The MAIA Blog

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".

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“C” is for Community

By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “C,” which stands for community.

Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters. 

Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.

However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.

Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...

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Community Connection Leads to Big Business

By Herb Borkland

 

Richardson was born in Charlotte and took his first martial arts training there at age 13. But, as is true of every aspect of his highly successful school, he says he opened LMA only after a great deal of study, planning and research.

 

Location Is Everything!

Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, boasting around 860,000 diverse citizens — 45.1% white, 35.0% black, 13.1% Hispanic and 5.0% Asian. It’s the third-fastest-growing major city in the United States and the nation’s second-largest banking center, housing the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, and a strong NASCAR All-Star Racing presence are among the local major sports attractions.

Why is all of this so important to a martial arts school owner? Because location is everything.

“I began with demographic research on 64 markets in the...

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It’s Okay to Let an Employee Go

By Kathy Olevsky

 

In every small business, lessons come to us when we least expect them. I have been one of the many schools who have carried a burden for too long. As a matter of fact, I have a list of situations that I prolonged.

 

For example, I have had employees who were not the best, but they were what I had at hand and I was afraid to be without them. I also have had family working for me. And because they were family, I hung onto them when I should have let them go, to save my business. I have had students who were toxic to the atmosphere in the dojo, too.

 

If you haven’t heard it before, let me say it now: Let them go and you will grow. If they have said they are going to leave, then they most likely will do that in the near future. Kudos to you for trying to save them. But there is so much energy spent on trying to save one employee who is unhappy. Or, for that matter, one student who complains about something different every day.

 

If you have...

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5 Ways to Stay Brilliant in the Basics

By Dave Kovar

 

In 1958, Vince Lombardi took over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers pro football team. The Packers had not done well since 1944. In a press conference, Mr. Lombardi was asked what he was going to do to turn around this bunch of mediocre players.

 

He responded by saying, “I’m not going to change anything. I’m just going to make them brilliant in the basics.”

 

From there the legend grew and, by 1967, the Packers had won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls.

 

The concept of being “brilliant in the basics“ is pretty universal and certainly applies to running a martial arts school and teaching great classes. I recently had a conversation with one of my clients who was contemplating closing his second location because his attendance was dwindling and he was losing money. We discussed a few strategies that he could implement to help him get turned around, and then he got to work.

 

A couple of months...

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I Want More Adult Students!

By Mike Metzger

 

Now that we’re entering the new year, we should reflect on our business and ask how we can do things better. We should look to see how we can be better on the floor and on the business.

 

A frequent question that I get from school owners, specifically during this time of year, is how they can get more adults on their floor.

 

Most martial art facilities today have many more kids training than adults. Having more kids training is not a problem at all, but it’s always good to have adults training for several reasons.

 

Below are a three reasons why having more adults on your floor can be beneficial to your school.

 

  1. Referrals. Adults will bring in more referrals than kids will. Adults like training with friends and/or family members. Adults also enjoy sharing their experiences with others and, therefore, are more than happy to invite prospects to try a class with them.

 

  1. Easier to teach. Adults, for the most part, are...
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Mastery of the Mat: 5 Ways to Improve Your Teaching!

“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:

students.

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...

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The 5 Mindsets of Martial Arts School Success, Part 2

Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.

 

They were:

 

  1. We are the friendliest place in town.

 

  1. We are the cleanest place in town.

 

  1. We only teach great classes, never just good ones.

 

This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.

 

  1. We are excellent at student/parent communication. It has been great to see how the level of professionalism has improved in our industry over the last 40 years. Clearly, we have learned a lot about running a friendly, clean school with great classes.

 

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...

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Help Students See the Path to Black Belt

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...

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How to Be Crystal-Clear on Your Goal to Get More Students

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,...

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Show Them Who You Are!

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.

 

When I first started in the martial arts back in the late 1970's, it was common to hear an instructor say to a student, “Only one in 1,000 will make it to black belt.” That statement was a source of pride. It meant that a black belt was to be truly honored. It meant that a black belt wasn’t a common man (or woman); they were elite.

 

The statement was made with good intentions, but it did irreparable harm!

 

Anyone...

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