How to write a martial arts business plan in 10 steps

15 min read
Find out what you need to include when you write a martial arts school business plan with our easy-to-follow 10-step guide.

Find out what you need to include when you write a martial arts school business plan with our easy-to-follow 10-step guide.

Starting any new business is an exciting time. The prospect of working for yourself, building something new and original, and the journey of taking something that started as merely an idea and turning it into a success can be incredibly rewarding.

As a martial arts instructor looking to become a martial arts business owner, it's no different. You should be excited and rearing to go. But before you go racing off, hold your horses for just a bit and make sure you have all the tools you need in place before you head out on your martial arts adventure.

In this guide, you'll learn the different steps you need to take to easily write an effective martial arts school business plan. From conducting market research and setting your goals, to nailing down your financials and putting together a marketing plan, you'll be well on your way to martial arts success.

A martial arts class in a martial arts school

What is a business plan?

Put simply, a business plan is a document that anyone who wishes to start their own company puts together in order to plan and organise their business idea. This could be anything from a martial arts school, to a cafe, to a tech startup.

The point of having a business plan is to give you focus and direction for your martial arts business so that you can map out what needs to be done in order to achieve your martial arts business goals. It's also a great way to track your progress and keep on top of things as your martial arts school grows.

Why you need to write a martial arts business plan

For many martial arts instructors, opening a martial arts school, dojo, or martial arts studio comes from wanting to have more control over the style and curriculum they teach. It also gives them the opportunity to hone their own skills in the martial arts style they prefer.

But this and this alone is not enough to guide you through the different paths of turning your martial arts school from a concept into reality. A martial arts business plan serves more than one purpose.

As with any business, there are countless reasons why you should have a business plan before you start a martial arts school. Here are just a few:

  • To give you a clear idea of what needs to be done to ensure martial arts business success.
  • To give your martial arts business focus and direction.
  • To track your business progress as it grows.
  • To get business funding from banks or investors.
  • To act as a business roadmap.

By having a martial arts business plan in place, you can be better equipped for the challenges and opportunities that come with owning a martial arts school. A martial arts business plan will allow you to focus on your goals, both long and short-term, for your new martial arts school.

Writing your martial arts school business plan

When you start to write your martial arts business plan, it can seem daunting, but by following an uncomplicated business plan template, you'll have all the sections that are vital properly planning your martial arts school.

The sections that you should include in your martial arts business plan include:

  1. An executive summary.
  2. A company overview.
  3. Management and staff.
  4. Market analysis.
  5. Primary market.
  6. Marketing strategy.
  7. Location.
  8. Services and amenities.
  9. Financial projections.
  10. Appendix.

Each section plays its role in helping you prioritise the tasks needed to get your martial arts school up and running. So without further ado, let's take a look at what each section entails.

1. Executive summary

Your executive summary is essentially the introduction to your business plan. And the key here is, "summary". Keep it focused, keep it brief. The real detail will come later, but at the moment you're explaining to potential investors or bank managers the overall vision you have for your business. It'll also help you keep your goals clear in your mind.

Your executive summary needs to make certain points about your business as clear as possible. These can include subjects such as:

What is your business idea?

Let your reader know what your business idea is. Explain briefly the type of martial arts school you want to start. Is it going to be a school specifically for one type of martial art, such as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school or a Taekwondo school? Or do you intend to offer a variety of classes for different martial arts?

TeamUp's Tom Fischer competing in a BJJ bout

Why are you setting up a martial arts school?

Explain your motivations for setting up a martial arts school. Give a short background of your own career teaching martial arts. Why have you decided that now is the time to start your own martial arts school? Have you taught in many martial arts schools? Do you have a strong martial arts following that you can rely on to come to your new school?

What do you hope to achieve with your martial arts school?

