At last, you’ve done your research and found a small market that has an adequate population, limited competition and, undoubtedly, lots of people eager to train in the martial arts. Filled with optimism and fueled by excitement, you launch your dream dojo.
Unfortunately, it’s a small market, so it has few media opportunities for advertising. There are none of the traditional ways of creating awareness, promoting your programs and building your brand. But that’s okay. You believe that “if you build it, they will come,” because word of mouth in a small town spreads fast — right?
Well, yeah. Word will spread, but it won’t necessarily result in throngs of potential students lining up at your front door, eager to register and begin their path to enlightenment through the martial arts. So, what are the options?
As a starter, here are 10 activities that have been very successful for our small-market dojo in Marion, NC (population 7,885).
Columbia, SC’s Mike Genova runs a thriving school with some 400 students and another 200 in his after-school programs. A big part of his success was his early evolution from a competitive fighter’s mindset to that of a businessman. That continual self-growth led him to a role as a community figurehead, where Genova even extends help to other local martial arts school owners!
Mike Genova opened his Columbia, South Carolina martial arts school in 1975. He already had a reputation as a fierce, top-10-ranked fighter on the national tournament circuit and had trained regularly with the likes of Bruce Brutschy and Keith Vitali, who rose to prominence as America’s number-one-ranked semi-contact tournament champion.
At first, he primarily focused on teaching fighting techniques and winning trophies in competition but as he saw students start to drop out of the martial arts he took a different approach emphasizing not on fighting but on life skills.
Joshua Hong and Katarina Conrad are the diverse business partners who own and operate two thriving Eternal Martial Arts schools in the Houston area. Part of their success is based on how they changed the approach to kids and women’s programs. And their business has tripled since joining the Martial Arts Industry Association in 2014.
Joshua Hong started martial arts at just 4-years-old. He earned a black belt at the age of nine, by 16 he started teaching and by 19 was in charge of his own school.
“I had a partner at first,” Hong remembers, “but I bought him out and went totally on my own in 2009.”
His first school had 2,400 square feet, but he eventually expand it to 3,600. Then, he purchased his own land and built an 8,500-square-foot facility in Northwest Houston that also houses a separate child-care center. He named the school Eternal Martial Arts.
“It is pretty much its own operation,” he says, “with babies, toddlers, even food...
MMA has fought countless rounds since it was derisively called “human cockfighting” many years ago. It’s now a recognized pro sport with schools teaching it springing up all over the country. However, while some are tapping out of business soon after opening, Orlando’s Jungle MMA and Fitness boasts 400 active students and is on a steady path to being the Ultimate Financial Champion!
This is a tale about myths. Now, believing in myths can anchor one into inaction through fear or, for those souls brave enough to discount them, it can springboard you to future success. One of the most widespread myths currently sweeping through the martial arts industry is this:
“You can’t make any money running an MMA school! It’s not a recognized traditional martial art that is kid friendly.”
It’s true that many MMA schools in the past, even some founded by major UFC champions, went out of business. That’s because most of them didn’t...
Children under 13 represent the majority in our field and offer a greater revenue opportunity than adult students. But closing a sale with this group can be challenging. Children don’t make purchases, parents do. This article is based on a recent cutting-edge study on parent-purchase motivation. The author provides insight to attract more students and close more sales.
When making a sale we are faced with many challenges, including a perceived value, ability to use services and convenience. We must also know our customer. In the martial arts industry, children 13 and under represent the largest and most profitable market. These children represent more than 60% of the martial arts student base. However, children don’t make purchases. Their parents do. This article is based off the 10 reasons parents buy (called purchase motivations) identified in a recent study.
#1 Physical Fitness
Physical fitness has always been a core benefit of martial arts. In the study, parents...
The MAIA Launch program was built, in part to dispel the myth that getting more bodies through the front door is an automatic marker of success. The program focuses on the reality that making adjustments to the way a martial arts school is running can completely change the trajectory of that school.
The layout of the program is simple: weekly conference calls, each tackling a different problem facing school owners across the nation and around the world. Then a Facebook based accountability group, moderated by mentors Mike Metzger and Shane Tassoul.
School owners share the ways the program put them and their schools on a new positive trajectory.
Ted Guerrero, Red Dragon Shou Shu, Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA:
Before joining the MAIA Launch program, Ted Guerrero says he was running a martial arts school as a hobby and pretending it was a business. He knew he needed more time on the mat but his school wasn’t making enough money for him to quit his full-time job.
This style of parenting has been called overprotective, over-controlling and over-perfecting. Even though today’s parents have good intentions, they often parent from a place of fear, anxiety, guilt and peer pressure. As a martial arts professional, you must be prepared to meet these parents head on so you can relate to them and retain your students.
Helicopters, lawnmowers and bulldozers are all terms to describe this generation’s overprotective parenting styling. While it may seem easier to avoid the issue, but you must learn to deal with these parents as it seems they are not going anywhere.
Today it’s not just the student who participates in a sport, it’s the entire family. Parents are overly involved and have questions, complaints and opinions. Social media and google only make the problem worse.
To maintain control of parents in your classes and effectively communicate you must have a strategy to reduce negative interactions.
Detroit based Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, or “Rabbi G,” is a black belt on a mission. His program is helping thousands of children around the world fight cancer, one kick at a time.
For Kids Kicking Cancer founder, Rabbi G, the mission is personal.
“My daughter, Sara, was diagnosed with leukemia a week before her first birthday,” explains Rabbi G. “She had such a positive spirit. Even after very painful treatments, she would give the doctors a kiss and thank them.”
Sara put up a brave fight but lost her battle at the age of two and for Rabbi G became the inspiration behind Kids Kicking Cancer.
For years, Rabbi G trained in choi kwang do under Grandmaster Choi. In his 13-year journey in martial arts he also studied penchak silat.
“Martial arts gives an individual the opportunity to reach one’s inner sense of purpose,” he says. “It became apparent to me that the martial arts can become a spiritual and powerful life...
Fill in your information below and we'll send you new blog content when it's released.