9.17.2008

YOUR COMMUNITY: PART 3

This one is from an anonymous commenter:

The "local" gym that started in my neighborhood in the states had the following growing pains:

1. The "early adopters" who joined when it first opened where infused with MMA excitement and there were no "old hands" to calm them down. Initially it was pretty rough and no one wanted to tap. Some of the "tough guys" ended up dropping out, the scene mellowed a lot. Now we win competitions but have a friendlier attitude.

2. Instructors came and went at first. It was hard to pay them enough to stay, so we had "visitors" from Brazil camping out in the gym at night, partying on weekends, and driving the students hard during classes. The lack of instructor stability slowed down growth. It would have been better to budget for, and hire, someone with longterm stability than try to "wing it."

3. To reduce overhead, the gym took in a subtenant, a self defense academy. That didn't help long term, since the BJJ people didn't feed students to the self defense academy and vice versa. Conclusion: it's better to have focus. Now the self defense academy has its own location and both academies are doing better.

4. The academy didn't have enough ventilation and it got pretty hot. It's important to provide plenty of fresh air. People were passing colds to each other.

5. It's important to insist on flip flops off the mat, and to disinfect mats frequently, preferably before a class.

6. You never know where students come from. Some are drive by, some are word of mouth, some are ads, some are internet. You have to work every angle.

7. The pricing schedule is too complex. Four levels of pricing. Should have only two - 1 time a week at a bare minimum price; unlimited only a little more. Most students only come 8x a month. The "serious" students come 12x.

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