To start a dojo, locate a suitable space, find a competitive angle, attract new students and furnish the space. Like any new business, a dojo must distinguish its services from competitors to succeed.
Some options for dojo spaces include community centers, gyms, industrial spaces and retail spaces. Community centers and gyms are cheaper than commercial locations, but often require the dojo to share space with other patrons. Industrial spaces are larger but more expensive to rent, and they are typically located in areas that provide fewer opportunities for walk-in customers. A retail space offers the most visibility but is usually the most expensive.
A dojo must also differentiate itself from competitors. A dojo is unlikely to succeed if it opens near other dojos that practice the same martial arts discipline. Finding a location with less competition is ideal. A location that is likely to attract new customers, such as near a school, is an effective choice.
A dojo must be fully furnished with equipment for both practical use and professional appearance. Mats and other training equipment are necessary, but decorations such as belts and trophies are also important. These items can be purchased from martial arts suppliers or other dojos.