1. It’s about going the extra mile to prove that you are one of a kind in skills, talent, or personality. Standing out from the crowd is about trying to live your best and be your best. CANI and the Black Belt Life Style.
2. When talking, it is important to come across as self-assured and knowledgeable, so be sure to have done your research and know your facts beforehand. This might be teaching concepts or sharing a mat chat.
3. Take chances and work hard. Risks and chances are the things in life that can catapult you forward if they work out. Many people won't take up the challenge because they're afraid of failure. Yet, without failure nothing new can be gained and it is only those who are willing to take risks and to work hard at their dreams that eventually break through and succeed. Have a well-placed sense of faith in your mission, and a willingness to take risks if you want to stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to compete, be part of a demonstration, lead a class or speak to groups.
4. Say, “Thank You!” for all the little things people do, as well as the big things. Send thank you cards to people who have helped you.
5. When you make someone a promise, do your very best to keep it. People who stand out from the crowd are people who keep their word and follow up their promises to help, to be somewhere, to do something for someone. The reason you'll stand out is because so many people do not do what they say they will. Reliability makes you memorable and causes you to stand well above all the forgotten promise-breakers.
6. Standing out from the crowd often means that you take action while everyone else stands back, wondering what to do next. If you learn to sum up situations quickly and to respond according to what needs to be done, you place yourself in a position of being different from the silent majority waiting to be shown what should happen next.
7. Check your posture. The person who stands out from the crowd will also stand tall, no matter your height. Slouching is a defensive strategy that does nothing to draw attention to you in a crowd, not to mention its harm for your overall body alignment.
8. Be present. The greatest honor you can do another person is to show you've really heard them, and to show that what they've said matters. Since most people are too busy wondering what to say next, and how to explain their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas, a listener will stand out from the rest. Be willing to give people the space to talk about themselves and show that you clearly respect their thoughts. Not only will this flatter them and reassure them that they matter, but they'll realize very quickly that you're someone to treasure and they'll follow your lead.
9. Remind people how great they are. Regularly single out people in your life, from the dojo to home, to remind them how great they are. So few of us take the time to acknowledge the people in our lives whom we take for granted that when someone does validate us in this way, it comes as a totally sweet surprise and is so out of the ordinary that it gets remembered. It's also a very genuine way of establishing rapport with people, and maintaining goodwill.
10. Smile. There are never enough smiles to go around; be someone who provides at least five smiles for every one frown you spot.
I wanted to share my opinion on the top 5 reasons martial arts school owners lose students and stop growing. But first I thought you might like to know why I feel my opinion might add value.
In 1994 I had a school with 1200+ students. Now check this out. Out of the 20,000 estimated schools in the country, less than 10% have more than 250 students. In my school we would average 80 - 125 students per class in our two large training floors. In 2 1/2 hours I taught more students than over 95% percent of all the schools in the nation taught in total!
We started classes at 3pm Monday and would train 500 students before closing that day. Everyday. That’s some serious experience with students and parents.
In other words: Every 2 1/2 hours I experienced what it takes over 90% of schools to experience in more than an entire week.
5 Reasons Martial Arts School Owners Lose Students and Stop Growing
1. Many schools either won’t pay or hire top martial artists and teachers. The story is the same: “I can’t afford it now. Once I build the school I will hire better people.” That is like thinking you will open a great restaurant but not hire a great chef making fantastic creations until you have a following. In the meantime you hire a line cook from a diner because he will work for little.
2. Some school owners refuse to surround themselves with high level instructors or performers feeling they will be over shadowed. Let go of the ego. Your school is about building great students not about you being the “hotdog".
3. Owners create complicated systems when they are smaller and soon find out they don’t work easily when you grow big. This is bad for two reasons. First - for example, you do individual testing when you are small and then realize that it is impossible to continue when you are at 300 students. Second - when you change your students get upset. They may say, “I liked it better before.” One of my biggest pieces of advice: If you want a big school, put systems in place that you don’t have to change as you grow.
4. Owners of growing schools want to expand too fast with either a second training room or second location. They underestimate that they are the single most important part of their success equation. Before you take that big step, learn to train and replace yourself.
5. School owners don’t invest in themselves. In the 80’s and 90’s owners traveled and learned directly from schools that were tops in the industry. Seminars were packed at events. Something special happens when you visit other schools. Sometimes you say, “This is great! I am going to use this now that I see and understand it.” Other times you may have thought someone was doing something and are disappointed with reality. I was watching the show “Chopped” this weekend. The winner won $10,000. The celebrity chef judges asked what he was going to do with the money and he said, “Pay my student loan.” The top chef said, “Use that $10,000 to visit as many top restaurants as you can and learn so you can build an amazing business.”
