So you have finally achieved instructor status after training hard for several years and want to start up your own club? That’s great but where do you start and how do you get new students through the door? Follow these tips and you will be on your way to having a very successful club:
Decide whether you are going to start your own hybrid form or teach a single traditional martial art? There are advantages and disadvantages to both routes. If you stick to teaching a traditional martial art you will be able to join a relevant association who will then help you advertise and you can take advantage of being linked to a recognized organization. A disadvantage of this would be that you will likely have to pay a share of your clubs income to the organization you are a member of. Going it alone means the opposite of course, you do not have to pay an association any money however you do not get the benefit of their advertising and reputation.
Find an appropriate venue for your club. Kind of obvious but make sure you check out the place where you are going to teach . Particularly pay attention to the quality of the floor and if there are changing rooms make sure they are kept clean and tidy. Where you choose to teach is a reflection on you so if you have do not have a good venue you will be putting potential students off. Do not worry about getting permanent promises just yet but be sure to book the venue of choice in advance so you can keep regular lesson times. When you are covering your costs and making a good profit from your lessons every month it is a good idea to look for more permanent concessions.
Advertise as much as possible and make sure you do it correctly. Too many martial arts instructors go on the ego trip in their flyers and go an about how many black belts and trophies they have earned. This is nothing to do with how well you are going to teach someone and generally people do not really care. Think about what potential students will want to get from their lessons with you for example you could say something like ‘learn incredibly effective techniques you can learn straight away to defend yourself and others’. Include the things your martial art promotions rather than what you have done with it. Get business cards and flyers out in your local community to get your name out there. Get your phone number in local phone directories. A website is a good idea too, if you do not want to get involved in creating one you can outsource this to a friend or there are websites where can go hire someone to do it for you.
Get insurance. This may not be applicable to all countries but many require public liability insurance to be taken out if you are running a club open to the general public. Even if it is not required by law then it is still a good idea just as a safety net protecting you and your students in the event of an injury.
Get used to dealing with people and asking for money. You need to be approachable, friendly but firm toward students and parents. If you are rude or aggressive towards people they will walk away and you will lose them forever. Make sure your fee is paid upfront as students arrive if they pay per lesson. A good way to keep students is to arrange for a billing company to take a months tuition by direct debt each month. This ensures that your students will turn up to avoid wasting money and even if they do not have have still had it. You will need to make your attendance policy clear to your students, eg students are not reimbursed if they miss a lesson without notice. Word of mouth is something that will make or break your new business so make sure you keep your students and their parents happy and fulfilled.