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".
Building A Big Business From Scratch
Lynchburg, Virginia’s Lawrence Arthur, a scrappy 1970s fighter, grew his business from a small single location to an association with 20 storefront schools and 20 more satellite operations. A low-profile, behind-the-scenes powerhouse, Arthur promulgates an Americanized style of his own creation that leans toward training instructors and building champions. Some of his competition-oriented students have won world titles. Here, he shares his wisdom about what it takes to succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
In 1980, Lawrence Arthur won a “Chuck Norris Free for a Day” contest by enrolling the most new students in a single month. Arthur did this by being creative in his attempts to get new students. At one point, he held a zombie-themed event for recruitment, sent out VIP invitations to his school and took out an ad in the newspaper offering three years of training for a $159 maintenance fee. His efforts prevailed. He signed up 108...
Picture this. Your instructor’s selling his school for $50,000 and has cash-ready buyers.
You’re his black belt student and manager and you want to buy it but you’re a 19-year-old women, you have no money and eight banks turned you down for a loan. None of that stopped Aurora, Colorado’s courageous Victoria Wagner, the proud new owner of Kicks Martial Arts.
Kicks Martial Arts is similar to many martial arts schools in Aurora, Colorado except for one thing– its owner, Victoria Wagner.
Victoria is a young woman still in her late teens who brazenly found a way to buy the martial arts school where she had been training for the past several years.
Wagner began training at the school when she was just 7 years old. She soon started teaching and when the owner put the school for sale, she knew she wanted it.
There were many challenges along the way. The owner had several cash buyers lined up. Wagner was not one of them. She applied for small-business loans...
Founded in 2005, Rock Steady Boxing is a unique program giving Parkinson’s patients a chance to fight back against their invisible adversary. By emphasizing gross motor movement, balance and core strength, the combination of “sweet science” and sweat gives hope to those combating the disease.
At the age of 40, while in the peak of his career serving as an Indiana State Prosecutor for Marion County, Scott Newman was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease. His world came crashing down when he was blindsided by what many consider the most frightening disease that could ever befall an individual.
Newman did his best to hide the disease but two years after his diagnosis he began showing symptoms.
“I couldn’t hide it any longer,” says Newman. “Trying to conceal my condition from the public was adding to my stress, and that exacerbated my condition.”
One of Newman’s friends realized he needed a way to release his stress....
Many school owners struggle with the idea of tournaments and competition. Exposing students to tournaments comes with risks, but also many benefits. If done well, a tournament team can provide financial gain, improve student growth and develop a retention-based esprit de corps around your brand.
It is important to remember there are pros and cons with tournaments in the areas of finances, student growth and retention, professional development, working with parents, and staying true to your art when developing a tournament team that will work for your school.
Many schools choose to create a tournament team for the sole purpose of increased camaraderie, training and competition experience, which is fine, but keep in mind there is an opportunity to gain financially. Of course, you’ll have to invest money in travel but if your develop your team correctly the profit will outweigh those expenditures in the end.
Tournament teams are a tool for student growth and retention....
At last, you’ve done your research and found a small market that has an adequate population, limited competition and, undoubtedly, lots of people eager to train in the martial arts. Filled with optimism and fueled by excitement, you launch your dream dojo.
Unfortunately, it’s a small market, so it has few media opportunities for advertising. There are none of the traditional ways of creating awareness, promoting your programs and building your brand. But that’s okay. You believe that “if you build it, they will come,” because word of mouth in a small town spreads fast — right?
Well, yeah. Word will spread, but it won’t necessarily result in throngs of potential students lining up at your front door, eager to register and begin their path to enlightenment through the martial arts. So, what are the options?
As a starter, here are 10 activities that have been very successful for our small-market dojo in Marion, NC (population 7,885).
More than 2,000 attendees flocked to the ritzy MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on July 6-8 for the 2017 Martial Arts SuperShow. This year marked the 16th annual of this extravaganza, the world’s largest martial arts business convention and tradeshow. Like its predecessors, MASS17 offered big educational benefits to everyone who attended, regardless of their martial art and style or the size of their school.
Century, the world’s biggest martial arts equipment supplier, and its subsidiary, the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA), co-produce this three-day extravaganza each year.
The event started with opening ceremonies where the MGM Grand’s elegant Ka Theatre went completely dark and dancers in electronic, glow-in-the-dark suits came to life accompanied by loud cheers from the audience. The dancers put on an incredible show for the audience. After that acrobats took the stage, followed by a demo from Team Paul Mitchell Karate and Benny...
Columbia, SC’s Mike Genova runs a thriving school with some 400 students and another 200 in his after-school programs. A big part of his success was his early evolution from a competitive fighter’s mindset to that of a businessman. That continual self-growth led him to a role as a community figurehead, where Genova even extends help to other local martial arts school owners!
Mike Genova opened his Columbia, South Carolina martial arts school in 1975. He already had a reputation as a fierce, top-10-ranked fighter on the national tournament circuit and had trained regularly with the likes of Bruce Brutschy and Keith Vitali, who rose to prominence as America’s number-one-ranked semi-contact tournament champion.
At first, he primarily focused on teaching fighting techniques and winning trophies in competition but as he saw students start to drop out of the martial arts he took a different approach emphasizing not on fighting but on life skills.
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