Enjoy the journey everyone.
1. Martial Arts can be a hobby or an incredible career. If your passion is to help people live more fulfilled lives, be healthier and safer then a career as a martial arts school owner can fill this calling.
2. Some school owners think short-term. Build something cool around yourself and in a few years move on to something new. Others plan on building a legacy that will be a career. Something they can pass on to their instructors or children.
3. I have been involved in martial arts business for 42 years. During that time all kinds of things were popular in the industry. When the series Kung Fu was on TV every school taught Kung Fu. When Tae Bo was on infomercials 24 hours a day all schools taught a unique variation. Go back to number 2. What is your goal? Is it to ride the latest trends or establish an institution? I am not saying what is best; I am just stressing the importance of knowing what your business is going to look like when it’s done before you start.
4. There are two ways you will spend your time in your martial arts business. First there is the job. The job is what you are passionate about and that’s teaching your art. Then there is the business. The business is marketing, presenting, enrolling students, the finances, retention, career training of your team and developing your financial freedom. The way you excel in the business will determine if you own a business or you created yourself a job for yourself. The difference is if your freedom of time. It’s a blast working hard the first year or two. But then you realize the sacrifice of time away from family and free time is a big price to pay. You must master the business like you mastered the art.
5. Learn how to market using local events and team up with other businesses. You will want to enroll 30 new students in the first few weeks to get your foundation started.
BONUS - Seek expert advise. Your uncle that used to have a busineess may not be the one you seek council concerning the martial arts industry. Let me give an example. If you are looking at a 2400 sq foot facility with a 1200 sq foot floor and teach 5 classes a day you will max out at 300 students. Kids take 30 sq ft per child when lined up finger tip to finger tip. 40 kids can fit on the mat. However only 30 adults. What will you gross in that space? It’s not 300 students times your monthly lesson fee. It’s 300 times the student value depending on your knowledge of the income generators. But it’s not rocket science. Many, many school owners are grossing $500,000 or more a year following tried and true systems.
1. The curriculum is about lots of memory. Similar to school, students are required to memorize a long series of forms and techniques. Then are required to spit it back on testing. In today's culture, it is more important to challenge the kids with spontaneous drills, creativity and a strong foundation of skills. Take a look at your intermediate and advanced students. Do they all get high grades and do good in school? Now you may think that is a result of martial arts but it’s more likely you weeded the not-as-smart kids out by requiring too much memory and not enough training and fun.
2. Warm ups are too hard, too boring and offer little motivation. This is what I love about the Elements Curriculum. The warm ups are fully functional drills that build on the skills needed to perform in the rest of the class.
3. Too much defense is taught prior to sparring. Sounds like a good plan until a shy kid is up sparring trying to block and defend and ends up getting hit over and over. Apolo Ladra says sparring is only fun when it’s your turn. In other words when you are hitting instead of blocking. Teach offense and pair kids off fairly in the beginning stages.
4. A child is home and hears mom and dad discussing money. “Look at all these bills. Electric, gas, credit cards and karate.” The child may say he doesn’t want to go anymore to stop the tension at home.
5. Your school is all about martial arts. Kids also need to feel they belong and they need to develop friendships. It’s important you create this community with special social events, PNO, sleepovers and parties. The team of instructors should concentrate on attendance at events as much as they do class attendance. If you get 20% of students at events you might feel they are successful. But you must think about the 80% of students sitting at home missing out
6. A child is getting ready to go to class. Mom is on the phone, “Here I go again being the taxi driver. Now it’s karate. I can’t believe she has to go so many times a week.” Next thing the child wants to stop - figuring life will get easier for mom. Prepare parents for these things happening during orientation and events.
7. The instructors are not watching body language and “feeling” the kids emotions. Life changed for me when I had my own kids in class. I could look at them and share what they felt. Your class is full of all types of personalities. Some are like you and some you can’t quite figure out. If you are going to keep lots of students and make huge differences it’s important you understand your students individual needs and emotions.
8. Too much down time in class and not enough variety. Change that by using this format: 3 minute line up, 5 minute warm up, 12 minutes of forms, 12 minutes curriculum B, 5 minutes high energy finish and 3 minute mat chat. I have 18 months of preplanned classes written and videoed so instructors can replicate great classes.
9. Instructors are not "good finders" but rather correction officers. This dulls the child’s belief system especially during phase one of training.
