since every now and then there's always a thread on dojo set-up, I'll share something of when my sensei and I tried to open a dojo
I followed him ever since I started at my uni in 97, coz his first dojo opening at the uni coincides with my enrollment.
After training for 3 years, I realized that I don't relish the idea of travelling twice a week to my uni ( it's a half-hour ride ). So me and my brother looked around my neighbourhood and found a nice family club (fitness, aerobic, swimming, etc etc)
Before the deal is struck, the management and my sensei agreed to open a stand, in front of the club to gauge member interest level. Me and my brother manned the stand every evening for a week, and we had the entire getup - the standing banner, the aikido books and a videoplayer playing my sensei's prized aikido video collection continously. (the only thing missing is wearing gi, we discussed it but dismissed the idea ^_^)
Most people would pass us with curious look, but many would look at the video, and some of them asked questions. We collect names, signatures and phone numbers from interested people, and at the end of the week we called each of them up to inform them of an upcoming demonstration at the dojo. ( we use the aerobic room for that )
The result: over 60 signatures ( which we showed to the club manager to acquire his agreement ) and 20+ people appeared to watch the demonstration and we had 6 people signing up for practice on the first day.
So basically, I think opening a stand for a period of time to generate interest for a demo will most definitely pay off. As long as it is held in a location where many people WALKS by.
I imagine if we opened a stand at the nearby mall, we'd get hundreds of signatures for a week. As it is, I've managed to continue training near home AND work.
hope this post will help someone.