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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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Trick or Treat

by Beth A. Block

 

Trick or treat; give me something good to eat! Many fall celebrations revolve around food. That’s not surprising because food has brought human beings together since the beginning of our history. Many studies have shown that food fosters relationships between people and helps build communities.

Halloween, in particular, is all about sweets. In our martial arts studios, we offer parents a safe alternative to taking their children from house to house trick-or-treating. Our celebrations usually include games, prizes and candy — which means they’re guaranteed to keep young students happy.

Thanksgiving follows on the heels of Halloween. What do you visualize when you think of Thanksgiving? Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other favorite foods, most likely. Of course, the other thing that comes to mind is family.

Celebrations offer you a chance to strengthen the family and community bonds that are present in your martial arts studio. It...

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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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An Interview with Children’s Program Expert Melody Johnson

By MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres

 

Recently, a poll ran on Century’s Facebook page asking how many schools have a children’s program and, if not, the reasoning behind choosing not to offer one. Children are a huge part of the martial arts industry, and teaching them is an opportunity to instill the life skills they need early on.

 

One person who has dedicated her life to teaching kids is SKILLZ and PreSKILLZ creator Melody Johnson (née Shuman). I asked her a few questions that pertain to teaching children, for those of you who have been curious about the topic!

 

If you have specific questions I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask on Century Preschool Network’s Facebook group page and tag Master Johnson. She’ll be happy to respond!

 

 

Melissa Torres: What made you choose a career working with children?

 

Melody Johnson: My story starts off like that of many people in the martial arts. I was bullied a lot...

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Retrain, Relocate, Replace: The Three R’s of Dealing with an Underperforming Team Member

staff training Mar 16, 2019

By Dave Kovar

 

The first 10 years that I was in business, the concept of staff development was foreign to me. I did pretty much everything by myself, or got one of my advanced students to help out when necessary. That all changed in the late 80s when my older brother, Tim, came on as my business partner.

Out of the gate, the first thing he wanted us to do was to start grooming a team that could help us grow. To me, it seemed like a waste of time. But I was excited to have a partner and wanted to stay open-minded and receptive to his input.

I quickly found out what a valuable use of time this was. By the early ‘90s, we had a core group of team members that were committed to our vision and to growing our schools. As a matter of fact, I am proud to say that many of those same people are still a part of our organization today.

Although we don’t have everything figured out, when it comes to the area of developing a rock-solid team, we have made amazing progress over the...

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“C” is for Community

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...

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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 Martial Arts SuperShow — Something for Everyone

By MAIA Executive Director Frank Silverman

 

As we begin to approach the 2019 Martial Arts SuperShow, the world’s biggest martial arts business convention, this summer, I want to address the six groups of schools we market to that attend the show. They are:

  • schools not yet open
  • small schools
  • medium schools (I call them potential “break-outs”)
  • large schools
  • super-large schools
  • multi-school operations

 

Of the group, we tend to get the highest participation among the middle three: small, medium and large. That said, in any given year there can to be more of one than another, with no rhyme or reason as to why.

 

First, let me address the idea among some school owners about attending the event. They believe their school is too small, or that it’s too big, or that they are not a success, or that they are too successful to benefit from the Show. This last statement is not true and, in fact, is exactly the opposite.

 

Whether you are ready to...

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The Top 5 Social Media Liabilities

By Beth A. Block

 

Have you surrendered to the Dark Side? Or are you committed to the Light? In other words, do you wield your social media saber for the light or the dark? Surrendering to the dark can get you sued, just like these studio owners below.

 

Liability #1

Our studio depends on social media to market our program and to keep our relationships with our enrolled families. Our current families use social media for everything.

 

The first thing a family will do after hearing about your studio is check you out on social media. They will check out your website, your social media pages, and look at your reviews before deciding whether to come to your studio.

 

Your instructors are also, generally, part of the generation that uses instant messaging, Twitter, Instagram, and texting. This is just as natural as breathing for them.

 

In one studio, this resulted in a 19-year-old instructor texting a naked picture of himself to a 16-year-old student. The...

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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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