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".
Martial artists change lives. It’s what we do as teachers and school owners. That’s exactly why we created Spark, the industry-leading software for running and automating your school. And it’s why the martial arts industry will always be our home.
But there are parts of running a school that are soul-sucking and daunting. At times, they can even make you want to quit.
It makes total sense. We’re guessing that you became an instructor for the same reasons we did: You have a passion for spreading the martial arts – a passion for changing lives. You love to see the look on a parent’s face when a child finally shows respect. You’re ecstatic when you see an adult feel confident for the first time in his or her life.
We’re going to take another guess and say things like seeing to administrative tasks and transmitting emails and SMS follow-ups aren’t exactly what you feel excited to do when you wake up in the morning. “I...
by Frank Silverman, MAIA Executive Director
In February 2020, the stock market hit an all-time high of 29,348. Unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. And the martial arts school business seemed to be riding an infinite wave of new student signups.
Then BAM! We were knocked on our collective butts by an invisible foe that has gone on to kill thousands of people, shut down the economy around the world, drive up the U.S. unemployment rate to an estimated 20 percent and, literally, terrorize people in ways not seen in modern times.
And that wave of student signups? It disappeared. Nearly every martial arts school in America was shuttered as cities and states implemented the recommended quarantine procedures.
It served as a stark reminder that life can — and sometimes does — change on a dime.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, I received countless email messages and voicemails from school owners:
“I don’t know what to do!”
by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager
I’ve worked for the Martial Arts Industry Association for some time now. I’ve learned a lot, especially since I became Division Manager. When you spend time speaking with dozens, if not hundreds, of martial artists and school owners, you can’t help but start to notice patterns. One thing that really stands out to me is that school owners choose their career because they love martial arts. They have a passion for teaching and want to spread the benefits.
On one hand, this is great. On the other, it means that almost none of them considered the business side of the venture when they opened their schools.
This ties in with another pattern I’ve noticed: Many school owners don’t know the first thing about running a successful business. They get bogged down in daily tasks like teaching, answering phones, cleaning mats and taking out the trash — all important jobs, to be certain — but they tend to...
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 Frank Silverman
As we approach June and the weather gets warmer, we’re reminded that summer is right around the corner. This change of the seasons needs to be the focus of our attention. We cannot let it sneak up on us. Yes, some schools do perfectly fine and even thrive during June, July and August, but in general, summer is not the best time for martial arts schools.
To find a solution, you have to start by understanding why summer can be troublesome. For the most part, it breaks down to two issues: One, you’re no longer competing with other sporting activities and school. You’re competing with longer daylight hours, which means you’re competing with the pool, the backyard slip-and-slide, the lemonade stand and other spontaneous “summer-only” diversions that can seem more tantalizing than training — which is offered year-round, after all.
Two, people frequently take vacations during some or all of the summer. If they aren’t...
by Mike Metzger, MAIA Consultant
When I speak with school owners about the challenges they face, one of the most consistent themes is the struggle to keep business thriving during the summer months. One way, of course, is to run daylong camps. These camps can last for one week or several and are a great way to generate revenue. However, not every school owner wants to or can spend all day at his or her dojo. It’s for these martial artists that I offer the following four ways to create value, excitement and revenue during the summer while working normal afterschool hours.
Regardless of when summer break starts in your area, you can offer a private-lesson package based for eight weeks. Bundle those private lessons as once-a-week hourlong sessions and offer as many or as few as you have time to teach. An eight-week, eight-lesson private training package can sell for $480.
To make this package even more appealing, offer different themes. For...
by Frank Silverman
Over the past few months, I’ve done quite a bit of shopping and buying: holiday gifts, upgrades and repairs to the house, a new car, kids’ birthday gifts and more. I was in an in-store and online buying frenzy — my own perpetual Black Friday.
My overall experience with all this shopping was great. Ultimately, I was able to purchase every item I wanted or needed. I paid what I consider fair prices, and I’m enjoying my purchases. That said, when I put on my consultant’s hat afterward, I couldn’t help but evaluate my transactions. How is the quality of the items I bought? How was the service leading up to the purchases? Do I have any buyer’s remorse? Was my shopping experience as good as it could have been? Was it better than expected? Were the salespeople friendly and the online retailers straightforward?
Evaluating everything in detail made me think of my schools in Orlando, Florida. I think I offer a great product....
by Melody Johnson
Every Tuesday after school, my son has a playdate at a local park. I like to watch him interact with other kids from the neighborhood so I can observe their behavior. I’m a fan of the way kids play, in part because I’m in awe that we adults don’t engage with our peers the way children do.
Unfortunately, the kids almost always exhibit behaviors that prompt their parents to weigh in on how they’re playing. Most of the parental feedback is negative. Not surprisingly, most of the kids’ responses to this are equally negative.
Many times, it’s just a case of mistaken “stage of development” identity. The parents don’t understand that the children’s behavior is natural and common for their age and therefore shouldn’t be addressed so negatively. At the same time, I see many opportunities where a good martial arts program could help make the parents’ job easier and more enjoyable.
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