Student Service

Student Service

How to Make Your School Easy to Work With

 

MATA Professional Code of Ethics

As a MATA Professional, I agree to live by the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association Principles of Professional Conduct. Whenever I work with students, the public, other martial artists or fitness professionals, I agree to:

1. Provide a safe atmosphere.

2. Give effective instructions.

3. Treat all clients on an equal and fair basis.

4. Constantly update myself on every aspect of health and physical activity research.

5. Carefully study this research so that I comprehend it and can put it into

practical use.

6. Become CPR certified and maintain this certification.

7. Have a good knowledge of first aid.

8. Know and comply with all city, state and federal laws applicable to my business.

9. Fully understand and comply with all Employment and copyright laws

10. Constantly attempt to educate the public on the benefits of the martial arts and fitness

industries.

11. Keep all clients’ information confidential.

12. Without hesitation, when deemed necessary, refer students to someone who is better qualified to meet their needs in the medical, fitness or mental health professions

 

MATA Professional Practices and Disciplinary Procedures

The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association has standards of professional practices and disciplinary procedures which are written as a guide to aide and educate certified instructors, certification candidates and members of the public on the MATA Application and Certification Standards which MATA deems relative to members’ professional conduct and disciplinary procedures.

It is understood that revocation or appropriate action may be taken by the MATA for violation pertaining to the application or certification of an MATA member or prospective member in the case of:

1. Member or prospective member is found to be ineligible for MATA certification.

2. Dishonesty during the taking of the certification exam.

3. Found to have unauthorized possession of certification examinations, answer sheets, score

reports, answer sheets, unauthorized certificates or applicant files or any other confidential

or any proprietary MATA documents or materials and the unauthorized use, distribution or

access to same, copyrighted or otherwise.

4. The making of fraudulent statements or material misrepresentations to the public or MATA.

This would include, but not be limited to, any statements made to apply for, obtain or retain

Certification by the applicant, certified instructor or anyone else.

5. Found to have any mental, emotional or physical condition temporary or

permanent, which would impair or have the potential to impair the competency or impair the

ability to act in a professional manner. This condition would not be limited to but would

include any substance abuse.

6. Found to be negligent in the professional performance or intentional misconduct. This

negligence or intentional misconduct would include, but not be limited to, releasing

confidential information to unauthorized persons, a disregard for the safety of others,

physical, emotional and mental abuse of others.

7. Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor, a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere, when

it would be relevant to the health, martial arts and/or fitness instructions or education of

the public or would be detrimental to the public’s health, martial arts and/or fitness

and would cause an impairment of the competency of the certified instructor or impair

the ability to provide an objective professional performance. This would include, but not be

limited to rape, violence toward another person, sexual, physical or emotional abuse of

a child, sexual harassment, to threaten the use of or the use of a weapon of violence, the

possession, sale of, intent to sell, the distribution of or the distribution of any controlled

substance.

8. Failure to meet the requirements for certification or recertification.

MATA has developed a three-tiered disciplinary process starting with a probable cause review. Should probable cause be found, there will be hearing. Should the person be find guilty of alleged violation(s), that person shall have the right to appeal in order to ensure that the examination of the alleged violation(s) of the Application and Certification Standards was determined unbiased and fairly in order to (1) determine probable cause and (2) impose sanctions that are appropriate and necessary to protect the public and the integrity of the certification.

Note: As an MATA Certification candidate and/or certified professional, it is your responsibility to become familiar with and comply with the MATA Professional Practices and Disciplinary Procedures

Exam Content

Percentages in the categories indicate how much of the exam is devoted to each area.

To become a MATA-certified Martial Arts Instructor, a basic understanding of pedagogy, sports and child psychology, physiology and risk management, and injury prevention is required. Studying for this certification will also involve expanding your knowledge of effective communication. Instructional techniques and motivation skills

Automate the Process of Saying “Thank You”

In today’s texting and e-mail world, the mostly forgotten, good old-fashioned physical “thank you” card has more impact than ever.

Sending a card with a little gift is even more powerful. I do this with every new client as well as with people who give me their cards at trade shows.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have the time to shop for a card, find a gift, write the card, and mail it. Neither do I. That’s why I automate the process. I use a company called http://www.SendOutCards.com (SOC).

All I do is enter the person’s contact information and set what card to send and when to send it.

For instance, I meet someone who gives me his card. I ask when his birthday is, and write it on the back. I’ll send him a “Nice to Meet You” card with the push of a button and then automatically send him cards on major holidays and on his birthday.

In some cases, I’ll include a small gift that I order and pay for right in my SOC dashboard. The gifts are FAR less expensive than they cost in a store, plus everything is just a click away. It’s a great time saver.

I search the media and use SOC to send notes of congratulations to people in my ideal client demographic for getting media cover- age or relate my note to their story.

A personalized card with a reference to the article is a great first impression.

Sending a thank-you note with a gift to the media outlet that covered you is an excellent way to stay on their radar.

SOC is inexpensive and super convenient. You can upload your own images or choose from their huge library of cards for all occa- sions. You can even upload your own handwriting so it looks like you wrote the message by hand along with your signature.

SOC is a multi-level-marketing company; you have to be referred to use the service (my user id is 151106). Unlike most MLM compa- nies, the cards you buy from SOC are actually WAY less expensive than the cards you would buy in a regular store.

SOC is a great service that every small business owner could benefit from.

Send cards to everyone you meet and keep the list growing. Also, send them early during holidays. If your clients get cards on Dec. 23, they may throw them away Dec. 26. If they get them early, the cards may sit out on the mantel for weeks. Which keeps you on the radar all the longer.

The 4-Hour Rule

No matter how good your school or staff is is, you’re going to experience complaints from time to time.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t lose students every time you make a mistake; you lose them when you don’t properly handle their complaints.

Think of complaints as an opportunity to impress your clients.

1. Respond within four hours to the complaint via phone (not email).

2. Listen carefully to the complaint.

3. Apologize for any inconvenience caused (whether real or imagined).

4. Restate the complaint back to the student. “Let me make sure I understand your concern…”

5. Thank the student for bringing the issue to your attention.

6. Ask the student,“What would you like to do?”This is really important. Often, the answer is much less than you expect.

7. Describe exactly what you are willing and able to do to resolve the issue.

8. If you can’t do anything, avoid citing business policy. Instead, use the “feel, felt, found” pattern, for example. “I understand how you feel. A number of student through the years have felt the same way. In time, they found that…”

You can also use the “because” bridge: “I understand you want this, this and this. Because we have to be fair to ALL of our clients, we’re only able to do this
in these types of situations. Again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

9. Write down what you promised in your log book and follow through.

10. Send a sendoutcards.com thank-you note (you may include a gift certificate for a local restaurant as a surprise gift).

The 3-Foot Rule

Once you’ve set an appointment for an intro, its important that you confirm the appointment 24-hours in advance.

Confirming appointments greatly increases the likelihood of your potential students showing up for their classes prepared for action. In your phone call you mention that you’ll be following up with a courtesy call (either the day of their lesson or the day before).

The call isn’t to ask them if “they’re still going to make it,” or some other negative statement, but to make sure they know exactly where the school is located. It’s meant to be a friendly reminder.

And, if there’s time, the rapport-building process should be continued during the confirmation, regardless whether a secretary or the instructor makes the call. The information sheet for a scheduled introductory should have the essential information for the caller, such as: Parent(s) name, child’s name, age and any other notes taken during the course of the call (For example: “Johnny’s been getting bullied at school.”).

Adding Friends and Family

During the initial phone call and then again on the confirmation call, it’s a good practice to ask a prospective student if they would like to invite friends or family members to participate along with them in their first lessons.

The Greeting

Anyone coming through the front door of your school should, at the very least, be acknowledged before they can take their fourth step into your reception area. No matter how many introductory lessons you might schedule in a single evening, it is important to treat each lesson as if it were your only one of the night, or the month, or the year.

