Mixed martial arts is only gaining in popularity. There are over 1 million MMA fighters in the U.S. and this number continues to grow. Whether starting a new gym or adding to a facility you already have, catering to this demographic can only increase your business. Here are some ideas on how to start an MMA gym.
Learn the Sport and Teach Community Classes
First, you’re going to need to build a foundation in MMA. Depending on your background, this may mean learning MMA techniques yourself and doing some training. It could also include teaching MMA classes locally. Hosting classes in local neighborhood hangouts or at parks will help you build an audience. Plus, these classes will help you build brand awareness even before making a huge initial investment in equipment.
Network With the Local Community
As you begin to plan to open, it will be important to meet and network with any local fighters. This means you’ll need to know about and go to competitions and get to know the competitors. Depending on your background, you should also consider training and competing yourself. Either way, this networking will take you far in attracting clients and potentially hiring trainers for your gym.
Build on Customer Interactions
Even at these early stages it’s very important to consider marketing and CRM for small business. The earlier you start thinking about your customer interactions and relationships, the better foundation you will have to build on. Knowing how many people you talk to regularly, what type of marketing tools were used to reach them and how they interact with your business will only make you better as you grow.
Select a Highly Visible Location
You should consider marketing in every business decision you make, including picking a location for your gym. Being off a busy highway or somewhere with a lot of pedestrian visibility will do you well. Make sure you have a large, recognizable sign so people know what you’re about and can easily find you. Choosing a location that’s easy to spot and very visible while potential clients are driving or walking by will increase foot traffic and help with brand recognition.
Invest in Durable Equipment
You’ll also want to make a big investment in high-quality, durable equipment. Equipment should be specific to MMA. You’ll need items like mats, heavy bags, boxing gloves, target shields, and battle ropes. It’s also important to have strength training equipment available, like heavy dumbbells and barbells. Whether starting a new location or adding MMA training to an existing gym, the more accurately you can create the experience of being in the ring, the more likely you’ll be to sign up new clients.
Don’t Overlook Any Details
As your setting up equipment, you’ll also need to consider items like membership software, a good website and insurance. People need to be able to find you and know what you’re about, so a functional and accessible website is essential. Make sure that it’s mobile friendly, as many potential clients will try to find you from their phones. Include pictures of your coaches and the facilities that engage and attract potential customers.
Having membership management software and insurance setup from the getgo can only benefit you. Knowing you’ve invested in these products will show your potential customers that you’re serious and professional. This investment will also make it easy to streamline the setup and registration process with new clients.
Market, Market, Market
Finally, like in all new businesses, marketing is key. This means interacting and engaging with potential clients in-person and online. Develop a social media presence and use it to engage with the MMA world. Go to local and regional MMA events, meet new people and talk about your gym. Host a grand opening event to welcome potential new clients to your gym. Offer free training sessions to new athletes or discounted membership to founding members.
Never forget that you are your brand and that everywhere you go, you are a representation of this product you’re selling. Opening a new gym is a lot of work, but you can be successful if you go about it the right way.
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