How to Write a Martial Arts Business Plan (Step-by-Step Guide + Free Template)

Opening a martial arts studio can be very promising and profitable in a longer perspective. Yet, it requires a well-thought-out business plan. Creating this document will help you understand what you need to make your martial arts studio successful.

Stay with us! In this article we describe a BP for a martial art business from the scratch. It’s a solid foundation for writing your own detailed business plan. Doesn’t matter if you are creating a new studio or improving an existing one.

An inspiring quotation, connected with writing a business plan for a martial arts studio but also with martial arts discipline and emotions.

Download: Free Martial Arts School Business Plan Template

What is a martial arts school business plan?

This is a document that describes planned activities, goals, and strategies for a new or existing martial arts school. It is an important set of papers for:

  • martial arts school owners,
  • anyone who wants to open a new martial arts business.
An empty notebook and a pencil - place where a martial arts school business plan will be written.

How to write a martial arts school business plan (Step-by-Step)?

  • Step 1: Gather answers to important questions from the list below before writing your plan.
  • Step 2: Are you opening a martial arts school with an innovative business model? It is better to wait to start writing a business plan immediately to verify whether this model can succeed. 
  • Does the martial arts school have a traditional business model (e.g., hour-scheduled group training sessions) already existing in the market? You can skip this step and create a business plan immediately.
  • Step 3: Create a martial arts school business plan using the ready-made template (pattern) described below.
  • Step 4: Review the business plan regularly, every month in the first months of running the martial arts school, and at least once a year in subsequent years. A BP is a living document that will help your place grow.

What to remember when creating a martial arts school BP?

  • Write short and concisely. Be specific.
  • Use numbers for calculations.
  • Assume black scenarios. The blacker you assume, the more positive the surprise 🙂
  • In the first months of the martial arts school’s operation, work with the BP daily and update calculations and assumptions.
  • Once the martial arts school is stable and has reached the so-called break-even point, return to the business plan at least once a year.
  • Discuss the business plan with your team. You will build a unique commitment this way.
  • The business plan is for years. The document should be updated regularly. Assume that it’s never good enough and complete the content.
“Am I good enough?” written in a notebook, could be a question asked by a martial arts BP 🙂

10+ questions to start with when writing a business plan

Start writing your document by answering a few important questions. The questions help you create a good business plan for opening a martial arts school and, above all, help you design a business that perfectly suits your needs:

  • Why do you want to start this martial arts place?
  • How much would you like to earn per month? 
  • How many clients do you plan to serve per month? 

What kind of studio do you want to run? (e.g., group training place, specialized one-martial-art-style-studio, or for one kind of clientele).

Special kind of martial arts offer - classes for children.
  • What kind of service will you offer? (on-site, online, mixed).
  • What area will you operate in?
  • Who will be your client? 
  • How many direct competitors are there where you want to operate?
  • How will your studio stand out?
  • Who do you need to hire to start a martial arts school?
  • What metrics will you keep track of? (e.g. retention rate, customers opinions, contest prizes).
  • What will your place look like inside?
  • What will the atmosphere of your studio be like?
  • What will your martial arts offer look like? 
A PC is all your customer needs when they want to meet martial arts online.

Recommendation

Remember that a sample of your martial arts classes can attract potential customers. A well-performed meeting will help you sell your idea. The teacher’s performance and place’s image are your #1 sales tools.

What is a business plan for?

  • A business plan is an action plan. You will stop dreaming and start turning your idea into a real gym business plan.
  • Running a business is working in a company. Creating a plan is working “on the company,” i.e. its design and improvement.
  • A gym business plan will allow you to verify your assumptions. You will observe it in a year, two, or five years. It’s super satisfying to watch how your knowledge grows every year.
  • Writing this document allows you to translate your vision into a specific project and action plan. It also allows you to rethink to what extent your business idea is a recipe for success and what you still need to refine.
  • Creating a business plan for a gym will help you assess the reality of your dream. You’ll check the possibilities of its implementation, as well as check the chances of its success. It’s also important to assess the risk you have to take.
  • A business plan forces you to be specific. If you don’t know the answer to a question in our guide, you may be blind in this area, which is very risky.
  • If you already run a gym and don’t have a plan, fix this mistake. Every gym should have some sort of ideas for the present and future actions.

When is it worth writing a business plan?

Definitely! 🙂 You plan to open a successful martial arts school, right? Not having the basic elements of your business written down and calculated… dooms you to failure. Remember to verify them regularly too. 

