The Martial Arts Industry Association exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed. Many school owners are never exposed to the foundational business concepts necessary to run and grow a successful business. At MAIA, we can help fill that need, as we are made up of school owners who have walked in your shoes, know your struggles, and can help with strategies to elevate you from novice to a "blackbelt in business".
Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.
This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.
With that said, if there’s one area that we are still weak in as an industry, it is student/parent communication.
What I’m referring to here is the importance of giving consistent, quality feedback to all of our students and their parents on their progress. We do this by sharing with them what they are doing well and how they can become better. As simple as this may sound, it’s extremely...
I've been operating a martial arts school full-time for 40 years. I think I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is because I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this reality-based column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my business career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. Then I’ll share the solutions I applied to overcome them.
In our early years in running a dojo as black belt instructors, we came to work, taught classes and tried hard to manage a business that was our sole source of income. As instructors and owners, we made student progress the priority in the school. While that’s a respectable and sensible idea, it left out a very important pillar of our growth.
I think, in those early years, we were missing a huge opportunity. We basically never showed...
Every year, many school owners ask, “How do I get more students?” To properly answer this question, you have to keep in mind this maxim: “To be terrific, we must be more specific.” So, let’s do a couple of things in this column to be more specific with the student base that you want. As your consultant and someone who teaches the Law of Attraction, I would ask you, among other key questions:
“Do you want students who pay late or more students who don’t pay at all? Do you want more children, teens or adults? Younger or older children? Children with learning challenges? Students who are always late for classes? Parents who leave their children at your school well after their class is over? Students with bad hygiene?”
With these answers, you are building a Clarity List, using contrast (people, places, events you don’t like) to get a clear vision of the students you want to manifest. Remember, contrast creates clarity,...
“Who’s the Master?” No, that isn’t just a callback to the famous line in The Last Dragon. That’s the question new students and their families have when they walk into your dojo. Our job as teachers and school owners is to show them a professional level of service in teaching the martial arts. Here are the three tips to do exactly that.
By Justin L. Ford
Your school’s revenue comes from. . .
What? I’m waiting.
Meditate on this.
You could trace your school’s revenue to the tuition payments that get made, and the activities and events you host, the merchandisesales and testing fees, etc. But while there are plenty of different streams your money can flow in from, it all boils down to one source:
It’s important to remember that your school is driven by your students. And while big classes don’t automatically equate to big bucks for your school, having lots of students is definitely a step in the right...
by Antonio Fournier
I had a message from a Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) member asking if it is was still beneficial to conduct a Mat Chat in her situation. She had transitioned from a one-hour to a 45-minute children’s-class format, and she was having a hard time fitting it in.
My response was, “It’s not only beneficial, it is a must.”
Her thoughts were that taking five minutes to do it shortened the amount of punching and kicking time.
I used the analogy of a river that is one mile wide and a foot deep, or one that’s one foot wide and a mile deep. It isn’t the width of the message that’s important, it’s the depth of the message that is.
So, why is the Mat Chat so important? It’s a start — and only a start — at connecting life skills to your martial arts program.
First, you’ve made lots of promises in your ads and...
by Dave Kovar
Forty years ago this November, I opened up my first school in North Highlands, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. It was a tiny school in a mediocre area, and I had no idea what I was doing. What I did have was cheap rent and a lot of enthusiasm.
The school grew relatively quickly in the first year. But I couldn’t tell you how many students I had because I didn’t keep any stats. Based on my memory, I’d say I had between 80 and 100. At the time, very few children were training in the program. As a matter fact, I only offered kid’s classes Monday and Wednesday nights at 5 o’clock. I think I had the largest youth program in the area and I only had about 12 kids enrolled!
Over time, I successfully identified lots of things that didn’t work and I struggled a lot up into the mid-1980s. Then, something interesting happened.
There was this movie, let me...
by Christopher Rappold
Though many school owners love to talk about how many students they enrolled, the language that has always resonated with me is how many students a school is keeping. Getting students is about making promises; retaining students is a sign of delivering on the promises made. And while we would all love to claim great retention, to do so requires you know your numbers.
To make it simple, imagine you have 100 students and, in a single month, you had four students discontinue their training. For that month, you could say your quit rate was 4%.
For schools that keep accurate statistics, when you average all 12 months the number tends to be in the 5–7% range. The schools that I think do a tremendous job average somewhere between 2-3%.
I’m sharing these numbers so you have a basis of comparison when you look at your school’s numbers to determine how...
by Adam Parman
It is said that to succeed at anything you must have a specific intent, clear vision, a plan of action and have the ability to maintain flawless execution. So, start now — don’t wait! — to prepare for summer success and take your martial arts business to a whole new level. Here are a few of the programs we implement to make our summer into some of the most profitable months of the year.
Getting students to attend classes consistently during the summer can be challenging for most school owners and staff. To encourage our students to attend regularly during the summer and boost retention, we’ve created an Attendance Challenge.
We issue points to each student when he or she participates in a special event, attends a class, notifies us of their vacation schedule, sends us a postcard from their vacation destination, and returns...
by Dave Kovar
Of course, it’s important to focus on lead-generation strategies, if you want to stay in business or grow your school. But the schools I see that are most successful are the ones that put a heavy emphasis on retention.
I am very aware of the fact that some students are going to quit, no matter how good your program is. Still other students may never quit, no matter how bad your program is! But, the majority of students will stick with you for a long time, if you don’t give them a reason to leave.
Here are six tips for better retention.
1. Be happy to see them. Everyone appreciates being appreciated. A simple, but effective way to practice this is simply to be happy to see your students when they come to class. Let them know that you know they are there. Get your students thinking, “I’m glad I came,“ by letting them know that they are...
by Christopher Rappold
Trust is a feeling, but, at times, it may be a bit hard to define. Kyoshi Dave Kovar, at a recent seminar, discussed the “5 C’s of Trust.”
After being reminded of this important lesson, I thought it would be of value to share with you.
What are the 5 C’s? They are: Consistency, Competence, Confidence, Credibility and Character.
Consistency. Students want to feel a degree of “sameness” when they come to class. Providing enough repetition over time allows them to wire in the muscle memory to make the movement effective for their intended purposes.
Competence. Students want to know the techniques work and have been battle-tested for their intended purposes, be it competition, street survival, combat, etc. They want to know that the instructors teaching them have been correctly trained to transfer the correct information to get...
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