Although quality of instruction, membership prices and the overall look of the BJJ gym matter, a good atmosphere by itself can keep students coming. A general problem with martial arts gyms is they invest a lot in marketing, they get a lot of newcomers coming, but the retention rate is low.
This is a problem that can be attacked from different angles. Tom DeBlass, runs the highly successful Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New Jersey, and laid down thoughts on social media on what it takes to build a successful BJJ academy:
It takes a special human to build a successful Academy. Most people think it’s easy, hence most people failing. A successful Academy is one that you can do full time without having another job. Here is some advice for you.
1. Be smart and educated. Read books and have a wide variety of vocabulary to explain your teaching.
2. Understand that each student has their own personal goals. It’s up to you to create an environment that helps them to obtain them.
3. Have the ability to look at people and read them without saying a word. Feel their energy.
4. SEPARATE THE COMPETITION FROM THE CLASS.
5. SEPARATE YOUR OWN GOALS FROM THE CLASS.
6. Understand that when you open your Academy you are most likely not successful yet in life, so don’t act preachy.
You are teaching some very successful adults BJJ, serve them well.
7. If a rich middle aged man or woman won’t feel comfortable walking into your Academy, it sucks.
8. Seek out knowledge from people that have done it.
9. Understand that if you fail it’s all your fault.
I certainly don’t know it all, but I have over 1,000 students repping my name, and I’ve managed to make an amazing living through BJJ.