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Old 05-09-2005, 07:09 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Starting Up a Dojo

Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi folks,

Not that I'm in any place (ability nor ambition!) to do this, but I wanted to solicit information from those who have started up their own dojo (or helped out in setting one up) to see what sort of issues and solutions you ran up against in doing so.

What were some of the hurdles you had to clear in order to set up your dojo? How did you resolve those issues?

If you had advice to those who wished to start up a dojo, what would they be?

If you could do things differently, what would you have done?

Any other stories, anecdotes, or experiences that you had in starting up a dojo would be greatly appreciated!

I may collect your responses and put them into the AikiWiki. Please let me know if you don't want your information to be placed there...


-- Jun
Well, for starters...
  • Start with no fewer than 10 established students half of which have a brown belt or higher
  • Start with the first two years worth of expenses in the bag and prepare to loose all of it
  • Start researching your location (make sure there is plenty of disposable income in the neighborhood) as less afluent communities tend to focus on less disposable activities.
  • Start with a budget including a complete marketing plan in hand... now double it!
  • Start with completed brochures, business cards, and signage - including all of the copy and artwork. Go back and copyright everything before someone steals it!.
  • Start with your waivers and martial arts insurance all ready to go then go out and get a commercial lease and tear it all apart and draw it up in your favor instead of the crummy, full-of-lies-I-mean-promises landlord's... [b]now go back and talk to both a lawyer and an accountant and have them check that you did it all correctly.
  • Start designing a professional website now and use that information in your other materials and get some help from the students
  • Start by planning how your dojo will sign up the local kids over that Tae Kwon Do school down the block
  • Start by planning on having at least as many kids classes as you have adult classes, at least for the first two years
  • Start planning for all of the contingencies you think "...won't happen to me..."
  • Start by being not-for-profit get some lawyers and accountants and friends on the board of directors so that it all isn't taken away from you while you "F" it all up the first few years
  • Start with the understanding that it takes 10 years on average to build a successful dojo and at least 2-5 years to make any kind of reasonable return on your investment
  • Start by finding a silent business partner who wants to invest his money and wants to let you do things your way from the get go.
  • Start by owning your own or building your own builiding then you may forget about all (or at least most) of the things I listed above...


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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