You should know their name(s), and so should your entire staff. It’s best to have a welcoming board at your front desk where the names of your next lessons are written for all to see. They’re VIP’s, and having a front desk person say, “Hi, are you the next intro?” is a universe away from, “Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Johnson…and you must be Johnny? We’ve been looking forward to teaching you!”

The Three-Foot Rule

Make sure train your staff to greet everyone within the first three steps into the school and to come out from behind the counter to greet intros and their families.

It’s also during the greeting that the potential student fills out a school application/questionnaire and release form.

In a perfect world, your front desk person is a master of entertaining everyone who walks through the doors — incoming and outgoing students, parents and potential students. And anyone in your school who comes in contact with an instructor or other staff member should get the same kind of consistent courtesy and goodwill.

John Graden is the Executive Director of the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association and the author of the bestselling books on how to run a successful martial arts school without selling out. www.MartialArtsTeachers.com

Staffing Your Martial Arts School

Staffing Your Martial Arts School

 

The Most Important Perspective Lesson You Must Learn as a Business Owner

Risk / Reward Ratio – The Most Important Perspective Lesson You Must Learn as a Business Owner

Does this seem familiar? You hire a student or student parent because he or she is so nice and really needs the job. 

In time though, you realize this is not a good fit. But, because of your good heart, you keep that person on because, “Sally is a good person and if we fire her this, this, and this will happen to her.” What you fail to address is that, “If we keep Sally on this, this, and this may happen to our school.”

Let me share with you a story from an interesting lunch my wife, and I enjoyed on a beautiful spring day in Dunedin last year. Janet and I met up with my brother Jim and a long-distance student of his. 

It think his name is Steve. Either way, he had a thriving business. Each year, he rewarded his top staff with a month-long trip to Florida which included training with Jim. Nice perk.

We enjoyed our lunch chat, and I won’t bore you with the details, but he had one employee strategy that he has used long before that Trump fellow’s TV show. 

Simply put, everyone on the staff knew that one person will be fired in October or November. Regardless of the overall success of the team, one guy is gonna go, and everyone knows it. They just don’t know who that person is.

While I’m not advocating or disagreeing with this approach, I think it keeps the focus on the purpose of the business. That is to keep the company profitable. 

As I know only too well, the owner takes all of the risks. It’s one thing to lose a job. People lose jobs all the time. It’s a completely different experience to lose everything you’ve built and saved for  because you, as the owner, has been sued into the ground for some infraction, real or imagined, that your employee did.

I had multiple employees earning over $200,000 a year. Where are they now? Living their life, of course. Their risk was only that they might lose a job I created for them. 

My risk was that their actions might spark a massive lawsuit; which is exactly what happened. There was no skin off their back, but mine was laid bare.

My point is simple. You can’t afford to carry someone whose only risk is finding a new job if you let them go versus you losing everything for their lapse of competence. 

Here is a comprehensive library of of information on hiring, training and firing staff for your martial arts schools

For additional files and audio seminars, click here.

The Man in the Arena

by John Graden

Forms and Systems

The Role Of An Admissions Director

We all know that the success of a martial arts school lies in the number of students that are captured and retained.   Good instructors are important, for sure.   However, without students… what’s the point?

That’s why it’s important for you, as a martial arts school owner, to understand the significance of having a good admissions director (also called Program Director) at your service.   The success of your school literally depends upon their abilities.

And, it’s equally important for the admissions director to understand what is expected of them.   An admissions director is, for all intents and purposes, a salesman for your school.  

The three main processes of their job are Prospecting – Presenting and Following Up …

  • Prospecting – To seek out new student prospects;
  • Presenting – Once they have gotten these prospects through your studio door, it’s their job to “sell” your martial arts program;
  • Following Up – Finally, now that they’ve created a new student, they are responsible for “following up” with that new student to see how their training is progressing, and discovering if the student is satisfied with their class.

For a good admissions director, these should be relatively easy goals to meet.   He will spend a great deal of his time setting appointments.   He will call prospective students in response to leads that he has received from various sources such as demonstrations, advertising, referrals, inquires, lead boxes, and walk-ins.

His aim should be to make at least 50 calls a week.   How many appointments that will be set from these 50 calls is going to depend greatly upon his salesmanship abilities.  

For instance, if his sales skills still need honed, he may only set one appointment for every 20 calls he makes.   As his skills begin to improve, he may get to the point where he can set two to three appointments for every 20 calls he places.

Once he has arranged to meet with the prospective students, it will be his responsibility to “sell” your martial arts training program.   This involves teaching an introductory class to the prospect.   Then, sitting down and discussing with that person what they want, and hope to achieve, by taking your martial arts class.

From that discussion, the admissions director helps the prospect to create a “plan” to help him or her to achieve their goals, be it fitness, the pursuance of a black belt, or to simply learn self-defense skills.

This is where your admission director’s salesmanship skills will prove to be most beneficial.   He needs to be able to “sell” your program to this prospect.   He needs to be able to convince this prospect that he or she can benefit from taking your martial arts class.

He needs to make them feel as though you can build a martial arts program, and personalize it around their specific needs.   This is the most important responsibility that your admissions director will have at your school.

Your initial goal should be to gain one to two new students each week.   Of course, the more calls your admissions director makes, the more appointments he will have set.   And, the more appointments that he has, ultimately, the more new students you will enroll.

Signing on new students is going to make up the majority — about 80 percent — of what your admissions director will do.   Now, because a big part of an admissions director pay is based on commissions earned from enrolling new students, you’ll want to protect yourself from what is known as “bad paper”.

“Bad paper” is a result of an unqualified prospect being enrolled as a new student.   These people may not have the resources to pay their tuition, or attend classes on a regular basis – these are not really students.  

However, because an admissions director’s pay is based on commission, he may be tempted to push an unqualified enrollment through.   That’s why, many studio owners recommend basing the admissions director’s commission on the enrollee’s first two exams.

He will receive a commission when the student successfully passes his first exam, and an additional commission when the student graduates for their second exam.

This not only helps to avoid “bad paper”, it also ensures that the admissions director will focus the remaining 20 percent of his efforts on following-up on the student’s progress and working to retain that student.

His retention duties will include making two-four-six calls to ensure that the student is satisfied with his training, and calling students in response to absences.   He’ll communicate both telephonically and with written communication to the students that he has enrolled.

To ensure the success of your school, you must ensure that your admissions director is a skilled sales person, and that they are focused on your success as well their own.

Instructor Procedures Manual

Any relationship is based upon the expectations each party has for the other. Managing those expectations is critical to growth. This description is designed to help your instructors clearly understand what to expect from you and what you expect from them. 

Job Description And Duties 

1) Open and close studio. 


2) Help to run all tournaments, clinics and demonstrations. 


3) Schedule and teach group and private lessons. 


4) Keep all records and paper work up to date.


5) Keep inventory at proper levels. 


6) Re-order inventory as needed. 


7) Keep studio clean. 


8) Follow up on missed appointments or students who have not been to class, promptly. 


9) Organize demonstrations and other promotional events. 


10) Make bank deposits each day or as needed. 


11) Organize monthly student newsletter. 


12) Conduct rank tests for students. 


13) Be cheerful, courteous and professional at all times.

General rules of conduct

 Courtesy: 

1) Learn the name of every student as soon as possible. 


2) Try to learn the names of their parents if they are children.

3) Say hello to parents at every opportunity. 



Behavior: 
There should never be any complaining, arguing or shouting among staff members. 



Drinking: 
No instructor should ever consume a1coholic beverages of any kind either during or immediately before working in the studio. 



Telephone: The telephone should always he answered in the following way with a friendly and professional tone:
”Good afternoon thank you for calling The Martial Arts Academy, this is [your name], how may I help you?” 



INSTRUCTOR QUALIFICATIONS


To become a successful martial arts instructor, you must develop the essential qualities inherent in your profession. 


1) Loyalty. 


2) Punctuality. 


3) Dependability. 

