Mastering your martial arts discipline doesn’t happen by random chance. There’s a process you commit to following and executing with precision. Posture, practice, form, the fundamentals — you can only achieve mastery when they’re all part of your plan.
Mastering the business aspect of your school requires the same dedication and forethought. Your business plan is where all that takes shape.
Think about it like this. Imagine you have a championship match with a high-caliber opponent. Would you just show up the day of the fight hoping for the best? Backed by nothing but positive feelings and a smile? Good luck. You know that winning can only happen when you consistently do the things that winners do — train, prepare, and plan.
Winning in business is the same. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Don’t do that. Create a solid business plan for your martial arts school with the same focus and deliberate intent that brought and continues to bring you success on the mat.
How a Martial Arts School Business Plan Can Help You
Creating a business plan for your martial arts school has many benefits. One of the biggest is that it will force you to think about your fitness business in a strategic and methodical way.
Too often, martial arts school owners get lost in the day-to-day operational tasks and forget to take the time to be strategic. Before they know it, weeks, months, and years have flown by with their schools running on autopilot. That can result in a lot of missed opportunities for growth.
Instead, envision where you want to take your business. What do you want it to look like next month, next year, five years from now? A well-written business plan can make all those goals a reality by providing the action steps necessary to achieve them.
Your business plan works to support your mission, vision, marketing plan, financial plan, and overall strategy. It will also help you apply for funding or enter into partner or vendor business agreements.
Most importantly, a business plan will give your school legitimacy and a roadmap for the future.
Who Is the Business Plan For?
First and foremost, your martial arts school business plan is for yourself. Creating a document like this helps you collect your thoughts and outline the basic steps for business success.
A business plan demonstrates:
- Your martial arts business is viable and has a reasonable chance of success
- You understand your competition and the local market
- You have full intention of properly staffing and marketing your school
And if you’re going to have a staff or team members who will be making important business decisions or acting on your behalf, your business plan can be a training tool to ensure the business goals, objectives, and processes are clear.
Business plans are also essential if you’re going to apply for funding or have other financial partnerships.
Two young BJJ Brazilian Jiu jitsu Athlete fighters training sparing technique at the academy fight
How Long Should My Martial Arts School Business Plan Be?
There is no required length that your business plan has to be. Really, it’s not a matter of length. It’s about adequately planning and describing how your business is going to operate. A perfect business plan should provide all the information that someone who isn’t you would need to run your martial arts school. Focus more on description and detail, not length.
But, if you’re looking for a rough guideline, Investopedia recommends about 15-25 pages. This length will vary depending on the age of your martial arts school and the amount of research you put into your business plan.
If the document length seems daunting, there’s no need to worry — we break it all down for you step by step in our business plan template.
[Download the Template]
When Should I Create My Martial Art School Business Plan?
Many people create a business plan before they open their business but there are also many situations where an established business (perhaps one that grew organically from a single trainer to a facility with a staff) doesn’t have a business plan. That’s okay — it’s never too late to create one. And even if you’re already up and running, a martial arts school business plan is useful at any stage of business development. That includes when:
- Your martial arts school is already established and successful
- You’re getting ready to open your school
- You’re pitching your business to lenders and investors
A business plan is extremely valuable in all these scenarios. Why?
- If you have an established school already, things can always be refined and improved
- If you’re prepping for your school opening, you want to start off on the right foot and align your vision with your staff’s understanding
- If you’re early stages, you want to be able to secure funding and prove your business prowess to others
And your business plan isn’t something you create once and then forget about. In fact, we recommend revisiting your existing business plan on a regular basis to update your strategy when circumstances have changed. This is especially true if your school has experienced significant growth or if the fitness industry in your area looks different than when you first created your business plan.
Review it with your team, or at least a version of it that contains the information pertinent to their roles and responsibilities. Maintain it as your touchstone for defining the purpose of your martial arts school and the processes by which you make it happen.
How to Write a Business Plan for Your Martial Arts School
Since your business plan will cover every aspect of your martial arts business, it’s best to start by collecting all your documentation early. Make sure to gather:
- Bank statements
- Service contracts
- Insurance policies
- Any other business documents
The more information you can gather, the easier your business plan will be to write.
If you have key employees or investment partners, include them in the process. The more your team is on the same page, the better the finished business plan will be.
Plus, the more help you have, the faster the process will go, simply because other key people on your team have the ideas and insight you need. You can make the process fun by planning an off-site retreat, or you can hold several shorter meetings and assign your team members small tasks they can work on independently.
Need extra help? You may want to consider hiring a business consultant.
Key Elements of a Martial Arts School Business Plan
Below is a brief rundown of the main sections your business plan should include.
Try not to feel overwhelmed as you first look at these topics. Part of the purpose of creating your business plan is to break your business strategy down into manageable pieces that are easy for you and others to understand.
It’s more than okay to only focus on one section per day. You want your guiding light to be a strong one, so take the time you need to get clear on your business plan.
1. Executive Summary
This section summarizes the key points in your business plan. It serves as a quick overview of the rest of the plan for readers who want to skim the first page. It’s usually best to write the executive summary last, since it’ll be easier to accurately capture the contents of your business plan that way.
2. Company Overview
Your company overview is a comprehensive description of your business, including who you are as a business owner and what your martial arts school does or will do. After reading this section, readers should understand what your business is all about.
Here’s some key information you want to include in this section:
- Type of business
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Any SMART goals you have
- Products and services you will provide
- Target market (you’ll go more in depth later)
- Core competencies
- Licenses and registrations
This isn’t a research-heavy section — it’s meant to give basic insight into your business.
3. Market Analysis
By contrast, your market analysis section is a heavily researched summary of:
- The competitive landscape
- Overall market size
- What you expect your share of the market to be
The goal of this section is to demonstrate your industry understanding and make a compelling argument for the existence of your martial arts school. This is your chance to explain who the existing competition is as well as address any overarching fitness industry trends in your area.
Since many of these numbers will be projections — and especially considering the success rate of small businesses — this is one of the sections you’ll want to revisit year to year. You don’t want to be making a business plan based on information that’s several years out of date.
4. Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is a roadmap that lays out how you will attract prospects and turn them into students at your martial arts school. You’ll want to cover:
This section of your plan can include any digital marketing strategies you have, like social media or paid ads.
5. Operations and Management Plan
Your operations and management plan outlines how your martial arts school will operate on a daily basis. At the bare minimum, it should include a breakdown of:
- Staffing plan and general org chart
- Pay and benefits
- Automated software tools that will help you run your school
This could include a business management and billing tool like Zen Planner or a customer relationship management tool like UpLaunch. Anything that you’d use to help streamline daily tasks.
6. Financial Projections
The financial projection section provides a report of your finances to date. Then, it builds a forecast for future revenue and expenses.
Here are some of the specifics to include:
- Both projected and actual financials
- Break-even analysis
- Long-term goals
If you’re already a Zen Planner customer, you can use the reporting dashboard to help you create customized financial reports for your martial arts school.
Download Your Martial Arts School Business Plan Template
Now that you understand what your plan is for and what sections it should include, it’s time to create your martial arts school business plan.
We’ve provided a business plan template to help you get started. The template includes some of the information we’ve shared in this blog as well as additional details to help you fill out each section.
If you need more help, check out these resources from the Small Business Association.
[Download Your Business Plan Template]