Staying afloat in McDojo world
New to Bullshido, been lurking here a while, love that voo-doo that you-doo.
Anyhow, I've got a question for anyone out there with experience pertaining to the business/management end of MA. My school is an oldschool CMA studio in the increasingly commercialized, starbucks riddled heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. What one of our senior instructors pointed out (yeah, we only have 2 people considered instructors, both of them have been studying here at least 15 years... like I said, oldschool) was that:
1) We have almost no kids/newer students (new = a few months or less), with the exception of friends/relatives of old students. This is probably a result of something of a lack of aggressive marketing on our part.
While this is of course partially a good thing, the 50 strong kiddie klass being ubiquitous to the McDojo; it also means that there is very little new blood or (and ashamed to say but given today's economic necessities) new money coming into the school.
2) How do we compete with the local Rex Kwan Do outlet that promises a belt a month, where Trevor can have the satisfaction of getting that blackbelt that goes down to his ankles within a year.
So my question is: How does one market a traditional, hard-work-or-no-gain school to the teeming, MA ignorant masses without losing what keeps us from sliding into the realm of the McDojo?
The rent's just going to keep going up (I'm sure the local business bureau would LOOOOVE to stick another starbucks in our location), and even with our Sifu not being payed for teaching (he's a professional tailor, big business in Oakland Chinatown), we need to find a way to be... *groan* commercially viable.
There's no easy answer to this, but marketing and advertising are probably your first, best venues. You don't necessarily need to change the way your school trains or does things... but you do need to 1) get the word out that your school exists; and 2) sell your school's strengths. Traditional martial arts still appeal to a lot of people, you just need to market them well.
Originally Posted by kungfujew
And yeah, you might need to look into a kids-friendly program, but not one that necessarily gives away a belt a month. :)
Flyers and leg work might make for some inexpensive advertising, if putting ads in the phonebook/newspaper are too costly.
Just some thoughts...
Find a way to get your school on google search.
When ever I look for a business anymore (that includes my recent switch to a bjj school) I google it first. Far more efficient than yellow paging it. Try googling for your style in whatever area you are in. See what pops up. That being said, I have no idea how to make your name pop up more often in a google search, but I'm sure there are ways.
Rex Kwan do...wasn't that in Napoleon Dynamite?
I don't know what particular style you do, I am not familiar with CMAs, but you may want to put together a competition team for San Da/San Shou what ever it's called. You may also want to rent out you school to other people who teach MAs.
Also Lei Tei, but I don't know exactly how that works I think you're on some sort of pedastal.
Yeah, we are looking into marketing and publicity options; some footwork never hurts.
As for a kids friendly program, seems like a good idea to me, though I still do have some reservations; as long as we give them something meaningful and not just kung-fu day care, maybe a few will stick around for the real stuff.
BTW, Bunyip, I'm in the middle of your West Wind thread, and part way through (aside from trying very hard to stifle laughter, as I am at work) I realized that the McDojo I went to as a little kid was remarkably like West Wind, it was called East West Bok Fu (then changed to "kung fu", then to "karate", then back to "kung fu", and now back to Bok FU". I don't know if the two schools are at all affiliated...
On edit: holy crap, I just realized that the West Wind logo is on a bunch of (now mostly broken) medals that I got at the EastWest tournament about 13 years ago... maybe their tournaments are affiliated, I dunno.
Last edited by kungfujew; 8/11/2005 3:30pm at .
BTW, as for google, we're right in the frikkin middle of redoing the website, the old one looked well... old... so I'm making a shiny new one, should be up by the end of the month (hopefully), unless my photoshop skills have betrayed me...
Cool, come to the throwdown on Sunday, we'll chat.
No longer a Kaju-Critic
Originally Posted by bunyip
Holy crap, I work with kids myself and we haven't gotten them to do something like that! that was really awesome.
Compete in everything you can. You're in the middle of california, so get into grappling, sportfighting, pointfighting, rep everwhere you can and get known as a class group. That's my advice. Solid competition schools will always have interest, and it will be interest that will be commited and interest that will come to you.
Also, I personally have never had a problem with places that sell healthfood or are inside and affiliated with a gym.