Opening a martial arts studio can be a rewarding venture. But, it cannot be entered into without some forethought and planning. Read below to see five steps that you need to take before you open your own martial arts dojo.
1. Create a business plan
Any good business requires a business plan and owning a martial arts studio is no exception. According to Starting a Martial Arts School, there are two main reasons for having a solid business plan:
- It is virtually impossible to get financing for a martial arts studio without a solid business plan. So, having one is essential if you are going to seek money from an outside lender to get the business going.
- A business plan will also provide a clear blueprint for how the business is going to get started and be maintained. A business plan should span the opening of the business through the first five years of operation.
2. Find a facility/location
Finding the right location for a martial arts studio is a major factor in its success. Each type of location has its advantages and disadvantages, so anyone looking to open a martial arts facility needs to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine what is most important for their own situation. For example, high-traffic areas will attract more people, but they come with higher rents. But, lower-rent areas are not as easily accessible to students. Mr. Troy, a martial arts enthusiast and studio owner suggests on his blog that someone who is just starting out in the martial arts instruction business might be better off keeping rent costs low and spending the extra money in other areas of the business. Other factors to take into account when looking for a facility to house the martial arts studio are safety and size. It is also important to make sure the studio is located in a safe area, as it is difficult to attract new students to a dojo that is in a dangerous part of town. Mr. Troy also suggests finding a facility that is between 750-1500 square feet to have adequate room to set up a studio.
No martial arts studio can exist without students. The best way to gain a student body to a new dojo is to advertise. There are several ways to advertise, depending on the size of your budget and the intended audience. Before a new studio owner begins an advertising campaign, he needs to consider the following factors:
- Marketing channels/media
- Types of promotions that will be offered
- Public relations
- Special events
So much goes into the advertising process that it can be overwhelming. New studio owners who are not comfortable with the advertising process might want to consult with a marketing company or public relations firm for guidance. Although there is a cost connected with those services, the resulting new students will offset the money that is spent.
4. Know what to avoid
Part of having a successful business is knowing what not to do. Learning from other people’s mistakes saves new martial arts studio owners lots of time they do not have and frustration that they do not need. “10 Problems with Most Martial Arts Schools/Gyms” has identified the following pitfalls new studio owners should avoid when getting their businesses off their feet:
- Being “closed for business” – Starting a business requires time and effort. To truly grow a student body, be present at the facility, even when classes are not in session.
- Not having a lunchtime class – It is important to have a noontime class that caters to workers who are trying to get a lesson in during the workday. Although the class might not be heavily attended at first, eventually it will be filled.
- Not starting class on time – Be respectful of you students’ time. They will appreciate that you value them.
- Having a large ego – Even if you were the best student at the dojo where you learned, your students need an instructor, not an Alpha dog.
- Not caring about aesthetics – People make judgments on businesses based on their looks first. Make a good impression.
- Not having a website – In the 21st century, every business needs to have a web presence. It is a form of advertising for your business.
- Not having a marketing program – Continually marketing the studio will continually bring in new students.
- Not knowing what your students do for a living – Your students can potentially be perfect advertising for you. Know what they do for a living and use them as a connection to new students when and where it is appropriate.
- Not continuing your education – Even teachers need to be students. Letting your students know you are keeping up on new techniques will give them confidence they are receiving top-notch training and education.
5. Get insurance
Martial Arts can be dangerous, even for the most advanced and experienced participants. When someone is just learning the ins-and-outs of the intricate movements martial arts requires, it is incredibly easy for accidents to happen and for participants to get hurt. Anyone looking to open a martial arts studio or dojo needs to be protected with martial arts insurance.
- Martial arts insurance from Marine Agency will cover the studio owner in the event of accidental injuries. It the owner with a way to cover the costs that are associated with medical care that is necessary if an accident happens in the studio. Some treatments that are covered include x-rays, examinations, surgeries, dental work, and emergency care.
- Martial arts insurance also provides liability coverage that protects the business owner in the event of a lawsuit that arises as a result of property damage, injury, or death. A policy will generally cover the settlement costs as well as legal expenses, which will prevent financial devastation for the business owner.
Marine Agency can help you with your martial arts studio insurance needs. We offer comprehensive and customizable policies at reasonable prices.
Contact Marine Agency today to see how we can help you.