4) Personal appearance. 


5) Honesty. 

Your success as an instructor is based on three very important elements. 
Teaching: 
You must be able to teach martial arts with proficiency, and motivate your students on a constant basis.



Public And Personal Relationships

You must get along with all the people you meet regardless of age, gender or position with in the community or school.



Sales

Your most vital skill, without it, there will be no future for you as a head instructor. You have to sell your students on the value of your leadership, techniques and the value of martial arts first. Then you must learn to sell our memberships and products with the same value base as your classroom teaching.



What You Can Expect From Us.

A. When working for us, we will do everything we can to promote you and build your image as a top class instructor with the students, other martial artists and the general public. 


B. We will treat you fairly and listen to any complaints you may have. We may not agree with you but we will try to keep an open mind. 


C. We will do our best to encourage you to be the kind of person who will rise to the top of his field. We will provide guidance in an effort to train you to run our operation effectively and efficiently so you may reach your potential as a professional.



What We Expect From You 


A. Loyalty
If anyone asks you if you are treated fairly by us we expect an immediate…yes answer. If you feel that is not the case, we expect you to tell us first privately and no one else.


B. Punctuality 
Good business operation keeps regular hours! We teach discipline and the first discipline is to start and end classes on time. It is critical that you open, close and teach lessons on time. Poor performance in this area will tarnish our image as a professional martial arts facility. 


C. Professional Attitude 
The instructor will have a professional appearance and manner at all times. Clean pressed uniforms and a consistent mood of friendliness concern for students and professionalism is a must. 


D. Sales 
We expect you to put the same time and effort into your sales presentations as if the business were your own. We expect you to study and listen to improve your sales techniques constantly. 

E. Honesty 
As a martial artist you know the value of honesty. We will never mention it again unless we are given cause. 


F. Courtesy to Students 
Try to be courteous and cheerful at all times. People like to associate with “UP” people. Greet all students on arrival in your studio. Students like to be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth it makes them feel good. This is central to our business. 



Studio Hours of Operation 
The studio shall remain open from 11a.m. to 9p.m. each weekday and from 9a.m. until 3p.m. on Saturday.



Vacations and Time Off 

1) The first year, instructors will receive one weeks paid vacation plus all national holidays. 


2) The second year of employment, instructors will receive two weeks paid vacation plus all national holidays. 


3) Vacation should be taken during high summer when business is slower. 


4) Please give at least six-weeks notice to allow us to schedule a replacement instructor. 



Sick Leave


1) If you are ill, then call head office at once to notify us. 


2) Should a replacement instructor not be available from head office, help us secure a high-ranking student to run classes for you that day. 


3) Always keep the names and phone numbers of high-ranking students you can rely on. 


4) Have a spare key available in a safe place so the replacement can get access to your studio. 


5) You are allowed five sick days or emergency leave annually. After that, each day will be deducted from regular pay.



Compensation 


1) Base pay will be $300 per week plus commission.


2) Commissions will be paid at the rate of 10% of gross sales for the week. 


3) Bonuses will be paid for exceptional performance. 


4) Pay checks will be delivered on Monday at the staff meeting for the previous week. 



Lesson Fees 
Our lesson fee schedule is as follows. 

1) Registration fee $150.


2) Monthly tuition $99.



Cash Programs 

1) Four months of groups $349.


2) One-year in advance, $999.


3) Three-year black belt club/program $2,999.



Payment Options 

1) Paid in full


2) EFT monthly


3) PayPal monthly 

4) Four month program is paid in full in advance 

5) BBC 20% down, balance in 10-equal payments


6) One-year program $150 down balance in 8-equal 



Cleaning 


1) The studio shall be vacuumed each day, either before the first class or after the last. 


2) Trashcans emptied; windows and mirrors should be checked each day. All need to he cleaned at least once a week. 


3) Check bathroom each day! People, especially women, will be very critical of your studio if the bathroom is not spotless. Make sure it always is clean and use an air freshener. 


k4) Use baking soda or other dry odor remover on your carpet once or twice a month. 



Displays 

1) Displays, both in the display case and in the windows, should be changed at least once a month. 

2) Try to come up with different themes to attract the student’s attention, and that of prospects. 



Supplies 


1) Check office supplies once per week to make sure you have enough business cards, brochures, contracts, etc. 

2) Remember to order in enough time to get them printed without running out of items. 



Merchandise 


1) All categories of merchandise should he checked at the end of the week and re-order reports called in to our suppliers. 


2) You should never run out of staple items like uniforms. 



Orders 
 When a student asks for an item that is not in stock, write it down in the order book, or have special order pages set aside in your daily planner. Be sure to include the following information. 


1) The students name and number so you can call as soon as the item arrives. 


2) A name of the item along with item #, and size. 

3) The color he wants along with a substitute color in case the first is not available and brand name. 
Follow this procedure for all orders. It is easy to forget even simple orders while other things distract you. Write it down! 



Special Orders 
 Orders made on custom items or those that we do not usually carry must be paid for in advance. Following the same procedure as above.



Receiving GearOrders 
 As soon as an order comes in from our suppliers: 


1) Check and see if our order agrees with the packing slip. 


2) Check to make sure none of the goods are damaged or defective. 


3) If there are any discrepancies, call the supplier immediately and inform them of such. Ask for immediate replacement or to issue a credit to our account. 

4) If the order checks out OK, sign your name to it. 

5) All items received must be entered into computer as inventory.



Sales 


1) Credit card sales must include an authorization number and the person’s signature. 

2) Cash and checks must be deposited each night. 

3) Bank deposits be recorded immediately.



Returned Merchandise 


1) Returned merchandise can be exchanged for credit or other merchandise provided it is in good condition. 


2) No merchandise can be exchanged after more than 14-days.


3) You do, however, have the authority to refund for merchandise if you feel the refund is warranted. Please report all refunds to us when they occur.



Tuition Refunds 


1) We have a no refund policy on all lessons paid for. 


2) The only exception is for injury or if the person has yet to lake any lessons. In unusual circumstance, check with chief instructor and use discretion. 


3) You do, however, have the authority to refund for tuition if you feel the refund is warranted. Please report all refunds to us when they occur.

Gift Certificates 
 When a gift certificate is sold it should be recorded in your sales book by: 


1) Name of person 

2) Certificate amount 


3) Certificate number 


4) When it is redeemed, check it against your records and make a note that it has been used. 


5) No cash refunds will be given against any unused balance of any gift certificate.

 Reports 
Reports of the previous weeks sales and student activities are due at the main studio by 9a.m. each Monday. 

Reports must include: 

1) A weekly profit and loss statement.


2) Number of phone calls for information. 


3) Number of appointments set. 


4) Number of trials lessons set. 


5) Number of enrollments. 


6) Nature of calls and walk-ins referral, web, flyers, etc.


7) Number of renewals. 


8) Re-order report of office supplies and merchandise. 


9) Amount and types of merchandise sold. 


10) Marketing and promotion plans for the week. 

11) Attendance, dropouts, etc., and what has been done to contact these students. 


12) A general account of events from the week. 
Keeping accurate notes on these items is vital in us helping you become a better instructor.



Performance Evaluations  Performance evaluations will be scheduled every six-months to check and comment on your progress. At that time, new goals will be established for you for the following six-months. 

I have read and understand the conditions and requirements of this job. 
Signed

Job Description: Instructor

REPORTS TO: CHIEF INSTRUCTOR OR SCHOOL MANAGER

POSITION PURPOSE

To implement the missions and the goals of this school throught theteaching of martial arts.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Guides students and prospective students through the various levels of curriculum introductory, group and private Lessons. Is skilled in performing and teaching levels of curriculum up to and including Black Belt levels. Maintains high level of enthusiasm and positive reinforcement in the classroom.

Solicits prospective students both inside and outside school by distributing guest passes, asking for referrals and using other prospecting techniques approved by school; records prospect information on prospect cards and files cards in an orderly system;

Assists Admissions Director in following up on all prospects with effective telephone and mail contact to help them to join.

