Randy Reid, editor of Dojo Nation Times interviews mega -successful multi-school owner Master John Bussard. Enjoy!
DN: First off, I want to congratulate you on your success. It seems like MAST is really the go-to place these days for summer camp and after school in guidance and consulting.
Dwayne: Thank you very much. We are excited to have helped so many school owners in such a short amount of time achieve a great amount of success in this industry. And it’s very rewarding.
Erica: Yes, thanks Randy. We appreciate the recognition and are looking forward to seeing it grow even more in the coming years.
DN: So I don’t remember, but when exactly did MAST launch?
Dwayne: MAST launched approximately, let’s say, about a year and a month ago.
DN: I was thinking it was about a year. And Ericka, as you know, I was kind of skeptical, being the editor of Dojo Nation Times, a couple of times a month I get calls from people who are going to be the next big thing in consulting or have the next must-have program for martial arts schools. I was kind of negative in thinking this thing was going to work, but you certainly proved me wrong ten times over. What do you think has made you guys so successful when so many others really haven’t done that well?
Ericka: I believe you lectured me for about 45 minutes telling me all of the reasons why MAST was a terrible idea and why it would fail. There are really three key components that have caused MAST to help our school owners be so successful. The first one is structure. We have a proven system that works in just about every state across the country. We have members in almost every state and the system works. The second key component is accountability and really creating a high level of accountability with our Mastermind members making sure they are following the system and have the support they need. The third component, which is the most important, is that we actually care. So, it’s really important to us to have the highest level of service for our members and for all of our members to be a part of what we call our MAST family.
Dwayne: Absolutely, I’d like to piggyback on that. We are also very selective in who we choose to work with. There is a level of exclusivity that comes with MAST. We want to only work with the top school owners who are committed to their success and who are willing to be action takers and see the big picture. They are the ones who impact as many lives as possible in their communities and they have to be a good fit for our culture. When that all comes together, success is virtually guaranteed at that point.
DN: I’ve been privileged to see a little bit behind the curtain because I’m very good friends with Ericka’s father. I got to know you guys, and I got to know you, Dwayne, a little last year. And I’m aware that you’ve gone so far to dismiss some clients and some that were pretty financially lucrative for you and you dismissed them from the organization because they just weren’t fitting your model and your values. That’s pretty impressive. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go; they seem like their first order of business was how much they were going to make. They were dollar-focused. Obviously you guys are going in a different area and it seems to be working.
Dwayne: The biggest thing for us is that we maintain the integrity of our program so that we can meet our goals and continue to serve our clients at the highest level. Part of that is maintaining the integrity of the group. We have to have people to be action takers and people who merge well with our existing members. Because there is a very powerful mastermind that we’ve created, everybody has a high level of trust for one another. They all get along. They work together. As Ericka and I always say, we have a culture that as we climb, we lift people with us. That’s how we all go to the next level.
Ericka: And for us, that’s a virtual business dojo. If you have a student who comes through your front door and wants to pay you whatever they want to pay you, but they aren’t willing to learn and they aren’t coachable and good for the culture, it’s good for a school owner to dismiss that student. We encourage our MAST members to only accept the best and we lead by example. We only accept the best school owners who are coachable and willing to learn and give and collaborate and share with other high-level school owners.
DN: You’ve guys have let me in to see your MASTermind group and I followed what’s going on within that week. I’m amazed at a couple of things. Mostly I’m amazed at the success you’re having but just as importantly is that the martial arts dojo field is working together. You just don’t see a lot of that these days. Because of that, they are pushing each other and striving and you’ve got some real success stories. Not one or two– you’ve got a lot of them. I know a couple of people personally and a couple of my black belts are in there. They have improved dramatically from where they were. Let’s talk about a couple of your clients. I’ve seen a couple that have been involved in that and have been very successful. Rob Pushard. He’s out of a very small town in Maine if I remember.
Dwayne: That is correct. The hometown that he is in has an approximate population for 2,000 maybe 3,000.
DN: And he had just implemented this program hadn’t he?
Dwayne: That’s correct. When he had originally come to us, he had never hosted a full-scale all-day summer camp. He quickly sold about 500 weeks. In his second summer, he’s approaching 1,000 weeks. This is incredible. He has already sold out his after school program from the 2016/2017 school year. He has taken more vacations in his life in the last year than he has in the last 10 years. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that he’s had the opportunity to empower his oldest son to run the entire business. His son’s name is Caleb. He’s still a teenager and he’s doing a phenomenal job. So this has really changed their entire lives both for their business and personal lives. It’s been incredible.
Ericka: Rob is in year two. In year one, within 9 months I believe, he generated about an additional $160,000 of revenue just by coming on board with MAST and of course taking lots of action, following the system and implementing. That was just in adding after school and summer camps. And on our MAST campus, which is what we call it, we take school owners and put them through college courses for after school and summer camp business models but on our MAST campus, we have a three- to seven-year path path and Rob is in year two of that. He’s a really good representation. Year one is to implement the system, get the team familiarized and getting everything including the structure in place. Year two is where we really see school owners like Rob blow it up. They register a ton of kids and their profit goes through the roof. It’s systemized, running well, which is why he’s able to take vacations. In year three is where most school owners look to expand to multiple locations and that’s where we see them hit the seven figure mark.
Dwayne: Most of the members that we’ve had that are major action takers, have easily added $100,000 or more additional revenue to their business within the first year of being part of MAST.
DN: And then you have another guy, Max Hein. Where is he from?
