Thinking about opening a martial arts school? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Becoming a Martial Arts Instruction Entrepreneur
To the chagrin of many overly optimistic business owners, the skill sets required for the practice of martial arts and martial arts entrepreneurship are entirely different. Although both require a high level of focus and discipline, aspiring martial arts instruction entrepreneurs need to invest as much effort in honing their business skills as they do in acquiring martial arts instruction certification.
Successful martial arts instruction entrepreneurs take a scalable approach, often starting the business on a part-time business until class sizes and revenues justify the leap to a full-time career. During the startup phase of any business, entrepreneurs learn valuable lessons -- and a phased-in approach will allow you the luxury of a stable personal income while you learn from the mistakes that you will inevitably make as a first-time martial arts business owner.
Location Tips for Martial Arts Startups
The market for karate classes and other forms of martial arts instruction is comprised mainly of kids and teens. But here's the catch: selecting a leased business location for a business that caters to kids is different than selecting a leased location for a business that caters to adults.
In the martial arts instruction game, the vast majority of your students will live in a 3-5 mile radius of your location. Remember, your students will likely be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and parents are much more open to activities that are close by than ones that require them to shuttle their kids back and forth across town.
So market research is clearly a high priority for your startup. If possible, situate your martial arts dojo in a populated urban/suburban area that is chock full of schools and businesses that offer complementary, kid-based activities.
Cost Considerations for New Martial Arts Schools
Compared to other business startups, martial arts schools are extremely inexpensive businesses to launch. A small leased space equipped with a mat, mirrors and some basic equipment is all you will need to get started, especially if you are both the owner and the instructor.
Still, it's important to keep a close eye on costs. The temptation to leverage consumer financing as a means to install the latest high-tech gadgetry can be overwhelming. But the first tech purchase you should invest in is a basic accounting software solution. By carefully using your software to monitor income, expenses and cash flow, you can reduce costs and leverage profitability to achieve meaningful growth.
Core Characteristics of Martial Arts School Business Plans
Your martial arts school's business plan needs to be tailored to your personal and professional goals while at the same time maintaining a consistency with other business plans, particularly in the critical business plan components that most business experts consider to be essential.
If your plan lacks required elements like an executive summary or marketing plan, it could jeopardize its potential to deliver real benefits to your startup.
But in today's business environment, it's also important to discuss the external factors your martial arts school is facing. As a rule, we recommend including a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technological) analysis in your business plan as a way of addressing potential threats and opportunities at the macro level.
Don't Overlook the Competition
Before you open a martial arts school within your community, it's a good idea to determine what the competition looks like. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of martial arts schools that are close by.
Gain a knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.
Getting Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs
After you've evaluated your local competitors, it's essential that you speak with somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
But, a person who owns a martial arts school in a different city may be more than happy to give you a few tips, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
What's the process for finding a martial arts school manager in another community?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Advice for Acquiring a Martial Arts School
If you've made the decision to buy a martial arts school instead of pursuing a startup, you're on your way to a successful ownership experience.
But before you can seal the deal on a martial arts school purchase, you're going to need financing. If you're prepared to deal with lender requirements, you'll find that lenders are more open to financing established operations than they are to take a chance on a startup.
To increase your approval odds, we suggest you take a look at Gaebler's Business Acquisition Financing Tips.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
Your odds of growing your business greatly improve if you decide to franchise instead of doing it all on your own.
If you planning on starting a martial arts school, you may want to determine whether buying a franchise could alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you came here to learn about selling to martial arts schools, this isn't the right place for you. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.