Assists Admissions Director in upgrading existing students to memberships of greater value by adding family members and converting Trial Memberships to Black Belt Club Memberships; conducts Progress Checks for prospective Black Belt Club Memberships.

Coordinates with Admissions Director to qualify prospective Black Belt Club students. Creates desire for all students to attain Black Belt levels.

Assists in keeping students and prospective students motivated throughout their lessons. Encourages students to maintain regular class attendance and regular practice at home. Knows all students by first name.

Has thorough understanding of criteria for student belt examinations; implements school requirements; fills out all necessary paperwork; meets daily, weekly, monthly. and quarterly instructing goals.

Prepares for, attends and participates in Staff Meetings; suceessfully masters concepts for effective Martial Arts instruction; continues to improve instructing techniques through additional training, role playing, studying of MATA videos and related material.

Completely masters the application of all instructional methods approved by the school.

Constantly evaluates instruction strategy to identify improvement areas. Strives to apply knowledge and application of all instructing skills in order improve measurable instructing performance, such as attendance percentage, number of examinees, retention and number of Black Belt candidates.

Maintains complete knowledge of school history, philosophy, and policies; maintains thorough knowledge of local and national industry trends; maintains thorough knowledge of competitors, including location, curriculum, tuition, and promotion strategies – including instructing techniques.

Maintains impeccable levels of personal physical fitness, attitude, and appearance. Must be advancing toward next rank in Martial Arts.

Assists in maintaining cleanliness and orderliness of school; maintains cleanliness and organization of classroom and locker rooms.

Influences other staff members to perform at their maximum capability; motivates and inspires co-workers.

Performs various other duties and assignments as necessary or required.

QUALIFICATIONS

At least 16 years of age; requires an outgoing personality with the ability to effectively communicate and inspire; must be Black Belt with previous teaching experience.

Requires a sincere interest in self-improvement and continuing education. Requires the ability to maintain a high level of enthusiasm on a daily basis and strong desire to help others reach their goals.

Requires the ability and desire to learn more about Martial Arts, interpersonal communication, and teaching techniques. Requires a personal commitment to living the principles of Black Belt Excellence and total and patient dedication to the progress of the student, regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.

Duties & Guidelines-Office Manager

Daily:

  1. Take previous days deposit to bank.
  2. Return all messages on answering machine
  3. Call next day’s appointments to confirm.
  4. Send confirmation notes for any appointments made the day before.
  5. Check appointment board/book for no-shows – make follow-up calls to re-schedule for another date.
  6. Fax in all new membership agreements.
  7. Log in all membership agreements in the log that were faxed in for the day.
  8. Stock drink cooler and candy machine.
  9. Perform “batch” function on credit card machine.       Staple batch report to cash register log sheet.
  10. Prepare next days deposit.

 

Weekly:

  1. Verify all faxes to billing company; e-mail billing company account rep with any discrepancies on new or cancelled contracts.
  2. Send renewal letters to ALL students on renewal list (do this EVERY week for EVERY student on the list until they renew).
  3. Call ALL students on the renewal list; set appointments for renewal conferences (to avoid having people come in to renew during the “class change rush”).
  4. THURSDAY: Update Pro Shop displays and re-stock.       Prepare uniform orders to go out on Friday.

 

Monthly:

  1. Review monthly billing report: past due accounts, new contracts, cancellations, students up for renewal, questions in “note” fields.
  2. FIRST WEEK of each month: Send out reminders to all students that are currently past due (to remind them that they must be up to date on tuition to be eligible for striping; take advocate approach to this).
  3. Review contracts due for collections and contact account executive by e-mail or phone with plan of action on these contracts.
  4. Update contract renewals and new student list.       Compare to monthly report.       Contact billing company account rep with any discrepancies on new contracts and renewals that were faxed in.
  5. Rotate Pro Shop displays to make them look “new”.
Staff and Instructor Guidelines

Safety:

  • Always point out that students must use safety and control when doing partner drills.
  • Recommend the proper equipment to your students and encourage them to get that equipment.
  • Do not teach techniques, basics or forms you do not fully understand.

Proper Employee Conduct:

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early to prepare for class, dress in proper uniform and be on the floor helping students.
  • Keep your cool. Never show frustration or anger.
  • Follow school procedures and the Black Belt Code of Conduct to the letter, both inside and outside of the school.
  • NEVER talk poorly about other schools, students or fellow instructors.
  • Do not fraternize with students or clients outside of the school. Familiarity breeds contempt. Also, remember that instructors may not “date” students or their family members.
  • Feel free to discuss personal issues with Mr. or Mrs. Massie if you feel there is something we can help you with.       However, no matter what is happening in your personal life maintain a positive attitude while at work. Keep your personal life and your professional life separate.

Personal and Professional Development:

  • Keep up your own training and maintain your skills.
  • Attend business training seminars and staff training meetings whenever possible.
  • Be familiar with school training materials and procedure manuals.
  • Check out the instructor and staff training videos that we get from MATA.
  • Read industry magazines such as “Martial Arts Professional”
  • Exercise good hygiene habits. No one wants to learn from someone with body odor or bad breath.
  • Be receptive to feedback on your teaching skills.
  • Spend time on your personal development outside of class. It is recommended that you read books and listen to tapes or CD’s on self-improvement, communication, and professional skills.

 

Working With Children

  • Use simpler terms to explain and instruct instead of large words that most children would not know.
  • Maintain respect and courtesy, but DO NOT SPEAK DOWN TO THE CHILDREN.
  • Always pair students off – do not allow them to choose their own partners (remember the “last picked” kids in grade school?)
  • Always offer encouragement, compliment your students.
  • Don’t over explain techniques. Keep the class moving and working. Avoid answering questions while explaining techniques. Move around and answer questions while students are working on the technique.
  • Always use positive remarks (what we call “Positive Re-Framing”)
  • For children, do not use the words “left” or “right” alone. Use them along with “this foot forward” while raising arm or slapping leg.       It also may help to use “right” and “left” directions along with identifying landmarks in the room (e.g., “the foot on the mirror side.”).
  • Break down new techniques into their simplest form and lead the group through them. Next, break it down in sections and finally the entire technique.
  • If you have a problem with a student, take them aside or in the office to discuss the situation. DO NOT shut the door without having another adult, preferably a woman, in the room with you.

Teaching and Communicating Effectively

  • Make sure everyone you work with knows and uses your “Sir” name. (“Coach Smith” or “Ms. Smith”, etc.)
  • Speak loud and with confidence. Be energetic, your attitude is contagious.
  • New students are very sensitive, they need to be spoon fed and handled with kid gloves.
  • Compassion leads to trust and respect; remember that it is better to be loved than feared – work hard on being compassionate with your students.
  • Speak to your students the way that YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED YOUR INSTRUCTOR to speak to you when you were a student.
  • Move around the room; avoid teaching from the front only.
  • Remember to ALWAYS use Positive Re-Framing, Show-Tell-Do, and The “3 Times” Rule in EVERY class!
  • You can go harder on phase two (Intermediate) and three (Advanced) students because they are more confident and can handle it physically.
  • Use upper belt students to help you keep order in the class. (Especially use the Black Belt Club members).
  • Use control; students are not punching bags.
  • Establish eye contact; you are teaching people, so make them feel involved. Face the class when speaking, once again remembering to establish eye contact with the students.
Weekly Goal Commitment

This sheet is to be completed each week by every staff member. Yes, that includes you.

Weekly Goal Commitment

 

Name­­­­__________________________ Week ending­­­­__________________________

 

My goals this week are:

__________________________­­­­________________________________________­­­­__________________________

The students I’ll chat with this week are:

__________________________­­­­________________________________________­­­­__________________________

My goals last week were:

__________________________­­­­__________________________­­­­________________________________________

My level of accomplishment was/why?

