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Old 09-02-2010, 10:50 AM   #6
cconstantine
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Dojo: Kinokawa Aikido
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 49
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Re: Dojo survival in tough economic times

I second the previous idea of making sure your web site, etc are as good as you can make them. For example, ask a non-aikido person (a spouse, parent, co-worker) to find your school, and then sit back and see how they do. Anything that costs you little or nothing... do that to it's fullest. Do you have flyers available outside your dojo for when you're not open? A phone with an answering machine that is checked often? A big sign in the window (or whatever) so random people see you?

I think it's critical that you be aware of the impression that your dojo/school/club presents to the students it already has. Having some small, but visible, projects happen will remind people that the dojo is alive and well despite the attendance problems. (eg, deep cleaning some area inside, some gardening or even just a new plant inside, fixing window shades, a new light, etc) You can organize a "work day" where everyone (not just paying students, but spouses and friends) is encouraged to come spend a few hours hanging out and pitching in. (eg, some student's spouse might love to plant some flowers.) Just the social interaction alone helps those people who are part of the dojo feel great about the dojo.

Finally, when money is still short, your core group should consider making personal contributions beyond your normal dues. You can collectively make up the monetary shortfall so the dojo continues to exist; it is after all a place you value.
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