Be clear about what you hope to achieve. Do you want your martial arts school to be a one-location business, or do you envisage your school becoming a franchise in the future? Do you want to instruct a certain age group? It’s important to demonstrate you’ve considered these

2. Company overview

The company overview section of your martial arts business plan should provide the reader with greater detail about your proposed martial arts studio and your business goals. You can now go into greater detail about the style or different styles that you intend to teach at your martial arts school. You should also include:

The martial arts school's mission statement

This is a short paragraph that summarises what your martial arts school is all about. It should be more personal than your brief explanation in the previous section, and your initial mission statement should be succinct. For example, TeamUp's mission statement is:

"To provide the best management software for fitness studios, boxes, and gyms."

It's clear what the goal of the company is. It's direct with obvious intent. Before you go into greater detail about your business, make sure you have a mission statement that clearly states your goal and philosophy for your martial arts studio or school.

Your martial arts school's vision statement

Similar to the mission statement, your vision statement is about what you hope to achieve with your martial arts school. But it should be more future-focused than the mission statement. It's what you hope martial arts will look like in five, 10, or 20 years time thanks to your efforts.

3. Management and staff

If you're the only one running the martial arts school, then this section can be quite brief. You've already shown your credentials and that you have the necessary experience in the martial arts industry.

However, if you have plans to hire staff or instructors, you need to go into more detail about who will be helping you to run your martial arts school. This includes martial arts instructors, receptionists, and any other support staff you plan on hiring.

Show you know how to hire the right person

Make it clear that you know the kind of people you want to hire. Demonstrate you know how to hire the right person by doing your research and writing a detailed job description.

A martial arts instructor is the most important part of any martial arts school. They are the ones who will be teaching the classes and interacting with the students on a daily basis. You want to hire should be experienced and qualified in the martial arts discipline they will be teaching.

But more than that, you want to make sure they share the same values and philosophy as you. It's even worth saying that you're prepared to help train the right person up and help them get certified as they work rather than hiring the wrong person just because they have the right certifications.

Include your plan for training up your staff

You should also include a section on employee training, as it's important that your staff are well-versed in your martial arts school's philosophy and methods. You need to make sure they know how to teach the martial arts style you're offering and encourage them to keep developing their own techniques and credentials. It’s also important that they understand your business goals and want to be a part of achieving them.

4. Market analysis

Your market analysis is when you start to show that you've really done your homework. You want to demonstrate that you've considered the chances of success for your martial arts studio. You need to establish that you've thought about potential blockers as well as identifying a gap in the market.

Who are your main competitors?

This is where you start to really show that you know the martial arts landscape. You need to identify who your main competitors are and what their business does well or where they are lacking. This will help you to learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes.

It's also worth mentioning any potential new entrants into the market. These could be other martial arts studios looking to set up in your area or a new gym that's starting to offer martial arts classes. What will you do differently? How will you stand out from the growing crowd?

What are the trends in the martial arts industry?

The martial arts industry is always changing. There are new styles and disciplines emerging all the time. You need to be on top of these trends so you can make sure your martial arts studio is offering the latest and greatest.

You should also be aware of any shifts in the market. For example, more people might be looking for martial arts classes that focus on self-defense techniques rather than competition. If you can identify these trends early, you can make sure your martial arts studio is ahead of the curve.

5. Primary market

This is when you tell your investors your target clientele. Martial arts studios can be quite niche, so it's important to be as specific as possible about who you're targeting. Are you focused on kids' martial arts classes? Are you catering to adults who want to learn self-defense? Is your martial arts studio aimed at those who want to compete?

The more specific you can be about your target market, the better. This will help you to craft your marketing messages and make sure you're attracting the right kind of students.

A martial arts student enjoying a class at a martial arts school.

6. Marketing strategy

Once you have a thorough marketing analysis and explained your target market, you now need to show that you've thought about your marketing strategy. Prove that you've thought about different avenues for marketing and that the marketing materials you intend to use are appropriate for your target clientele.

Define an online marketing strategy

Online marketing doesn't have to be overly complex. There are a few things you need to have in place to really get your online marketing campaign live and kicking. For example, make sure you know how to build a website or that you have a website developer creating one for you. Your website will become the hub of your operations.

