Although Aikido Shinju-Kai grew exponentially through word of mouth, Alexander and Aloyseus saw that their father’s business had immense potential to grow even further and deepen engagement with the community.
The two sons initially wanted to pursue other career paths. However, their passion for Aikido steered them back to helping their father as second generation leaders in the business.
One of the strategies was to leverage digital tools to enhance everyday business operations while preserving the essence of Aikido during the lessons. Preserving the martial art’s legacy and quality of teaching came as a priority, and every tactic that was implemented was aimed to achieve that objective.
There were two main challenges that Alexander and Aloyseus saw in growing the business.
The first was how to deepen community engagement. By 2016, Aikido Shinju-Kai had close to 40 dojos with hundreds of members around Singapore and it was increasingly difficult to connect with every member. To address this, Alexander implemented Aikido Shinju-Kai’s first social media page on Facebook and Instagram to bring the community together and share their learnings with each other. The platform also allowed members to engage with prominent Aikido masters from overseas and invite them to Singapore for seminars.
Fast forward to today, sharing content, knowledge and techniques on social media enabled members and trainers to become advocates and online influencers – allowing the dojo to reach a wider network of aspiring martial artists. To date, the gym has over 100k followers across Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
The second challenge was streamlining business operations and class scheduling. As the dojos grew in numbers, the demographic of members grew with it. Members required greater clarity on which classes they should attend based on age and experience. To address this, Aloyseus first segregated the class based on age group and experience level, then digitised the entire booking process.
Before the implementation, class attendance was tracked by ticking off someone’s name when they entered the dojo. Membership payments were made in cash and online transfers. This added a layer of complexity when it came to identifying students with active or expired memberships. Determined to streamline this process, Aloyseus implemented an integrated app for payments and bookings where members could book and pay directly.
While the business experienced increased efficiency and growth, they were soon hit by an event that impacted the entire world: COVID-19