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The second step to going full time…

First off my apologies for no post last week…
Today I want to share with you the story of how I made the step from being part time instructor teaching out of the local community center, to having my own full time karate dojo. My hope is that it sheds a little light of what’s ahead of you if you’re thinking about opening your own karate school…
 
In 2004 when I was thinking about going full time I saw the EXACT location where I wanted to have my school. It was a grand location, on the corner of a main road with a huge curved glass walls. It was 2,500 square feet. It was awesome! I imagined my sign on the outside and the building packed full of students. This was my dream…
Suddenly my dream was shattered like tempered glass as soon as I found out the cost!
The rent was $3,600 per month. 
Yikes!

Right then I simply realized that I didn’t have the financial capacity to take on something like that, so I lowered my expectations for my first full time dojo.
I ended up taking something far less glamorous! Sure it was smaller (like 1180 square feet), sure the location wasn’t great (back street in the industrial part of town), sure parking was horrible (2 spaces only), but the rent was cheap! It was only about $700 per month.

Problem was I was only earning about $900 per month teaching karate part time, 4 days per week out of the local community center.
The solution?
*** Pay attetention – this is KEY  ***

I wrote a letter to my students and asked them if they’d like a full time place. I listed the benefits and explained that with better facilities, an expanded training schedule and a full time dojo that the tuition would have to go up also. So I proposed to raise the tuition 50% and asked them if they’d support it.

95% said YES!

So I signed the lease on the new place, and was up and running within 3 weeks. Since I no longer had to give up profits to the community center for rent, I was now better off. I had a full time school, a supporting student base, and financially I was making about the same as before.

At the time It was a very scary step…

There was a bunch I didn’t yet know, but somehow I bumbled and stumbled my way thanks to some common sense, a lot of help from friends and little bit of luck. At the time I didn’t know there was so much I didn’t know…

Things like:

  • I’d never signed a lease on a commercial building before…
  • Didn’t really know how to negotiate with the landlord
  • Was unsure what to look out for as far as a safe building structure
  • Didn’t know what should be included in the lease and what shouldn’t…
  • Didn’t have a business license…
  • Didn’t have a reseller’s permit…
  • Didn’t have a business bank account…
  • Didn’t have martial arts insurance…
  • Was unsure if the building I was about to rent was zoned correctly and if it was actually ok to teach martial arts from it…
  • Didn’t know that the City required that all new businesses must have a wheelchair accessible bathroom (which this building didn’t), and how to work around that…
  • Didn’t really know how to do the marketing…
  • Was unfamiliar with City rules and regulations on fire extinguishers, displaying of business licenses, how cleaning products must be stored, etc.
  • Didn’t know how to get or write a legal liability waiver, etc.

And that’s just for starters!

Each one of these, plus a hundred more are business/litigation pitfalls you can fall into and break a leg, or worse.

Fortunately for you, you won’t have to worry about this stuff because the pathway through the jungle has been paved for you to follow. I started documenting all this stuff plus more, ready to release it as a guide for anyone wanting to start their own full time school, only to be beaten to the punch by a friend of mine Mike Massie.

If you don’t know Mike, he’s the guy who wrote Small Dojo Big Profits that explains all this stuff in detail. It’s a complete A-Z guide of how to set up your successful full time school, how to avoid the traps and ensure good business practices that allow for growth and expansion.

When I read Small Dojo Big Profits I had mixed feelings. Firstly I wished I’d written it. Secondly I was relieved that someone else had done all the work, PLUS covered some things which I didn’t know either.

If you’re thinking about making the next step to going full time with your school, your next step is to get a copy of Small Dojo Big Profits and get educated. Then follow it and you’ll do great. It’s cheap insurance when you consider the mistakes you’ll probably make without it!

To learn more about SDBP click here

– Jason

P.S. Because I sorted through all those challenges listed above (plus a bunch more of them in Mike’s book), I was able to grow my student base which allowed us to move 18 months later to another dream location. This time the new place had plenty of parking in a nice part of town, 1800 square feet, good visibility… and I was able to negotiate a much better deal on the rent!

Get SDBP today and live your dream…


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