By Adam Parman
Recently, I was speaking to a client and he asked what it takes to make your martial arts business thrive. I explained that, in business, it simply isn’t good enough to “get by.” You have to implement the systems that ensure success. Here are the six strategies I shared with him:
Strategy #1: Create more value.
Elevate your school by looking for ways you can provide more value to your customers. Recently, I’ve developed a renewed focus on providing more value while driving our school’s brand. We implemented an audio-teaching system and a teaching series that features weekly handouts. Systems like these create value while making the training experience memorable for your students. That’s a winning combination.
Strategy #2: Inspect what you expect.
It’s not enough to know what needs to be done, you have to do it. Likewise, it’s not enough to just tell your staff what to do — you must also hold them accountable for reaching the benchmarks you have set. Learn to collect your school’s statistics and pay attention to them daily, weekly and monthly.
Strategy #3: Train, train, and train some more.
If you want to be successful in business, the most important thing you can do is focus on staff development. Make sure you’re providing consistent, weekly training meetings with your team. Cover better business practices and martial arts training. Be prepared at each meeting to make best use of the time, while staying positive and motivating. At my schools, we also offer quarterly staff training sessions with weekly conference calls at the beginning and end of each week. If you don’t have any staff, find ways to grow your own business knowledge.
Strategy #4: Create and maintain marketing momentum.
Marketing momentum is a continued flow of new inquiries, resulting from an aggressive and calculated effort to market your martial arts school. It’s achieved only through a detailed monthly marketing strategy that incorporates a wide range of methods for creating consistent leads including:
Internal Marketing. Special events that encourage your existing student body to invite friends and family to experience your academy.
External Marketing. Events and activities done outside your school that lead to new enrollments. Typically, these activities require the most “sweat equity,” but yield the greatest return if conducted properly. I suggest between three to five external marketing activities each and every month, to create a consistent flow of inquiries.
Paid Marketing. These are advertising methods that are not time-intensive, but get results. Typically, you write a check and approve an ad for this type of marketing. Examples would include coupons, direct mail, newspaper advertisements, television or radio spots, etc.
Strategy #5: Learn to expect more to get more.
People tend to give what they’re expected to give. So, expect the best! Raise the bar and implement systems of greater accountability for your team. Make it your vision to stop settling for anything less than the very best — from yourself, your team or your level of customer service.
Strategy #6: Focus on net profit.
Years ago, the mark of success for any martial arts school owner was the weekly active-student count and the monthly billing check. Unfortunately, this didn’t account for any of the monthly expenses. At the time, it was assumed, if you had 300 students training at your school, you had to be making money. But the reality was most schools were not. Be sure to create a strategy that is “net-conscious” and focused on the money you put in your pocket after each month, not the money that comes in the front door. I’ve found that premium pricing is the quickest route to producing a high net yield. However, if you’re going to charge a premium price, make sure you’re providing a premium product. In business, the statement, “step up or step down,” describes it best.
If you want your martial arts business to go beyond just existing, you have to be willing to do the work and implement the systems it will take to get it to the next level. What are you waiting for? Go make it happen!
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