Only an analysis of the studio’s results and planning the next moves (in the form of a business plan) allows you to have full control over the martial arts school.
Of course, the external motivation is looking for an investor or support (then you are forced to create this document).

Helpful resources when creating a martial arts school business plan

Free Martial Arts School Business Plan Template

A typical martial arts place business plan example includes:

  1. Executive summary for the studio
  2. Martial arts school description
  3. Market Analysis, Location Analysis
    • Market analysis
    • Competition analysis
    • SWOT analysis
  4. Investment plan (Cost Analysis, Financial Analysis)
    • Investment costs (one-off to start)
    • Operating costs (fixed monthly costs)
      Financial Projections
    • Profit and Loss Account
    • Break-even analysis
    • Sensitivity analysis
  5. Team (Employees, Founders)
    • Founders
    • Employees
  6. Martial arts school marketing plan
  7. Company description of the vision for further development of the studio
Two men practicing martial arts.

1. Executive Summary

The summary of the martial arts place business plan should include:

  • Mission statement, vision, and values.
  • Description of the studio concept.
  • Why will this idea be a success?
  • How do you want to implement this plan?
  • Costs.
  • Profits and return on investment.

The executive summary should be written at the end, after you have written your entire martial arts school business plan. The executive summary wraps the business plan up. It provides the reader with the most important information in a very concise form (max. 600 words, i.e., about 1-2 pages). Say only about the key aspects of your business idea. Use points!

2. Description of the martial arts school

This section aims to show you the details of your studio. It should not lack the following elements:

  1. Mission statement and vision
    • Mission: why do we exist?
    • Vision: what we want to achieve in 1, 2, and 5 years.
  2. Structure
    • Business Type: Is your studio a sole proprietorship, partnership, or other business?
  3. Martial arts studio’s concept
    • Martial arts school name (get inspired by our list of gym names).
    • Studio type: specify the type of martial arts school, e.g. individual meetings studio, group martial arts classes, online training studio, contest preparation only, etc.
    • Specific location: write exactly where your new studio is (or could be) and why you chose this place.
    • The style of the place: what will be the colors, atmosphere, decorations, music, etc.
    • Ways to serve the customer: only on-site, only remotely, both ways.
    • Hours of operation: What hours will the place be open? Why are these?
  4. Offer
    • Your offer is surely connected with your experience and skills. But remember to be creative and have 1-3 differentiators from the competition (Unique Selling Points)
An ascetic training interior matching with martial art discipline.

3. Market research and competition analysis

You should thoroughly analyze the space to create your premises. Oh, unless you are introducing real innovation to the market – or maybe especially then 🙂 What needs to be observed? Analyze the market and competition, focusing on the following: Industry analysis.

Customers are the key to any martial arts school’s success. Knowing their demographic structure, preferences, and training habits is critical to a business plan.

  • Target market for a martial arts school: Think about who your customers will be. Consider their age, interests, expectations, and how to reach them.
  • Needs in the market: Describe the market’s needs and how your martial arts school will meet them.
  • Target Group Size: Determine the number of potential customers in the market you intend to target.
  • Market trends: Use credible information to show that people will be interested in your martial arts school idea. Find out current trends and how the martial arts business is developing.

Competitive analysis Check out other martial arts schools that are or could be your competition.

  • Are there any other martial arts studios in your area? Make a list of them.
  • Revenue and number of customers they can achieve: Estimate how much such martial arts schools can earn.
  • Offer and prices: Analyze what these places offer and what is their pricing. Try to calculate their revenue cost (it is how much you need to spend before you start earning).
  • Competitor marketing activities: See what makes them successful and be aware of their weaknesses.
  • Competitive advantages: What will be your advantage?

SWOT analysis The abbreviation comes from the words: S for Strengths, W for Weaknesses, O for Opportunities, and T for Threats. Fields S and W are related to the martial arts school’s launch situation. While the O and T fields are related to the success of your project in the future. It is worth conducting such an analysis in the form of a table:

PositiveNegative
InsideStrengths


Weaknesses


OutsideOpportunities


Threats


4. Investment plan (cost analysis)

In this section, you will present the costs associated with the initial investment and the spending plan for the first year of operation.

List the costs, dividing them into two groups:

  • Investment costs (one-off to start).
  • Operating costs (fixed monthly costs). 

