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".
Bobby and Charlene Lawrence operate Utah's largest chain of karate schools — 19 locations teaching more than 2,200 active students. Their four children and 20 grandchildren have grown up in the martial arts business. Read how their fascinating, family-oriented approach has built a martial arts empire and influenced tens of thousands of students in the Beehive State.
By: Keith D. Yates
Once, Bobby Lawrence was a public school teacher, athletic coach and attorney. While he was busy working in the corporate world, his wife, Charlene, turned their martial arts hobby into a one-school business. Today, they run the largest chain of karate schools in the entire state of Utah, encompassing 19 different locations. They are all Bobby Lawrence Karate Schools, some of them licensed. But the husband-and-wife team, who’ve been in the martial arts business since the 1980s, oversee the chain’s operations.
And it isn’t just the two of them. Their sons and even...
By: Glenn Moses
Editor’s Note: Our industry is replete with instructors and school owners who teach bully-prevention techniques and programs, especially to their young students. They do so because they sincerely care about their students’ welfare. Others, particularly those instructors who were victims of bullies themselves earlier in their lives, place even more emphasis on such training at their schools.
But few in our field go as far as Arizona’s Johnny Williamson. For him it’s a serious passion. So powerful is his commitment he’s more akin to an anti-bullying crusader or deeply engaged activist.
Consider this: When we made first contact with him about doing this major feature article you’re now reading, he was somewhere over on the East Coast attending an anti-bullying event. We told him half the article would focus on his bully-prevention activities, in association with October being National Bully Prevention Month. The other half would be...
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.
November was once a time of year when we used to take a deep breath and feel relieved that it had finally come. The thought was that we had been so busy with all our new back-to-school business, we deserved slower months in November and December. There was a huge mistake in this line of thinking. Those two slow months in a row at the end of the year...
It is holiday time! That means it is time to focus on retail sales. That said, retail sales shouldn’t be isolated to the holidays and specifically the month of December.
I spoke at a seminar in Las Vegas recently, and one of the topics was how to sell more product. I wanted to make the point that not only is selling product very important for making a profit, but it also provides opportunities to sign up new members and upgrade current students. The point of the seminar was that selling retail product in our schools happens in a variety of ways and can often help other aspects of your school. In the Las Vegas presentation, this portion of the seminar took more than two hours but I will try to lay it out in this 650-or-fewer-words column format.
The most obvious way to sell retail product is through a pro shop. Even though this often produces the least results, it is still very important...
Since the beginning of time, there has been prejudice. It seems every race, creed, color, nationality, age and gender has known the feeling of being treated as second class or no class at all. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of the past or, worse, see in real time the injustice that some still have to endure.
One can only hope that as we continue to evolve, people who have committed these injustices will see them for what they are, and those who have felt the pain of the mistreatment don’t spend their precious energies in retaliation.
The prejudice I would like to focus on here, though, is the one that occurs in most martial arts schools. I call it the “Prejudice of the Unseen.”
By explanation, allow me to use an example. Imagine one of your students breaking his hand and coming into class wearing a cast. Can you imagine an instructor asking the students to...
The kids are back in school. The air is cooler. The trees are no longer green. We aren’t breaking a sweat trying to check the mail. That must mean it’s holiday time! Well… almost. But it is time to start planning your holiday sale.
What’s the best way to cash in on retail sales this season? Host a holiday sale! If you don’t host a sale every single year in October or November, you are missing out on huge revenue potential.
Parents are shopping earlier and earlier for their kids, and you are in competition with the large retail stores that have huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This is even more of a reason to plan now for your sale. Get parents through your doors before they have a chance to go Black Friday shopping.
By now, you should have received your Century Holiday Gift Guide. The Century team has been hard at work all year to provide you with a huge...
Chances are, you have had your share of students quit after they received their black belt. I know that we have. If you are looking for ways to minimize this from happening in the future, here are some ideas that you can put to work.
1) Emphasize to them that a black belt is NOT the finish line.
If you ask brand-new martial artists how long they want to train, the most common answer you’ll hear is, “Until I earn my black belt.” While this is an admiral goal for a novice, you need to gradually dispel the myth that a black belt is the finish line. Earning one’s first black belt is a huge milestone. It is a rite of passage and an achievement to celebrate. But it isn’t the end of the journey. You and your staff would be wise to adopt the attitude that martial arts is a lifelong activity for all your students. Clearly, students who are working their way toward their...
Punches, kicks, pivots, throws, and jumps. Your students throw thousands of them over the course of training, and they’re all exciting and essential parts of a martial arts program.
But … how many times have your students been limited in class because of knee pain?
In some circumstances, have you ever had an athlete in your program miss months of training because of a serious injury such as an ACL tear?
To the “older” population here: how many of you have blamed years of practice for your current knee pain? How many of you find yourselves walking funny around the house in the morning? It’s easy to point to years of wear and tear as the cause. Make no mistake: knee injuries aren’t cool ‘battle wounds;’ they’re serious limitations on the kind of life you truly want to live.
Instead of trying to treat pain later on, I believe we should take a...
This is the fifth and final pearl of wisdom I learned from my amazing and truly unique dad, Robert L. Griggs (RIP): “Always be a person of your word.”
One of the oldest and time-tested lessons that we learned was to keep our word. As a business owner and a parent, my dad often had to balance out work- and family-related needs and obligations. A classic example was when I was in junior high. My school would hold Friday-night dances. As awkward as those times were for me (and perhaps most of you), I truly appreciated my dad for taking me to them.
My dad was often exhausted from running his business and it wasn’t fun for him to have to take me to school twice in one day. (We lived in and operated hourly rate motels.) But he promised me that, despite our unconventional and odd life, I would have a normal existence.
As leaders and team members, I want to explore...
When you require the services of an attorney, there are two primary things you should take into consideration, and one thing that you absolutely should not. Unfortunately, the latter oftentimes overrides the former.
When you hire a lawyer, no matter the issue, I suggest that you look for an attorney who has, in no particular order of importance, experience and a reputation of success in handling legal matters. However, in many situations, clients choose legal talent based upon who charges the lowest hourly rate. Limiting your hiring decision solely to financial considerations can be a very costly decision. Allow me to explain.
Attorneys are market-driven professionals. The fees they charge are in direct correlation to what expenses they have and what the specific market will bear. There exists a balance, or tipping point, between the fees charged and the business generated. This...
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