Six Steps to Creating a Successful Martial Arts School

There are at least six things a martial arts business owner must do to maintain a successful school. This list was first created by our founder, Jim Mather, in an article for the September, 1997 issue of Black Belt magazine.
The list was accurate then and remains accurate today. Let’s take a look at it.
Tuition
In order to make sure your doors stay open you must charge tuition. However, if you charge too little you will not be able to cover your overhead. A fatal mistake of many new business owners is to charge too little for their services. They have an unrealistic fear that no one will buy from them if they charge too much. In fact, only 5% of consumers shop on price alone or even as price being the most important factor.
If you charge too much you may not be able to bring in enough students to cover your overhead either. This means you have to find the best price your market can bear. I recommend being on the high side rather than the low side. The public often views low price with low quality or low value.
Getting Students to Commit
Many studies have shown that when someone starts up a new program such as martial arts, a gym membership, or a weight loss program the first 3 months are critical to them being able to stick it out for the long haul. If you can not get your new students to commit to at least a 3 month program you have very little chance of them staying with you for any length of time.
Collecting What is Due
The third item on our list is collecting tuition. If you do not have a method and process in place for following up on delinquent accounts you will never be able to maintain a quality school. It can easily get around to your students that you do not collect old debts.A� If this happens more and more of your students will stop paying.
There are several companies in our industry that focus on student billing and collection. I recommend one of them vs. a general collection ageny. Many collection companies are very aggressive – to the point of being offensive – in their methods. You must find one that works for you but does not damage your reputation.
Bring in New Students
Forth is bringing in new students. This one is fairly obvious. All martial arts schools lose students from time to time. They move, grow up and take on high school interests, die, etc. But, if you lose 5 and only bring in 2 then you are going backwards. You must have a martial arts marketing system in place that continually feeds your school with new students.
Student Retention
There are many reasons students leave that a martial arts school. Some are unpreventable as listed above. But, there are many that are preventable – such as waning interest, burn out, boredom, etc. You should do everything you can to make sure these types of issues are addressed to retain your students for as long as possible.
Create New Services
The last item on our list is to find ways to create new services and new programs to not only offer better value to your students but to generate more revenue for your martial arts school.
By creating new programs such as after school classes, summer camps, elite programs (often called Black Belt clubs) and so forth you keep students interested and you are able to generate more income.
If you do these six steps diligently – focusing on each every month – your school will quickly grow and prosper. It may seem overwhelming to have to do all of these things all of the time. But, remember, you do not have to do it alone. In fact, NO fortune 500 company is a one man shop.
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