Over the last year, I have had the incredible experience of working with so many growing martial arts schools via the Martial Arts Industry
Association’s (MAIA’s) Small School Forum. The Forum is a dedicated Facebook group for school owners with 80 or fewer students. It provides tools and advice to help them grow and develop their schools.
One of the most common questions I have received is, “How do I grow my martial arts school with only a small budget?”
Here are five great ways to do just that!
This is an “old-school” form of marketing, but it always delivers results. Visit 10 local businesses that are community-owned and tell them that you have students and families who may be interested in their businesses. Do they have any materials that you could place on the front desk at your dojo?
If they have materials to share, ask if they would be able to reciprocate by allowing you to leave a lead box...
Recently while attending a martial arts event in Washington, DC, I took the opportunity to do something that I’ve had on my bucket list for quite some time: View the actual Declaration of Independence. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one whose bucket list included this experience. The line was long, and I barely got in in time before they closed the doors.
What was most shocking about finally getting to enter the rotunda was discovering that there wasn’t just one “Declaration of Independence.” There were several. I never knew this. And I know that, like many other things, these details are not taught in our general history classes.
“Now, why didn’t they tell us that?” I asked myself. I was under the impression, like many Americans, that Thomas Jefferson just whipped out a quill and some paper, and an hour or so later said, “There you go.”
Nothing could have been farther from the truth. There were changes...
A medical emergency required Michael Bank to remain home for almost a full year as his wife battled cancer. Bank had to turn the operation of his very thriving school over to his highly trained staff. He says it was then totally reliant upon the business systems he had learned and implemented from the Martial Arts Industry Association. It was these systems that allowed the school to prosper in his long absence.
By Terry L. Wilson
At the Top of His Game Michael Bank, owner of Capital Karate in Columbia, SC, was on top of the world. He was just 32 years old. His martial arts school was extremely successful. His two homes and his car were paid off in full. He was already financially secure and debt-free! On top of all that, Bank had found the love of his life and was about to kiss his bachelorhood goodbye.
His girlfriend, Laurin Long, was excited because she was going to be starting a new job in two weeks. To celebrate, Bank suggested a road trip to Niagara Falls....
Every martial arts school can teach punches and kicks. But, to create mentally strong students that can change the world, your school must change at its core. By embracing setbacks, struggles and failures, one small dojo sought the answer to one simple question — and it changed everything. Follow the journey this little New Hampshire school traveled, answer your own question, transform your school and create a culture of determination.
By David Badurina
Everybody has a unique story filled with countless decisions, failures and successes. As a martial artist, a teacher or a business owner, you are very familiar with opportunity. Whether it’s the opportunity to own and run your own school, to find a bigger, better space or to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
Think about it. Your day is filled with countless opportunities, some tiny and some huge.
What about the opportunity to be a change-maker? I’m not talking about teaching some...
PreSKILLZ is an innovative way to effectively teach 3- to 6-year-olds. At the same time, it enhances what every martial art school owner covets — increased enrollment and revitalized retention!
By: Andrea F. Harkins
Veteran black belt Melody Shuman bridges the gap of teaching preschoolers by showing that every three- to six-year old can learn valuable martial art skills, if taught the proper way. Additionally, every school owner can increase enrollment and improve retention by using these teaching methods.
Shuman spent many of her years in martial arts as an instructor. At 19 years old, she began working as a program director and instructor in Orlando, Florida. For six years, she co-owned and operated four schools in south Florida. During that time, she won the title of World Champion in forms and coached many young world champions ages seven and up.
In 1997, she presented her first innovative program, Little Ninjas, to the martial arts industry. It...
How many of you host a Game Night? Parent’s Night Out? Holiday Party? A large percentage of our readers run exactly these types of events.
If we make these events fun, we’ve hit a home run. Parents are happy with a small oasis of peace and quiet. Kids are happy with a super-fun evening. We are happy showcasing the fun of our studio for families that are not yet members.
Further, we always get the chance to make it a skill-builder by constructing our games around some foundational skills.
This all sounds like a winning plan, right? Well, not so fast. Those good intentions can turn into a TKO for your school!
Recently, one of the nation’s premier studios conducted one of these events. It had been carefully planned. The large mat space had been divided into two floors. On one side, it was set up with a very simple obstacle course. The other floor was set up for dodge ball. To separate the one large mat area into two floors, the instructors ran...
I have mentioned in the past that my wife and I volunteer between 20-25 hours per week at a South Florida-based, not-for-profit pet rescue. It started as a way for me to regain strength after chemotherapy, but became a labor of love for us to help protect the unwanted and abandoned animals in our “pet-disposable” society. Last year, the organization I volunteer with successfully completed the adoption of more than 350 pets into forever homes.
A national controversy has arisen over the last several years regarding where and under what circumstances an animal may accompany its owners. Many people believe that if they purchase a “service animal” vest on the Internet and strap it on their pet, they can take this animal with them wherever they go with impunity. This is patently incorrect and clearly creates confusion for small businesses, perhaps including your school.
There are very strict federal and state laws regarding the use of animals for...
As we end the year and approach the holiday season, I’d like to ask that you all view leadership as a gift, and one that you currently possess. Now, leadership can be a special, unique and often challenging present, but it is truly worthwhile.
Allow me to share a parable that will illustrate this point. A group of children are playing in the jungle near their tribe in central Africa, when a group of explorers approaches them. The explorers observe the children playing a game where they use dirty but somewhat shiny stones. The explorers ask their translator if the kids would trade their stones for some chocolate and the kids agree. When the explorers returned home, they discovered that the stones were large, coarse diamonds.
Now, for the explorers, the diamonds were highly valuable and worth a great deal of money in their culture. But to the children, these diamonds were simply toys that brought them joy and happiness. The true value of the diamonds was relative...
Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding. But when problems arise — and as a small business owner myself, I know they do! — you’re responsible for solving them.
So, whether you’re working on the financial success of your martial arts studio or improving the health of your students, it’s important to apply the same principle: Always address the underlying cause.
For example, if your business’s gross revenue is less than stellar this month, it’s easy to say that you simply need more students. So, you decide to focus on
marketing. But what if the real problem is retention? You aren’t able to retain your students because the instructors are not aligned with your program. To target the underlying cause, you may need to focus more on staff training and development.
The same thing happens when you see a spike in injuries within the bulk of your students. If you’re seeing a lot of hamstring injuries, an...
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