This post is part of a series detailing strategies for starting a Martial Arts School. All pieces within this series can be applied to any type of Martial Art—not just Muay Thai. The “How to Start a Martial Arts School” series will cover everything from finding the perfect space to figuring out which small business software you’ll need to get going. If you have a question or recommended topic for this series, drop me a line.
Though it may not be the most exciting part of opening a Martial Arts studio, all small business owners need to invest in some type of software. You may have secured your initial seed financing—maybe you took out loans, or perhaps you’re relying on personal savings—but you’ll need to spend more time figuring out the financial aspect of running a small business. Similarly, you’ll need a way to manage your students, track attendance, and bill clients. Maybe you want to send out weekly newsletters or use a software to produce and retain digital waivers. Perhaps you just want to utilize an analytics software to better serve your community. Regardless of your intention, you’re better off investing in a software than spending thousands of dollars to hire someone. Here’s what you should look for in a Martial Arts software product.
- Easy Communication—You’ll need some type of communication tool in order to correspond with clients. This might mean setting up a business GMail account. This might mean building your audience with Mailchimp newsletters. Think about the reasons why you would need to contact your clients, then choose the best communication option for your Dojo.
- Student Management—Software products, such as DojoExpert, can save all relevant personal information for students. This includes everything from class attendance and belt achievement to email addresses and competition results. This can also tie into an attendance tracking software. With software like WellnessLiving, students can use a smartphone or tablet app to sign in before every class, allowing you to track their progress and attendance habits. This is also a great tool for generating billing statements.
- Waiver Management—Depending on your business and what your attorney advises, all new students must sign waivers before participating in a Martial Arts class. For those under 18 years old, you’ll likely need to get parent or guardian signatures. Digital waiver features, such as those offered through Martialytics, are essential for tracking and storing up-to-date waivers. Some software tools will even alert you when waivers expire, prompting you to renew student contracts.
- Tax and Payroll—If you’re opening a Martial Arts studio, you’re going to hire a few employees. Keeping track of withholding tax and payroll processing is a difficult job on its own, but doing it while simultaneously running a small business can be nearly impossible. Additionally, you’ll need to file taxes as a business—something that takes time, knowledge, and patience. Instead of using precious time on tax reporting and payroll calculations, invest in an accounting software, such as Advanced Micro Solutions, to do the work for you.
- Payment Processing—In the end, your Martial Arts school will be a business. You will need to rely on customer payment in order to survive. Therefore, payment processing and full-service billing will be one of the most essential inclusions in a software. Products, such as those offered by Affiliated Acceptance Corporation, can do everything from following up on credit card expiration to pursuing overdue accounts.
Our 3-Part Series
Part 1: A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting Your Own School
Part 2: Study Your Market Feasibility and Demographics
Part 3: A Dojo is a Small Business, and Small Businesses Need Software