After opening a martial arts school, verify the costs regularly, preferably once a month.

Creating a martial arts business plan consists of predicting the income-outcome issues.

Investment costs include, among others:

  1. Rental or purchase of the real estate.
  2. Renovation and adaptation of the martial arts facilities.
  3. Purchase of exercise equipment: mats, kettlebells, dumbbells, other special equipment, like poles for a pole sport studio, etc.
  4. Purchase of room furniture and equipment:
    • Chairs.
    • Reception Desk.
    • Lighting.
    • Unified Work Clothes for the staff (if you plan it)
  5. IT software and hardware:
    • POS software.
    • Payment terminals.
    • Computer hardware for the POS system.
  6. Marketing and promotion costs:
    • Logo.
    • A website with online booking.
    • Flyers.

Regarding point 5 and 6, take into account a very important monthly purchase, which will however save your time and money finally. It’s a martial arts school management software. You can compare some of the software providers  dodać link gdy artykuł będzie opublikowany on the market. Yet, what we recommend is WodGuru. With its reasonable price, many useful features, amazingly helpful support and nice cartoon visual identity.

  1. Insurance of the premises and equipment.
  2. Organizational and legal costs (e.g., regulations, documentation).
  3. Costs related to permits and licenses (e.g. license to conduct exercises according to a patented pattern and name).
  4. External training costs.
  5. Operating costs.
  6. Rental of real estate (if the premises are rented).
  7. Utility charges:
    • Electricity.
    • Gas.
    • Water.
  8. Staff wages: main martial arts instructor, receptionist, additional workshop teachers, etc.
  9. Purchase of additional items like finger food and drinks.
  10. Equipment maintenance and servicing costs.
  11. Service charges:
  12. Employee insurance.
  13. Marketing and promotion costs:
    • Online and offline advertising.
    • Printed materials.
    • Running social media.
    • Website positioning (SEO).
  14. Taxes and fees.

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How to finance the opening of a martial arts school?

How Much does it cost to open a martial arts school in 2024? Opening a martial arts school with no money can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some ways to open a studio without enough funds:

  • Look for martial arts school investors or alternative funding sources.
  • Start your online business to get first customers.
  • Consider co-working with other companies.
  • Start a smaller business by offering training sessions on demand and develop your brand.

Assess, which costs at the beginning of a martial arts business are inevitable.
Think about:

  • taking out bank loans,
  • receiving subsidies — a business plan will even be necessary to receive them
  • loans from friends or family.

5. Financial forecast

  • Projected profit and Loss Statement: Shows what turnover and profits you will generate. 
  • Break-even analysis: Shows when a martial arts school will become profitable.
  • Sensitivity analysis: Shows what happens to turnover and profit in negative scenarios. E.g. 50% decrease in turnover for three months.

Profit and Loss Account You will need to estimate the value of the sale considering the size of your martial arts school, target market, sales volume, and revenue cost. 

You will get a profit and loss forecast, comparing this with the costs. The easiest way to prepare a profit and loss account is in the form of a table:

Months of running a businessMonth 1Month 2Month 3e.t.c.
Number of fitness classes per month
Average class value
Monthly income (turnover)
Variable costs per month
Fixed costs per month
Profit per month
Profit margin (in percentages)

Break-even analysis

Investors will want to know how much revenue you need to generate each month to break even after all fixed and operating costs are considered. In the analysis, you should show how you intend to generate the necessary revenue, even in difficult months with lower sales.

A young girl training martial arts on a dollar banknotes background.

Sensitivity analysis

It is worth doing it to assess the negative scenarios. When will the other martial arts schools be stronger, and you will have to lower prices? When do you lose key employees? When is there a decrease in sales by 10 or 20% compared to what you assume?

This will allow us to be better prepared for different financial crises and reduce stress when it happens.

Make a sensitivity analysis in the form of a table:

ProblemHow will it affect revenue, costs and profitsHow to reactCountermeasure








6. Team

Business is people. Describe what your team will look like, dividing it into two groups:

  • Founders.
  • Employees.
Three people working on one PC, discussing their martial arts business.

Founders

If you are looking for investors, this area can be critical for them.

Describe the founders:

  • List of founders.
  • Experience.
  • Successes.

Employees

Which positions are necessary for the daily functioning of the premises? Is it the receptionist, a martial arts instructor, an additional teacher, social media platforms specialist, etc.? Who will suffice as emergency help?

