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#406055 - 08/31/08 03:27 AM My own Dojo?
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Some of you old-timers may still remember me. I've been gone due to many personal & professional commitments. That said, I'm now doing my research in preparation to opening my own dojo.

I'm currently working in a lower-economic area of town (Santa Ana, CA) that has only 1 dojo (no McDojo's either). The lack of MA schools, high density of the population, availability of locations, a need for after-school activities and a population that traditionally likes fighting arts (mostly Mexicans w/ a representation of Salvadorans) have given me the motivation.

OK, I don't speak Spanish, but the kids do and I have people available to translate all printed material into Spanish. I've also been told by friends who already run their own dojo that, as a rule of thumb, the people w/ the least money always pay on time while the richer students are the ones to be late on their tuition.

I'd also like to get a Judo or BJJ guy in to complement my Karate instruction (& help pay the rent). That's about it. I'm hoping that some of you that have several years of experience in operating a free-standing dojo (not connected to a rec. center, health club or franchise) might be able to throw some advice and precautions my way. (BTW, I've been teaching @ a community center for the past 18 yrs)

Thanks in advance.
_________________________
Ed Ichihara Smith - Shukokai

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#406056 - 08/31/08 05:00 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: hedkikr]
JasonM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 2502
I don't have anything to add but want to wish you the best of luck. I am sure it will be a great experience.
_________________________
90 percent of good abs is your nutrition

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#406057 - 08/31/08 01:43 PM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: JasonM]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Do you have a weapons class? I've been on the internet, and I get the impression that Okinawan kobudo is very popular in Mexico and South America as well.

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#406058 - 08/31/08 02:08 PM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: harlan]
TKD_X Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 786
Loc: HERE
Sounds like it will be a fun endeavor. I would take some time to try to learn spanish. it will be worth your while. Good luck!

-TKD_X
_________________________
Are you ok!?!? It was an accident! No really! I promise!

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#406059 - 08/31/08 02:21 PM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: TKD_X]
ironsifu Offline
Member

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 37
Loc: sacramento, CA
hello i would like to help. do you have any plan in writing about how you will do it?

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#406060 - 09/01/08 09:08 PM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: ironsifu]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
I'm learning how to write a business plan. At this time, I only have an outline that lists Demographics, Programs to be offered, Tuition, Marketing, Equipment needed, Equipment for sale, Contract/Release, etc.

I do know a little Spanish (can't live in So. Cal. w/o picking-up a little) and I have some Bo training (very rusty now).

I've read the articles posted by MattJ @ the beginning of this thread & there is some good info. I want to avoid the pit-fall of most MA/dojo owners: thinking like a MA-ist & not a salesman.

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#406061 - 09/02/08 06:27 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: hedkikr]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Hey Ed, I wish you the best. I wish I could give advice for running a dojo like that,but I don't have any experience in that area. Just want to wish you the best in going for it! I've heard you are a smart man and I know you know you're stuff. Just research the business side of things and you're all set!

Brian
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#406062 - 09/02/08 11:48 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: hedkikr]
JMWcorwin Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
Nothing wrong with thinking like a MAist. That's what the students need, even if they don't know it yet. You just have to bring someone in who has a business head to handle the business/marketing side of it. I noticed at our schol for years attendance and student #'s went up and down constantly, and very drastically. I finally realized it was when I would see another instructor hanging around more... business picked up. When he wasn't there, it slumped. This other bb was a mediocre teacher at best but he had the business head. He would come on and things just started looking up. Then my instructor would let him go when he was in the black. Without fail, a few months later our other instructor would be back in the office because we had no white belts coming in and intermediate belts dropping off.

The best way to do it is if you can find someone who's already studying under/with you that would be willing to do it on commission plus free training. They get X dollars per student signed up and no fee for their training. And you don't have to deal with taking on a business savvy partner who might be a good enough business man to help you right out of your profits.

Just my 2 cents
_________________________
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

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#406063 - 09/03/08 01:01 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: JMWcorwin]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
I agree. My asst. instr. is in the business business. We've talked & he's willing to offer whatever he can.

Thanks for the encouragement...does any one have any "don't do that's"?

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#406064 - 09/08/08 11:07 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: hedkikr]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
bump

I hope it goes well for you. Came across this on the internet. Free food and parties is always a draw. Or in this case, good times and mochi!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy68rIepcZE

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#406065 - 09/09/08 01:42 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: harlan]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Nice find...every couple of years, I join Demura Sensei for Mochitsuki. Every year he gives me some of his home-made mochi.

In fact, he's one of the sensei I've consulted because I'm planning to locate in east Santa Ana.

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#406066 - 10/16/08 07:01 PM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: hedkikr]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Ed:

How goes the business planning?

Jeff

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#406067 - 10/20/08 02:10 AM Re: My own Dojo? [Re: Ronin1966]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Funny thing...I decided to hold off a bit when this financial crisis hit. I want to see what the climate is before jumping in. Then the 1st instructor I spoke to (who said that he planned to close his current (temporary) place & open to the south...well he opened 2 buildings to the west of where I was set to lease.

As always, I have a back-up plan - 2 locations that seem promising. I'll keep you & the gang updated as things happen. If it happens, everyone's welcome for the Grand Opening!

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