Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Mighty Forest Starts With a Single Acorn

Mid-Cities Arnis opened its doors about a week ago, at the beginning of July.

Once thing we learned very quickly, in the sense of "we knew this, but now we KNOW this" is that July is possibly the single worst month to start a martial arts program.

We had, on day one, a single student sign up.


Now, all of the other classes like ours - fitness classes - are down at the community center.  When asked if we wanted to do the class with a single student, I said yes, of course we would. If that one person wanted to be there - I wanted to be there.

In our second class, we had a second student sign up.

So now we have two.

Ya'll avoid making nut jokes in the comments, ok?
If you think I'm disappointed by the initial turn out - I'm not.  I'm thrilled to have two students!

Those are two more than we had in June, right?

Look, every program has to start somewhere.  So many of us started with a couple of friends training in a park or a garage, to grow into a community center program, to grow into a studio and the instructor teaching martial arts nearly full-time.

We found a way to skip the park/garage stage, but we have to undergo the same process.  We understand this, and we know that with persistence and a good marketing plan, those two students will turn into four and eight, and sixteen...

And so on and so on and so on...
Click here if you can't see the video.

Plus, well, as I think I mentioned before, we originally planned on doing marketing all summer and opening our doors in September, but then we were asked to start two months early.

No way we wouldn't do it, even if we were relatively unprepared.  We rushed to buy sticks, shirts, and marketing materials. We couldn't execute everything in our plan for July 1, though, so much of our marketing stuff is just now getting off the ground so that we can bring in more leads and students.

The good thing about starting early is that we have the opportunity to build the momentum to reach the "back to school" audience at the end of August.  If we are successful, we should end up with a much larger group in September to build the program on going forward.

It was one of those situations where you just can't let opportunities like this pass by, no matter what. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be at NRH Centre, which is a beautiful and busy facility in a great part of town.  It's a nice place to be.

With our two little acorns, we're growing the forest to come.

So tell me about your experiences building a martial arts program - in a park or garage, in a community center, or in a studio.  How did you grow your forest?