President United Professionals
1. School owners are concerned about what they charge and how many students they have. I really believe that is the number one mistake. I remember having a large school in Florida with 1340 students. To keep attendance, I had sheets of names in alphabetical order and students would check their name when they took class. I had one of the parents in the school count the names then get her calculator and multiply by $55. (That was the current price.) She approached me by the front counter and said what she just did. She then announced quite loudly that I must be one of the richest people in Coral Springs and was making over $77,000 a month. Many school owners do the same thing and that’s a mistake. Once you understand it’s how people pay and not what they pay that really makes the difference. I had a client enroll 20 students this month and created $2400. Yet another did the same amount of new students and made $15,000.
2. They underestimate the power of a team. They put off creating a team of program directors and front end people until they can afford them. Compare that to opening a car dealership and saying you will hire sales people after you sell enough cars.
3. They fail to accurately estimate their gross income months in advance. Not knowing in advance what you will make prevents you from planning. Know your stats and benchmarks for your systems and master it.
4. They don’t know their numbers or track numbers. According to Karl Pearson, “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” If you’ve ever kept a tracking chart for anything you wanted to improve, you know this is true. The effect borders on the miraculous. Trackers find themselves taking enormous action to improve the things they track almost unconsciously.
5. They believe that it’s curriculum that is key to retention. However the master key is how students feel about themselves as a result of participating in your classes that keeps them active.
6. They mix the money up. Meaning that they use school funds for personal expenses. They then say, “I haven’t made any money." or "I haven’t paid myself in a long time.” The key is to separate your personal and business. This is also essential if you are incorporated. Smart owners pay themselves a salary and learn to live off that. They then take a bonus quarterly.
7. They don’t market enough. Branding and new students comes from getting your name out as well as creating word of month. Know your marketing pillars and work them weekly. Consistency is key.
8. Mistake 8 is trying to figure it out yourself. There are many school owners that have highly profitable schools, make a difference in their communities, take vacations and are becoming wealthy. These are the people you model and learn from. They have found the key for creating a business and a lifestyle. They enjoy the job of teaching. They have a team of professionals working for them. They have a life away from the school and money to enjoy as well as future security. Get a coach.
9. Martial Artists understand the importance of being centered and in the present. They teach it to students. Yet many are so worried about the future and concerned about the past they don’t walk the talk. I believe that to find joy in what you do, you must be able to be in the present. Once in the present you realize you have no worries and then really embrace and enjoy what you do.
President of United Professionals
Martial Arts managers, mentors and consultants pride themselves in the ability to find solutions. They claim looking for the positive and having the positive attitude is key to success. Although I agree with much of this, I feel my strength in helping school owners grow and prosper is my ability to find problems. Clients and friends refer to me as the “Watchful One” as I tend to see through the chaos, discover what is missing or needs fixing and then provide steps to take to make changes and create positive results.
A business friend and I were having dinner recently and were comparing our careers and industries. He asked me for a list of reasons school owners need my help.
1. Although their name is on the lease and corporate papers, they don’t feel they own their own business but rather have a job with the name that’s on their sign.
2. They feel free in that they make their own hours and schedules but are not free financially.
3. They got into their own business to enjoy teaching balanced with enjoying life and free time. They now feel all their time is dedicated to keeping the school open.
4. They struggle with the belief that they can’t let go. In other words they don’t delegate because of fear and lack of training strategies.
5. The owners don’t own their power. They tend to believe that it's more important to listen to the opinion of other instructors than go after what they believe in. They know curriculum changes, events and fun stuff for kids are all important BUT what if someone on Facebook calls them a McDojo?
6. They reach a plateau and realize that they are where they are because of past beliefs and experiences. They then discover that they don’t know what they don’t know.
7. They have difficulty predicting their future income. This one is huge and prevents owners from planning, investing and purchasing for the future. Without a clear-cut way to financially plan for what’s to come, school owners stagnate.
Your day, like most school owners, is divided into 3 main sections. You have the job, the business and the busy.
The job is teaching martial arts. It’s the reason you got into the business in the first place. You have a passion for the martial arts. You love to train and you love passing on your knowledge. In fact, it’s sometimes difficult to separate what you enjoy doing and the job you have. I know many school owners that love it so much they probably would do it for free. In fact, I know school owners that do that right now. The teaching may happen an hour in the morning and then from 5 - 9 at night. So for somewhere around four to five hours a day you are working at your job.
The next is the business. Working on the business is the planning and execution of creating conversations and turning those conversations into new students that pay you. By conversations I mean you are either advertising your school or getting ready to have a conversation with a prospect and then turn that into an appointment and trial class and then present your programs. It could also be actively marketing, canvassing for prospects, running a promotional booth, doing a school talk, running a mass intro, asking for referrals and even doing outgoing calls.
