So you’ve decided to open a new BJJ gym or other martial arts school in your town, and you’re needing a business plan to present to your business partners, bank, or other investors. How to go about writing one? You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll go over the key elements a Judo, Karate, or Jiu Jitsu business plan needs to have, and I’ll also provide a free sample martial arts school business plan template that you can edit and download to create your own business proposal.
Section 1: The Executive Summary
This section should give a high level overview of your business and its goals. The first paragraph should include the name of your martial arts school, your mission statement, and a brief description of what services you plan to offer, and to whom.
In the second paragraph, you might go into a bit more detail about what unique value your business offers and how you are differentiated from any competitors. Finally, summarize your business strategy and goals, including revenue projections and any funding requirements.
Section 2: Company Overview
In this section, provide a detailed description of your business model, including its legal structure (for example, LLC or Sole Proprietorship), location, history, and ownership.
Explain the reasons behind starting (or expanding) your martial arts academy, and what experiences or credentials make the owner(s) qualified to run the business. In this case of a BJJ gym, this could be the head instructor’s rank of black belt, or it could be experience owning or managing a completely different type of business – anything that will help show that the martial arts business is likely to succeed.
Also be sure to mention any significant achievements of the business so far. For example, maybe you’ve been training with a group of friends in your garage. In this case, you could mention that the gym already has X number of students who have been training under the instructor for X number of years.
This section needs to detail thorough research you’ve done to understand your customers and the demand for martial arts in your area.
Start by outlining the categories of students you hope to have at your martial arts school, and what your business will offer to each of these types of students.
At first you might be thinking that you’ll be offering the same thing to all your students: martial arts classes.
But beyond the obvious service students will be paying for, think about the unique ways in which you will make training at your school attractive to different types of students. For example:
- Kids – What will make your kids classes so much fun that kids look forward to coming and beg their parents to keep paying for classes? What will make parents value these classes as something they want for their kids? How will you make it easy for parents to involve their kids in your classes?
- Professional Adults – People with jobs and families may not have the same amount of time to devote to training as single young adults, but they are more likely have something that younger students may not have: money to pay for classes. How will you make training convenient for them? For example, will you offer showers so that they can go directly from class to work? Will you offer classes at multiple times per day?
- Women – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu especially is a sport where men still outnumber the women who train, but this martial art is becoming increasingly popular with women, and gyms that go out of their way to make sure they offer an environment that is welcoming to women will have an advantage in an untapped area of any market. What can you offer that would make women more likely to train at your gym? Maybe it’s a woman-led self-defense class, or even childcare during adult classes to make it easier for couples with kids to train together.
In this section, you’ll want to address any competitors in your area, including gyms offering the same type of martial art as you, as well as alternative martial arts and activities that people could choose instead of training at your academy. For each competitor or competing activity you list:
- Detail their success (including numbers if possible) to show how that means that a market exists for what you are offering.
- Show how what your gym offers is differentiated from your competitors. In other words, why someone might choose you instead of a competitor or alternative activity. For example:
- Will you offer more affordable pricing?
- Will you offer a no-contract option?
- Will you have nicer facilities?
- Are your classes safer or more welcoming?
- Are your classes more accessible to a wide variety of people?
- How will what students gain from your academy impact their lives outside of class?
In this section, outline in detail your plan for marketing your business, including how you will make your target audience aware of your business, including advertising channels (including Google and Facebook as well as local marketing opportunities) and how you will use them to attract new students.
Include detailed estimates of how much you plan to spend on marketing, how fast you plan to grow, and how much revenue new students will generate for the business.
If you need help creating and implementing a martial arts marketing strategy, get in touch with us to learn how we can help!
Operations & Management
This section explains the day-to-day operations of your business. Introduce the members of your team and their qualifications. (If you are the only staff member, you could mention professionals you hire for services such as a bookkeeper or marketing agency.) Explain who will teach classes, who will clean the gym, who will answer phone calls and emails, who will handle finances and bookkeeping, and who will be in charge of marketing (such as running advertising campaigns and promotions, nurturing leads, and maintaining an email newsletter).
Financial Plan & Projections
This is part that requires math. The goal of this section is to demonstrate when and how your business will be profitable, and, if you are applying for a loan, that the business will produce enough income to sustain itself and repay the loan.
The first section should list All sources of revenue, how much income these generate per month, and how much income you predict they will generate by the end of Year 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. In addition to class tuition, think about other ways you might generate revenue for your gym, such as offering private lessons, hosting special events, or selling uniforms and gear with your logo.
The second section should list ALL forecasted expenses, including:
- Startup costs:
- Construction and renovation costs
- Signage / branding
- Website design
- Gym equipment
- Gym furnishings and decor
- Technology and office supplies
- Ongoing costs:
- Building lease
- Loan repayment
- Utilities, phone, and internet
- Liability insurance
- Building cleaning and property maintenance
- Website hosting
- Staff salaries
Forecast when your gym’s income will be able to pay for its monthly expenses (and explain the reasoning behind your forecast). Then detail your plan to cover startup costs, including personal investment and/or the funding you’re requesting.
Finally, provide a calculation of the number of students you’ll need to break even, and how much profit you’ll make in Year 1, 2, or 3 (with funding) if your gym grows at the projected rate. Include an explanation of your assumptions about the rate of growth, for example, using data from other martial arts schools in cities of a similar size to yours.
In this final section, be very clear about your request for funding, Include:
- How much money you are requesting.
- How the funds will be used.
- When the loan will be repaid.
The appendix to your business plan would be any supporting documents you can provide that help explain or detail your martial arts business plan, such as market research data, legal documents, staff resumes, and financial projection tables.
- Be sure to proofread your business plan carefully.
- Ask a trusted friend, colleague, or service professional to read your business plan and provide feedback on its clarity, as well as any concerns they might anticipate.
- Download our free Martial Arts Business Plan Template as a guide to help you with writing and formatting yours.