I’ve been in the Martial Arts business for a little over 20 years and it wasn’t an easy ride. Me and my husband were working for someone else when 8 years ago we finally decided to take the plunge and open our own school.
Every entrepreneurial venture is always a big risk. I remember having to take another job to supplement our income. When you start a business, a lot of the money goes into growing it and you’re barely breaking even. After 4 to 5 months of opening, I broke my arm and was out of work for 3 months. And after a year we lost our home to foreclosure. There was even a time when we had to pretend to be working late and would make the kids stay over at their grandparents’ house because we didn’t have heat in our own home. We even lived without electricity for a week because we couldn’t pay the bill.
We met a lot of challenges and adversities that we had to overcome in order to be successful. A lot of times its those adversities that we face that force us to step up and find different ways and that’s what happened with us.
Our first location was in a small rural farming community with less than 10,000 people. The nearest business was 3 to 4 miles away so we were really in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t get a lot of drive by traffic. In order to get people to our school, I would market the business everywhere nonstop- school talks, ad cards, new member parties, Free Pizza parties. We had to work with what little resources we had.
The wonderful thing is shortly after we opened, social media gained a lot more momentum. I devoted my time to learning how to use this platform to grow my school. When I started applying these social media techniques my business grossed from $12,000 to $ 35,000 a month and 70% of those new members came from social media campaigns.
When we opened our 2nd location, we were $ 55,000 over our construction budget because of all the road blocks we encountered from the town. My marketing budget was sacrificed and I had to rely heavily on social media. I’m happy to share that in the last year and a half since we opened, we have been grossing about $ 45,000 a month.
Social Media helped a great deal in securing clients and getting the word out about our school. Almost everyone and anyone I talk to will say at some point they saw us on Facebook. Business owners nowadays are lucky to have this tool at our disposal. I challenge everyone who is just starting out not to get discouraged if they encounter a roadblock. Always try to find another way to reach your goal. I could have easily given up but I chose to find an alternative to growing my business other than the traditional advertising. I utilized Social Media to help me grow my school.