Next we have the busy. The busy is cleaning the school, making flyers, going to the store for supplies, repairs and the rest of the things that take up hours of the day.
What I find is the many owners love the job, dislike the business and avoid the business by doing the busy. Some owners actually “suffer” through the business.
However you don’t have to suffer and dread this time. You can get leverage on yourself when you do this simple exercise. Take the money you make and divide it by the time you spend on the business.
Example: Your school grosses $20,000 a month
You teach 4 hours a day and are busy 2 and a half hours a day, leaving about an hour and a half really spent on the business.
So 1.5 hours a day, 6 days a week is 9 hours. There are 4 weeks a month so you work on the business 36 hours a month.
36 into $20,000 is $555 dollars per hour for the work hours you put in. Now if you only spent an extra hour a day on the business you should make $555 a day more, times 24 work days. That’s a $13,333 a month increase.
So getting back to the lead question: How much time do you have to commit to progress? I am sure most of us can add an hour a day. Spend less on the busy through some delegation, maybe arrive a few minutes early and take a short lunch. As we can see, it’s not the hours in the day but dedicating the hours to the most productive segment.
I was asked by a school owner, "What are some things I can be doing during the morning hours?"
My suggestion is to pick 2 of the following ideas and GSD.
After a student enrolls we present the necessary equipment package the student will need to be successful in the program. This can be an easy presentation and sale. However I recently talked to a mother who felt she was taken advantage of. She was approached by the instructor after six weeks of trail lessons which she really enjoyed concerning upgrading to the Black Belt Course. The instructor recommended the program and asked for $295 down and $300 for the equipment. The equipment was for the complete sparring gear, including head, face shield, hands, feet, cup, mouth piece, and chest protector. I asked the mom why she felt this way. She said, “He loves learning the basics and kicking the pads. But he is just getting started.” Heck she said, "He is so shy. In fact today he brought his stuffed animal to watch him in class. Now the instructor thinks he needs to start fighting and wearing a cup and chest gear!! Hey kid put down the stuffed animal its your turn to fight :)”
My first advice is to know your students and what is right for them. My grandson is 7 and he really doesn’t need full gear to begin learning sparring basics. Hand gear is plenty. Of course other gear is recommended. When you do recommend gear also talk about the benefits. “Mrs. Smith, David will be starting training with other kids pretty soon. I ask all the kids to have their own foam hand gear. Kids are often nervous they might hurt another child so to build their confidence they wear these gloves.” In other words, don’t say "kids wear these glove just in case they get hit in the face.” We don’t want either the student or parent to worry about safety. Think benefits for them.
If your school is located in a tougher area you may need to make adjustments. I remembering visiting Kenn Firestone in Hawaii. In his town kids are just plain tough. They come in knowing how to fight and his job is to teach some control. Again that’s all about knowing your students and presenting the benefits accordingly. If you sell the benefits and not the stuff your parents and students will never think that you are in if for the money or you are taking advantage of them.
I went the grocery store today and when I got back to my car there was a martial arts school flyer on my wind shield. It was a picture of a Christmas Tree and Karate Belt. Entire flyer was 4 weeks of lessons and a Gi for $69, the name of the school and contact information.
YIKES - this school missed a lot. The only thing they had was an offer. No attention grabber, benefits, saving comparison on the offer or a call to action
Here are a couple of thoughts in order to create a great flyer.
1. The picture grabs the attention and should be at least 1/3 of the ad.
So you can put a picture of a tree - but that doesn’t tell your story. Maybe a picture of a Smiling kid, a kid jumping with joy, a picture of a kid opening a box with a WOW expression.
2. Next is the Headline to grab attention - examples
Best gift ever !! Be the coolest Dad !! If you love your Kids. Create a Super Hero, are just some ideas.
3. Nest is the text of the benefits. Think about it. What does 6 weeks mean? What is going to happen as a result? What does your school offer as a benefit?
You need to promote something unique. Some ideas include
10 proven self defense techniques for kids. Jump kicks. Martial arts protocol. A private lesson with the Master. Self defense and our Stand Up Against Bully program. 12 Martial Arts lessons to create a positive attitude. Our gift pack includes a "jump drive" with your child first kicking lesson. We include a kicking target for FREE.
4. Your offer. Total gift package is $69. $129 value YOU SAVE $60 The idea is to show high value and a large savings.
5. Call to action. Create a reason for the prospect to pick up the phone or go online to purchase NOW. Example offer valid until for first 20 callers. Or - Offer good until midnight Dec. 1st.
6. Name of school and your logo. Remember to constantly promote your brand.
7. Contact information including web site and phone. If you offer TEXT offers include that also.
Have fun and create some results