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 Kathy Olevsky
I've been operating a martial arts school full time for 35 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.
How many times has something negative been said about you by another martial arts school owner or by the student of another school in your area? I’ve heard this complaint from various martial arts school owners. Some degree of rivalry is inevitable, but it can lead some people to aggressively criticize others. In reality, this is a form of adult bullying.
I have had this happen multiple times over the years. Most often, the...
By Kathy Olevsky
In last month’s column, we discussed credit card chargebacks and a case of “Friendly Fraud.” My school had experienced several transactions being reversed due to a customer dispute.
In most of the cases, our students actually participated in the classes they were disputing, and had expressed no issues. My research into chargebacks and credit card transactions turned up some interesting facts and helped me create a plan to keep my income secure.
According to David DeCorte with Chargeback911, “The timeframe allowed by Visa and Mastercard to dispute a single charge is 180 days. When it comes to recurring charges, however, the cardholder has much more leeway. The time frame allowed to dispute recurring charges involving the same transaction data is left up to the bank that issued the card.”
He adds, “For example, a cardholder could enroll in a service involving monthly charges. Then, after two years, he could decide to...
By Beth A. Block
Our industry provides lots of opportunities to take photos: everything from the first class to private lessons, extra activities and rank promotions. Many of us have covered the photos we take in a photo release. If you haven’t already done this, I strongly suggest you add this to your enrollment form.
Most of us have not thought about the pictures our families take of their kids. Those pictures usually include other people’s kids. Our photo release doesn’t cover those pictures since we didn’t take them.
Every studio has children enrolled from single-parent homes. We get the enrollment form signed by that parent. Do you think about liability issues from the absent parent? One of your fellow studios was stuck in the middle of a dispute between parents over a picture.
A girl of seven years old was enrolled by Mom. The enrollment director had Mom complete all the paperwork. Mom indicated on the enrollment form that no pictures of the girl...
By Kathy Olevsky
In our school, as in most martial arts programs, we charge our clients monthly for their memberships. In our case, we try very hard to draft from bank accounts, rather than credit cards. However, most of our clients actually prefer to have us charge their credit cards.
We currently have 86% of our accounts charged to credit cards. When we have approached the 25- to 40-year-olds, most of them admit to not even having a check for their checking account. Their age group distributes money primarily through online methods.
In 2018, we experienced a growing problem in our industry. We were notified by a credit card processor that they had taken money out of our account because of a chargeback. Basically, a student disputed our charges.
As it turned out, over the past year we have had multiple students file disputes with their credit card company. The policy of these companies is to automatically take the money back and give it to their client. In our case, if we...
By Beth A. Block
Summertime is just around the corner. Many of you are planning your programs, lining up your staff and promoting your camps. As you’re thinking about how you can turn summer into a profit, take a moment to consider the top five summer camp insurance claims we’ve seen.
The worst involved a swimming pool. Many studio owners take their campers to the pool. Usually, these public pool sites have many other groups of people at the pool simultaneously. This was the case for one of your fellow owners.
On a steaming hot day, they arrived at the pool. The studio’s team and the pool lifeguards missed seeing a student-camper struggling at the bottom of the pool. The good news is that the camper was seen and brought up before he could drown. The bad news is that that wasn’t enough to stop the family from suing.
The second claim that makes this list involves a van. After a field trip to the park, the van was being unloaded at the studio. The studio...
By Keith D. Yates
Can you have a successful mixed martial arts (MMA) school geared towards children? Can you come back from looking insolvency square in the face? Can you overcome years of weight gain, even having reached the point where you’re considered morbidly obese?
The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, if you are the resilient David and Suzana Chacon, owners of Dominion Martial Arts Institute of Mentorship in Oswego, Illinois!
David began his martial arts training at Gen-Ki Karate in Chicago as a child. He also spent a few years in a taekwondo school, earning only a red belt because his parents divorced and he had to stop training. In his early 20s, he developed an interest in ground fighting because, like many stand-up fighters, he felt insecure about what to do if he ever found himself on the ground in a real-life street situation. So, when he was 23, he looked around for a solution and found an MMA coach.
But David says it...
This month, let’s discuss levity and its role in leadership and teams.
“Levity” is “cheerfulness” or “enjoyment.” As we work and try to manage successful businesses, it’s easy to lose sight of just having fun. Honestly, there are some days when we fight just to get out of bed.
However, there are always moments when some joyfulness and laughter can be found. Even when things seem hard or crazy, you have to be intentional in finding levity. Allow me to share a wild but true story.
In my previous column series, “Pop’s Pearls of Wisdom,” I stated that my parents owned liquor stores and then motels. One day, my dad and I were working the front desk at the motel when he received a call from a customer. The client complained that there was a rat in his room.
We were quite thorough about pest control and cleanliness. My dad was tired from several days of rowdy customers and the previous...
Many of us like to help other people. We are in a teaching art. My instructor told me years ago that the best way to learn our martial art is to teach it. I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to share what I’ve learned in the studio with the ranks coming up behind me.
I’ve also noticed that many of us who share our martial art with others often help people. We know the value of martial arts to change and empower people. One of the studio owners I’ve spoken to recently is exactly that kind of person.
He had the opportunity to bring a child into the school that was struggling with social skills. The child was struggling with home-life and academic problems, and bullying by other kids. Those types of problems usually occur together for kids.
The studio owner had a lot of heart for this child. So, the child was brought in on a scholarship and was enthusiastic about class. He made sure his mom got him to...
Attorneys are vital to the success and continued viability of your school. However, there is always an inherent and unavoidable conflict between you and your attorney. Any time people are paid for a service or you pay for a service, each party will act to protect his/her best financial interests.
Here’s my list of 10 things (some related to fees and some not) that your attorney would rather you not know (or ignore):
I don’t charge the same hourly rate for all types of cases. Litigation is not charged at the same level as would assistance in filing administrative documents.
Let’s be honest. All things an attorney does don’t require similar sets of skills. Similarly, it never hurts to attempt to negotiate a reduced rate. If you’re a new client or even one that has a longstanding relationship, asking for a discount, or even a flat fee, is a possibility. As my father always said, “The answer to an...
I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full time for 40 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.
When I first started in the martial arts back in the late 1970's, it was common to hear an instructor say to a student, “Only one in 1,000 will make it to black belt.” That statement was a source of pride. It meant that a black belt was to be truly honored. It meant that a black belt wasn’t a common man (or woman); they were elite.
The statement was made with good intentions, but it did irreparable harm!
Fill in your information below and we'll get started on a growth plan for your school.