I have been teaching jiu jitsu for 10 years and helping gym owners make money with Combat Corner for the past eight. These are some of the BIGGEST and most common mistakes I see gyms make with new students.
1. Trial Boxing Gloves
Trial BJJ Gis are okay, stinky, but okay. Trial Boxing Gloves are dangerous. A warm, enclosed space is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
You can have a great intro class but if your new student gets ringworm on their hand you will lose them and they WILL tell all their friends where and how they got it. A sign up fee (we’ll get to that later) to cover a pair of inexpensive boxing gloves or having affordable gloves for purchase will eliminate the need for a big box of MRSA in your gym.
2. They assume they know how to clean themselves (spoiler alert: they don’t)
Nobody wants to be the stinky new guy and yet so many students become just that. The things you do automatically- showering right after class, properly washing your shorts/rash guards/gi, even clipping your nails sometimes gets overlooked by the new students.
Posting your hygiene requirements in the changing area and bathroom will go a long way. You can also offer hygiene items for sale in your pro-shop. There is no excuse now!
3. Not recommending Boxing, Jiu Jitsu or MMA Gear to your students.
I get this one all the time- “I don’t want to force my students to buy anything” or “I let them get whatever MMA or Boxing gloves they want”.That’s fine for your established students or picky, higher level athletes but new students want and need guidance.
They are paying you for your expertise and that should extend to your knowledge of Martial Arts Gear. If they show up with a pair of “16 oz” Boxing Gloves filled with pillow stuffing they got from a Big Box Sporting Goods store or Boxing Gloves from their Halloween costume (yes I’ve seen this) they will hurt themselves or someone else.
There are low cost, high value, Boxing gloves out there that will keep your students safe AND help make the gym extra money if you stock them in your Pro Shop.
4. Free Trial
Touchy subject… I started on a free trial and have been a member of my gym for a decade!
Unfortunately, more often than not free trials leave as quickly as they came, if they ever come at all.
Simply put, a person who has invested something into showing up is a lot more likely to show up!
For example: you want to go to a concert, but when the time comes you’re on your couch and binge watching a cooking show. It is starting to look pretty good you are WAY more likely to go if you already bought tickets, vs if you got free tickets or where planning on buying them at the door.
If you DO offer a free trial period, make sure it has value! Include a private lesson, consultation or at least a walk through of the gym to explain your class and have a clear path to membership.
5. Not Offering Team’s Gear
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve visited a Gym in another state or even another country and I’ve wanted to purchase a Rash Guard with their Academy’s Logo with no success. Either because I forgot my own gear or I just wanted a souvenir.
If you do not offer any Gear with your Academy’s Logo, you are missing out BIG TIME. When a new student or a visiting student comes in, chances are they will probably want to buy their own gear, if not on their first day, eventually they will.
Team’s Gear does not only help with a feeling of unity and team but it is also free advertising whenever they compete or wear your gear elsewhere.
Those are my tips on new students. If you found this helpful stay tuned for my next blog- The Do’s and Don’ts of Running a Pro Shop.