by Christopher Rappold
If you’re reading this column while this issue of MASuccess is current, chances are you’re a martial arts school owner who’s still dealing with COVID. Never has this industry taken such a hit!
So what are you going to do about it? The answer is you must rebuild, but you need to do so in a way that makes your school stronger and better because of COVID, not in spite of COVID. In this column, I’ll focus on two key areas you should explore to help your school have an epic comeback and sustained retention rate.
To get a clear perspective on this challenge, imagine that an outside expert has been hired to evaluate the scope of the damage that has been done. (Unless you take this step, you’ll be too close to your school to make an accurate evaluation.) Naturally, that third-party inspector would want to talk with you about your staff. The person might start by asking the following:
by Kurt Klingenmeyer
As all school owners know, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a martial arts academy. The hours pass quickly when they revolve around teaching great classes and helping students reach their potential. Unfortunately, while that’s happening, some things can slide to the side and get forgotten.
Listed below are five things that you, as a martial arts instructor, should incorporate into your daily routine.
“Great Job” Calls
Make it a point to speak with five families every day to tell them what a great job their children are doing in class. Giving families individualized attention and letting them know about their children’s progress are key to the development of martial arts students. In addition to talking about a child’s martial arts progress, ask how the whole family is doing. Oftentimes, parents come to the martial arts for support — maybe the child needs more focus or...
by Frank Silverman
Every now and then, we all can use a reminder of how special our profession really is. Of course, there’s the daily regimen of training, teaching, coaching, etc., but as you all know, those things add up to so much more. I received that reminder again just last week and thought now was as good a time as any to share it with you.
I was at karate class watching my 6-year-old. She had just moved up to the beginner’s class, having graduated from the Lil’ Dragons program. Since we’re still social distancing and this school’s waiting area accommodates only eight to 10 parents, I was standing outside to watch so all our members and clients could squeeze in.
As I stood there, I noticed another family watching from inside their car. They had parked where they had an unobstructed view of the class. In the car was a mom, her daughter and an aunt, and inside the school was the 6-year-old son and father. They told me they were heading off...
by Floyd Burk
The primary function of MASuccess is to help you overcome any obstacle that stands between your martial arts business and financial success. In 2020, the main obstacle for most schools was the pandemic. Sadly, it remains so in 2021.
This has spurred endless discussion, most of it based on this all-to-common premise: “My school has been closed for a long time and I still have to pay rent. My state says I can’t teach inside, so I’m planning to start holding class outside soon. Do you have any suggestions?”
In this article, I’ll shed some light on this subject and related ones that focus on teaching outside your regular establishment.
Let’s start by assuming that you live in a locale where state and local officials have issued orders keeping you from conducting class in your school or orders that restrict the number of people allowed inside. I’m a school owner in San Diego County, so I know of what I...
by Cris Rodriguez
Most people in the martial arts industry who know me know that I’m a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Few are aware, however, that I got my start at a Jhoon Rhee Institute of Tae Kwon Do when I was just 8 years old. Yes, I’ve been a mat rat since 1993.
As a former lover of forms — specifically, musical forms — I had the power of repetition drilled into my head from an early age. My classmates and I practiced our musical routines so much that cassette tapes would get stretched out and become unplayable because we constantly were pressing the Play, Stop and Rewind buttons. At least they weren’t 8 tracks or vinyl. …
Looking back on my childhood on the dojo carpet — mats weren’t popular at the time — I’m still impressed at how my instructor was able to get us to practice our forms over and over by disguising the repetition of the techniques we were using. Back then, we didn’t know what he was...
by Cris Rodriguez, Mike Metzger and Shane Tassoul
At the macro level, you have to implement just three systems to achieve success in your martial arts academy. If you’re thinking that sounds too easy to be true, know that Tony Robbins teaches something similar in his business-coaching programs. He says a business must do these three things to grow:
1 Get customers.
2 Get those customers to pay more.
3 Get those customers to pay more, more often.
At the Martial Arts Industry Association, our recipe for success focuses on the three R’s: recruitment, retention and revenue. In this article, three of the industry’s leading consultants — Cris Rodriguez, Mike Metzger and Shane Tassoul — will explain how this simple strategy can help you take your school to the next level in 2021.
Recruitment • Cris Rodriguez, MAIA Consultant
One year on vacation in Hawaii, I was relaxing at the beach when a fisherman, obviously a local, drove up in his...
by Christopher Rappold
Not long ago, I was visiting with Don Rodrigues, one of my dearest martial arts friends for nearly 40 years. Although we speak on the phone often because of our roles with Team Paul Mitchell Karate, this was the first time in nearly eight months that I got to see him in person because of COVID concerns. We had lots to discuss, but for a good chunk of the time, we took a walk down memory lane.
This led to a discussion of how each of us had come to find the martial arts. Coach Rodrigues is my senior by 14 years, and he has deep roots and an almost computer-like memory of old-school karate from the 1960s and ’70s. We laughed the way most martial artists do when they look back in time and talk about things that would not be accepted today.
One of the topics we reminisced about was the sacrilege of asking your instructor when you would be ready for your next rank. If you did, your time was automatically doubled. Back then, we also witnessed instructors...
by Frank Silverman
As we prepare to enter 2021, we have an opportunity not only to look toward the future but also to reflect on the past. Nobody could have predicted how 2020 would turn out. It’s hard to believe that the pandemic has rolled over into the new year with us. In March, I had a conversation with my business partner Mike Metzger, and we agreed that COVID, although serious, would blow over soon. We figured it was a blip on the map of life with no real consequences. After a couple of weeks, life would be back to normal, we thought.
As we all know now, that prediction could not have been more wrong. We stopped in-person training and closed our schools in mid-March, then pivoted to virtual training. Not until June did we begin to allow students back into our schools. That’s when we quickly learned something that most other school owners likely discovered: Although we were ready to resume in-person training, our students were not so eager. They still wanted...
by Christopher Rappold
Think for a moment about your martial arts school and its current positioning. For better or worse, COVID-19 exposed a weakness in most martial arts programs across the country: We struggle to know what to do when we can’t teach lessons in person. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but together, we need to learn as much as possible from this experience.
To spark the learning, I would pose a question: How do you compete against the thousands of free martial arts videos on YouTube? How do you take on the popular mainstream fitness videos and the free live training offered by their brands? How do you compete against Peloton Bike and dozens of other trendy home-workout items? Answer: You don’t!
Now, before anyone concludes that I’m saying you should just throw in the towel, I ask you to think a bit more strategically. Instead of, “How can I compete?” ask yourself, “What can I offer that others...
by Christopher Rappold
If you had been told in January of this year that our world was about to shut down, would you have believed it? For most of us, the onset of COVID-19 was surreal, almost like watching a far-fetched movie plot unfolding in real time. And as with all unwelcome surprises, no one wants to go through it again. That said, I do want to make sure that our (literal) 20/20 hindsight results in the correct insights that will leave us better prepared for whatever else the future brings.
Because this column focuses on retention, my observations will target four key takeaways. The lessons to be learned — or relearned — from this pandemic are critical to sustained martial arts student retention and success.
1 Building strong relationships is a high-value activity.
To get through any kind of crisis requires more than just your efforts. It takes the collective support of friends, family, team...
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