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...
by Karen Eden
Franklin D. Roosevelt won his first term as president of the United States in 1932. The country was going through one of the roughest times in American history. It was FDR who was responsible for steering the U.S. not only through the Great Depression but through World War II, as well.
Life wasn’t going to cut this beloved president any breaks. By 1939, he was battling full-blown polio. It would take away the use of his legs and make him a paraplegic for the rest of his life.
I find it astounding to think that any human being would have the strength and courage to remain “leader of the free world” while battling paralysis. There was, of course, no cure for polio at the time. FDR found himself being dragged to various “health resorts” and to all kinds of unorthodox treatment centers, yet nothing could bring back the use of his legs. The thing is, he refused to be seen as an invalid in the public eye. Even though he was in a lot of...
by Christopher Rappold
Not long ago, I was visiting with Don Rodrigues, one of my dearest martial arts friends for nearly 40 years. Although we speak on the phone often because of our roles with Team Paul Mitchell Karate, this was the first time in nearly eight months that I got to see him in person because of COVID concerns. We had lots to discuss, but for a good chunk of the time, we took a walk down memory lane.
This led to a discussion of how each of us had come to find the martial arts. Coach Rodrigues is my senior by 14 years, and he has deep roots and an almost computer-like memory of old-school karate from the 1960s and ’70s. We laughed the way most martial artists do when they look back in time and talk about things that would not be accepted today.
One of the topics we reminisced about was the sacrilege of asking your instructor when you would be ready for your next rank. If you did, your time was automatically doubled. Back then, we also witnessed instructors...
by Kathy Olevsky
“Pivot” and “adapt” have become buzzwords in business during the past year. Add “survive” and you have probably the most important words of 2020. Small businesses had to recreate themselves to make it through a year of economic turmoil. It will be a time we talk about for years to come.
In September 2020, I was looking for a solution to get my current students back through the doors. There was great concern about resuming self-defense training and sparring because they involve a high degree of partner contact. We had no problem getting new students to come in, but we were struggling to get our older students to return.
Around that time, I noticed that many people in the martial arts were doing their best to try new things and share them with anyone who would listen. One of the best qualities of the martial arts community became apparent: We have more than our share of creativity. So many of us were trying to survive that we...
by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager
Well, we made it to the end of 2020. It was a tough year for everyone, whether you had to pivot and learn a new virtual technology or were forced to make difficult decisions like laying off staff or even closing your doors. But the end is finally here. We are closing the doors on 2020 — once and for all!
As happy as I am to see the last of 2020, the practical side of me knows that just because we turned over a new page in our calendars doesn’t mean that everything will automatically return to normal. No one knows when our lives will be normal again — or what that “normal” will look like. (Hopefully, it will be a nicer, better normal.)
It’s more important than ever to be prepared and plan for the unexpected. While no one saw the pandemic coming, I hope you were able to switch to virtual classes quickly or at least continue to keep in touch with your students.
It’s vital to keep yourself and your...
by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.
In this new COVID-19 world, many of you are using videoconferencing in lieu of in-person classes. Is teaching virtually in this manner without potential liability? The short answer is no.
As you know, classes conducted on your school premises have many built-in liability protections. For example, no student will be injured by a rambunctious pet or younger sibling running across the studio floor. No misplaced pieces of furniture will get in the way of full-power kicks.
Furthermore, should a student be injured at your school, you’ll have immediate knowledge of the incident, as well as the ability to take remedial action and then create an incident report that records all the facts while they’re fresh in the minds of witnesses.
Clearly, these protections do not apply when instruction takes place via videoconferencing. Nevertheless, many instructors are using video. Assuming you’re one of them, I offer the following cautionary advice.
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