Are you passionate about martial arts and want to turn that passion into a business? The martial arts industry has experienced a steady growth in recent years, and the demand for quality martial arts schools has never been higher. According to a recent IBISWorld report, the martial arts industry generated over $4 billion in revenue and employed over 156,000 people in the United States alone. This industry is expected to continue growing at a rate of 1.6% per year, making it a potentially lucrative business opportunity for martial arts enthusiasts. However, starting a martial arts school business is not an easy feat. It requires careful planning, passion, and hard work. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to open/start/launch a martial arts school business. Whether you're a martial arts instructor or a business-minded individual, this checklist will help you turn your dream into a reality. So, grab your notepad and pen, and let's get started on this exciting journey. By the end of this blog, you will have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to open a successful martial arts school business and be able to use this checklist as a guide to make your goals a reality. Let's begin!

1. Conduct Market Research

Before starting a martial arts school business, it is essential to conduct thorough market research to determine the ideal location, target audience, and competition. Effective market research can help to create a successful business strategy, establish a customer base, and identify opportunities for growth.

  • Identify the target audience - It is essential to identify the customers that will benefit the most from the martial arts training. The target market can include children, adults, athletes, or people seeking self-defense training.
  • Analyze the competition - Analyzing the competition can provide valuable insights into the industry's demand and supply. Look into the pricing, services, equipment, and online presence of competitors. Determine the unique selling point (USP) required to make the martial arts school stand out from the competition
  • Determine the most favorable location - Based on the target audience, research the areas that will offer the most significant potential for growth. Ensure that the location has sufficient space for practicing martial arts, ample parking or public transit options, and is visible for passerby foot traffic.
  • Understand the Industry - Research industry trends to stay up-to-date with the latest martial arts techniques and equipment. Additionally, it is important to review policies, regulations, and requirements for owning a martial arts school that may vary by country or state.

Tips & Tricks

  • Visit online communities and forums related to martial arts to get a better understanding of the industry.
  • Interview potential customers to understand their needs and determine what would make a martial arts school attractive to them.
  • Consider offering unique classes that do not conflict with your competitors' services, such as yoga, meditation, or nutrition workshops.

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2. Define Goals And Objectives

Defining goals and objectives is a crucial step to starting a martial arts school business. Goals are the broader vision of what you want to achieve, while objectives are the specific, measurable actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Here are some tips to help you define your goals and objectives:

Tips & Tricks:

  • Start by defining your long-term goals, such as how many students you want to have and how much revenue you want to generate.
  • Break down your long-term goals into smaller, achievable objectives. For example, you could set a goal to attract 50 new students in the first six months of operation.
  • Make sure your goals and objectives are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

When defining your goals and objectives, it's important to consider your target audience and niche. What kind of martial arts do you want to teach, and who is your ideal student? Are you targeting kids, adults, or both? Do you want to focus on competition or self-defense?

Additionally, think about your unique value proposition. What sets your school apart from others in the area? What do you offer that students can't find elsewhere?

Finally, consider your budget and resources. How much do you need to invest to achieve your goals and objectives? Do you have the necessary equipment, facilities, and staffing in place?

  • Overall, defining clear and achievable goals and objectives is essential for launching a successful martial arts school business. By taking the time to plan and strategize, you'll be setting yourself up for success and minimizing the risks of failure.

3. Create A Business Plan

Now that you have completed the research phase, it's time to create a solid business plan for your martial arts school. This plan will serve as a road map for the future of your business, laying out your strategy, goals, and tactics to achieve success.

