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".
By Frank Silverman
When the calendar rolls over to the month of January, various groups of people ask me the same question every year: “What does the future look like for the martial arts industry, and what’s in store for martial art schools?”
This is a fair question any time of year, but I hear it more frequently in January. If I had a crystal ball, I’d gladly give a definitive answer. But, without that, here is my best "guestimate:"
This question really has two components. First is how I believe the schools will do relative to the economy and overall health of our industry. The second part addresses the trends and changes that we may see in the future.
As for the economy and the business health of the industry, I have strong sense that 2019 will continue on a positive path. Overall, I expect my own personal schools to enjoy a repeat of 2018.
On occasion, some of the schools had...
I have mentioned in the past that my wife and I volunteer between 20-25 hours per week at a South Florida-based, not-for-profit pet rescue. It started as a way for me to regain strength after chemotherapy, but became a labor of love for us to help protect the unwanted and abandoned animals in our “pet-disposable” society. Last year, the organization I volunteer with successfully completed the adoption of more than 350 pets into forever homes.
A national controversy has arisen over the last several years regarding where and under what circumstances an animal may accompany its owners. Many people believe that if they purchase a “service animal” vest on the Internet and strap it on their pet, they can take this animal with them wherever they go with impunity. This is patently incorrect and clearly creates confusion for small businesses, perhaps including your school.
There are very strict federal and state laws regarding the use of animals for...
As we end the year and approach the holiday season, I’d like to ask that you all view leadership as a gift, and one that you currently possess. Now, leadership can be a special, unique and often challenging present, but it is truly worthwhile.
Allow me to share a parable that will illustrate this point. A group of children are playing in the jungle near their tribe in central Africa, when a group of explorers approaches them. The explorers observe the children playing a game where they use dirty but somewhat shiny stones. The explorers ask their translator if the kids would trade their stones for some chocolate and the kids agree. When the explorers returned home, they discovered that the stones were large, coarse diamonds.
Now, for the explorers, the diamonds were highly valuable and worth a great deal of money in their culture. But to the children, these diamonds were simply toys that brought them joy and happiness. The true value of the diamonds was relative...
Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding. But when problems arise — and as a small business owner myself, I know they do! — you’re responsible for solving them.
So, whether you’re working on the financial success of your martial arts studio or improving the health of your students, it’s important to apply the same principle: Always address the underlying cause.
For example, if your business’s gross revenue is less than stellar this month, it’s easy to say that you simply need more students. So, you decide to focus on
marketing. But what if the real problem is retention? You aren’t able to retain your students because the instructors are not aligned with your program. To target the underlying cause, you may need to focus more on staff training and development.
The same thing happens when you see a spike in injuries within the bulk of your students. If you’re seeing a lot of hamstring injuries, an...
Whether we like it or not, every time one of my staff members are in public they are representing not only Kovar's Martial Arts but also the martial arts industry. When we choose to become martial arts instructors, we also choose to become public figure. We stand in front of the class and lead our students in reciting the student creed. We challenge them not only to improve their martial arts skills but their mental attitude, focus, discipline and respect, too.
In essence, we become their success coaches, role models and more. To our students, we become a combination of teacher, parent, minister and motivational speaker, who also, in their eyes, has the awesome power of “death
and destruction.” This gives us a unique and powerful “presence” or sphere of influence.
After all, how many teachers, parents, ministers or motivational speakers can do a jump-spinning kick? Or can, in the blink of an eye, strike multiple times where it hurts the most?...
As a school owner or instructor, you’re considered a community leader. Whether or not you think about it, owning a business helps your local community. You’re teaching children, teens and adults, and possibly employing others. You are a leader. People look up to you. Kids especially will notice how you treat others, when you give back, and how you help those in need.
The holidays tend to be when everyone starts planning ways they can give back. But really, it’s something we should focus on year-round. I encourage you to review your 2019 calendar and start planning what community activities you could get involved with throughout the year. Find things you can get your students thoroughly involved in, too.
Participating in community events is not just a good way to teach your students about helping others, but it’s also an excellent way to get your name out there in public. You can create positive buzz about your school. If you’re consistent...
I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full-time for 39 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.
This is a time of year when we really need to be on our toes with our students if we don’t want to lose them to other activities. It is common for students to miss quite a few classes from late November to the end of December. Most people have other events that take up their time and steal them away from their martial arts classes. The holidays have a way of doing that.
So, it is our job to make them want to come to class and,...
Coming from a generation and environment that at times demanded compliance, it’s understandable how some people act when they move into the position of power. Many grew up in a culture that demanded respect for your elders. Martial arts tradition always centered around respecting your sensei.
Now that you’re in that role, how are you going to uphold the ideals of tradition? Will you create an environment based on love or one steeped in fear? Though it may seem simplistic, those truly are your two choices.
For me, the answer was always a supportive, encouraging environment based on love. Sounds kind of soft, right? Once again, we sometimes confuse context (how we communicate) with content (the techniques that are taught). I believe that when trust is high and support is strong, you can get more out of a person’s performance with sincere encouragement than belittling or demeaning them. And while everyone is, of course, different, what would you prefer?...
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