Showing posts in category: Martial Arts Business

Martial Arts Business Toolkit

After years of writing on topics concerning the business side of martial arts. I decided to compile everything that I’ve learned into a easy to read guide. The Martial Arts Business Toolkit.

I know many athletes all over the world pursuing Jiu Jitsu as their career.

But even if you’ve made a name for yourself, and established yourself as a skilled competitor and instructor. It’s still hard.

As Jiu Jitsu continues to grow, more and more people are going to look to make a career out of it.

It’s only natural. In the America we’re always told that you should follow your dreams and do what you love.

But what are the options for someone looking to make a career out of Jiu Jitsu?

The most obvious, and the one that I hear everyone say is that you should open up an academy.

>Get a black belt. Open an academy.

>Win a world championship. Open an academy.

>No other skills. Open up an academy.

I expect most high level Jiu Jitsu competitors too have this thought cross their mind at some point. But running an academy is a business, and just like you have to prepare your techniques before entering a tournament. You also have to prepare yourself to run a business.

Starting an academy takes preparation, patience and resources.

And if you foolishly rush into this it can be an expensive lesson.

If you are dead set on having an academy one day in the future then you should be learning about the business aspects of running an academy as soon as possible.

Easy test: If you had to work the front desk at your academy for one hour would you be able to handle everything without a hitch?

You would be surprised that many academy owners and instructors are completely lost when it comes to handling basic business operations. Let alone doing basic accounting, marketing, and sales. Things that make businesses successful.

All the Jiu Jitsu technique in the world won’t help you when it comes running your business.

In my Martial Arts Business Toolkit we will cover:

  • How to fund your academy
  • Marketing your programs
  • Different systems that I use
  • Common mistakes to avoid

Losing Members

This isn’t a topic that I’ve heard spoken about often in the martial arts, especially in Jiu Jitsu.

When you first start an academy. It’s often a small, tight knit group of loyal members that decided to believe in you and your vision.

And if you’re lucky, your program and your academy will begin to grow as you become more successful.

Gaining new members is great and is a sign of a great business.

But what about losing students?

No matter how good your retention is or how awesome your customer service is people will both flow into and out of your academy.

As an instructor, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself in the past to do everything in my power to keep students pumped and excited to train. Which every instructor should strive towards.

But we can’t control everything that happens in the lives of our students.

Some students move.

Some students have families to support and to think of.

Some students don’t like how long it takes to get promoted.

Some students don’t want to train past a certain level.

I’ve written a lot about why many students stop training at blue belt. Which you can check out here.

In reality, it happens at all levels. I’ve seen people quit at white belt all the way to black belt.

Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes your teaching style or personality doesn’t mesh well with the student.

You can’t possibly please every student and that’s okay.

That’s what I want you to take from this post.

It’s okay if your program isn’t right for everyone.

As an instructor, we never know what role we’ll play in the lives of our students.

Sometimes we are a mentor to students needing guidance.

Or a father figure to students with no strong (male) role models.

I’ve been a strict taskmaster for students needing a kick in the pants.

I’ve also been a sound board to students needing someone to listen to their problems or business ideas.

When you become an instructor you will have to fulfill many roles. Some less desirable than others.

Just try your best and give your best everyday.

There’s no secret to keeping students. Create bonds with them and keep providing the best possible service to them.

If they leave it’s okay.

Maybe it was their time to leave and start on some other journey.

The power of the introductory lesson

An introductory lesson, or intro private for short is probably the greatest marketing tool at the disposal of every martial arts academy. Small or large.

Back in the old days, there was this shark tank mentality of putting all of the students together. Both beginner and advance. And letting them duke it out. Where only the toughest and most dedicated would survive and become members.

This weeding out process is probably why most Jiu Jitsu academies didn’t make it. They were ran by Bjj fighters geared towards developing other Bjj fighters. But your average guy off the street doesn’t want to be a fighter, a competitor, or train really hard.

Of course, there will always be a few that want the challenge.

But the majority of students starting out just want a fun and safe activity that will help them lose weight and stay off the couch.

This fact is hard for many instructors to understand. Especially those that are younger and compete frequently.

Any academy that wants to be commercially successful will need to put energy towards this demographic. People with probably no martial arts training or any active hobbies and looking for something different than the run of the mill gym experience or boring cardio.

People starting today often have no coordination or basic motor skills, and are probably overweight and out of shape.

The longer I teach the greater the amount of time that I spend working on fundamental human movements like: posture, squat, and balance.

This is where the intro private lesson shines.

Instead of having a fresh student jump right into a class with people more experienced on day one. We can use the intro lesson to introduce these basic, fundamental movements in a low pressure environment.

Have you ever tried to teach a new student how to shrimp while doing drills in a group class?

It’s not pretty.

The more experienced students often feel slowed down and the newer student(s) feel rushed and they almost never have enough time or instruction to get the technique down.

From a technical standpoint the intro lesson is a great way to introduce the movements and techniques that you deem essential to a student starting out in your academy.

Be it how to fall properly or spider guard. You can use this one on one time not only to put a greater focus on technique but to also introduce the new student to the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The philosophy behind our art form and why we choose to spend so much time on the ground.

This is especially important to a beginner. Knowing why we focus so much time and effort on the ground is one question that you will always have to address.

Especially for younger students and female students.

Increased conversions

Students who spend one on one time with an instructor are more likely to stick with the training.

It’s as simple as that.

Taking the time out of your busy teaching schedule to spend time with a new prospective student is often the difference between having a new member sign up versus leaving to try out another academy.

As much importance as we place on techniques and competition. We often forget the power behind getting to know our students and becoming a part of their life.

Of course, there is no guarantee that a student will sign once you do the introductory lesson. But it will allow you the opportunity to connect on a much deeper level.

Larger academies can have more senior students hold the intro lesson while smaller academies might need the instructor to step in.

Whatever the case, the intro lesson can definitely take your academy to the next level.