Learning a martial art takes willpower, discipline, and persistence. Guess what! Those are the exact things you need to succeed in a business too. So running a dojo should be a cakewalk for an accomplished martial artist, right? Sadly, success as a martial artist does not always translate into success as a dojo owner. The truth is, to succeed in running a dojo, you must not only know what you should do but also what you should not do.
Richard Bach, the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull says, 'nothing happens by chance. There is no such thing as luck. Every little thing that happens has a meaning. You may not see it right now but before long, you will.'This blog post epic will give you some ideas on how to identify customers, set goals, design offerings, go about martial arts marketing and many other things that you need to succeed in running a dojo. It is a gold mine of information from my personal experience and from that of other successful dojo business owners whom I have worked with over the years.
To be sure, running a martial art school or dojo is not cheap. You will have many expenses and then there other financial risks. For a small business, these risks can be considerable. But there is also the privilege of being your own boss. The risks, you can minimize with careful planning. Some of the ideas contained in this article will seem obvious, but it is surprising the number of businesses who overlook these simple steps when planning their business. So let's dive into it and review the elements of a successful martial arts school.
Martial arts is second only to golf, in terms of the number of new participants over the last decade. The average fees paid by each student can total over $600 per year. Considering that the capacity of a typical dojo is 200-300 students, you can potentially earn revenues of $120,000 - $180,000 each year for your dojo from recurring memberships alone. In addition, one-on-one martial training is also becoming popular. Serious students are prepared to pay upwards of $40 per hour for this type of personalized training. It is a great way to augment your earnings and grow the revenue of your dojo. To achieve what you want from your business however, you need a vision of what it is your want to achieve. This starts with goal setting.Goal setting is the process of thinking about an ideal future and then taking steps to make this future a reality. Goal setting is like a compass that points you in the direction of where you want to go in life. Without a goal, we are like a ship without a rudder adrift in the sea. You might get somewhere but not where you want to or wanted to go. Goal setting is actually very simple. Here is the process.
Goal setting is fundamental to your business and where you want to take it. So set some goals and watch the magic happen.
The ideal customer is at the heart of any marketing strategy. Once you identify who needs or may be interested in your services, designing your marketing material, structuring your offerings, and developing your pricing plans becomes intuitive and easy.Get Specific When you start off, you're a small business, and the general tendency is to reach out to as large a target audience as you can. Resist the temptation to market to everyone. Your ideal customer is not every individual and family in your community or city. You want to get specific about your market segment; here's why:
Create demographic profiles Break your ideal customer down by demographics. Below is a list you might consider in your demographic breakdown. Not all will be relevant depending on how you are pitching your services:
Create psychographic profiles Psychographics is the study of values, personality, interests, attitudes, lifestyles and opinions. Psychographic information helps you understand why someone may want to take up martial arts classes.As a start-up, you will have little or no customer interaction. So getting psychographic information can be challenging. But not impossible. Here are three strategies to try:
Build the ideal customer persona
The demographic and psychographic information you've collected should help you create an ideal customer sketch.
Example: The ideal customer at Ganghan Martial Arts is a teenager aged between 13-18 years, and interested in learning karate for self-defense. She/He resides in the city, has supportive high-income earning parents (annual income of over $50,000) who will drive him/her to the dojo, and take an active interest in his/her progress. Additionally, the ideal student will have a family member (siblings or parents) who are interested in lessons, and likely to take up the discount offers and complementary sessions on our 'Family Package Plans'.
As your business grows, you will find yourself refining your ideal customer persona to keep pace with evolving demands and a changing industry landscape.
Once you have a clear idea about your ideal customer, you can start designing the service packages/plans, pricing, classes, and timings. What you would have already decided is the type or types of martial arts you will be providing. Now, it is a matter of structuring your offerings to the situations and needs of your ideal customer.
Service packages/Plans: Say your target customers consist of adults who're interested in understanding and learning one discipline and don't have too much time for regular training, as well as those who're committed to training in multiple disciplines and can invest a lot of time towards this pursuit. Then, your service plans can look something like this:
Package 1: Pick one discipline to train in: Aikido, Judo or Krav MagaSelect any two training days per weekDuration: 6 weeksTrain at your own pace. You have the option to start with your own fitness clothes and get a uniform later.
Package 2: Train anytime in each of the three disciplines: Aikido, Judo and Krav MangaAttend all the available classes for the disciplinesDuration: 6 weeksGet one free uniform
Timings: Class timings must be compatible with your ideal customer's lifestyle. If your ideal customer is a school student, you naturally need to schedule training keeping school timings and bed timings in mind.
For working adults, the class schedule can look something like this:
Monday: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Tuesday: 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Wednesday: 7.30 - 9:00 pm
Thursday: 8:30 - 9.45 pm
Saturday: 12:00 - 1.30 pm
Pricing: Training costs will depend on the age and status of the ideal customer. If your ideal customers stretch across a broad age category, you can consider giving children, seniors and students a discount. You can also price the classes based on the number of classes people sign up for.
The pricing plans for adults and students & seniors may look something like this:
Adults Package Cost
Pay-as-you-go$20 per class
10 class package $18
25 class package $34
50 class package $600
Seniors and Students Package Cost
Pay-as-you-go $18 per class
10 class package $16
25 class package $30
50 class package $400
Classes: How you design your classes will be closely linked to the age, requirements, attitudes and interests of your ideal customer.
For instance, if you're catering to kids or young teens, you can include mat chats where you teach the philosophy behind the martial art, tell a story or anecdote about a famous person related to the martial art, and teach such qualities as humility and respect. You can also incorporate a fun drill at the end of the class so the kids can have some fun, relax and more effectively retain what they learned.We will be posting the second part of this blog next week. If you haven't already, remember to subscribe to our newsletter so that you can get these updates.
Clubworx provides software to Martial Arts school owners that help them grow their schools. Our martial arts software helps you manage prospects, members, attendance and payments in a simple to use interface. Contact us today to find out more. Book Me Into A Getting Started Training Session!