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.