So, you’re a black belt and want to open your own school. When I was about 18-19 years old I always thought that having my own dojo would be pretty cool. I had already been involved in martial arts for about 10 years and I loved it, there was no doubt that martial arts would always be part of my life. I was content at the school I belonged to so for me it wasn’t about how I could do it better than they were, I knew that I would be moving to a new city and that the opportunity could arise to do my own thing.
A couple of years past and sure enough I did move away and found myself clear across the country and with no jiu-jitsu school in the area. Without getting into a long history lesson, at the age of about 24 I did open a school. Now I had lots of experience teaching classes but I had little experience running a business. Well actually I had NO experience running a business. The school was never financially viable and eventually it was closed. I did however keep teaching in a part time basis for the next 15 years. Last year I re-opened my school somewhat full time and plan on taking it to the next level this year. So why am I writing this?
I have been doing a lot of reading about owning a small business and have discovered that most people who open their own business are really “technicians” who were tired of working for someone else or people who have a skill at doing something and want to give it a go. Just like me and jiu-jitsu. The problem is that all small business should be made up of 3 people, the entrepreneur, the manager and the technician. It is very difficult to be all 3, especially when you have another full time job.
So I am going to take this year to educate myself on small business and how I should be looking at the future of my school. After 20 years I wish I would have starting learning a long time ago.
What prompted you to start your own dojo?