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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".

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Wage-Related Issues Involving Your Employees

by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.

 

As a regular contributor to MASuccess, I derive great satisfaction from two things. One is receiving positive feedback in regard to my coverage of certain issues. The second is when someone lets me know that a problem I covered, which had previously flown under the radar, has become a hot-button issue.

On that note, I will bring up two topics that I’ve touched on and that are generating controversy in various jurisdictions: wage theft and salary inquiries. The second topic spans two issues: the ever-increasing prohibition against asking prospective employees about their previous salaries and the practice of paying similarly situated male employees more than females.

 

Wage Theft

In the past, local government entities were hesitant to become involved in employment-related issues. When it came to wage and hour issues, protection of private-sector employees was minimal at best. Previously, an employee who suffered harm because an employer...

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A New Year in July? Check Changes in the Law Twice a Year!

By Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.

 

Each year as we change to a new calendar, we look toward a new beginning and new goals. In most United States jurisdictions, the law typically has two “new years”: one that begins January 1 and another that commonly starts between July and November of the same calendar year. These are the timeframes in which newly enacted laws become effective.

 

You have probably seen newspaper columns or internet posts outlining the recent law changes in your jurisdiction. These notices are not usually exhaustive. They just highlight the changes that are most interesting to casual consumers. Issues that could adversely affect your day-to-day business operations may not be covered or may be buried deep within the news release. It’s interesting to learn how tips must be divided among restaurant servers, and it’s good to know that driving while using a cellphone is unlawful. However, these things have limited value to your martial arts...

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Call an Employee a Contractor and You Might Be Wearing a Scarlet Letter!

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,...

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Who Will Teach When I Am Sick?

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...

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What Do You Mean I Can’t Require (or Even Suggest) a Pre-Employment Polygraph Test?

employee matters Jul 17, 2019

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...

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Security Double-Take

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...

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Unicorns, Bigfoot and the Standard Contract: Three Things That Don’t Exist in the Real World!

employee matters Jun 07, 2019

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...

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“K” is for Knowledge

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....

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It’s Okay to Let an Employee Go

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...

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The 5 Mindsets of Martial Arts School Success, Part 2

Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.

 

They were:

 

  1. We are the friendliest place in town.

 

  1. We are the cleanest place in town.

 

  1. We only teach great classes, never just good ones.

 

This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.

 

  1. We are excellent at student/parent communication. It has been great to see how the level of professionalism has improved in our industry over the last 40 years. Clearly, we have learned a lot about running a friendly, clean school with great classes.

 

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...

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