The growing popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) thanks to its place in mainstream media has made Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) the third most popular sport in the world right behind soccer and basketball. The Covid-19 pandemic has done little to dampen the spirit of this sports’ enthusiasts, however, it has made it difficult for students to receive the in- person practice and coaching the way they were once accustomed to.
Does this mean the future of MMA gyms and training centres is bleak? Hardly. We are lucky to live in a time where technology is so advanced that in person, face to face interactions are no longer necessary whether for work meetings, school lessons and even workout sessions. MMA gym owners need to find innovative solutions and gym management software to navigate through this Coronavirus storm so your business doesn't just make it out the other side of lockdown, but comes out stronger and bigger than before. We have a few tips on how you can achieve just that and more.
Run coaching and practice sessions online via live stream like you would do normally at the gym. Clubworx can help you manage these sessions through our platform - including making bookings and taking payments online. Our most recent blog post talks about this in detail with options for different streaming platforms including Facebook live and Zoom. Read more about using live streaming for online fitness classes.
You may have fewer staff now but there’s no need for concern. Even with just two or three staff you can run successful online sessions simultaneously. All you need to do is divide your students into categories based on their levels i.e beginner, intermediate and expert. Allocate one staff to each category and there you have it. The advantage of online classes is that your student capacity is no longer limited by the space in your studio. Where you might have had 10 students per session at your gym before, you can now have 20. Another suggestion you may want to consider is using your social media platforms to pair up students that live within close proximity to each other and can possibly train together (depending on your country’s social distancing rules).
Governments around the world are fighting to keep businesses afloat in their efforts to safeguard the economy. As a business owner you must stay updated with the news and various schemes and financial support packages that your government is offering. Also, check in with your electricity provider and landlord about reduced rents and rate cuts that you may be eligible for during this period.
Typically, a martial arts school is more likely to have a majority of beginner or white belt students and that’s where most of your income comes from. So it might be worth reducing the monthly cost of training as a student progresses higher. This will help you retain your advanced students and give others an incentive to continue training with you. Needless to say, your monthly cost cannot remain as high as they were before lockdown.
You need to revisit your accounts and come up with a figure that not only covers your costs right now but will also seem like a great deal to your students compared to what they were used to paying. This rate depends on the size of your business and also current market rates for similar businesses. Consider the option of charging per session for beginner level students so new students don’t feel obligated to make a long term commitment.
Set your business up to be Covid-safe as restrictions ease by taking advantage of cashless payment technology. This helps reduce physical contact and the use of cash. Clubworx can help you with integrating your bookings and payments within our platform. With ‘Book and Pay’ your MMA gym members can easily book and pay for sessions online - whether those sessions are virtual or in-person. Using integrated, online payments means that not only are you helping your members maintain social distance, but you’ll save administration time and improve your cash flow as your manual processes become automated.
Social media is your best friend at a time like this. It helps your students stay connected with trainers and each other and also has the potential to attract new students AND IT'S FREE. Ask your students to share personal photos and videos of their training sessions at home and tag your business account in their posts. Run a competition for free sessions or merchandise asking people to click like/share/comment on a post from your profile so that your business social media account is seen by more people. You might even consider creating compelling paid trial lesson packs and sell these online at slightly discounted rates to attract potential clients. Speak to Clubworx now about how we can help your MMA gym do this.
Remember if you are online now, your scope for new members is no longer limited by geography, aim for a wider audience and reach to maximise your earning potential.
The future may be uncertain, but where you want to be in 6 months is not. You want to be a thriving healthy MMA gym. Given this, it is critical that you take the opportunities that we do have as above and act quickly. Once the lockdown ends (hopefully sooner than later), we guarantee your business will be back bigger, stronger and ready to fight.