__________________________­­­­__________________________­­­­________________________________________

This week my continuing education commitiment will be spent on:

__________________________­­­­__________________________­­­­________________________________________

Contact Diary/Meetings Record

Name or Project                  Detail – Progress – Decisions

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

The Weekly Card Counting Meeting

Early identification is one of the best ways to keep clogged arteries – -or empty classes – -from ruining your day. What’s that? You say your disease is already in an advanced stage? No need to fret, it’s never too late (at least with a martial arts school) to turn things around – -all it takes is some changes in your behavior.

While I believe the first and foremost way to build a healthy school is by teaching phenomenal classes, a staff meeting I call “The Weekly Card Count” runs a close second. The Weekly Card Count can be a school’s vitamin pill, fitness program and medical check-up. Like a health maintenance program, it focuses on prevention rather than therapy.

This can be done with a computer print out the the students, but Student Cards is the reference here.

The Weekly Card Count tackles the problem of student attrition (and a lot of other issues at the same time). It’s like putting your entire student body through a weekly flour-sifter, sorting out those that need your immediate attention. At first you’ll have some big chunks to contend with, but with this step-at-a-time approach you’ll soon have sorted through anything that could clog-up the machinery in your operation.   Here’s how it works:

The Weekly Card Count meeting is held with the entire staff present, and at a time when you will incur the fewest interruptions and distractions. During the count, every challenge your school has – -whether financial, motivational or organizational – -is going to pop-up. It’s the perfect time to train all of your staff.

Step #1

Count the total number of attendance cards held in every box in the school (“A” and “B” boxes, the “On Vacation” box, the “Sick and Hold” box and anywhere else they might be held). For the sake of explanation, let’s pretend that there was a total of 300 cards.

The next step would be to determine how many of those 300 people did not attend classes in the past 7 days. Once that was done you would know your ONE WEEK ACTIVE COUNT – -and your INACTIVE COUNT. Let’s say that your ONE WEEK ACTIVE COUNT was 225, and your INACTIVE COUNT was 75 students. Those numbers get recorded in your statistics record-book for future reference. After sorting, you would put aside the active student’s cards and take a closer look at the inactive people.

What To Do With Non-Attenders

Sort the non-attenders by rank. Spread the cards out on a big table or on the floor for a complete visual overview. Right away you’ll be able to see some interesting patterns. What if your biggest non-attending groups are white and green belts? Maybe there’s some improvements needed in their classes? You might need to add an instructor, or adjust the class size or time to improve retention? With all your staff present you can brainstorm ways to plug the leak.

After the visual overview, then you go through the cards one-by-one and check for the reasons these students aren’t attending. Here’s how it might sound:

You:

“Ok, here’s the first card and it’s a white belt, John Smith. Does anyone know why he missed last week’s classes?

Head Instructor:

No Sir.

Asst. Instructor #1:

Yes, he said he was going on vacation for a week.

You:

Good! So re-file him in the active count since we know he’ll be back next week. Next time, when you hear that someone is going on vacation, please write “vacation” across that week’s space – -so that we won’t spend time and energy trying to determine where they are. Alright, here’s the next card, Tom Jones. He’s been out for a two weeks and prior to that he had only been attending once-per-week for a almost a month. Does anyone know what’s happening with Tom?

Head Instructor:

Yes sir, I called Tom last week and he said he was really busy at work. I reminded him about his upcoming exam – -and generally tried to pump-him-up. He said he would try and make it next week.

You:

Good job, and as a reminder, please make sure to note any phone calls you make to a student on their card. That way we have a record of what’s going on with them. What’s your opinion, is Tom being straight with us – -or do you think his motivation is wavering?

Head Instructor:

Honestly, I think he’s losing his motivation. I remember when he started he was really gung-ho. But after I held him back at the last test, he seemed to lose it a little.

You:

Ok, here’s what we will do with Tom. I think he’s showing every sign of a potential drop-out. I’m going to call him myself – -and see if I can’t personally motivate him to come back. I’ll offer him a private lesson with me for Saturday morning – -perhaps I’ll be able to get him back on track.

Now, let’s talk about how we can keep this from happening again. Number one, If someone is held back from testing, especially at these beginning levels, we need to set an immediate private lesson to get them up-to-speed.

If at all possible, the student should then be privately tested before the next exam. Especially someone like Tom, who has the enthusiasm – -but just lacks some of the finer technical skills. (You know about that because of a note written on the back of the attendance card by your Head Instructor at the last pre-test).

Next, Tom went almost a whole month only attending one class per week. Did anyone talk to him after he missed his very first class? I didn’t think so. Remember, one of you checks the cards at the beginning of each class. If someone isn’t attending regularly, it’s time for a mat-chat there-and then. Find out why they’ve missed a class. Were they traveling? Busy with homework? Discouraged? Then you can play “drama-club” with them and emphasize the importance of making each-and-every required class. Then, you set a make-up class for them. If we make a policy that NO ONE EVER MISSES A CLASS —then we solve a lot of attendance problems before they happen.

You:

Kathy (your school’s financial accounts manager), is Tom by any chance on our late-payment list?

Kathy:

Yes, he’s 15 days late on the third-installment of his course. He owes $150.00.

You:

I thought so. When I talk to Tom if I find out he’s having some financial difficulties – -I’ll probably send him to you to make a new payment arrangement – -so be ready for him.

You:

(To your school’s introductory-lesson instructor) Make sure that we drive home in the intro our policy on class attendance. Let them know that it’s OK to miss classes as long as they make them up. Let them know too about how much we follow-up on attendance – -that way when we call them panicking, they won’t be surprised.

Head Instructor:

Sir, I have an idea. Why don’t we come up with a way to give class credits to students, who for some reason or another, miss a class – -but still practice? If an adult attends another school’s classes while traveling, we could give them credit for the class. If one of our kids can’t     make it to class because their parents got busy, maybe they could turn-in a homework sheet? That way they would still get credit for that class, and their parents, who are already busy, won’t have to cart them in for an extra one.

You:

Perfect! You design the form and bring it to the next Card Count Meeting. Good thinking!

The Weekly Card Count Meeting gives you a load of opportunities to teach your staff members and polish your operation. When you first start the meetings, the workload may seem substantial, but in less than a dozen weeks you’ll have it trimmed down so that even the slightest infraction sticks out like a sore-thumb. Think of the Weekly Card Count as a way to line-up and talk to every one of your students – -every week. And remember: Prevention instead of Therapy.

Legal Issues

Are Your Instructors Actually Employees?

Are Your Martial Arts Assistant Instructors Employees?

Keep Your Guard Up

One of the common errors a new martial arts school owner often makes is to classify a staff member as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The difference is significant. An employee must have income tax and social security deducted from his check. The social security must then be matched by the employer.

Here’s the error. If you are not making those deductions, then at the end of the year you must issue your worker a 1099 form which indicates the total money paid to the worker by you for the year. The worker must then pay taxes on the total.

This can be a major shock to a staff member who is not prepared for the tax hit. If it is an ex-staff member, they may file for unemployment which will result in an immediate investigation of your worker classification arrangements.

The investigation will determine if workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. If your independent contractors are reclassified as employees, you could be liable for back taxes and penalties.

This simple error can kill a business. We know of one aerobics instructor whose very successful business was closed after she was hit with six-figures in back taxes and penalties for her instructors.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Workers are considered employees if they:

  1. Must comply with the employers instructions about the work
  2. Receive training from or at the direction of the employer
  3. Provide services that are integrated into the business
  4. Provide services that must be rendered personally
  5. Are aided by assistants who are hired, supervised and paid by the employer
  6. Have a continuing working relationship with the employer
  7. Must follow set hours of work
  8. Work full-time for an employer
  9. Do their work at the employers premises
  10. Must work in a sequence set by the employer
  11. Must submit regular reports to the employer
  12. Are paid in regular amounts at set intervals
  13. Receive payments for business or traveling expenses
  14. Rely on the employer to furnish tools and materials
  15. Lack a major investment in the facilities or equipment used
  16. Cannot make a profit or suffer a loss from their services
  17. Work for one employer at a time
  18. Do not offer their services to the public
  19. Can be fired by the employer
  20. May quit work at any time without incurring liability
Background Screening

Background screening is inexpensive. It has to be part of your school liability insurance reduction strategy. You can get a full screening for around $25. This is an important point. If screening is so cheap and easy, as a martial arts school owner,  you have no excuse for not getting it done.

