IS STAYING INDEPENDENT AN OPTION?
There are still many school owners who choose to remain independent. Their reason – whether fully justified or not – is that by remaining independent, they will avoid teaching a “watered-down” style, or teaching solely for profit.
These independents feel that by not affiliating or franchising, they have more control over what is taught in their curriculum and how it is taught. Many schools that teach traditional styles remain independent to avoid modernization.
However valid their opinions on franchises may be, many school owners also have business reasons for staying small and independent. Many of them have realized that economies of scale do not always work out (i.e.: more/bigger schools for bigger profits). Simply put, bigger is not necessarily always better.
These successful-but-small martial arts school owners have figured out that in some industries getting bigger does not always means more money in your...
AFFILIATION VS. FRANCHISING
There are benefits to both affiliations and franchising, but close examination shows a sizable difference in the control of quality. Many organizations have voluntarily made the switch from affiliation to franchise, primarily to ensure better control of product quality.
The main difference between these two organizing entities is the legal ability to enforce conformity and quality. While some associations may try to instill control through the use of gradings and association “logos,” for the most part, the only true obligation the school owner has to the association is lip service. If the school owner has any disagreements with the affiliation, they need only provide nominal notice and then resign from the association.
On the other hand, the reason franchises have been successful in the past is due to the legal ramifications the franchiser can evoke if a franchisee does not adhere to the strict business model and requirements laid down...
A quick starting note: I did my initial research on this subject matter prior to the COVID-19 pandemic reaching North America. However, seeing the results of this crisis only reinforced my theory: Martial arts schools must consolidate, or will perish. There may be schools that are exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions.
Inconsistent Levels of Quality
A recent graph published in MASuccess showed that around 96% of all martial arts school owners own only one or two schools. Many of those second schools are small satellite locations (and usually located in an elementary school gym or a local community center). This indicates that there is a lack of consistency with respect to curriculum, standards, quality and legitimacy.
Unfortunately, this lack of conformity has resulted in numerous lawsuits against various schools, often due to some type of negligence on the part of the school owner. Whether this negligence was due to actions of the school owner or one of the...
by Dave Kovar
In the March/April 2020 issue of MASuccess, I discussed the first three keys to long-term success: Keep your center, value your relationships above all else and know where you’re going. Here, I will cover the final two.
4 Know How You’re Going to Get There
Once you know where you’re going (my third key), the next step is figuring out how you’re going to get there. You don’t need to know every detail; you just need to begin taking steps in the right direction. Remember that motivation follows action. There’s something magical about taking that first step. Plan out the next step, and the step after that, day by day. Before you know it, you will have made great progress.
There are so many applications for this practice in the business of running a martial arts school. Imagine if your goal is to get 20 new members in the next month. How are you going to get there?...
by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.
I’ve had the pleasure of writing this column for 19 years. The membership of the Martial Arts Industry Association has grown greatly during this time, both in size and sophistication.
There are many business subjects that have been and continue to be important to school owners. One is the issue of restrictive covenants and employment agreements, a hot topic from day one, circa 2001, and still worthy of attention.
Those who read my columns regularly know that I’ve always warned that the law typically moves at a glacial pace (“law” in this case referring to statutes that are enacted by legislatures and later defined by courts). The law is not equipped to react quickly to changing technology and social mores. By way of example, who among us in 2001 would have bet their lunch money that by today, marijuana use would be at least partially decriminalized in half of the Unites States or that same-sex marriage would be legal...
by Eric P. Fleishman
Owning and operating your own dojo — a customized, picture-perfect hall of enlightenment, if you will — can be a dream come true for some. Having the opportunity to share the warrior’s way with the next generation is the ultimate honor for any black belt. Passing along the knowledge is a tradition as old as the martial arts themselves. But for this process to succeed, would-be teachers must first secure a building, purchase insurance and market themselves.
To create a thriving martial arts business, the next step is just as crucial: Assemble a staff. You might start out working solo, but to grow, you’ll need more people. These men and women are paramount to delivering knowledge and techniques to your students, as well as nurturing them through the struggles that always accompany personal growth. Finding the best instructors is essential, and keeping them happy and motivated will set you on the road to long-term success. The...
by Karen Eden
Among Native Americans, honoring your ancestors is a long-standing practice. Every powwow, every sacred ceremony and every tribute to the creator — they all begin and end with remembering those who have come before. There’s a sharing of the knowledge and comfort that they’re up there in the great beyond, pulling for you and finding ways to guide you when you need help.
Native or not, at the very least, we all owe our ancestors a certain amount of respect. After all, it was their love and great determination to thrive that got us where we are today. I, for one, will go out of my way to make sure I remain grateful in remembering these sacrifices — all of them — from 14 different nationalities. Understanding their hardships helps me realize who I am today and what my blood has recorded within my veins.
We all must answer the question of who we are meant to be. And like in a tapestry that gets woven over the years of our...
Lately, I have been watching as many of the MAIA webinars (and Facebook videos) as I can. I am amazed at the effort Mr. Silverman and his team have put into supporting the huge number of martial arts schools, even as our collective industry worries that we are teetering on the edge of financial collapse.
I normally consider myself a business technocrat: I am always in favor of new opportunities which would allow small business owners a better chance of success, whether this be via traditional banks, credit unions, trust companies or even the new FinTech industry.
I recently wrote a MAIA blog on FinTechs, in which I suggested them as alternate sources of financing for martial arts school owners. Then COVID-19 happened and the world of business suddenly changed. The businesses who counted on walk-by traffic and locals stopping by daily were suddenly gone. Group settings were now banned. All competitive sports were put on hold. The class setting of...
by Dave Kovar
As we all know, nothing in life, including the success of your school, is guaranteed. However, with the right mindset and the right habits, you can stack the odds in favor of your long-term success.
In my experience, there are five habits that are essential for long-term success. Although I have seen some people fail despite adhering to a few of these behaviors, I have never known anyone to succeed without them. They are: They are: Keep Your Center, Value Your Relationships Above All, Know Where You Are Going, Know How You Are Going to Get There and Keep Getting Up/Moving Forward. Let’s take a look at each one of these in more detail:
1 Keep Your Center
It has been said that the mightiest person is the one who has control over their emotions. That is essentially what it means to keep your center. I named my school Satori Academy of Martial Arts. Our definition of satori is “in the moment, at your best.” This refers to a...
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