One of the biggest challenges that your professional martial arts school will face, will happen when you have one or more employee. Solve the problem from the start and you will grow. Don’t address it and you will never grow to where you want, and you will go crazy constantly putting out fires.
Employee training seems simple. Put them in a room and tell them how to do their job. Every once in a while, get them all in the same room and tell them how to do a better job. This is a good start but you will fall far short of running a professional and meaningful martial arts school of this is the extent of how you handle staff training.
Your students will quit for one of the following reasons. First, they quit when they stop making consistent progress toward a well identified (by you) goal. This means they need to know how to get to the next level, where they are now, and where to get help. Second, they quit because they don’t feel welcome in your program. They need to be greeted every single class by name and get smiled at and thanked for coming to class, at a minimum. Third, they quit because they do t feel heard. They are struggling and feel like you don’t acknowledge or care when they seek your help, or their parents have unanswered concerns that you have not addressed to their satisfaction or at all! The answer to all three problems is a great system that runs your school, great people who run your system, and you holding your people (and yourself) accountable to the system.
You have to start creating and documenting the system from the very start of the school when you are doing everything yourself. As soon as you get an area of your school’s operation systemized, you hire and train a smart and nice person how to run that part of the system. Then you have to regularly, as often as possible when that system as direct contact with members (meaning your front desk, enrollment, and teaching staff,) less often is ok with the system that cleans and runs the back office.
This is a very general and global concept. How you do it is important and if you need help, just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to help you! No matter how you do it though, you will get stuck hard and fast if you don’t build a system to run your business, hire people to run the system, and become the accountability coach for your people.
Getting stuck in your martial arts business is not something that usually happens at the very beginning. In the beginning everything is new and exciting. There are big hills to climb and always something new that needs to be done. There might be a lot of struggle at the beginning but usually it’s the good kind where you find quick solutions often go hand-in-hand with just working harder. This is the fun phase where you get to tell people that you’re hustling and grinding and that you’re unstoppable – mostly because it feels like you are! The real struggles though, come much later and don’t seem as obvious.
It is easy to feel stuck when you realize that you’re doing the same thing over and over year after year and then you see your numbers stop growing and eventually start to decline. So you go at it like you did when you were at the beginning; you hustle and grind, and you get super busy but you don’t really move the ball down the field like you did in the past. Motivation and inspiration aren’t what you need now, and yes you need to work and you need to get stuff done, but you also need to look around and see how the world has changed.
The world will always change, but you won’t always see it. Or at least you won’t see how it affects your martial arts business. So you might want to read a book l, or go to a seminar, or watch a lot of YouTube videos of people like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, but the fastest way out, is to go find yourself a mentor or an outside board of advisors. People who don’t have any interest in your martial arts school at all! People who understand that all businesses is the same and so they won’t buy all your excuses and all the lies you’ve told yourself about why your business is failing. And it is failing because once you stop growing you start to die.
Mentors and outside boards are really just experienced people who will see what you cannot see or what you refuse to see. They are also going to be holding you accountable and will be able to help you see which direction you need to go and they won’t allow you to go anywhere else.
So go find yourself a new perspective and most importantly, and accountability coach, and then you can motivate yourself and seek inspiration and learn new things and most importantly get back to work.
That’s right! You are spending too much time getting motivated and educated on how to grow your professional martial arts school. I’ve been there many times myself. You get really focused on learning everything you can about how to be a better marketer or advertiser or manager. The real danger is that you start to trick yourself. I’ve been there too! You feel the squeeze of not enough students or. It enough income, and so you go looking for better answers to how to grow. There is nothing wrong with learning and new ideas, the problem is that you spend too much time studying and not enough time executing. Action is the answer to your needs. You need to be taking consistent and persistent action. It’s the ready, shoot, aim idea where you get moving and then adjust without stopping. Learn to calm down and not slow down. The more action you take, the faster you will learn. And the learning is real and practical. So go learn one new thing or pick something new to try from the hours and hours of YouTube videos and podcasts you’ve been consuming this year, and do it! As the Qualers say, “Pray and move your feet!”
Matt Pasquinilli is the founder of the non-profit martial arts school Asian Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio and has been managing for profit and nonprofit martial arts schools professionally for over 25 years.
Learn how to open, operate, and grow a thriving and meaningful martial arts school by learning the marketing, management, human resources, and curriculum strategies, tactics, and techniques that are proven to work.
Running a martial arts business, or any small business, is best done with systems, scripts, and checklists. You need an operations manual and it needs to updated often and used every single day. It’s a winning strategy to start and grow a profitable and meaningful martial arts business.