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".
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
I have a question for you: What do you call a person you have brought into your business to provide a service that relates to your core product (teaching martial arts)? The answer might seem obvious — clearly, that person is an employee.
Issues arise when businesses choose to turn a blind eye and categorize an employee as an independent contractor. This must end now! New laws require that you err on the side of caution in how you classify your personnel.
A Seismic Shift in the Law
As is frequently the case, California is a trendsetter with respect to this employment law. I won’t bore you with legal details, but the short of the matter is that California, along with a growing number of other states, now uses a greatly truncated test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. There are three determining criteria: First, do you control the worker or direct that person’s activities? Second,...
By Kathy Olevsky
Most martial arts school owners have humble starting places. There are a few who were given the opportunity to take over an existing, thriving program. But, for the most part, we all start in a small, single-instructor setting. The struggles of that type of program are universal from one style to the next, and we all face obstacles.
It is certainly not uncommon to find yourself in a conundrum because you are not feeling well, but you know that, because you are charging your students money for classes, someone still has to teach. I’ve talked to many school owners who don’t know how to resolve this issue. In our early days, we had one instructor and one person who answered the phone. Sometimes it was the same person. When one of us got sick or had a family emergency, it was hard to know what to do.
You have to begin somewhere. One method we found to develop assistants was to start using people in leadership roles during class. This...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
As I have stated many times, I get the best subjects for this column from the issues each of you face daily. I represent a medium-size school operating in a mid-sized town in the South. The owners are a conscientious husband and wife team. Operating their school is a second career for each of them. While their previous business lives allowed them to gain a great deal of knowledge that ties nicely into school ownership, there are still issues they face that are foreign to them. When that happens, they contact me for an opinion.
Typically, we end our discussion with them telling me that they have, once again, given me fodder for a future column. My conversation with them last week was no exception.
These school owners do everything they can to follow all rules and regulations. Shortcuts do not exist in their school. The laws of the state where they are located permit pre-employment drug screening, and detailed background checks...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
Ah, the standard contract! How many of you reading this column have used that term many times in the past, or believe that such a document exists? Frequently, clients call me seeking my review of a vendor contract or other written obligations, which is described by the client as a “standard contract.” Urban legend holds that there exists a document known as the “standard contract” that abides by with some form of legal standard consistent worldwide.
We can all agree that 12 inches equals one U.S. foot and that 2.2 pounds equals one international kilogram. But there is no document with terms and conditions that coalesce into a “standard contract.” While many contracts set forth similar language, none are ever the same.
Neither contracts nor written obligations need be complicated. But, to be enforceable, each must set forth the “parties” to the agreement, the “subject matter” of the...
By Beth A. Block
I’ve talked to many studio owners about security cameras. When we begin, the owner sees all the positives. I see the positives, too. I also see the negatives.
One of the first positives is the security. One of my clients was robbed. The robber wasn’t the brightest criminal. He looked straight into the camera before shooting it. The local police caught him within hours.
In another case, the studio owner found the cameras were a great training tool. She could not understand why new students were leaving so her school quickly. A review of 30 days of film showed she had an instructor using old-school discipline on her students.
She spent a couple of weeks working closely with this instructor to improve his methods. Now, he gets more positive feedback on...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
In this column, I continue using an acronym that spells out BLACK BELT, using words that relate to teams and leadership. This month I’ll address “K,” which stands for knowledge.
Let’s frame knowledge as it relates to 1) yourself; 2) your team; and 3) your environment.
Knowledge of yourself: The temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece, is famous for numerous inscriptions. One of the more famous aphorisms which emanated from this temple was “Know Thyself.” This saying is very profound in its depth and simplicity.
We are all familiar with our personalities and intellects, but we forget the importance of understanding our limits. When discussing limits, we also need to remember this applies to our physical abilities, too.
Recently, I did not run in the Houston half-marathon, even though I had participated in it the previous year. I allowed professional and personal issues to interfere with properly training....
By Kathy Olevsky
In every small business, lessons come to us when we least expect them. I have been one of the many schools who have carried a burden for too long. As a matter of fact, I have a list of situations that I prolonged.
For example, I have had employees who were not the best, but they were what I had at hand and I was afraid to be without them. I also have had family working for me. And because they were family, I hung onto them when I should have let them go, to save my business. I have had students who were toxic to the atmosphere in the dojo, too.
If you haven’t heard it before, let me say it now: Let them go and you will grow. If they have said they are going to leave, then they most likely will do that in the near future. Kudos to you for trying to save them. But there is so much energy spent on trying to save one employee who is unhappy. Or, for that matter, one student who complains about something different every day.
If you have...
Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.
This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.
With that said, if there’s one area that we are still weak in as an industry, it is student/parent communication.
What I’m referring to here is the importance of giving consistent, quality feedback to all of our students and their parents on their progress. We do this by sharing with them what they are doing well and how they can become better. As simple as this may sound, it’s extremely...
By Christopher Rappold
With 2018 behind us, it’s a good time to take a pause and assess how the year went.
I have always enjoyed taking half a day away from the office and looking at the cumulative results from that particular year. Though I look every day, week and month at how our schools are doing, there is something about looking at the total of 12 months of results that gives a different picture and perspective.
I start with my team. I take a look at their martial arts, fitness, personal and professional development from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Did they make the kind of progress that both of us were working toward? Are their goals and the goals of the school intersecting in a way that creates a win-win, long-term relationship? Are there any tweaks that need to be made? What are things we did together that had the most impact, and what are the things that missed the target and need improvement?
Having excellent student...
by Kathy Olevsky
I ‘ve been operating a martial arts school full time for 39 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.
I was reminded recently that our business is ever-changing and I have to remember to respond to the changes. We have worked very hard on our marketing for the past six months and our influx of new students has been steady. In addition to that steady influx, we just added a project that brought in even more new business.
Fill in your information below and we'll get started on a growth plan for your school.