Dwayne: Max is from Binghamton outside of Syracuse, a rural upstate New York town. When Max originally joined us, they had also never done summer camps or hosted a large after school program. I mean they were basically getting started for the very first time. He had a Tae Kwon Do background and a moderately successful Tae Kwon Do school. And we joined forces and they’ve done an incredible job. He and his wife run the company together. An interesting statistic is that last year their growth during the summer months was $6,500. This year during the summer after they’ve joined MAST, they’re approaching $160,000 in revenue just in the summer months.
DN: $154,900 in 90 days – that’s a big switch!
Ericka: Yeah, that’s just from summer camps. That doesn’t include their martial arts. When they came on board with us, I believe Max said his revenue was between $2,500 and $3,000 per month total. To date, the last time we spoke with him and went to visit his school in Binghamton, he’s growing about $20,000 per month.
DN: Wow, good for him.
Dwayne: He purchased a new house and a new BMW, and again it’s been a huge life change for him and his wife.
Ericka: And they are having a baby!
DN: So this success couldn’t come at a better time for them. When you hear stories like that, I think when you are in a small town, you are limited based on demographics and population. Being able to bring in another revenue source, I don’t care where you are at, is always amazing. I know my girlfriend’s school is doing very well with her after school and summer camp programs, too, so they can really be a big asset on that. What is your feeling for the direction that his after school summer camp market within martial arts is going to go within the next few years?
Ericka: I really feel, just like anything, that there is an evolution that happens in all businesses. After school and summer camp are the next evolution for the martial arts industry. Let’s face it, the whole overcoming objections and enrolling students for evening classes and building value has played out. The next wave for successful school owners is going to be the ones that are ready to step up and evolve and ready to tap into the necessity. Parents will always need after school care and they will always need summer camps because there will always be jobs whether it’s a good economy or a recession. So a smart marital arts school owner will see the trend and will understand that if they want to make their business recession-proof and wildly successful, they are going to need something that taps into the need like after school and summer camps.
Dwayne: One thing that’s really exciting is people who are willing to take action. We have proven systems, accountability, expert coaching and an amazing mastermind. When all of that comes together with their action ability, success is bound to happen. What we have really encountered is that we see a lot of martial arts school owners who are burned out. We see people who have lost their spark and forgotten the reason why they wanted to open a martial arts school in the first place. Yet after they’ve met with us, they’ve been motivated and inspired to level up and take a quantum leap and move forward to setting larger goals than ever before. The after school program has been a vehicle to help them get there. It’s creating more income, more opportunities. They are creating more jobs in their community. It’s a win-win all around and these owners feel invigorated and they get that drive and that motivation back and that’s what’s important.
Ericka: And on the other end of the spectrum, we are also attracting a whole new breed of younger school owners who are very passionate about martial arts. They’re very passionate about changing lives. There are even some millennials who have opened schools because they have been inspired by their instructors. I see what’s happening in the in the industry is these younger school owners who are savvy with the social media, who are coachable, who follow the system and who are driven, are going to become the super powers in martial arts. And the school owners who are unwilling to change, who have been burned one too many times in the past, who aren’t coachable and think that they know it all, they are going to see a major decline in business unless they decide to make a change…and decide to become a while belt again in a new way of doing business.
DN: I agree and you guys have taken a lot of these people who thought they couldn’t get into this business or were afraid of it or didn’t have the knowledge base, to take that step, and now they are kind of coming out of the woodwork. I know you guys are absolutely swamped in your business right now. Speaking of your business, tell me about the future of MAST. You guys have been extremely successful in the last 12 months. I mean you’ve just had a shooting start. Where do you think this is going to head in the future or is it a secret?
Dwayne: No, we are happy to share. First we’d like to acknowledge that our success is directly related to the amount of success that we’ve helped our clients to achieve. We wouldn’t be where we are today as a company if it wasn’t for the system, the accountability and the coaching and the success that they have received. So, first and foremost, we’d like to thank them. Where we are going in the future, we are going to continue to work with the top school owners. We are going to work with people who are well-established, with people who are just getting started, but who are coachable. And we are going to continue to evolve our culture into being the best school owners in the industry, providing the best summer camps and after school programs and really just revolutionizing the way the entire industry looks at after school and summer camps. We will continue to keep doing what we are doing.
Ericka: Yeah, and I can tell you that MAST is becoming more exclusive. That part I’ll leave a little secretive. But we are. We’ve had so much success with our clients and so many people who are trying to come on board. Just like anything, just like after school program, when you are sold out, you start creating limiters for people who are really most motivated to be successful and to be a part of the program. So we continue to grow our culture because that’s what it is. We are a culture of always growing, always moving forward and as Dwayne said earlier, lifting others as we climb the ladder to success.
Dwayne: One thing to look out for, to add to the calendar, to look forward to, is our upcoming 2017 three-day conference. We host where we go in-depth on after school and summer camps. This is going to be one of the largest events in that particular industry. More details will be coming out soon. We do anticipate a complete sold out audience for that event. It’s going to be life-changing.
DN: Do you have a date for that yet?
Dwayne: It will be February 10-12, so again, a three-day event and that will be hosted in Tampa, Florida.
DN: Ok gang, once again, you guys are the first people to be on Dojo Nation Times twice and the reason I did this is strictly based on the feedback from your clients and the things you do for them. I find it encouraging and enlightening to see somebody have this many happy people who are being guided and helped in the right way by good people. That’s why I thought it was important that we talk again.
Dwayne and Erica: We are honored. We appreciate you, Randy, and Dojo Nation Times. Our goal is to align with the other leaders in the industry who are looking to serve at the highest level. We know you are doing the same thing and we appreciate you.