by Kathy Olevsky
I’ve operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I’ll share the solutions I used to overcome them.
Near the end of 2020, one of our locations was contacted by a fellow martial arts school owner looking to rent some space. He’d been forced to close his school because of COVID and was trying to restart his program while keeping costs as low as possible.
This is just one of many ways that we martial arts instructors can consider helping each other. Those of us who have managed to stay afloat and continue to teach in our commercial space might benefit from some extra...
by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager
I have a confession to make. I know it’s not the best way to begin this column, but I have to get it off my chest. I’m not a school owner. I’m not an instructor. My role at MAIA is to work with our coaches who are school owners. Which is good because I’m not the person you want to call when you’re trying to execute your first summer camp or afterschool program. But I know how to get you in touch with the experts who can help.
Even though I’m not a school owner, I’ve come to know many over the three and a half years I’ve had this position. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to visit their schools, listen to their stories, and hear about their successes and struggles. I have a good idea of what our owners and instructors want and need to grow their schools.
But so much has changed in the past year. Schools now operate in a drastically different manner because of COVID. Most...
by Beth A. Block
Mats, bags, video gear, audio systems, oh my! Many of us transport our equipment to other locations. We might be traveling for a test or a graduation, or maybe we’re moving to a new studio space. Some of us might even be using a trailer as a permanent storage unit. Surely, there are more reasons for moving our things than those, but you get the point.
What none of us thinks about while we’re doing this is insurance for all our “stuff,” whether we plan to store it or move it. Be honest — does insurance ever come to mind unless you have a claim? I’ve got a quarter that says it doesn’t. (I’m smiling as I type. Please don’t contact me with serious quarter claims.)
A few months ago, I received a call from a studio owner. She said that during the summer of 2020, she would work out in the park and take her equipment with her every day. In the evening, she would clean the equipment and drive the...
by Karen Eden
In 1975, a man named Gary Dahl decided to design the “perfect pet” as a joke after listening to friends complain about their real pets. It was a mere rock in a cardboard box. Little did Mr. Dahl know that in six months’ time, he would become a millionaire from of his over-the-top sense of humor.
I remember being in elementary school when my classmates began bringing their pet rocks to school. The “no pets allowed” rule was overridden by kids everywhere who would take out their rocks after finishing their classwork. They somehow took comfort in their own personal rocks being present with them, as they petted and coddled them before putting their beloved “pets” back in their crates.
Each pet rock came with an owner’s manual on how to care for the rock and even teach it tricks (of course, the rock just sat there, regardless). I can only imagine what a kid would think today if he or she opened a gift, only to find a...
by Dave Kovar
It has been my experience that you share with others what you most need to hear yourself. Today, I’m going to share with you what I call “teacher’s mindsets.” These are specific mindsets that I have made a conscious effort to adopt, especially when I’m interacting with students. Although I still have a long way to go, they have enabled me to make great strides with my students.
We all have a series of beliefs about how a classroom works and how we work within it. Unfortunately, most of us don’t consciously choose our mindsets. They come to us. We pick them up from the environment we were brought up in, the education we received and the experiences we’ve had.
Let’s imagine that in third grade, you ran a foot race with two kids from your class. Unbeknownst to you, these kids were the fastest sprinters in all of third grade. You gave it your best shot and still trailed behind them. Your perception of your...
by Megan Baker
InCourage Martial Arts, the parent company of MyStudio, is a successful martial arts chain located in Northern Virginia. Back in 2017, InCourage’s two locations made about $1.7 million while impacting the lives of close to 1,000 students. This revenue was generated via martial arts memberships, an afterschool program, award-winning summer camps, birthday parties, “parents night out” events and more.
Managing and selling all those programs required several seasoned staff members who could handle multiple registration appointments, repetitive follow-ups and the constant daily stress of managing a long line of customers waiting at the front desk.
On November 30, 2017 — the last day of its summer camp pre-registration sale — the lobby of the Springfield InCourage studio was packed. The crowd was composed not just of students trying to squeeze in and take class, but also of parents who had lined up out the door while waiting for...
by Frank Silverman
As we continue to work — and work our way back to normalcy — in 2021, I cannot help but reflect on how unique, tough and crazy 2020 was. The scariest part for me was the realization of how fragile our economy is and how fragile a business can be.
A business, whether a martial arts school or something else, is almost like a living being. It needs certain resources (air, food and water for us; income and patrons for a business) to survive and thrive. Without them, a business will slowly begin to “starve” and then will cease to exist.
That by itself isn’t scary. We all know this. What is scary is that something we had never heard of, something that didn’t even exist two years ago, could be the force that suddenly cuts off these resources and changes our lives forever. What is really scary is that it can happen again, without warning, at any time. And most likely, it will. Even if we don’t see another...
With everything going on with the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), I wanted to cover the 3 basic tips you need to know before submitting your application.
In our business, we are always pushing the importance of building and nurturing relationships. We all know the importance of building relationships with our students, their families, and our community.
On the business side, we have to be committed to building relationships with the people that can potentially help us accomplish our goals as well.
It’s imperative that you nurture specific relationships with people like your CPA, your lawyer, and in this case, your bank.
Which brings me to Tip #1 — You’ve got to establish a relationship with a smaller bank.
Many school owners experienced a painful first round of PPP where their “large” bank was unable to get them a distribution. This is why developing a relationship with a small bank is an absolute must.
They are much more personal,...
by Herb Borkland
At ninth degree, Caroline Goodspeed is Keith Yates’ highest-ranked Black female grandmaster. Her martial arts career spans amateur boxing, aikido, goju karate, taekwondo and kobudo. She is especially proud of the girls, including her daughter, she has taken to black belt. Goodspeed also ranks among the most delightful personalities in the American martial arts.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up?
Caroline Goodspeed: I grew up in little Port Arthur, 83 miles southeast of Houston, Texas.
MAS: Do you remember the first time you heard about martial arts?
Goodspeed: I was a scrappy little girl — 5 feet 2 and 98 pounds — and when I was in my teens, I liked boxing with my amateur brother. It’s why I use my hands so much. When I was 19, this aikido instructor tried to recruit students. I told myself, “Here you go!” Lasted a year and a half. I got tired of being thrown to the ground by men.
After that, there was no more...
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