In other words, if you’re sued for the actions of a staff member with a record, you have no defense. You could have easily discovered his/her past and prevented the incident from occurring.

It is critical that you understand who you are hiring, and who will be representing your school to every student and prospective student.

The background screening industry is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and all firms are required to adhere to rigorous standards ensuring privacy of individual’s information.

When employees ask why these screenings are required, it’s important to emphasize that a screening does not mean suspicion, nor does submitting to a screening impact a person’s credit score. Having a fully screened staff provides your students and families with peace of mind.

MATA recommends the background screening services of E-Verify

Termination

Dismissing A Problem Employee

Occasionally, despite your best effort, you’ll encounter a problem employee. This is never a fun situation, and it can put you in the difficult position of having to dismiss that employee.

It can be frustrating when you have a problem employee. After all, when you hired them they were full of such enthusiasm and promise. So what happened that would have caused them to falter in their performance?



Reasons For Employee Dysfunction
More than likely, before you get to the actual act of dismissing an employee, you will have spoken with him or her about improving their performance. Communication is the first step to solving any problem.



Perhaps your employee was unsure of how to do a job, or lacked the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the job. Believe it or not, some folks are too ashamed to admit that they don’t know how to do something. They don’t want to appear incompetent.



You can attempt to overcome this problem by making yourself as accessible as possible to your employees for questions and direction. If you are asked for help, try to be patient and understanding.

More often than not, a lack of motivation or a poor attitude is the culprit with a problem employee.

In this case, have a pointed discussion with this employee about what changes he needs to make to ensure his continued employment with your studio. 

A bad attitude can be contagious among your other staff members, or even your students. So, if you sense that this is a problem that won’t go away, you’ll need to simply eliminate the problem quickly and quietly.



Handling A Bad Habit

If, on the other hand, you have an otherwise good employee who has adopted a bad habit – say, being late on a regular basis – you might consider employing a little strategy.

Invite him into your office for one of those “hypothetical” conversations.

Explain to him that you have an employee that is not showing up to work on time. This throws the timing of the lessons off and the parent’s are starting to complain. You’ve spoken with this employee several times about his punctuality problem, yet it continues. If he were this guy’s supervisor, what would he do?

Well, naturally your employee is going to figure out that you’re really talking about him.

So, you might get a “I dunno”. However, if you continue to press him for an answer, he’ll probably suggest that you fire that employee, or fine him.

If his suggestion suits you, then tell him that will be the way you’ll handle that problem the next time it happens.

Hopefully, you’ll have thrown a scare into him and it won’t happen again.

If it does happen again, make sure you follow through on the punishment.



One Last Note About Dismissing An Employee…

If you’re lucky, your employee’s dismissal will pass quietly. However, it pays to prepare for the dismissal before letting your employee know what your intentions are. Why?

An unhappy employee can leave your school records and other important information all askew. You won’t know who owes money to you, and to whom you owe money to for the next several weeks.



In addition, attempt to diffuse the situation by explaining to the employee that he just wasn’t a good match for your school. However, you will try to help him find another job if you can. Then, send him out the door

When You Have to Fire Someone

Last week I told an all too familiar story of the benevolent instructor who pretty much raises a kid in his school who seems to turn his life around as a result.

I pointed out that the student wasn’t the only liability. The instructors reluctance to release the student out of concern for his well-being made him as culpable as the student for any damage done to the school.
That message clearly hit home. Here is a sample message I received.

The Benevolent Instructor:
I just want to say how close to home you hit with that last e-mail you sent out the other day.  I have recently found myself being the benevolent instructor and let an employee damage my business, health, stress level, and family conversations for far too long.

This employee was finally released and it marked the first time I have ever had to let someone go.  She was a good person but no longer a good fit for our business.  It was really, really hard and I found myself nearly in tears once it was over.

Thank you for timing the release of that post at a time when it really helped me to finalize those feelings and be able to move on.  Thank you.

Name Withheld

Before we get into story 2 of 3 on this topic, I want to share with you the best phraseology that I’ve learned to use when letting someone go. My multiple schools had at least a half-dozen employees and running NAPMA had as many as 25 employees with some making over $200k per year.

It’s important to document all of your meetings with the employee to make sure you are building your case for termination. However, I will leave that to the HR experts and not play labor attorney.

My only advice is that when you have that final meeting and have protected yourself from lawsuits relating to discrimination, harassment, etc… you be very careful in what you say and how you say it.

In my experience, my best line has been, “Sally, as you know, we’ve been giving this the best chance we could have. You’re a good person, and you will do well, but I think we both know that this job is just not a good fit for you. It’s best we bring this to an end.”

Typically, I’d give them two weeks pay and change the door locks, website passwords, etc…. As part of the process of receiving the two weeks pay, they would have to sign a release of liability that basically says they will not sue the school or any employee from that moment on.

Firing an employee for a martial arts school owner is often more difficult than most businesses because there is often a stronger emotional history / baggage attached with the process than the local 7/11 or health club.

Next week, story two of how an owner can become a liability for his or her school.

When the Owner is the School's Biggest Liability

The Benevolent Instructor

This is a common story. Maybe it’s happened to you. You take in a new student. You let him train for free because of his situation. You even counsel him while he cries on your shoulder about his life.

He trains hard and advances through the ranks and earns his black belt. With his skill and dedication, you decide he would be a great addition to your staff, so you hire him.

Things are going great, and he has become an asset to your school. You’re proud that you’ve been able to save this young man and help him move from a negative to a positive path in life.

In time, however, the luster begins to fade. He shows up late or calls in with questionable excuses. He is also not treating the students and their families they way you want them treated.

At this point, you are faced with a tough decision. You know his background, and you fear that your school is all that he has.

If you let him go, you think he’ll spiral out of control, so you keep him on and hope he improves. Still, you find yourself cleaning up after his mess more and more each week.

All you ever did for this kid was help him. You taught him all that you know and gave him a great opportunity. How did this happen?

It happens all of the time when your assets become liabilities. In this case, we’re talking human assets. You may be thinking that the kid is the asset that became a liability, and you’re right.

But, as the old saying goes, when you point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at you. You’ve become a liability too.

When you make the decision to keep staff because the consequences of firing them would disrupt their life, you have become as big a liability as the staff member.

The damage created by the staff member is only happening because you’re allowing it.

You are giving permission for this person to damage your business, stress you out, and reduce the reward to you and your family for your risk and hard work in opening a business.

One way to deal with this is to create an agreement with each staff member. While it may differ from school to school, here is an example of a staff agreement.

Martial Arts Staff Compensation

Staff Compensation Strategies

Once you break past about the 150 student mark, it becomes necessary to consider hiring an assistant instructor. Initially, your leadership team can carry much of the load and then you may have to go to a part time instructor who actually gets paid.

It’s when you have to start considering full time instructors that you will need to have a compensation plan in mind that keep the instructor motivated, but also keeps your school highly profitable.

Paying your staff is a bit like a balancing act.   First, you’ll need to take into consideration the amount of income that your studio nets. Then, you will want to pay your staff enough to motivate them to perform quality work without breaking the bank.

By the same token, martial arts school’s prosperity is directly linked to the number of new students gained each month, as well as the number of students that choose to stay.

A student’s decision to return to class can depend greatly on how he or she feels about your staff.

Is their training satisfactory?   Do they feel as though they are being treated well?   These are important questions, and the answers often depend upon the behavior of your instructors and office staff.

