Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Problem with Limiting Student Numbers

As many of you know, I made a conscious decision to limit the number of students in my Vancouver Jiu-jitsu dojo. I did this in the interest of developing higher quality students by having a lower teacher to student ratio, rather than cramming in anyone and everyone who shows interest just to make more money. But, to my frustration, this sometimes bites me in the ass.

Sometimes when students are up for renewal, they don't show up for a few weeks. This is usually for legitimate reasons (i.e. injuries, busy work schedule, etc.), but because of my decision to limit my student numbers, it can make my finances hard to plan as a dojo owner. You see, if I'm close to being full and several students haven't got their memberships up to date, I don't know whether or not to allow new students to join to fill the gap or to just wait, knowing that they'll come back.

I always hold back from inviting new students in since I would much prefer to develop students into whom I've already put in time teaching. But then when they don't come back for awhile I lose out. And if they don't come back at all, I sometimes lose the opportunity to take in more students because I waited too long before inviting potentials in for trial lessons.

I know there is really nothing I can do to remedy this situation without running my school more like a McDojo. I would rather take the chance and wait it out until MIA students come back. And I don't feel comfortable asking students to pay for time they were away. I think though, it would make me feel better if students just kept in touch and let me know around when I can expect them back so at least I can plan my finances around their absence.

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