I've received several e-mails asking me about the process of opening my own academy and thought I'd share a set of questions given to me by those who've already done it themselves. Not to say that I've got it all figured out but I found that in the beginning I didn't know all the answers and had to take time to think about it. If you're not clear about what your goals are and what you stand for, how do you expect others to follow and support your project? -Luke
IS THERE A DEMAND FOR A NEW SCHOOL IN YOUR AREA?
How large an area are we talking about and how many schools are already established? Are we talking about just one other school or are there like four other schools in your city? What's the distance between schools that makes your school a more convenient location for that part of town? Back in NYC, there are 3 Starbucks within viewing distance from each other, each a single block apart.
WHAT CAN YOU OFFER THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SCHOOLS?
How is your spot going to differ from the schools that are already established. Space? Price? Instruction? Vibe? Affiliation?
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL AND MOTIVATION?
What are you interests in opening a new school? Money? Demand? Difference in school of thought? None in your area? No body likes you at their gym, JK?
WILL THE NEW SCHOOL ADD TO THE COMMUNITY?
With a larger body of practitioners, the larger and broader the competition spectrum can be. Would this be part of your goal and point of participation in the community? Again this reflects back to whether there is a demand for the new school.
HOW CAN YOU WORK TO COOPERATE WITH OTHER TEAMS TO MAINTAIN POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS?
How can you work with the existing teams to help each other and maintain positive relationships? How do the teams there support each other in the events put on the for the local scene. Does everyone show their support at the local tournaments?
HOW WILL YOU SECURE A LOCATION?
A jiu-jitsu family needs a home and consistency in location is a big part of that. How will your facilities/space supply the current demand and will things have to change as your school grows? How do provide a space that is both conveniently located and not too close to other schools?
WITH NO EXISTING STUDENTS, HOW WILL YOU PAY RENT + UTILITIES?
Do you have enough start-up capital to cover the expenses before you can host paying students?
HOW WILL YOU PROVIDE STABILITY FOR THE STUDENTS?
Will you be there in person at the scheduled time so that students can always expect someone to be there to help them. How well can you keep to the promised schedule? Also what are you doing to help promote enough students to be there to help each other with training?
HOW WILL YOU SECURE A QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR? SALARY?
BJJ aint' cheap and neither is instruction. What are your options locally and how might this effect the interest at you school? It's not mandatory that you have a black-belt but what else can you offer so that qualified instruction is there from time to time if not full time?
HOW WILL THE CLASSES BE LEAD IF NO INSTRUCTOR?
What are your options? DVD night?