  • Executive Summary: This section should include a brief overview of your business, your mission statement, and an introduction to your services and target audience.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze your competitors, target market, and industry trends to give yourself a clear understanding of where you fit in and how you can stand out from the crowd.
  • Services Offered: Detail the types of classes, events, and workshops you will offer, your pricing structure, and any special offerings or promotions you plan to run.
  • Marketing Strategy: Clearly lay out your marketing plan, including your branding, advertising, social media presence, and any partnerships you plan to cultivate.
  • Management Team: Introduce the members of your management team, their qualifications, and their roles within the business.
  • Financial Projections: Use a conservative approach to determine your start-up costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections. Tip: always budget for contingencies and unforeseen expenses.
  • Risk Analysis: Identify potential challenges and risks that your business will face, such as unexpected costs, regulatory challenges, and competition. Plan your response to these risks in advance.

Tip #1: Be Realistic About Your Finances

Starting a martial arts school requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money. Be sure to create a realistic budget that takes into account all expenses and revenue streams. Consider seeking outside funding, such as from investors or a bank loan.

Tip #2: Test Your Business Model First

Before investing a large amount of resources into launching a full-scale martial arts school, consider starting small and testing your business model first. This could include offering classes in a shared space or hosting events and workshops before committing to a permanent location.

Tip #3: Utilize Technology

In today's digital age, it's important to have a strong online presence to attract potential students and business partners. Consider creating a website, using social media platforms, and utilizing content marketing to attract leads and build your brand.

4. Scout Locations

When it comes to opening a martial arts school business, location plays a vital role. The right location can help you attract more students and boost your revenue. Therefore, it is vital to scout for locations before you finalize the lease or purchase agreement.

Here are some of the important steps to follow when scouting for locations:

  • Research different areas - The first step is to research different areas where you can start your martial arts school. Look for areas with high foot traffic, easily accessible by public transport, and with sufficient parking space.
  • Visit potential locations - Once you have identified potential areas, visit the locations to see if they meet your requirements. Check for size, layout, and accessibility.
  • Assess the competition - While scouting for locations, it is essential to assess the competition in the area. Look for other martial arts schools and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Consider the cost - Another crucial factor to consider when scouting for locations is the cost. Decide on a budget before you start and stick to it. Look for locations that fit within your budget while offering reasonable value.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider the demographics of the area - Knowing the demographics of the area where you plan to open your martial arts school can help you tailor your services to the target audience.
  • Look for a location with ample natural light and ventilation - A location with natural light and ventilation can help create a comfortable and conducive atmosphere for learning.
  • Research zoning laws and regulations - Before finalizing the lease agreement or purchase contract, research the zoning laws and regulations in the area to ensure that you are compliant.

Scouting for locations requires time, effort, and patience. However, taking the time to scout for the ideal location can help you start your martial arts school business on the right foot.

5. Secure Necessary Permits & Licenses

Before launching your martial arts school business, the first step is to ensure that you obtain all the necessary permits and licenses. It is important to comply with the law to avoid unnecessary legal trouble. Here is a breakdown of the permits and licenses you need to acquire:

  • Business License: A business license is a legal document that permits you to operate a business in your location. Contact your local government to find out the licensing requirements and fees for opening a martial arts school in your area.
  • Zoning Permit: The zoning permit ensures that your building is zoned for commercial use and that your business activities comply with the laws and regulations of the area.
  • Instructor Certification/License: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a certification or license to teach martial arts. Research the requirements in your area and determine what certification you need to obtain.
  • Insurance: Your martial arts school business will need insurance to protect yourself from liability in case of an accident. You may want to consider getting coverage for general liability, property damage, and worker's compensation.


  • Double-check all permits and licenses are current and up-to-date regularly.
  • Consider hiring a professional to help you obtain the necessary paperwork and permits.
  • Research and comply with all safety regulations set by your local government to prevent accidents.

It is crucial to ensure that your martial arts school business is legal, safe, and protected before launching. Take the necessary steps to secure all the required permits and licenses to achieve success in your business venture.

6. Obtain Funding

Starting a martial arts school requires a significant initial investment. From the cost of renting a space for the school to purchasing equipment, marketing, and more. This is why obtaining funding is often one of the most challenging tasks for new entrepreneurs.

