"Instructor Jon, I'm currently the instructor for a class that's 5 students. I'm looking to expand to about 7-10 students to try and ensure that the monthly rental fee is always covered. It's a monthly tuition and with 5 students it's just enough to make the monthly. However, when that changes I have to cover the cost. What have you found is the best method that you have found to expand a class enrollment?"
You want to increase revenue to meet potential rising overhead. You have three options really; increase the number of students, or increase the amount you are charging each student. Increase revenue from non-student sources.
You also have an excellent fourth option that you did not mention, lowering overhead.
Step one, Increase Revenue:
Increase revenue! The first thing you need to do is to diversify, don't just rely on student fees for income. For example have you considered seeking sponsors? Have you considered putting advertising on your website? Do you even have a website? I find it's best to bring in as many revenue sources as I can WITHOUT leaning on my students. You will have a better chance of
attracting more if you keep your fees competitive to the other schools in your
Attracting new students can be handled in so many ways. You need to become your own salesman. Give demonstrations at local attractions, schools, churches, etc. These don’t cost anything and can really get your school out there. Otherwise it pays to advertise.
Again, do you have a website? Are you listed on Dojolocator.com?
Believe it or not good old fashioned fliers are still a great way to
bring interest. Print ten fliers per student and write their name in tiny letters in the corner. Give them incentive to hang the fliers and tell them if you find one of their fliers out and about town you will give them a prize.
If you have a martial arts supply store in town especially make sure you
have a flier posted there.
If you don't have a martial arts supply store in town then you have a golden opportunity to become that supplier. Simply get a wholesale account and sell retail. Let all the local schools know that you have stuff and can get just about anything within a couple of days. If you keep good relations with your neighbor schools they will actually use you as a supplier. I find in the end it's best to stay on good terms with the competition, heck I've even
recommended people to my competition when they were a better fit than I
was. You know what, they started referring people to me too!
Step two, Reduce Overhead:
I have been blessed. I actually have a space at the local gym that I can use free of cost. No light bill, no water bill, no insurance bill, NO RENT.
We made an arrangement and it generally works in my favor because often I
get business from the gym itself. I've also taught in churches, on military bases, and in community centers. The gym benefits because
they can list me as a regular offering to attract new members.
I am currently saving a grubstake to build my very own Dojang in a barn on our property. It will be climate controlled and the best part, I will own it free and clear, so no rent.
If you find a better location that will save you money be cautious. Every time you move it's likely one or more students will find the change inconvenient and stop attending. We've had this bad experience again and again.
Otherwise just use common sense. If you are paying for power try to reduce the power you use. Fluorescent light's, storm windows, put things on timers so they only run when you need them. If your insurance is high try to find a better deal.
I could go on and on but this is a great start!
Teacher and Hapkido Online Developer.