7 Steps to Building a Strong, Strategic New Year Business Plan for Your Martial Arts School

You feel it, too?

The new year lurking … hovering over your shoulder … whispering in your ear … “Psstt… hey … when are you going to make a plan for me?

You know you need to start, but how can you possibly find the time when you have a million and one things to do during the crazy-busy holiday season?

Good news.

Every step you take… even a teeny-tiny one … is progress.

So start with a small step… start with these 7 steps here to get your new year business planning underway:  


Step 1: Review Your Business Performance


Before you begin to build your new year business plan, you need to know how your business performed in the current year.

Specifically, you need to know what worked, so you can do more of that — and what didn’t, so you can toss ineffective tactics aside.

You need data.

A good place to start is by running reports in your member management software.

Whether you’re using Member Solutions Member Manager software or another system, most software systems have dashboards and detailed reports you can easily run to review your business performance over the past year.

Member Manager software users: We suggest running the following two reports from January 1 of the current year to present day, as well as for the past two years. Reviewing your data for the current year as well as the past two years will shed light on both the flaws and opportunities in your sales and marketing processes and retention efforts.

Sales by Category — This report provides a detailed breakdown of all memberships, program sales, private sessions, and retail items you’ve sold within a set timeframe. To make it easier to consume the data from each year, we recommend downloading the report in pie chart format for a visual.

Lead Activity — This report will assist you with understanding lead metrics — where your leads are coming from, their status, who converted to a sale, and when.

Maybe you find that program and membership package sales increased in the current year compared to years past due to a seasonal sale. Knowing this confirms that you should repeat the same seasonal sale in the coming year.

Maybe you find your private sessions are down this year and private sessions have been a strong revenue source for your business in years past. Knowing this, you can plan a campaign around private sessions to increase sales in the coming year.

Whatever the case may be, reports from your member management software tell the story of what happened during the year and years past. From this data, you can then make solid, data-backed decisions and create a roadmap of how and when the results you commit to are doing to be delivered.


Looking for software to track your business performance?

Member Manager’s dashboard and up-to-the-minute reporting makes it easy to track and monitor business performance. See for yourself. 

Step 2: Get New Inspiration & Ideas

After completing step 1, you now know what worked, what didn’t, what you’ll repeat in the coming year, and what tactics you’ll ditch.

It’s a start, but you’ve only scratched the surface.

To continue to learn and grow your business, you’ll want to incorporate new ideas and implement new tactics. Start here:

1.  Block off 40 minutes on your schedule today or tomorrow and watch the webinar, Getting Your School Ready to Scale.

In it, Dave Kovar, along with Solomon Brenner and Michael St. John of Action Karate, discuss how to develop a growth mindset and take meaningful measures that will put you in the best position for growth and greatness.



2. Get your team involved. Not involving your team in your strategic planning process can be a HUGE miss for your business. After all, your instructors are on the floor, engaging with students and parents every day. They likely have tons of insight and ideas on how to improve the business.

Get their input. Let your team know you’re planning for the new year and want to hear their thoughts and ideas. Not only will you gather new insight and ideas for your new year business plan, you’ll strengthen your relationship with your teammates and more easily gain buy-in as you’ve actively involved your team in the planning process.


Step 3: State Your Business Goals


Now that you have an idea of how your business performed and the actions you want to take to improve and scale your business, it’s time to set actual goals.

The key is to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).

For example, you may determine that you want to increase your new memberships in April and May, so you commit to running a Spring campaign in March to generate new leads.

Your SMART lead generation goal for that initiative make look like this:

Generate 30 qualified leads in March by implementing a targeted Facebook leads campaign with a click-through rate of 5%.

Be sure to apply the SMART goal-setting approach to ALL your business initiatives, whether it be an initiative to recruit more instructors, generate more leads, sell more memberships, implement new business systems, or improve existing business operations.


Step 4: Create Your Action Plan

It’s one thing to have goals, but you need to take it a step further: you need to know how you’ll accomplish the goal, who will be involved in the initiative and who will be responsible for delivering the results.

In other words, you need an action plan.

To develop your action plan, start by creating a list of each initiative and organize each initiative by function such as marketing and sales, finance, and operations.

For each initiative, list those that are responsible for delivering results and those involved, along with a timeline for completion, resources needed, and a measurement process.


Step 5: Communicate the Plan


Once you have your action plan, it’s time to communicate your plan with your team. Build off the exciting “new year, new goals” momentum by holding a new year kick-off meeting in January where you cover the key initiatives and goals for the business with your team.


Step 6: Track Progress


Make it a point to review your goals once a week at minimum, note the progress made toward each goal, and track the actual outcome for each area in your business: marketing, member enrollment, member retention, staff training, instructor development, and finance.

Mark tasks that have been completed. For goals yet to be completed, include a status update on progress made toward that goal.


Step 7: Monitor & Revise


Know this: an action plan is never set in stone. In fact, you might want to consider your action plan as living, breathing guide: a plan that will continually change. A plan where you will adjust deadlines and reprioritize tasks multiple times as the year unfolds.

It’s OK.

It’s part of the process.

It’s better to continually adjust your action plan to have the project completed effectively and successfully, than have it done poorly and not produce the results you’re looking to achieve.


1, 2, 3 … Action!


Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” — Tony Robbins

Like Tony says, the key to achieving success is to take what you’ve learned and ACT.

After all, what good does it do if you simply know that something worked, or didn’t, and you don’t take steps to repeat the success or improve a process or procedure?   

ACT on your business plan.

Regularly review the plan with your team.

Assign action items.

Determine what action items you’ll take on yourself and when.

Doing so, you’ll be well on your way to improving and growing your martial arts business in the coming year.


Easily Track Your Business Performance with Member Manager Software!

Member Manager’s dashboard and up-to-the-minute reporting makes it easy to track and monitor business performance. See for yourself. 

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