Think about which people you already know with the necessary competencies. Which ones will you have to look for or train as your employees from the beginning? The cost of necessary training should also be included in the martial arts school business plan.

Describe the team you need to build:

  • List of job titles.
  • Duties.
  • Remuneration.
  • Type of contract.
The instructor congratulating his students in a martial arts school.

7. Marketing plan

Ideally, your marketing strategy should include the items we listed. Below we describe how to do effective marketing. You may also take into consideration some of the fitness marketing ideas we wrote about in our previous articles.

A person holding a camera pointing at you, recording a marketing spot which promotes your martial arts business.
  1. Brand building (logo, colors, martial arts school name, martial arts school slogans)
  2. Building your own website or app (Here you can check how to create a fitness app)
  3. Selling training sessions or booking online from your own website (as the main way of selling online)
  4. Launching a loyalty program
  5. An action list on how you will attract offline customers
    • Flyers.
    • Radio.
    • PR.
    • Events.
  6. An action list on how you will attract online customers
    • Will you run social media?
    • Will you be implementing martial arts school SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
    • Will you add a business listing on Google Maps?
    • Will you run email and SMS campaigns, and if so, how often? How will you build your subscriber base? 
    • Will you be blogging?
    • Will you be running a martial arts school newsletter?
    • Will you be doing paid Google Ads and Facebook Ads?
  7. Will you be offering promotions? If so, what types?

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8. A vision of further development

Awareness of your development’s direction is very important at the beginning of the martial arts business. When setting school goals you want to achieve in a certain time, you should start with the ones possible to get at the everyday level. It is also worth considering how you want to reach the bigger ones.

A young boy wearing martial arts clothes, watching older competitors and feeling this is his life goal.

During project execution you need to observe and adapt initial goals. It enables effective management and reduces losses in marketing, service, and other areas. Your martial arts school’s written plan should clearly outline the vision and strategies to achieve desired objectives.

Sample martial arts school business plan

We created a sample martial arts school business plan to help you write your own business plan. Click below to download an example of a business plan for a martial arts school.

Download: Free Martial Arts School Business Plan Template

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Key Takeaways

  • The business plan describes what your martial arts school will look like.
  • Create a business plan even if you already run a martial arts school.
  • Do not outsource writing a business plan to external companies. It is better to ask experienced martial arts school owners or an external company as a consultant for your ideas.
  • Go back to the business plan once a month if you are starting and once a year if you have been operating for several years.
  • A business plan is not an artificial document you write once and forget. It is a living document that teaches you how to run a business.
  • Complete the content of your business plan. It is “never good enough”.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to write small martial arts school business plans?

Regardless of the size of the martial arts school, the steps of business planning remain the same. Creating a document for a small martial arts school consists of writing: 

  • Executive summary, 
  • Martial arts school description, 
  • Market analysis, 
  • Investment plan, 
  • Financial projections, 
  • Team, 
  • Marketing plan,
  • Company development description

Does every martial arts school need a business plan?

In our opinion, it does. If you are serious about putting your own martial arts school in the whole martial arts industry, you must implement a repetitive method of working “on the company”. A BP that is updated every month and year is a way to run a better and better business.

How to promote martial arts schools?

Promoting a martial arts school is key to attracting new guests, increasing sales and retaining regular customers.

A few steps to help you promote your martial arts school:

  1. Create a professional website with an online booking system.
  2. Take care of social media by posting regularly and encouraging interaction.
  3. Add your martial arts school to popular sites.
  4. Collaborate with influencers.
  5. Organize events such as health promoting, self defense promotion, competitions.
  6. Use paid ads such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
  7. Collect your martial arts school feedback from satisfied customers.

How much profit does the martial arts school make?

A martial arts school’s profit depends on many factors, such as location, offer, prices, service quality, and business size. The average martial arts school profit margin is between 20 and 30% per year, but it can vary significantly depending on the factors mentioned above. 

What makes a martial arts school business plan important?

A martial arts school business plan is important for several reasons:

  • It helps clarify the vision and goals of the martial arts school.
  • It provides a roadmap for the business.
  • It includes financial projections, budgeting, and funding strategies for securing investors or loans.
  • It identifies potential risks and challenges, allowing the business to address them proactively.
  • It serves as a reference point for decision-making, helping the management team focus on the business’s objectives.
  • It can be used to communicate the business idea effectively to stakeholders, including investors, partners, and employees.

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