I have the 4th Largest Judo Club in the USJA and I can not afford a Private Dojo. I teach at the YMCA where the overhead isnt that much compare to a privaite dojo.
At the YMCA I have a great set up - I have my own room where the Mats stays down all of the time. But, I am teaching there for 20 years and I do have a lot of students.
Mark Tripp can tell you more about my dojo at the Y
I am sure there is no way he could make a living on that but he doesnt have to. He is employed by the Derry city council as a Judo guy to promote the sport.
Originally Posted by Mtripp
There are more sports centres per person in NI than just about anywhere on earth. It was a government initiative to keep the kids away from trouble.
Also, derry has just become the centre of excellence for Judo for all of the UK thanks to the hard work of my coach and others like him. They are in the process of building a huge Judo centre but we currently have a permanent place with four full sized fighting areas (three mats deep).
Yeah, I ended up in the hospital with a neck brace after a couple weeks of Judo. It was a 6 year old niggling injury, but I'd managed to go through full contact MMA training, amateur MMA competitions and BJJ training and competitions without aggravating it that badly.
Originally Posted by WhiteShark
I was self-employed, successfully, for years, did the marketing for another business successfully and was quite a hot-shot car salesman whose ratio (deals as a percent of total opportunities) was double national average. I also flopped a business. That was the most educating experience. My perspective might be of help.
People always seem to think about business and sales (BS) in very big terms: Mass marketing, etc. That's a mistake. BS is about relationships.
If I was sellng Judo, the first thing I'd do is stop worrying about Judo. If you were selling Big Macs or Whoppers, McD's and BK's image would matter because it can be changed by the CEO/Board. Since Judo doesn't have that power, you have to accept that limitation and move forward.
Jay Conrad Levinson does a great job in "Guerrilla Marketing" to help you figure out what it is that you're really selling. What he can help you answer is "if holes are to drill bits then what is to Judo?" (People pay for the bit, but it's holes they want.). This book is so valuable, I have two on my book shelf.
If you try to answer that, remember itsnot about what you think it is but what the buyer believes it is.
For salesmanship, Joe Girard's "How to Sell Yourself" is the best I've read and probably deserves all credit for every sale I made. What sets him apart from all the garbage is his philosophy: I won't know if this was a good sale until you send your mother in to buy from me. It's copyrighted 1979. I bought it for 50 cents at a book sale. Probably be less than $10 through Amazon.
A couple specific suggestions:
Answer the phone. All the time. Every time.
Prospects are doing you a favor when they call. You owe them the favor of picking up. If you fail to do so, you've started the relationship with an implied "I'm just not here for you."
Hours: Classes seven days. Early morning and evening. Once established, you can scale back.
Price: People say things like "this is worth x." That's false. It's worth x to that person, but what it's worth is only what you're getting for it.
I always did pricing like this. Cost of overhead/number of desired customers. I excluded my income from that because you shouldn't expect to make anything at first. This gives you your starting fee.
From there, you don't need the perfect product. You don't need a plan for future expansion. You don't even need a special patch. All you need is to get that desired number of customers who are happy with the product you're offering. That's it and that's easy.
Once you hit your target, you can 1)raise the price for the next person who comes in, or 2)adjust your scheduling to slightly reduce your customers. Either of these acts, done incrementally, will move your business closer to where you want it: best possible hours or increasing the amount you make.*. That is the "building" in building a business. It takes time and work.
Last thing, everyone's a sales person. You ask someone on a date, you're selling. Ask your kid to wash the car, you're selling. Slimy, chatty, arrogant people don't make good sales people because they're repulsive. Just being sincere is the secret to sales. If you have a good product, remember that it's not right for everyone.
*Political commentary: this is one of the reasons high taxes lead to reduced productivity and less variety in the market. If you're unhappy with your tax rate, you will end up only serving a very small number who pay a lot so that, though you can't have money without high taxes, you can live and have your free time.
Before I move this, Adam, while your suggestions are good ones, most of them don't apply toward Judo. Put it this way, would you package and sell Aikido using your suggestions if you taught Aikido for basically nothing a few evenings a week?
Absolutely. I'll try to explain.
First, I get the impression that dojo/gym sharing is somewhat undesirable and, therefore, makes the idea of a sustainable Judo in this thread to include a private dojo. However, if you're bringing in arts other than Judo to subsidize it, then you're back to dojo sharing; the difference being control over the schedule, hoping you have good instructors who pay their bills and the stress of keeping the lights on rather than hoping you have mat space to rent when you want it.
Reading this thread, I get the impression that everyone's aware that Judo part-time without sharing is impossible. Therefore, making it a full time pursuit is the only choice. However, my suggestions are universal whether you're full time or time sharing mat space. Sales is sales.
In regard to your concerns about packaging, wheter it's blatant or subtle, everything is packaged. Mainstream Aikido seems to sell spirituality, Ki style sells ki balls, Yoshinkan styles sell toughness with their military and police experience.
Packaging is just the "why" you should do it. Since Judo is an art, it has different interpretations. The why can only be answered by the individual instructor-- as is the case with Aikido.
When I was a kid, we thought Judo was wrestling. Someone packaged it that way. I'm sure it was someone that didn't know any better, but none-the-less, it was packaged.
This is where the sincere salesmanship plays the biggest role. Why do you, as an instructor, train? Answer that honestly and you have a package-- the holes. Answer it inaccurately and you have a recipe for high turn-over rates.
If I still sound off target, tell me what I'm not getting so that I can adapt to it.
The other stuff, phones, pricing theory, etc. all apply whether PT or FT. Dojo sharing or private.
The phone is really important though. It doesn't take much time, if you're going to be away from it for an hour, to say so on your voice mail.
Something that people forget is that Kano and Ueshiba packaged their stuff. Kano packaged it for schools.
It's up to you to package it for today.