10 ways to help your dojo stay open for business

If you’re like me, you see the dojo as your second home. You love being in the Hall of Training, working on your material to perfect the art. In this tough economy, it is difficult to keep a Kempo school operational. I know because I had to close one myself. What students should do is take emotional ownership of the school. Invest your time to help the owner and instructors out. You should do your part to help the school survive and thrive.

Black Belt in meditation

Black Belt in meditation

Here are ten actionable ideas that you and your fellow students can do to keep the dojo doors open.

  1. Clean what’s dirty, whether it is windows, mirrors, the mat or chairs. A dirty dojo is not a welcoming to new students or guests.
  2. Bring in friends as new students. A school with paying students lasts longer. Also training with your friends if very enjoyable.
  3. Pay on time. The owner needs to pay the bills and having the funds on time helps.
  4. Pass out flyers. It costs money to advertise and market. If you take some time out of your day to pass out flyers to potential new students, you’re helping the dojo save money.
  5. Write good things about the dojo on social networks, forums and on note cards in laundry rooms. People like to hear about good places to train from real people they can trust. Hopefully they’re turn around and join as new students.
  6. Donate used equipment to new students who can’t afford equipment. It is easier to continue training when you have all the supplies you need but not everyone can afford the expense. Used equipment is better than no equipment.
  7. Arrange for the dojo to do an exhibition at local schools or community clubs. Most people don’t know that there are schools around, or what martial arts are. Informing others about the benefits of training is a great way to attract new students.
  8. Contribute articles or pictures to the dojo’s website, newsletter or blog. Again, this is a great way to let others know about all the fun you have while training. Engaging and informative articles really explain benefits in simple terms most can understand.
  9. Show up for classes. It may seem simple but students who skip class eventually skip more classes and then drop out. Don’t be one of them. Don’t let your friends skip classes either. Call them up if they miss a class and offer to practice with them so they don’t get behind. There are two critical figures for all schools: the number of new students and the number of students who quit. The first number should be high and the other really low.
  10. Thank your instructors for their help and time. Teaching weekly classes is very hard to do, often leading to burnout. Staying enthusiastic about teaching everyday is a trick every instructor struggles with constantly. What helped me during my full time career is the gratitude of my students. A simple “Thank you” really pumped me up and stemmed the tide toward burnout. Help your instructor stay motivated with a few words of encouragement.

Hopefully by following this advice you can help keep your school from going under financially. We all need to pitch in and help each other out in times of need. Got some other good ideas, please share them in the comment section.