1.) Treat Your Business Like a Business.
Most of us decided to open our Martial Arts studio because we had a love for the Martial Arts and all the wonderful benefits that we have gained from being in Martial Arts, so we wanted to share these tremendous gifts with others. This is awesome, and this is exactly why you should teach Martial Arts. However, our love for something without a proper business foundation will not make a successful academy.
Therefore you MUST treat your business like a business.
You MUST decide, do you want Ego or Success, because you can’t have both. Can you put away your ego to do what’s best for your academy and business?
Too many of us are “Old School”, which is great regarding training on the mat, however if we want our business to be successful, we must develop a “New School”, business mindset. With this mindset we have to realize that our students’ success and their parent’s appreciation of our values is how we stay in business.
By all means, I am not saying water down your program or become a “McDoJo”. I am saying that being able throw a great round kick does not automatically ensure success.
Business is about doing the little things you may not know much about, or even thought you wanted to know about, but they will make all the difference.
One of these business tools is maintaining, tracking & knowing your stats and numbers. Your numbers are your businesses life source, and they tell its story.
Tracking your numbers should minimally consist of knowing how many leads you have coming in every month, how many trial classes & intros you have, how many new signs up, and how many quits you have monthly.
You also need to track your attendance to see which students may be getting close to quitting, and which students membership will be expiring soon. Use these numbers to see which areas you need to improve on. Ask yourself, do you have very few leads, or lots of leads but not many appointments made, and use this information to make the necessary changes to grow your business. There are many more numbers you can track, but I have found these basics numbers are by far the most important, and are a great place to start.
Another must is to provide the best possible service and experience every single time a student steps through the doors.
Be a professional, the way you look, talk and interact with others. Appearance, hygiene, language, attitude. Be positive , motivating & upbeat, and remember people are paying you for a service, and if you don’t deliver, they’ll go somewhere else. This professionalism must be displayed by everyone representing your academy, your instructors, assistants, front desk, as well as the appearance of your facility.
Think about what you expect when you go to a place of business, and then analyze how well you do those things at your business. Is it clean, does it look professional, would you feel comfortable bringing your kids to this place and then spending a couple of hours a week there?
Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Ask yourself, what first impression are you giving to your students. If it’s not the best, change it!
2.) Teach ONLY Excellent Classes NEVER Just Good Classes.
Good classes may have been good enough a few years ago, but not anymore. Now, there is so much competition, and so many other things for students to do that you must do that little extra to make sure students leave class with so much excitement that they can’t wait to get back.
Excellent classes start with great lesson planning. You must plan for success, because “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I know that a lot of instructors have the mindset that they’ve been teaching for so long that they don’t need to plan. You may think that planning is just a waste of time.
I must humbly disagree, and this is why. I have found that something magical happens when you take time to write out a plan of action. You become far more creative when you simply take time to plan & think, and the more you focus on the plan the more excited you become and subsequently the lesson becomes so exciting that you can’t wait to teach it.
Now, ask yourself, if you’re super excited to teach a lesson, how great do you think you’re going to teach it!? The same is true for a lesson you’re not prepared for, or not excited about. How well do you think you’re going to teach that lesson?
Great classes must always contain some type of life skills and character development message. This can & will add tremendous value to your program, and like the lesson, this must be something that is planned & prepared for in order to be effective.
So what is an excellent class? I’m sure everyone has their own interpretation, but I would like to think that an excellent class consists of a great lesson which brings excitement, energy and continuous movement into a valuable learning experience.
A few key points for excellent classes are; making each student feel special by focusing on the 3x3x3 rule which is; making 3 personal eye contacts and connections, 3 appropriate touches (high 5’s) and knowing and saying each student’s name 3 times.
It’s also important to use the SSL rule, which is to keep each student Smiling, Sweating & Learning. This will keep the students engaged and excited, so they can’t wait to come back!
3.) Surround Yourself With Great People & Continue Learning.
If you want to grow your Martial Arts business you MUST surround yourself with people who know how to make it successful, and then have an open mind to learning. Business may not be your expertise, I sure know it wasn’t mine, so seek out those who are more business minded and learn from them.
Attend Martial Arts seminars, read success books, watch webinars and listen to podcasts.
I’m not saying you have to agree with everything you read, hear or see, but I am saying you MUST empty your cup and realize that there are a lot of good people out there who have been able to combine excellent Martial Arts classes, with excellent practitioners and still have a successful business.
Another valuable source of free information is to join Martial Arts Business Facebook groups, ask questions, get ideas, and then choose which strategies you want to implement. Learn from everyone, good or bad, but always remember that an empty cup is the best way to asorb knowledge. Stay away from a few of the most dangerous phrases that us Martial Artists have a tendency to say “I know that”, or “that’s not the way I do it”. Remember, you can have Ego or Success, but you can’t have both.
Success always leaves clues, so do your homework, read, study and learn as much as you can, and apply as much as you can to your business model.
A great way to get started is to talk & communicate with other local businesses. Get out in the community and do free events for the schools, the local fire & police department, become the expert in your community. It has been said that the wise man asks the question and wants to learn, the fool already knows everything.
To your success!
Master Rich Grogan
Master Rich Grogan
Founder of Grogan’s Academy of Martial Arts
*Over 35 years of Martial Arts experience
* BS in Kinesiology Education
* Licensed Education Specialist
*Curriculum Design Specialist
Master Grogan focuses his Martial Arts Academy on character development and life skills. He specializes in teaching positive motivation, practical self-defense and bullying prevention.
Master Grogan’s goal is to help students & families live their best possible life through the positive virtues of Martial Arts training.