Therefore, you might consider motivating and rewarding your staffs’ good behavior with a monetary reward or commission, so to speak.   That is to say, that in addition to an instructor’s base pay, they receive a percentage of the gross revenues collected for that month.

For example…

Up to $8,000 – Instructor gets 15 percent of gross revenues.


$8,001 – $9,000- Instructor receives 20 percent of gross revenues.

$9,001 – $10,000- Instructor brings home 25 percent of gross revenues.

$10,001 and above – Instructor receives a special bonus.

Here’s another way to reward your instructors…

Let’s say that your studio has 175 students.   When your enrollment rises to 200 paying students, your instructors will receive a $350 bonus plus an extra $15 per week.   Then, for every 10 active students over 200, their pay would increase an extra $15 a week.

In this fashion, an instructor’s pay is a direct result of his helping you to promote your program, sell lessons, and working hard to keep the students you already have.

Motivating A Large Staff

If you have several instructors, the method for motivating and rewarding them will be essentially the same… except for one thing.

If you have just one additional instructor, it’s easy to reward them for their individual efforts.   If, however, you have several employees, it becomes difficult to determine who is really responsible for the increased sign ups or the increase in gross receipts.

Even if you have formulated a way of tracking how many students a particular instructor has signed up, and compensating them for each one, you may end up with a situation which many customers find distasteful – that of being attacked by a “commissioned” salesman.

Once your instructors get into that frame of mind, it quickly becomes a dog-eat-dog world, and they care little about whether the customer is receiving exactly what they want or need. The instructor simply wants the customer to sign up fast, so that they can get the commission for that sale.

In an effort to avoid that situation, you may want to adopt a “teamwork” mentality.   Basically, you’ll reward your staff members equally.

For example…

Let’s say that you have

  • An active student base of 253 students.
  • 24 new students sign-up for that month.
  • 5 students quit your program.
  • A net gain of 19 students.

That means that 19 students at $90 would increase your revenue by $1710.   At 20 percent, the overall bonus for your staff would be $342.   Divide that amount by the number of staff members.  

If you wish, you can differentiate the bonus amounts depending upon seniority or position.

Calculating Your Incentive Program

As you might have guessed, the figures above are simply examples of a formula used by many successful studios.   Your figures may differ according to your demographics, including how many staff members you have, how much you charge for lessons, what your area is like economically, and so on.

One method of determining how much you can afford to compensate your instructors is to figure out what your net income would be from signing up 10 new students.   Let’s say, 10 students multiplied by the $90 tuition fee would equal $900.

The average overhead on a well-managed martial arts school runs about 50 percent of the net profit, which equals $450.   Therefore, the net profit from these 10 new students would be $450.  

If you pay your instructor an additional 15 percent a month, that will be an additional $67.50 in his paycheck each month, or $16.87 a week.

Keep in mind, as we have said, up to 150 students, you can get away without staff by creating an excellent leadership team. You always want to be, “training staff,” you just don’t want to be in a rush to hire them.

How to Reward Your Staff

Just as successful people have tricks that they use to help keep themselves motivated and feeling good — successful businesses also employ methods to keep their staff happy and motivated.

They’re simple methods. However, in spite of their simplicity, these little steps can go a long ways towards maintaining a good morale among your staff members.

Some companies hold an annual picnic.  They invite the staff, students, and their families out for a day of relaxing fun.  Often, they use that opportunity to recognize their employees in front of their friends and family.

They present their employees with awards and certificates thanking them for their excellence service to the community, and for a job well done at the studio.

Events like an annual picnic, an occasional “goodie” day, or movie night creates a feeling of camaraderie among staff members. Remember that while it’s important to conduct business in a professional manner, it’s equally important to  make time for fun and entertainment.

Show Your Staff Respect

Many students work their way up through the ranks to become members of the staff at the very school where they trained.  This can be beneficial to the school owner, since they know the history of their employee’s martial arts training. 

However, those shining examples of martial arts students are often at an increased risk for criticism by the very people who brought them up through the ranks. 

School owners often have difficulty thinking of these folks as anything but students.  When they don’t perform as well on the business end of things as they did on the studio floor, they become the target for exceptionally harsh words and criticism.

The rule is to treat your “student turned employee” with the same courtesy and respect that you would treat any other respected employee or paying student.

If you find that must offer constructive criticism to your employee, do it in private.  Never reprimand or criticize your employees in front of their class or co-workers.

Use Newsletters To Recognize Staff

A newsletter offers a perfect opportunity to recognize your staff’s accomplishments both in the school and in the community. 

Use it to introduce new staff members by printing their picture and a small biography about them in your newsletter.  Thank your employees for a job well done whenever you get an opportunity to do so.

Always let them know how much you appreciate them.

Make Your Staff Feel Important

You may have noticed the trend recently towards politically correct job titles.  At first, the concept sounded a bit silly. 

For instance, the person who gathers our trash each week is no longer called a garbage man.  He is now known as the sanitation engineer.

This simple little change in title added an air of sophistication to an important, yet not so glamorous job description.  It probably did wonders for the newly appointed “sanitation engineers” self-esteem. 

Now, when someone asks them what they do for a living, they can hold their heads high and proudly announce that they are the city’s sanitation engineers.

The same hold true for your staff. This is a very effective, inexpensive way to help make your staff members feel like an important part of your team. 

Don’t just call them instructors, title them “chief instructor”, or “black belt instructor”.  If you have an office staff, you can designate them “executive assistant”,  “program director”, or “director of activities.”

Go one better and present them with personalized business cards bearing their new titles.  These aren’t very expensive, and they can really go a long ways in keeping the level of morale high among your staff, as well as promote loyalty to your school.

Encourage Feedback And Ideas From Your Staff

A great way to help members of your staff to feel important is to encourage them to share their ideas on improving your school program with you.  Just sit back and watch what happens to their school spirit when they see one of their ideas implemented at your school.

Keep Your Staff Posted On School Information

It’s important to keep your staff advised of all upcoming activities.  They need to feel that they are a valuable part of your team – privy to the “inside” scoop. 

They particularly need to be kept current on whatever new promotional incentives you have in the works.  This is important in their dealings with studio customers. 

If your staff doesn’t seem to know what’s going on with your studio, it embarrasses them and looks bad on you and your school.  It’s important for them to have their facts straight.

Nick Cokinos Staff Training

Five Keys to Success for Manager

Step One

You have to serve as a good example. You have to be a role model. You can’t be a slob, you can’t be late, you can’t be smoking or drinking, you can’t be dishonest. You can’t on the phone say to your creditors “I’m going to send the check” and you don’t send the check. You cannot tell little fibs. You can’t present your programs with any ambiguity.

You have to be a genuine role model. That means mentally and physically. You have to be fit. You have to keep yourself in great shape. You have to be looking good. You have to act right. You need to think right. You have to be a good role model. If you’re not that, you got two and a half strikes against you. So, do a little checking up. Look within yourself. Find out what kind of model you are. So, that’s step number one.

 

Step Two

Develop your own thinking. We just talked about a whole process of thinking; but I’d like to take it a step farther. I sat in a room with ten martial artists not too long ago and I happened to say “how many of you in this room have read a good novel in the last three months?” Not one hand went up. I couldn’t believe that. I said, “How many of you have attended church in the last three months?” One hand went up.   I don’t know how you feel about church. I don’t know how you feel about god but I can only tell you this, you have got to do something to elevate your thought because there are some things out there in the world that are not too attractive. Television doesn’t help matters with the violence on television and the ugliness that you see on television. It can get you down. Now you have got to work on your own thinking.

You have got to read positive stuff like Norman Vincent Peale and other wonderful things. Look at Dr. Schuler. I don’t care what you do. You have go to develop your own thinking. You have to be a thinking person. So far we’ve talked about you being a role model and you developing your own thinking; so that you can be inspirational so that you can be a good guide to your staff members.

