Add KarateForums.com
Username:    Password:
Remember Me?    
   I Lost My Password!
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Instructor Central
 See a User Guidelines violation? Press on the post.
Author Message

333kenshin
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 09 Jan 2020
Posts: 6


PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:41 am    Post subject: opening a dojo - buying a struggling traditional school Reply with quote

Hi,
I'm a black belt karate instructor looking to opening a studio of my own to teach full time. I live in a large city that is already pretty densely packed with martial arts schools, so competition is a big concern.

At the same time, I believe many traditional martial arts schools are struggling financially and in a slow-motion death spiral as the popularity of MMA rises and as modern tech, social media, and culture makes "traditional" studios hard to relate to, especially if run by a 1st-generation Korean or Japanese master with weak English.

As such, I would like to identify and approach such struggling businesses to buy or partner with. As a younger, US-born instructor with real-world experience beyond martial arts (I'm a software engineer and have lived abroad twice) I think I can articulate the case for traditional martial arts to younger students and their parents, rejuvenating some of these struggling older studios.

The challenges:
- how to identify such struggling schools
- how to approach them respectfully

Any suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks!
-Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14948
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF, 333kenshin; glad that you're here!!

With what you've described, you've a challenge before you. However, not an impossible challenge across the board. Competition is healthy and necessary because it's a business barometer...and imho, any school of the MAist IS a business, and much be treated accordingly as such.

May I please ask you your knowledge and experience in the MA you train in and teach??

How long have you been teaching and at what role, CI or instructor??

For student to darken your door, prospective student have to WANT to come to your door. The more irresistible said school of the MA is, the better. That WANT becomes a NEED for the prospective student to darken your door. Finding THAT formula requires a lot of trials and errors, albeit, that formula of success is there. It has to be there unconditionally.

Even, and especially, if you're wanting to purchase an existing school of the MA, that will be almost impossible, but doable. Biggest obstacle will be you!! Loyalty of existing Student Body is a difficult mountain to climb. They don't know you, and trust comes very little, if at all. The Student Body will immediately want to know you intention, as well as your mission. Let's not forget that the Student Body will want to know just what do you bring that will help THEIR MA journey.

If you're concerned with what the Student Body thinks, then what a owner/CI might think will boggle your mind to the Nth degree.

What's easier: Opening your own school of the MA OR purchasing/partnering an already existing school of the MA??

Opening your own school of the MA is by far the easiest. UNLESS, you've already been approached by an already existing school of the MA to purchase/partner. But the latter of the two will still vex the existing Student Body one way or another; trust isn't always simple.

Not all black belts can teach, nor should they try!!

Quote:
The challenges:
- how to identify such struggling schools
- how to approach them respectfully

Let me address the first one...listed will a nutshell list...

1> Visit the school of interest quite often, and to each and every class. Just like you would when you wanted to join. Not once, but many, many times, but instead of classes that you, as the prospective student, wanted to attend, you watch each and every class that's offered for at least 2 weeks.
2> Make a note of how many students attend each and every class. Then, record the total amount students in the Student Body.
3> How much is the tuition, and are there more than one tuition level??
4> Does that school have an established Goodwill??
5> How long has said school been in business??
6> Does the most current P&L Statement show viability??
7> What changes do you already see that must be implemented immediately??
8> Speak to their students and visitors...Poll the community.
9> Etc.

Said school has to demonstrate that it's struggling; is it close to, or has it filed bankruptcy already. If the Student Body is small, and I mean small, that's a red flag. If the schools infrastructure can't be supported, then that school is slowly dying financially.

In business, communications is everything.

Now, let's address the second one...it too, in a general list...

1) How do you approach said school?? Be professional; have manners!! Request a meeting with the CI/Owner(s)!!
2) Speak with the CI/Owner(s) immediately about your intention(s). That will go far across the board. No one likes surprises. No one likes anyone sneaking around their school. No one like to be blindsided. No likes to be conned.
3) Present what you bring to them. However, you better be able to bring it; say what you mean, and mean what you say.
4) Does your reputation proceed you favorably??
5) Etc.

If you don't treat your school of MA like a business, then you'll never have a business...it'll be more like a hobby, and hobbies don't make any money...or much.

You've a task before you, much more with the latter than the former.

I wish you the best, in whichever way you decide to proceed with.




_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

333kenshin
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 09 Jan 2020
Posts: 6


PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whew, fantastic feedback sensei8, thanks!

