The Ultimate Guide To Starting a BJJ Business

Many practitioners may dream of owning their own BJJ studio. It may have started out as a daydream, or as a serious commitment, but everyone who trains jiu-jitsu seriously has thought about having a career in this specific martial art. Before starting a BJJ business, there are many things to consider, such as your total commitment and passion for the sport. Once most of the mental barriers have been cleared out, it is time to start looking at actually building the business.

Starting a BJJ business may not be what it seems from the outside, but it can definitely be rewarding. Transitioning over from your regular job to teaching your hobby is extremely fulfilling, but be prepared to face a few realities along the way. In this article, we will go over some of the top Jiu-Jitsu academy owners, their thoughts on the transition from hobby to business, and ultimately, the top things you should consider to build your dojo and clientele.

| Did you know?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu concentrates on ground combat techniques and submission grips utilizing joint-locks and chokeholds to offset any strength or size advantages. Physical strength may be neutralized or increased on the ground by using effective grappling tactics.

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The Jiu-Jitsu mindset

According to interviews with top BJJ practitioners and academy owners, Roy Dean, Liam Resnekov, Adilson Higa Dorval, and Yuki Ishikawa, they had the following advice for new business owners:

  • You must really love Jiu-Jitsu

Roy Dean began his academy due to his burning desire and passion for Jiu-Jitsu so that he could train in his own style and teach students and training partners in the same way. He advocates that you must have a burning love for this, not a slight enjoyment. He mentions there will be a lot of hard work, 7 day weeks, and many 14+ hour days. Not only will you be training, but you must run your business alongside that.

  • You must develop your own style

Liam Resnekov started his own Jiu-Jitsu academy due to his desire to teach his students in a particular style that he had tweaked from his years as a practitioner. Your first students will come looking for something new and will have many questions about your lineage, style, commitment, and training days/partners. Prior to making the shift from martial artist to business owner, make sure you have something to teach.

  • You need to detach yourself from training to work on your business

Yuki Ishikawa started his dojo as a way to train often. He did not have any clubs around him and wanted to make his own. Of the owners listed here, Yuki actually did not want to start a business at all. He acquired a place to train, and students started showing up. He realized there is a lot of office work involved in running a BJJ business, and that he would often get to train more as a practitioner than a business owner. His advice is that you must understand what you can and cannot do, have the right expectations, and have a team or program to help you when you make mistakes.

  • You must make a conscious decision about making Jiu-Jitsu a lifestyle:

Adilson Higa Dorval opened his dojo in Brazil, the birthplace of BJJ. He had been training since 1992 in US and Japan. In 2009, he suffered a tragic accident and made a strong commitment that BJJ would be his lifestyle and source of income. His advice is that opening your own BJJ academy will be a state of constant learning and that you must always evolve and work on yourself, especially in this industry. When times are tough, only your commitment will pull you through.

How to start your own Jiu-Jitsu business

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Often, the deciding factor about whether to start a BJJ business or not is not the expenses, obstacles, or challenges, but getting into the correct mindset to make the transition. With that being said, below are the best things to consider when starting your own BJJ business:

  • Location 

It is recommended to start with a small location and grow organically. Find a small space for your dojo and begin building a loyal clientele of close friends. Get to know the neighborhood and be involved in the BJJ scene, as dojo instructors and practitioners will usually keep in contact.

  • Prices/Expenses 

Further to the above, it is better to start small and grow organically. Starting a dojo is extremely costly when going straight for state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Although you may believe your students want fancy things, your initial classes will be small and intimate. This helps to keep costs down and to scale appropriately.

  • Instructors/Team

Hiring another instructor is seldom the choice when first starting out. You want to start your own BJJ academy to train and teach your style. Often, if you find yourself needing someone to teach the class, your staff options are right in front of you. An overwhelming majority of student instructors will be from your very own academy. Consider also administrative staff to help coordinate and cleaning staff to help keep the studio professional and free of health hazards.

  • Marketing 

Build your brand and social media presence prior to investing heavily in paid advertising. As mentioned above, it is better to start small and grow organically at first, as getting your BJJ business off the ground will be extremely difficult if you’re moving too quickly.