Create social media pages. Engaging social media posts will not only help you in the early stages of launching your martial arts studio. They will be a vital part of your marketing plan as your business grows.

Have a local marketing plan

Having a marketing plan that concentrates on your local area is especially important when you're just about to open your business. Your initial customer base is more than likely to be comprised of people in and close to your local area, so make sure they know you're there.

Local marketing ideas can actually be a lot of fun for your and the community in general. From holding events or competitions at your school or studio to sponsoring local events, there are plenty of ways to get your martial arts studio name out there.

7. Location

The location of your martial arts studio is important for a number of reasons. First, it's important to make sure you're in a safe area with good foot traffic. You don't want your martial arts studio to be hidden away where no one will find it.

Second, you need to think about the demographics of the area you're in. Are there a lot of families? What is the income level? Knowing this will help you to target your marketing messages appropriately.

8. Services and amenities

This is where you'll get to show off everything your martial arts studio will have to offer. Is your facility state-of-the-art? Do you have a wide range of classes and programs available?

Give a thorough rundown of the services and classes you will be offering

Make sure you list all of the services your martial arts studio will offer so potential students know exactly what they'll get when they enrol. Show off all the class types you'll be offering, and consider how you’ll motivate your martial arts students.

Highlight classes for adults or classes for people working their way up through the different belts. If you're going to offer kids' classes, make an effort to sell that after-school spot. Offering after-school classes will be a great way to keep your studio full while most adults will still be working.

A kids' class in a martial arts school.

Highlight additional services you'll be offering. Whether you're intending to offer one-to-one appointments or online classes and on-demand content, let potential investors know that you've got a thorough plan.

Explain what amenities your martial arts studio will have

Your martial arts studio should have all the amenities that students need to be comfortable and safe while they're at your facility. Making sure that your school or studio is a fun, clean, and enjoyable place to be is one of the primary ways to retain members and students. You can't expect them to return to classes if they're put off as soon as they walk through the door.

Show investors that you've considered the amenities you'll need to install in your martial arts studio, including things like changing rooms, lockers, showers, and a waiting area for those who are accompanying students to their classes. You should also list any other unique selling points that you intend your martial arts studio to offer.

9. Financial projections

Your martial arts studio business plan isn't complete without financial projections. This part of your plan is essential for potential investors who want to know whether or not your martial arts studio will be a viable investment.

Include a break-even analysis in your martial arts school business plan

Your break-even point (BEP) analysis is a crucial part of your martial arts studio business plan. This is where you'll need to learn how to calculate a BEP analysis and do some serious maths to figure out how long it will take for your martial arts studio to start making a profit.

To do this, you'll need to list all of your fixed and variable costs. Your fixed costs are things such as:

  • Rent.
  • Utilities.
  • Insurance.

Your variable costs are things that include

Once you've got all of your costs listed, you can start to figure out how much revenue you'll need to bring in each month to cover those costs. This will give you a good idea of how long it will take for your martial arts studio to start making a

10. Appendix

The appendix of your business plan is where you keep a full rundown of your financial projections, alongside any other supporting documents you may have. The appendix is important because it's where you can provide potential investors with additional information that they may find useful when making their decision.

This could include things like your martial arts resume, letters of recommendation, or even a copy of your black belt certificate if you have one. Don't discount anything in this section. If you feel that adding a relevant document or certification to your business plan will help to enhance your proposal, then include it.

To sum up

A martial arts business plan is an essential part of planning your martial arts school. It's an important document to take to banks and investors to show you've thought about each part of starting your new business venture. 

But more than that it is a vital roadmap for you as a new business owner. It'll give you the step-by-step instructions you need to follow and keep you on the right track to getting your martial arts school up and running.

Remember to ensure that your martial arts school business plan is well-researched, concise, and easy to understand. Include all the essential information potential investors need to understand your goals. With a thorough martial arts business plan, you're one step closer to fulling your goal of running your own martial arts school.


Start collecting vital information about how to run a martial arts business with management software and find how TeamUp's scalable pricing and intuitive software can help you by booking a call with one of our team today.


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