Re: So how is your dojo doing?
We're fortunate to be doing reasonably well right now. Two things that I think have helped:
We charge new students roughly 2.5 x the monthly fee to join up. That fee includes their first month, a gi, some one-on-one sempai time after class, and their first seminar. So it's not really much more than getting all those things a la carte, but it means anybody who signs up has already made a bit of a commitment. I can't tell that we have any fewer people signing up, and i think the people we do get stick better.
We're working very hard to treat new students well. Anybody can try out a lesson for free. Anybody who brings in a new student (and takes care of them) gets a free month when they sign and another if they stay three months. Taking care of them just means looking out for them, work with them a little after class, and so forth.
Between the two, we've got a pretty good mix of students on the mat--some higher-level folks, some kyu grades who have been with us a while, and some brand new.