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 Christopher Rappold
An ability to be tough is needed to pursue any high-level training. And while different coaches, teachers and instructors may have different definitions for what it is, for the purpose of this discussion, I will break down being, “tough” into two different categories. They are mental toughness and physical toughness, both of which have great value in sport and in life.
Elements of Mental Toughness
As I think of mental toughness, three things come to mind:
Within the confines of a martial arts class, how can you teach these important skills? A simple solution may be to set up a scenario that requires a student to come up with what a solution to a problem in a limited amount of time.
At times, we as instructors are in a rush maintain a schedule, and do not allow students to explore different options. We forget that this process, though not...
By Robby Beard
Summer is quickly approaching, and we need a plan! As most of us know, summer can be a challenging time to acquire new members. You’ll be competing with all kinds of activities, such as swimming, vacations, camping, and countless other outdoor pursuits. The key is to start planning now!
Parents are looking for something for their children to get into during the summer, so be sure that you have a summer special to offer. I like to do a six-week program. The goal is for the trial membership to run out before academic school starts back, not when it starts. You don’t want to hear the objection: “We want to wait and find out their school schedule before we sign up.”
Now that you have a program to sell, let’s get busy!
First, get some flyers and ad cards made. Set a goal to get out 200 flyers per week leading up to the summer. Hit shopping centers and parks, and make door hanger for neighborhoods. Place the ad cards in 100 businesses...
By Cris Rodriguez
The 6 Key Stages
If you’re struggling to get more students, if you’re confused with all of this social media mumbo-jumbo, if you’re frustrated by not being able to communicate to your leads why they should join your school – then this article was made for you.
Sound like it’s too good to be true? Well, it’s not.
Let me give you some context before we jump in.
Every decision we make in our academy is based around the framework of our “Customer’s Journey.” There are 6 Key Stages that every martial arts student will go through on his/her customer journey in our schools:
By Kathy Olevsky
I've been operating a martial arts school full time for 45 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.
If you’re looking back on last summer and remembering that it was not a good business season, there is still time to make changes what will allow you to generate income during this upcoming summer season.
As school owners, we often look for new students and opportunities to find leads to those new students. In many schools, those leads dry up a bit over the course of the summer months. If this is the case for your school,...
By MAIA Consultant Jason Flame
As school owners and professional martial artists, we often lose sight of why we got into this business and industry in the first place. It’s not the number of students we can enroll each month. It’s not how big our billing check is or how much we gross each month. And it’s not how big our school is.
We got involved in this business because teaching martial arts is our passion, and changing people’s lives is our goal. Now, of course, running a successful business may be about the numbers. But operating a successful martial arts school is about much more than that.
We know that if our students are getting great results, they’re going to talk about us to everyone they know, which may lead to more referrals. If the parents of our students truly value what we have to offer, they will stay longer. The bottom line is, we need to think much more about giving than receiving. If everything you do is about getting something...
By Christopher Rappold
The successful retention of students in a martial arts school is of paramount importance. It saves the school money by cutting down on monthly advertising budgets and replacing them with free referrals. It increases the cash flow by creating happier students who stay and train for longer. And it enables staff members and owners to earn a higher pay for the great services they provide.
All around, everyone wins when retention is high and the quit rate is low. But if this makes so much sense, then why, for some, does it seem to be so hard to do?
One answer to this that I would like to explore is the quality of the teacher. As you may well know, if you replace a bad teacher with a good one, all of a sudden, a school that was limping along will start to grow.
Conversely, I have seen a great teacher replaced by a teacher who was only “good” and the exact opposite happened. Perhaps you have seen the same. So, what is it that makes the difference...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “C,” which stands for community.
Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters.
Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.
However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.
Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...
By Herb Borkland
Richardson was born in Charlotte and took his first martial arts training there at age 13. But, as is true of every aspect of his highly successful school, he says he opened LMA only after a great deal of study, planning and research.
Location Is Everything!
Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, boasting around 860,000 diverse citizens — 45.1% white, 35.0% black, 13.1% Hispanic and 5.0% Asian. It’s the third-fastest-growing major city in the United States and the nation’s second-largest banking center, housing the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, and a strong NASCAR All-Star Racing presence are among the local major sports attractions.
Why is all of this so important to a martial arts school owner? Because location is everything.
“I began with demographic research on 64 markets in the...
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...
By Dave Kovar
In 1958, Vince Lombardi took over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers pro football team. The Packers had not done well since 1944. In a press conference, Mr. Lombardi was asked what he was going to do to turn around this bunch of mediocre players.
He responded by saying, “I’m not going to change anything. I’m just going to make them brilliant in the basics.”
From there the legend grew and, by 1967, the Packers had won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls.
The concept of being “brilliant in the basics“ is pretty universal and certainly applies to running a martial arts school and teaching great classes. I recently had a conversation with one of my clients who was contemplating closing his second location because his attendance was dwindling and he was losing money. We discussed a few strategies that he could implement to help him get turned around, and then he got to work.
A couple of months...
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