Below are the most common ways to finance your martial arts school:

  • Personal savings: Using personal savings is the most common way to fund a new business. However, it’s essential to consider how much funding you’ll need.
  • Loans: Banks and other financial institutions offer small business loans that can help you cover the cost of launching your martial arts school.
  • Investors: Some entrepreneurs seek investment from friends, family, or professional investors. While this is an excellent way to get the capital you need, it’s important to have a solid business plan and be prepared to give up some control of the business.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are gaining popularity as a way to raise funds for small businesses. These sites allow you to pitch your business idea to the public and get funding from people who believe in your vision.

Tips & Tricks

  • Develop a detailed business plan that includes all potential costs and projections for future income.
  • Look for small business grants that are offered by the government or other organizations.
  • Consider partnering with other businesses that offer complementary services to your martial arts school.

When obtaining funding, it’s important to remember that lenders and investors want to see that you have a solid plan for success. Be sure to have a well-thought-out business plan that outlines every aspect of your martial arts school, including your target market, pricing structure, and marketing strategy.

Remember that launching your martial arts school is just the first step. It’s important to have a solid plan in place for ongoing operational and marketing costs.

7. Develop A Financial Model

Developing a financial model is a critical step for any business startup, and your martial arts school is no exception. The financial model is a tool utilized to estimate the financial performance of your business during the first few years of operation.

To develop a financial model, you must take into account your startup costs, operational expenses, revenue streams, and cash flow projection. It is essential to determine the feasibility of your business model and ascertain whether your martial arts school business is profitable or not. Here are the steps that should be followed to develop a comprehensive financial model:

  • Estimate your startup costs: This includes the expenses associated with setting up your school, such as rent, equipment, furniture, and renovation costs.
  • Determine your operational expenses: This includes all ongoing costs, such as rent, utilities, payroll, and marketing expenses.
  • Identify your revenue streams: This includes all sources of income, such as tuition fees, merchandise sales, private lessons, and events.
  • Calculate your cash flow projection: This should be done by estimating your revenue and expenses for the first few years of business and analyzing the cash flow statement.
  • Create different scenarios: It is crucial to model different scenarios to give you a broad range of outcomes.
  • Update your financial model regularly: This helps you stay on top of changes in your business and make adjustments where necessary.

Tips & Tricks

  • Assume slower growth than expected when building revenue projections.
  • Be realistic in your expense assumptions, especially payroll and marketing costs.
  • Don't forget to account for taxes, insurance, and other small expenses that can add up over time.

A comprehensive financial model will assist you in making informed decisions regarding the future of your business. By incorporating your startup costs, operational expenses, revenue streams, and cash flow projections, you can ensure that your martial arts school business is financially feasible and profitable.

8. Arrange & Purchase Necessary Equipment

When starting a martial arts school, it is essential to have the proper equipment to provide a safe and effective environment for your students. Here are some steps to follow when arranging and purchasing necessary equipment:

  • Make a list of required equipment: Start by making a comprehensive list of equipment you will need to run your martial arts school successfully. This might include items such as training mats, protective gear, punching bags, gloves, and uniforms.
  • Research suppliers: Do your research to find the best suppliers for each piece of equipment on your list. Look for suppliers that offer good quality products and reasonable prices.
  • Compare prices: Once you have identified a few suppliers, compare their prices to determine the best option for your budget.
  • Order equipment: Once you have selected the suppliers you want to work with, place your orders for the required equipment. Make sure to order everything in enough time that you will receive the equipment before you open your school.
  • Set up equipment: After receiving the equipment, take the time to set it up properly. Make sure that everything is in good working order and that there are no safety hazards for your students.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider purchasing used equipment: In some cases, you might be able to save money by purchasing used equipment instead of brand new. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect the equipment before purchasing it to make sure it is in good condition and safe to use.
  • Don't skimp on protection: When purchasing protective gear for your students, it is crucial to select high-quality items that will provide adequate protection. Do not skimp on this equipment to save money.
  • Buy in bulk: If possible, consider purchasing equipment in bulk to receive better pricing from suppliers.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your martial arts school is well-equipped to provide a safe and effective training environment for your students. Properly arranged and purchased equipment increase customer satisfaction and will eventually lead to more and more upcoming customers.

