A couple of weeks ago we visited Starter Company participant, Mike Doherty of Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness to film a commercial for our Youth Entrepreneurship programs offered through the Business Advisory Centre. As a Starter Company participant, Mike is an excellent example of a successful local young entrepreneur, who has been well-supported by the Peterborough business community. We asked him some questions about his experience and his company – this is what we learned:
Q: How would you describe your business?
Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness is a fitness facility that specializes in the martial art Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a combat sport in Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline is known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fighter very efficient.
At Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness we have structured programs teaching the physical and mental aspects in Muay Thai. Most things learned in class can be manipulated for self-development in every aspect of life. Our main focus is our students. We gear teaching practices to all learning styles and abilities.
Classes are structured for beginners, intermediate and advanced students, for varying ages and genders. Our instructors are the most experienced in the Peterborough and surrounding area in competition as well as instruction. With that experience they are able to customize classes to ensure every student learns efficiently at their own pace.
As mentioned before our niche is the sport of Muay Thai but we also offer fitness classes. Some of the fitness classes consist of natural movement exercises, balance drills, plyometrics, strength and conditioning, explosive strength drills and kettle bell drills. These classes are also structured to meet client’s needs.
Q: We are excited to hear that you are moving to a new expanded location. What influenced your decision to open this new location on Charlotte Street?
It is a good location and a lot of my students are Trent students. So keeping our location in the downtown area benefits the majority of our clients. Our new location is also ground level and has a parking lot, which is hard to find in the downtown area.
Q: What makes Peterborough a great place to be a business owner?
What I have really noticed about Peterborough is that the support is unbelievable for anything you may need if you are willing to go out and get it. I have never taken a business course in my life and don’t plan to because I have been to many amazing business seminars for free through the Chamber of Commerce and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. I have gained so much knowledge from just connecting with people and being involved in community events. I’ve never owned a business in another city so I can’t compare but Peterborough has been beyond great with answering a lot of the problems I have encountered.
Q: How did the Business Advisory Centre help you?
The Business Advisory Centre has helped me get organized with a detailed business plan. I think having this plan has really helped me prioritize what I need to do to reach my goals for my business.
I have also used [the Starter Company program] for more help on my business plan and they have actually provided me with a grant that I used to buy the gym mats needed for my new location.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
The next step for my business is getting settled in our new location in March 2016. I will be adding yoga, kettlebell, Olympic lifting and many other new classes to our schedule. I would like to continue to provide a positive training environment for my students and we will be competing in many Muay Thai competitions across North America this year.
My business will continue to grow by continuing to do what we are doing. Teaching with passion and being in the business for the students.
Q: What advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs?
A tip for aspiring entrepreneurs is have a strong future vision because that will allow you to keep faith in the tough times. Visualize yourself where you want to be before you are there. I do this same visualization during fight prep and have used the same thing to set goals for my business.
Interested in learning more about Dohjo Muay Thai & Fitness (and how you can get involved in some of their classes)? Visit their website.
Are you a young entrepreneur looking for support to start your own career in entrepreneurship? Learn how you can get training, mentorship and funding through Starter Company.
Mike Doherty has also been an active part of Peterborough’s growing startup community, check out his feature in Startup Peterborough’s #StartupStories.