Mar 2 2011
All businesses have specific needs. Some have large products that they sell to a few select businesses. Others provide custom services that change with just about every new client. And then some don’t fit into any neat category. One of these unique categories is running martial arts studios. These have a unique business model where a series of students show up to a specific location at a specific time. Oftentimes signups take place informally where parents show up with their kids and register on the spot. They sign a release form, write a check, and drop off their kids at the expected time.
These on the fly signups are tough to manage. Given the fact that karate class may not be the highest priority there will also be a certain number of students who don’t show up on any given day. It probably is not a stretch to assume that the Mr Miyagi’s of the world might not be the best at keeping a tight handle on all these logistical details of running a business. Thus, Open Black Belt was founded- an online and mobile accessible resource to manage your classes and students designed specifically for martial arts studios.
The best way to learn about how to use Open Black Belt is through their online tutorial, above. This describes the process of adding classes, students, and their attendance. The process is fairly straightforward. First you add a personal profile, which describes the location of your studio. Then you add classes, such as wash the floor or paint the fence. Then you add students. Classes are given names, and times, and days. If you make changes to a class schedule it’s easy to email your students to keep them updated on the latest status. Schedule and attendance can all be managed online.
The real power of Open Black Belt is its mobile integration. Many studios don’t have computers in them, and some signups may occur when you’re out and about. For this you can access your account through your phone. Managing classes and students is done on the go so everyone gets added into the system right away. There’s nothing more tedious than collecting a sheets of paper and remembering to add them to the books later that evening. Oftentimes it never happens and they lose track of the students. The number one rule for keeping on top of things is to get it done right away. With Open Black Belt you can do this.
Open Black Belt was recently launched and is still in rapid development. The look and feel of the site has already been redesigned similar to the mobile app (below). Future releases will include the ability to give students accounts so they can log in and check the status on your own. It will also allow you to keep track of the date that you’ll bill them. At the end of the day collecting money is what keeps them in business. Also, the ability to add multiple locations for the same studio chain is forthcoming.
The service is free for up to 25 students. After that it’s $10/month which can be upgraded at any time. This way senseis can try out the service to see how it will streamline their business and sign up for the full service as they need it.
Running a dojo, karate, or martial arts studio is challenging. Likely many enter into it due to their skill in self defense more so than their business savvy. Open Black Belt helps them keep track of their classes and students so they can focus on the kung fu. It can’t help you learn how to break concrete, beat up the neighborhood bully, or wax the car. It will make managing your dojo easy.