Robert (a new coaching client) recently emailed me to ask the following:
Q: “I want to open in a commercial setting but don’t have much funding. Where do I start?”
A: When you’re launching a business, your number one concern should be generating revenue so you can grow your business.
So, you start with your marketing. You need to become a marketing machine. When the economy tanked, I had just moved my second school from a small low-overhead location to a larger building, and tripled my overhead to get more space in a high-traffic center.
I grew that school from 40 to 120 students during the same time everyone else was blaming the economy for their failing schools. And, this was in a city of just 10,000 people that got hit very hard by the housing crash because there were a lot of FHA-financed homes in the area. And I did it by marketing my school using multiple methods.
How to Grow Your Dojo
It starts with a strong offer. Without a powerful offer, everything else will fail miserably.
Then, you need a website designed to capture leads – and not the crappy DIY sites you see schools use these days to save money. In fact, get “saving money” out of your head when it comes to your marketing. You have to spend money to attract business, there’s no two ways about it.
Then, you use multiple offline and online marketing methods to drive traffic to your website, knowing that a certain percentage of those people will fill out your lead capture form as they respond to your offer. Thousands of door hangers or direct mail pieces each month distributed within a 3-5 mile radius of your location. Pay-per-click advertising on Google and Facebook. Public speaking events in schools all over your area. 25-50 snipe signs within 3-5 miles of your location. 25 rack card locations within 3 miles of your school. Etc.
In short, you should be marketing your school using 10-12 methods that you repeat consistently each and every month. Your goal is to drive the numbers that are in the appendix of the new SDBP manual.
You can worry about curriculum, retention, uniforms, promotion exams, and all that other stuff later. But until you are getting 30 leads a month and consistently enrolling at least half of them, nothing else will matter and you’ll keep spinning your wheels endlessly.
So, get your marketing machine running first. Once you’re making money, everything else is a lot easier.