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 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 Frank Silverman
I just came across an old ad from 20 years ago that I ran in the local newspaper (yes, advertising in the newspaper). One of the bullet points on it was the cost: trial special, $19.95. We still apply this special in various advertising mediums today.
But what caught my eye was a bunch of the other beneficial bullet points that were part of that old ad:
• better grades
• great exercise
It took me back to when I opened my first school and why I got into the business of martial arts. What I found amazing is that some of — well, actually, most of — those reasons are the same and hold true today.
I wanted to earn a good living doing what I loved to do — and I loved to do martial arts more than anything else in the world. I liked helping others reach their goals. This was a triple win for me: make money, help...
by Herb Borkland
Illinois’ John Sharkey is in charge of overseeing all departments within the American Karate Association (AKA). He began studying martial arts in 1965, opened his first school in 1973, when he was a brown belt junior in high school, and a second location in 1976. He was elected president of the AKA in 1977 with the enthusiastic support of AKAfounder Ken Knudson.
John Sharkey: I grew up south of Chicago in Momence, Illinois. My father was an industrial parts
buyer who trained in karate and knew [controversial 1960s martial arts pioneer] John
Keehan, a.k.a., “Count Dante.”
I had a falling out with my instructor because I’d opened my own school. So, I contacted AKA
Founder and President Ken Knudson, who tried me out running a school and then asked me to
At 21, I didn’t feel ready. I struggled because of my age, looking to coordinate men 20 years my
senior. The workload was endless. So, I...
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 Karen Eden
My dog is from the local dog pound. He is a very expensive breed-combination of American Eskimo and cattle dog. Somebody bred him with the intention of showing him in competition. But there was just one problem: he came out blemished.
It’s as if somebody spilled coffee on his nose. The poor dog is a throwback,and it’s something he had no control over. But there’s a beautiful side to this story. My dog couldn’t care less. He thinks he’s great, and evidently that’s all that matters. It seems that all of my dogs have taught me a lesson or two at one time or another.
There was the time that I was asked to serve my country through the department of Homeland Security. It was shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and there was a need for females to teach anti-terrorist tactical maneuvers. I was truly honored and excited. But I also...
by Philip E. Goss, Jr., ESQ.
The next time I celebrate a New Year’s Eve toast, I will be less than two weeks from my 60th birthday. I’ve been happily married for more than half of these years and a parent for just a few years less. A lesson I have learned over the years of being a parent is that just sharing my experiences and expecting my children to accept my recommendations, without explanation or context, is a fool’s errand.
Such belief that my children should follow the old “Because-I-said-so” mantra is wrong. And thus, when I do that to you, my valued readers, it is wrong as well.
Several columns ago, I opined how you should handle worker’s compensation (WC) issues. I told you what to do, but forgot the why. In this column, I’ll remedy my shortcoming.
In the previous column, I stated the following (in truncated form):
“The concept of...
by Dr. Jason Han
As a physical therapist, I take the fundamental movements of the human body and connect them to an activity — not just physically, but mentally, too.
I probably didn’t know it at the time, but I applied this mind-body connection throughout my career as a martial artist. Any student can work to achieve a mind-body connection, but it’s a process that requires a shift in mindset.
Coaches Tim Thackrey and Antony Graf from the Juice Athlete Compound and I had an important discussion several years ago about the efficiency of a training session. We asked ourselves, “How were we able to get so much out of a single 60-to 90 minute training session, where it seems some of our opponents had to do two to three trainings to match our benefit?”
The answer was simple: We valued quality over quantity. When we stepped on the mat, we were all business. We left...
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 Melissa Torres
It was February in Oklahoma City when I was listening to news reports of an ice storm heading my way. I had a flight scheduled to take me to my first MAIA Elite event in sunny Orlando, Florida. And, fortunately, I was able to escape the city just before the storm hit.
It was perfect weather in Florida. But I wasn’t there for vacation, I was there to work. I had the opportunity to hear the MAIA consultants speak and I realized why I’m so thankful I took this job. Each day, I left the sessions inspired and motivated, along with a number of school owners in attendance to focus on their growth and financial future. One thing that really hit home for me was the importance of setting goals for myself.
I got home and decided to dig deeper into goal-setting and the concept of positive thinking to achieve those goals. I started reading a book by success coach and...
by Kathy Olevsky
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.
Summer is approaching, and some schools see a considerable drop in new business during these summer months. If it happened last year, they assume it will happen this year, too.
In reality, this is a great time to make sure you drive new business to your door. There are families that stay home during the summer months and enjoy...
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