Addressing your questions about my background...

MA experience: I'm a 2nd dan black belt in my primary studio which teaches karate meshed with TKD. I've also trained in Aikido, Capoeira, Wing Chun, Northern Shaolin, and just started BJJ, but none to the level of black belt or equivalent.

teaching experience: I've taught 4 non-consecutive years, alternating with other black belts between taking roles of lead and assistant instructor. The master of our studio is chief instructor and sets the curriculum, standards, and assesses readiness for promotion.

Over the past year I've received positive feedback from my master, other black belts, and several parents on the quality of my teaching, which has encouraged me to consider opening a studio of my own

Why buy a business rather than build from scratch: I've been advised that starting from scratch is the typical path and generally fewer ways for things to go wrong. Also many folks have pointed out that if I'm trying to pay my way out of doing hard work or having good teaching skills, I'm probably gonna fail.

All the points raised are valid, and in fact I have a unique reason for wanting to buy rather than start from scratch, distinct from any of the failure modes above.

Namely, I'm developing a way of teaching academic topics - science, history, linguistics, pedagogy - *through* martial arts classes. The tricky thing is, this secondary curriculum can only be taught to fairly advanced students, whose age, maturity, and skills are sufficient that they can handle the novelty of this secondary curriculum. Whereas beginners are too busy getting a handle on the fundamentals of punching, kicking, blocking, to handle the distraction.

Hence the preference to buy a studio, whose advanced students will be able to start picking up the new curriculum right away, rather than start my own studio full of white belts who I won't be able to work on this new material with for years yet.

Hope that clarifies!
-Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14948
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent reply, 333kenshin.

Of course, anything I've posted on this topic imho.

Appears that you've the prerequisite beginnings to do that which it is that you're attempting to do. Again, your path will not be that overly simple; many roadblocks on your chosen path.

One that might not weather the possible oncoming storm is your style VS said acquired schools style. The current Student Body might not want to change their established MA journey for the transition that might be required of them.

In the acquired school, that Student Body might not want to put all that they've achieved through many years of training, especially those of that Student Body who've been on the floor for some time for a new direction, new management, new CI, new owner, new style...new everything, including a white belt. Which of course shouldn't ever be a concern for those who are on the floor for all of the right reasons, and not for rank. After all, if those of the new Student Body aren't ranked in your style, then guess what, they will be white belts, and they should have zero problem with that, if they're of integrity.

However, once they test to see that what you can offer is good for their MA journey, and they will test you until they're satisfied, of which, you'll welcome with a open mind with them testing to see that what you bring to the table is good.

While you might have no problems whatsoever in securing negotiations in acquiring said school of the MA; with every 't' crossed, and every 'i' dotted, and signatures signed and keys to the front door, earning their trust, winning them over, might be another thing.

That will seriously depend on you, and what you've to offer the new Student Body. They have to learn all over again in everything about everything day by day. I'd hold a open forum with that Student Body day one so that all parties concerned can introduce themselves to one another; will they feel that since of value or will they feel they've no voice. You have to prove yourself to them, and not vice versa, at least not during the transition time; they're already a family, and you'll be an unknown, well, guest with the school's keys.

Please don't misunderstand me, from what you've posted, I do believe that you will be able to weather any storm across the board.

So much will depend on you!!




_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28178
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, welcome to KF! I find this to be a very interesting topic. I do have a question about the following:

333kenshin wrote:
Namely, I'm developing a way of teaching academic topics - science, history, linguistics, pedagogy - *through* martial arts classes. The tricky thing is, this secondary curriculum can only be taught to fairly advanced students, whose age, maturity, and skills are sufficient that they can handle the novelty of this secondary curriculum. Whereas beginners are too busy getting a handle on the fundamentals of punching, kicking, blocking, to handle the distraction.

Hence the preference to buy a studio, whose advanced students will be able to start picking up the new curriculum right away, rather than start my own studio full of white belts who I won't be able to work on this new material with for years yet.

Hope that clarifies!
-Dave


How do you plan to approach this idea? Do you plan to be spending class time to cover some of these "academic" topics, or adding time that students would have to put in for these subjects? I think most students are looking for the training, and are willing to study up on other aspects of the Arts on their own time. I'm curious as to how much time would go to this extra curriculum, and how it affects the rest of the student's training time.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Instructor Central All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Page 1 of 1
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


< Advertising - Contact - Disclosure Policy - Staff - User Guidelines >