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8 Steps to Creating a Winning Martial Arts Business Plan

martial arts business plan

Your martial arts business plan is your roadmap to success. It guides you on your journey, helps you make better decisions, and increases your chances of securing funding for your business.

Creating a business plan for your gym is a process. It’s easy to think of a business plan as something you build once and then you’re done. But your business plan evolves and changes with your business; it’s not a static checklist. 

So whether you’re starting a new martial arts business or expanding an existing studio, a business plan sets the foundation for success. 

In this article, we break down the core elements of a martial arts business plan and how to build a winning document to attract investment for your martial arts business.

What is a business plan and why do you need one?

So, what is a business plan for your gym? It’s a document that tells the reader—investors, the bank, etc.—what your business is and a realistic idea of where the business is heading. At a basic level, your business plan should answer the following questions: 

  • How does your martial arts business work?
  • What are your business goals?
  • What steps do you need to take to reach your goals?

Research shows that entrepreneurs who write formal business plans are more likely to succeed. With a new business, it’s beneficial to pull your ideas into focus by putting pen to paper. However, even established businesses can leverage a business plan when planning growth and expansion efforts.

The main reason to create a thorough business plan is to obtain startup capital and funding. Potential investors and financial institutions will need concrete numbers with facts and figures to move forward with your business. Without a business plan, there is little to no chance of winning their confidence—or their money.

What to include in your martial arts business plan? 

Ready to create a solid business plan for your martial arts school? Follow these eight steps to cover all your necessary bases. Prefer to work from a template? We recommend this one or this one.

Executive summary 

The executive summary is always at the top of a business plan. It should be an attention-grabbing pitch that’s concise yet interesting. You’ll continue to flesh out the points from your executive summary throughout the document. 

Although the executive summary is the first piece of your business plan, it can be easier to write it at the end. Keep in mind what it should include so that you answer your own questions as you build out your plan. 

The executive summary should explain: 

  • WHO – who your business is and what it offers 
  • WHY – what you hope to accomplish through your business
  • HOW – how you are going to get there

Company overview

The company overview is a more detailed description of your martial arts business. It goes beyond talking about who you are and delves into the specific clientele you plan on serving, how your business stands out from the competition, and the goals for your business. 

Because martial arts business models can differ, now is a good time to explain how you will run your business in more detail. 

Your company overview can include: 

  • Expand on the purpose of your business 
  • Business model and structure
  • Products and services you offer 
  • Target market research  
  • Founding story 
  • Legal structure

Industry analysis

The industry or market analysis is where you investigate your local market. Think about your niche, current trends in martial arts, and how your business aligns with market demand. 

Essentially, this section evaluates the fit of your business in today’s market. Try to include some facts and statistics about the martial arts industry and where the market is headed. 

For example, a martial arts school looking to obtain funding for expansion into new locations would include trends and statistics on target demographics and where to reach them — e.g. how many youth are signing up for martial arts classes and the proximity of existing studios to elementary schools, plus any gaps that exist. 

Customer analysis 

Within the martial arts industry, there are various niches and audience segments. Even within one business, you can have multiple target audience personas. The customer base you choose to target will have a big impact on your business, the types of services you offer, and how you market yourself. 

Start by breaking your target customers down by the following: 

The Top 10 Barriers
Slowing Your Fitness
Business Growth

Discover more


AgeGenderLocationIncome LevelOccupation



Competitive analysis 

A competitor analysis investigates businesses that are in direct competition to you. These are martial arts schools that offer a similar service within your niche. 

Although you can mention indirect competitors, this section is mainly for a detailed analysis of your direct competitors. It may be impossible to find out everything about a competitor, but you can usually get a clear idea from your research. 

Break down each of your competitors into the following: 

  • Services and products they offer 
  • Target audience
  • Pricing and business model 
  • Strengths and weaknesses

Marketing plan

Martial arts are unique in nature. A successful marketing strategy has to be reflective of the distinctive character of classes you offer. 

The marketing section of your business plan is the place to explain everything you plan to do to get your services in front of your target audience. Be sure to include your strategy, projected startup costs, and who will handle your marketing efforts. 

Your marketing strategy can include: 

  • Social media marketing 
  • Advertising 
  • Email marketing 
  • Referral program
  • Sponsorships
  • Partnerships 

Leadership team 

This section is a great place to highlight the skills, experience, and expertise of your team. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate how specific team members will help you to achieve success

Start by laying out key members of your team. This doesn’t need to be limited to martial arts experts, but other experts who will drive your business — e.g. marketing and sales managers, customer service leaders, and maintenance personnel. 

How you structure your business and the type of compensation and benefits you offer will help to attract and retain high-quality talent over time. Make mention of your plans for compensation in this section of your business plan. 

Financial projections

Depending on where you’re with your business, your financial plan can include current financials for the most recent year in addition to future projections. Your projected revenue should be based on facts and research with supporting numbers. 

Include a five-year projection with detailed breakdowns of monthly and annual earnings. Think about your income, cash flow, costs, and outgoing expenses. 

Your finances are the backbone of your business, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible.

Taking your business further

In order to set up your martial arts business for long-term success, you need a business plan. Doing so also increases your chances of securing external funding, whether from private investors or financial institutions. From here, you need trusted tools to help you manage and grow your business.

Enter ABC Glofox: a software that matches your growth ambitions. 

We’re the #1 fitness management software for a reason. 

  • Easily manage all your bookings & payments online
  • Build a loyal following with your custom branded app
  • Use cutting-edge sales & marketing tools to engage with your customers

Ready to boost your fitness business? Book a demo today!

We empower you to boost your business

"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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