9. Hire Personnel

If you have followed the first 8 steps of our checklist, you are well on your way to starting a successful martial arts school business. Now it's time to focus on one of the most important aspects of any business: personnel. Finding the right people to work with you at your school can be the difference between success and failure. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you hire the right personnel:

  • Define job roles and responsibilities: Before you start hiring, it is important to define the job roles and responsibilities for each position. This will help you attract the right candidates and set expectations for their job performance.
  • Attract quality candidates: Use job boards, social media, and professional networks to attract quality candidates. Also, consider offering referral bonuses to your existing staff or clients for any successful hires.
  • Interview and screening process: Develop an interview and screening process that will allow you to identify the most qualified candidates. This can include phone or video interviews, skills assessments, and background checks.
  • Train and develop your staff: Once you have hired your staff, it is important to provide ongoing training and development opportunities to ensure they can support your business adequately. This can include continuing education, coaching, and cross-training.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Look for candidates who share your values and passion for martial arts. They are more likely to be engaged and committed to the success of your business.
  • Consider offering flexible working arrangements like part-time or remote work options to attract a wider pool of qualified candidates.
  • Make sure you comply with all applicable employment laws and regulations to avoid legal issues down the line.

By following these steps, you can hire the right personnel to help you run a successful martial arts school business. Remember, hiring is an ongoing process and you should always be looking for ways to improve your staffing strategies to support your business objectives.

10. Execute Marketing Plan

Now that you have established your martial arts school, it’s time to spread the word and market your business. A well-executed marketing plan can help you in generating a considerable number of leads and acquiring customers. However, before initiating the process of marketing your business, make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of your target audience, unique selling point, and competitors.

Here are some effective ways that can assist you in executing your marketing plan:

  • 1. Create a Website: A well-designed website can work wonders for your business. Make sure to mention all the essential details like the classes you offer, schedules, pricing, etc. on your website.
  • 2. Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you reach a wide audience. Share your content, videos, images, and promote your business on social media.
  • 3. Email Marketing: Creating a newsletter or a monthly mailer can help you keep your existing and potential customers informed about your business's progress, events and promotions.
  • 4. Referral Program: A referral program can help you acquire new customers. Create a program where your existing customers receive rewards for referring new customers.
  • 5. Local Advertising: Utilize local business directories, newspapers, radio, and print ads to spread the word about your business within your community.

Tips & Tricks

  • Develop a well-defined customer persona, which will help you in targeting your marketing strategy effectively.
  • Invest in Search Engine Optimization; it will improve your website's ranking on search engines.
  • Create a personal connection with your customers; this will help in improving customer loyalty.

Executing a marketing plan requires a consistent effort. Keep track of your activities and measure the results to see what works best for your business. Once you find your marketing strategies that work the best, stick to them, and keep adapting and improving as needed.

In conclusion, starting a martial arts school business requires a lot of planning and effort, but the potential rewards can be significant. By following this 10-step checklist, you'll be well-prepared to launch a successful business. Remember to conduct market research, define clear goals and objectives, create a solid business plan, scout locations, secure necessary permits and licenses, obtain funding, develop a financial model, purchase essential equipment, hire personnel, and execute a smart marketing plan. With the martial arts industry generating over $4 billion in revenue and employing over 156,000 people in the United States alone, starting your own martial arts school business can be a financially rewarding venture. So, take the time to plan carefully and put in the hard work to make your dreams a reality. With this checklist as your guide, you're well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur in the martial arts industry.

Excel financial model

Martial Arts School Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support