  • Scheduling 

This pertains to both classes and employee schedules. Make sure to adopt a solution that is right for you and can be broadcast and easy to handle. When scheduling, consider your own personal time and time to run the business, as burnout can be an extremely unsuspecting, but destructive, force.

  • Awards and accolades

Why do your students want to train with you and not someone more established? Make sure to present your lineage, accolades, awards, or professional fighting/coaching career around your studio, and be sure to answer any questions.

  • Management software

Starting a BJJ business is already difficult, let alone building out an entire team, marketing plan, scheduling, taking payments, outsourcing, communicating with suppliers, and many more administrative and operational tasks. Why not get BJJ management software to alleviate this pressure? Spark Membership is the number one management software in the martial arts space. Try it now for just $1.

Owning A Gym: A Comprehensive Guide To Success

When starting any business, it is essential to create and execute a business plan. Starting a gym can be quite a challenge given today’s circumstances, but it is still a very lucrative and highly attractive industry to enter. Whether you are looking to start a full-service fitness center or operate a local club, you will need to create a proper structure for success.

The key to success in owning a gym

The key to success in owning a gym

Before focusing on the specifics of the gym industry, multiple business steps should be adhered to before launch. Only 18% of revenue is made by the top four players in America, with the rest being local and independent gyms. This is a good starting point, as there is always a huge need for these kinds of services, which is a good starting point for success. Here are the top three things to consider when starting your own gym business:

Develop a business plan

The first step to building a successful business is developing an effective business plan, and then taking action and implementing it. The United States Small Bureau Association outlines why it is critical to have a functioning business plan. This includes your sales and marketing, your brand, your projections, funding, and many other associated things. Many small businesses begin without a business plan, and these organizations are much more likely to fail at start-ups. You do not need to have a specific structure, but knowing your goals and how to get there is essential.

Build your dream team… Slowly

in owning a gym, Build your dream team Slowly

No one person can be an island, but expanding too quickly can be the death of many businesses. Choosing and delegating a trustworthy, professional, and cohesive team will ensure that the business runs well. The price of not having a great team is costly, as it can go to one extreme or the other. For example, poor team management causes frustration, turnover, and loss, and being too strict and not delegating causes competition, burnout, and envy. Listen to your team, lead by example and build from the ground up.

Organize a proper launch

owning a gym, Organize a proper launch

Many small businesses have great services and products on offer, yet they struggle to find clients, significantly enough to keep the going concern principle within the first few months of opening. A proper launch not only announces your presence but makes a statement in your local area and overall niche that you are here to disrupt the industry. Your early adopters will be your most stalwart clients, and they will champion your services and upsells for possibly the entire length of your business.

Tools and skills needed for successfully owning a gym

Now that we’ve talked about the top 3 secrets to running a successful business, we will go over industry-specific areas that will set apart a good gym owner with a great gym owner. Once you have your team in place and a few clients, it is time to learn out your business, automate, and scale.

Get lean

Lean methodology is the leading business discipline and philosophy with a proven track record of maximizing results while minimizing effort. The key take-aways are 

  1. Do more with less. 
  2. Aim for great, not perfect, and 
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule. 

To summarize, we achieve marginal returns past a certain point, so once something is good enough to be launched, take it and improve upon it later. Look for the 20% of your business that is scalable, and it will also most likely create 80% of your income. Once this is identified and implemented, your business will run smoother and grow easier.

Form partnerships

This is one of the few things that many business owners forget to do, and often, for a good reason. It is easy to categorize employees, contractors, and business relationships when talking to the owner. Forming meaningful partnerships with those you may deem “competitors.” Your competitors may be your best friends, as they can have potential clients that come to them for specific services that can be referred out to you. It never hurts to ask, but be prepared for a win-win situation. In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey writes, “We must first seek to understand, and then to be understood.”

Have the right tools

 Running a gym can be extremely daunting, especially if you are trying to analyze what is working and what isn’t. A business can not stay stagnant, and owners are extremely busy running their business, so looking for ways to improve can be difficult. Staff management, membership renewals, tracking your sales and marketing, analyzing meaningful data of profits, and accessing payment schedules and systems have a great learning curve associated with them. Spark Membership is the number 1 gym management software on the market. Try it out for just $1