs low. You could choose to turn your home into a retreat center, depending on your current setup. If you want to have larger retreats with more offerings, you will need a location to rent or lease. You will also need to decorate the space. Consider partnering with other businesses to save money. For example, you could rent a space in a hotel that offers meals to reduce the amount of work you need to do. Space alone could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
You also need to make sure you have all valid business licenses and have set yourself up to be a legal entity. There are fees associated with business licensing business taxes.
What are the ongoing expenses for a religious retreat center business?
Ongoing expenses include the salary of all your staff, insurance for your business and building, as well as the cost to maintain the space. Depending on the food and activities you offer, there are going to be costs associated with those as well.
Who is the target market?
Believe it or not, everyone could be your target market. Everyone is looking for ways to relax. You can market to women, men, young adults, even children. You will need to market differently to each group, but you could consider anyone to be your target market. If you cater to a particular religion, you will find the most success targeting pre-existing organizations associated with that religion.
How does a religious retreat center business make money?
You will make money with your religious retreat center by charging people for the time they spend at your center. You will have a flat fee that may be per day or per session. Or, you could have a combination of the two payment strategies.
How much can you charge customers?
The price you charge your customers will vary based on what you are offering your customers. For example, if your retreat provides sleeping accommodations or food, the cost will be higher. There are retreat centers that charge as much as $4,000 for an 8-day retreat.
How much profit can a religious retreat center business make?
If you do a great job at creating a peaceful retreat experience, you can make a large profit. At the low end, you can expect about a 10% profit. For example, if you charge $1,000 for a weekend retreat and have five people, that is a total income of $5,000, and you can expect to take home a $500 profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
The best way to make your business more profitable is by offering special items your customers cannot find elsewhere. For example, you can offer additional activities at an extra cost, such as an adventure course or a guided tour through the woods. Additionally, you can brand yourself as more luxurious and offer special meals prepared by a chef at a higher cost. Also consider scouting out highly-desired speakers that can allow you to charge extra and bring in a larger audience.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your religious retreat center business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a religious retreat center business
You want to tap into the desire to be calm and present. Most people are looking for that in their lives, even if they do not realize it. Market to them by showing them that your retreat center allows them to get away from all the stress and grow mentally and spiritually. You can market it with flyers or use traditional ads online, on the television, or on the radio.
How to keep customers coming back
When you have your customers at your retreat center, you must show them how relaxing it is to disconnect from the world. If they leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on the world, they will come back to find that feeling again.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Religious Retreat Center Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
A religious retreat center is an ideal business for someone who has a calling and a deep desire to provide this type of space to others. This is a great business for someone who understands that modern society and culture have a deep impact on our lives. Finally, this is a great business for someone that has a great deal of respect for meditation and quiet reflection.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a religious retreat center business?
As the owner of a religious retreat center, you will spend a large portion of time managing the staff and planning itineraries. For example, you may prepare sleeping areas, cook, and teach classes. In addition, you will handle the administrative needs, including budgeting, marketing, and other needs of the business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful religious retreat center business?
It is helpful to have some experience participating in retreats and working in hospitality before taking on this business. You may want to have experience teaching mindfulness before you start a retreat center. Depending on the type of retreat center you want to run, you should have some understanding of religion and spirituality.
What is the growth potential for a religious retreat center business?
Many people want to get back to basics and reset themselves, which is causing retreats to boom in popularity. As a result, the growth potential is high. However, there is a chance that once this mainstream desire to relax and refresh dwindles, the growth could stagnate.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a religious retreat center business?
You are going to have to be creative to encourage people to come to your retreat center. You should test out your plans before you market your retreat to the public. Ask friends and family for advice in order to gain an understanding of what types of activities may interest people. You want to make sure you are offering a quality retreat. Do not try to skimp on areas, and you must be well prepared. Many people paying for a relaxing retreat will not tolerate something that feels disjointed.
How and when to build a team
If you start the retreat center in your home, you do not need a team. Even if you move the retreat to another location, you can keep it small enough that you do not need a large team. However, once you begin to expand, you will need to consider a team of coordinators and teachers.