By Christopher Rappold
There’s an old business adage that reads, “It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer.” And when it comes to operating a martial arts school, it has never been more true.
Think about it – what does it cost you in actual dollars to get a new student? Even if your school has great systems in place, and you only spend time, effort and energy doing low- or no-cost activities, you have to admit that it is still labor intensive.
Now, contrast that with taking steps to ensure that your students are making progress and moving towards their goals – something you should be doing anyway. When you compare actual time and money spent keeping students on track to their goals versus the efforts and money it takes to add a student, it may make you take a second look at how you prioritize your time.
Try some quick math. Review all the memberships you have in your school. How many...
By MAIA Executive Director Frank Silverman
In a recent column, I discussed the need for focusing on enrollments during the summer month. Even though summer enrollments are often less than stellar, it's important that we work towards getting new students.
I suggested ways to capture the low-hanging fruit: siblings and parents. Assuming you’re focused on new-member enrollment, a focus equal in importance during the summer is retention. It does no good to open the front door to a new student only to lose one through the back door.
There are quite a few reasons that summer retention is difficult. First, you are competing with the swimming pool and the season’s extended daylight hours. As much fun as it is to train in martial arts, in the summer months, staying out late and playing with friends is big competition.
There’s no getting around heat and nice weather being an issue for many students. Just as important is the fact that families break their normal...
By Christopher Rappold
When I walk into a school and see two or three high-level students training at the prime time (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm), with no other members in site, my eyebrows raise. When I see a class full of students who are not performing the technical skills correctly, I get restless. Each of these extremes are different, but, in both cases, the school owners or instructors are probably making one of the 5 Mistakes that can sabotage a sparring program. So what are the 5 Mistakes? Well let’s take a look at each one so you can make certain you aren’t making them.
Mistake Number 1 – Teaching offense first.
Sparring is learning how to move with another partner. To do it well, a student needs to be able to relax. They can only relax if they feel safe. Instructors have to remember to perceive safety though the eyes and feelings of a beginner. Help everyone feel safe by teaching defense first.
Mistake Number 2 – Developing speed...
By Justin L. Ford
The Many Benefits of a Great Demo Team
Do you hear that?
It's faint, but it sounds like a heartbeat.
Is that. . .the sound of your school?
While your students can be likened to the heart of your school, the reputation of your school can be considered the heartbeat. It is the echo of your success. If your “heartbeat” is weak, then your school is likely on the decline to death.
Simply put, your reputation comes from word of mouth. And you should be aware that people will talk about everything! This includes the cleanliness and appearance of your school, what happens on the training floor and, especially, how your...
By Deb Cupples
Repetition is critical to the improvement of technique. But finding ways to disguise the same old thing can diminish enthusiasm from both students and instructors. Injecting new life into old techniques, however, is not as difficult as you might think. Try this approach.
Inspiration sometimes comes from the most unassuming places. It may be hard to believe, but the inspiration I had for putting a new face on old teaching techniques came from a story that I was told, many years ago, in my teens. It’s a simple story about innovation to motivate out of desperation.
Here’s the story that crept back into my mind some 30-plus years later, and how it helped me keep the fire burning during classes when I’m not teaching anything new, but sewing down the seams of basic training.
I was told the following story when I was in my teens and it has stuck with me since then. It’s a simple story about a small town and how one man’s creativity...
By Christopher Rappold
An ability to be tough is needed to pursue any high-level training. And while different coaches, teachers and instructors may have different definitions for what it is, for the purpose of this discussion, I will break down being, “tough” into two different categories. They are mental toughness and physical toughness, both of which have great value in sport and in life.
Elements of Mental Toughness
As I think of mental toughness, three things come to mind:
Within the confines of a martial arts class, how can you teach these important skills? A simple solution may be to set up a scenario that requires a student to come up with what a solution to a problem in a limited amount of time.
At times, we as instructors are in a rush maintain a schedule, and do not allow students to explore different options. We forget that this process, though not...
By Cris Rodriguez
The 6 Key Stages
If you’re struggling to get more students, if you’re confused with all of this social media mumbo-jumbo, if you’re frustrated by not being able to communicate to your leads why they should join your school – then this article was made for you.
Sound like it’s too good to be true? Well, it’s not.
Let me give you some context before we jump in.
Every decision we make in our academy is based around the framework of our “Customer’s Journey.” There are 6 Key Stages that every martial arts student will go through on his/her customer journey in our schools:
By Kathy Olevsky
I've been operating a martial arts school full time for 45 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.
If you’re looking back on last summer and remembering that it was not a good business season, there is still time to make changes what will allow you to generate income during this upcoming summer season.
As school owners, we often look for new students and opportunities to find leads to those new students. In many schools, those leads dry up a bit over the course of the summer months. If this is the case for your school,...
By Christopher Rappold
The successful retention of students in a martial arts school is of paramount importance. It saves the school money by cutting down on monthly advertising budgets and replacing them with free referrals. It increases the cash flow by creating happier students who stay and train for longer. And it enables staff members and owners to earn a higher pay for the great services they provide.
All around, everyone wins when retention is high and the quit rate is low. But if this makes so much sense, then why, for some, does it seem to be so hard to do?
One answer to this that I would like to explore is the quality of the teacher. As you may well know, if you replace a bad teacher with a good one, all of a sudden, a school that was limping along will start to grow.
Conversely, I have seen a great teacher replaced by a teacher who was only “good” and the exact opposite happened. Perhaps you have seen the same. So, what is it that makes the difference...
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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