 

Step Three

Your staff member has to feel that he’s learning something from you. You’ve got to teach them something ongoing. You’ve got to be a teacher. You have to either teach them something about martial arts or something about the science and art of teaching, something about how to conduct the business, something about how to improve themselves. If I’m working for you, I’m attracted to you and I feel I’m learning something from you. So you’ve got to stay on your toes.

 

Step Four

You’ve got to give me a reasonable pay. You’ve got to give me a good living wage; but more importantly, you have to provide for me an opportunity where I can make a very good income. You don’t have to give me anything just provide me with an opportunity where if you grow, I will grow. There’s got to be some money incentive there. I’ve got to feel that I’m going to be growing and living well and improving my standard of life. If I do a good job for you, that has to be there and you have to give it some thought if you already haven’t done it.

 

Step Four

You have to convince me that you are deeply interested in my future. Otherwise, why am I hanging around here? What am I doing? You have to let me know that I am either going to grow within the company or if and when the time comes that I’m ready to go out on my own, that you’re going to help me. I would be very grateful for that and appreciative and you’ve got to let know. You’ve got to be prepared to do it. You may want to promote me within the school. You may want to open a branch school and that’s something I can look forward to. It may be that you’re not going to do any of those things but at least when the time comes that I want to go out on my own, you’re going to help me every way that you can. By the way, it’s a feather in your cap if you do that. I may want to go into another industry. If so, you’re going to help me in any way that you can to get going in the other industry.

Never separate on a sour note. You make it your business. I don’t care how hard you have to swallow and, for Pete’s sake, don’t go through this “after all I’ve done for him and after all I’ve taught him…”. Don’t let it come to that point. You be gracious and you be magnanimous and you help that person get going because anything that you have taught him or given him in the past, believe me, makes you a better person. The point is that you have to do these five little basic mechanical things to help me get going. You have to remember something now about staff. Little minds talk about things. Average minds talk about other people. Great minds talk about ideas. Now you’re the director. You’re the leader. You should get your thinking so sharp, that you and your staff are talking about ideas.

Also, I don’t know if you’re going to like this or not but a great leader serves his personnel.   Often times, they have to serve us. It doesn’t work that way. You are serving them. You are helping them. You are teaching them. You are developing them.   You are showing them how to be more successful. That’s service and that’s exactly what you should do.

The Guru Story

The story is about two chaps who happen to meet. They were very good friends. One of them was highly successful, he was very upbeat, his business was going well, he looked marvelous and everything was just great. The other poor fellow was demoralized, he was down in the dumps, nothing was going well so he said to him “Michael, what in the world are you doing. You look great. Obviously your business is going well, you have a magnificent attitude. What is it all about? He said “I went to see the guru.” He said “Are you serious?”. He said “Yes, I went to see the guru.” He said “Well, where is the guru?” and he said “The guru is way up in the mountains in Tibet.” He said “Holy Mackerel, you went all the way there.?”. He said “yes, I did.”. “Well what did he tell you.”

He said “he gave me three words that have totally changed my life.”.   “Well, for Pete’s sake, Michael. Tell me what the three words are.” Michael said “it doesn’t work that way.”. “What do you mean?” “Well,” he said, “You’re going to have to get some transportation and go up to see the guru yourself. But I can tell you this, it’ll change your life and it’s well worth going to do it.”

Well, out of sheer desperation, the despondent friend said he’d do it. He got on an airplane, he got on a boat, he got on a bus, he got on a truck, and he got on a mule. He went way up into the mountains of Tibet and he was met by a monk.   And the monk said “I’m going to take you into meet the guru.

You have to promise to be totally quiet and silent and I will let you know what you should do next.” He ushered him into the temple and sure enough there was the guru sitting there surrounded by beautiful flowers. Total serenity. He sat there quietly in front of the guru for what seemed to be long, endless moments and finally the guru said “Humility”.

So our friend sat there and finally he felt a little tap on his shoulder. There was a monk who asked him to come outside. He went outside and he said “Thank you so much for coming.” He said “Wait a minute. Is that it.” “Yes”. “But all he said was ‘humility’.   What am I supposed to do?” He said, “you should take that word and contemplate and think about it.” So off he went back home on this very long trip and of course, he started to think about humility and he thought to himself “well, humility means that you have to be humble and that you have to be meek”.

He started to think for long hours about this and he learned that being meek didn’t mean being weak and being humble didn’t mean that everyone stepped on you or anything like that. As he delved into the meaning of the word, he recognized that humility and being humble had to do with being more gracious, being more receptive, being more kind, being more patient, being more open-minded, being more loving, being more considerate of others and has he learned about some of the ramifications of that word, his character truly began to go through some metamorphosis.

Then on top of it, he learned that humility meant putting your pride aside. It mean getting rid of your ego. It meant putting your self will aside and being, if you will, more interested in the divine will. He was so excited because he began to feel the deep significance of that word “humility” and he could feel it start invigorating his life.

As a matter of fact, several very exciting things began to happen. One of them was, people started coming to him. He seemed to be attracting people to him. There seemed to be a more harmonious relationship with others because of this metamorphosis and his whole approach as he was making this quality of humility part of himself and a very exciting thing happened at school.

Recruiting and Hiring Staff

Interviewing Your New Staff

It’s not everyday that you find an ad in the “help wanted” section of the classifieds seeking an experienced black belt instructor to teach at the local martial arts studio.

Teaching martial arts is one of those specialized fields that would be difficult to fill via an ad in the local paper.   In addition to martial arts skill, and the ability to take a class filled with anxious, wide-eyed white belts and turn them into confident martial arts experts, you’re looking for loyalty and respect.  

That’s a pretty tough order to fill for the guy coming in off the street.

So, where does a martial arts studio owner go to find a qualified new assistant, or even a new staff to fill his sequential studio openings?

While there is no foolproof means of adding new staff, recruiting from within your leadership team is the most consistent method of hiring someone whom you know well and have a great working relationship with already.

If you have to hire from outside, you will need a good screening process as there will be little if any loyalty of emotional connection to the school from an outsider. The challenge begins when it comes to interviewing these applicants, assessing their qualifications, and making your final selection.

What To Look For During An Interview

Just the idea of conducting an interview can send a chill down your spine.   You are, in fact, choosing someone to help you and your studio succeed over the long term, based on a relatively brief interview.  

If, for whatever reason, your new hire doesn’t work out, you will lose money spent on training.   And, you’ll be back to square one and conducting the interview process all over again.

Enter into the interview with a good idea of what you are expecting from a new hire.   For instance, your interviewee should display an excellent attitude, and a high level of enthusiasm.  

Try to look beneath the façade that folks naturally wear when they’re in the “spotlight” of an interview.

Your biggest role during the interview will be that of a listener.   For the best results, avoid asking yes or no questions.   Word your questions in such a way that the interviewee will have to explain his answers.  

This will give you an idea of how he thinks, as well as how he communicates those thoughts.   If you’re considering having this person operate one of your schools without supervision, make sure that he’s got the leadership skills, discipline, and your interests at heart before you hire him.

As he discusses his past experiences, listen closely to what he says about his past masters and co-workers.   You’ll be able to gather a lot about his attitude and interpersonal skills.   

Talk about his teaching methods and what he’s looking for from his students.   If he doesn’t share your goals, philosophy, and values, kindly show him the door.

Once you’re satisfied with the first part of the interviewing process, it’s time to have him demonstrate his teaching skills by having him instruct a few classes for you. Have him do enough so you can see the, “true” personality emerge. Anyone can fake it for an hours’ class, but a few hours and the real person begins to show him or herself. Be aware of how he communicates with the students, his level of energy and enthusiasm, and his ability to provide motivation when it’s needed.

When you’re looking for an office assistant to help keep you organized and answer telephones, you might consider hiring them through a temporary employment agency on a “temp to perm” basis.   This gives you the opportunity to give your new employee a “test drive,” as it were.  

The temp agency will conduct the interview, background checks, and such. If you don’t feel this person is working out, you can have the temp agency send you another and another – until you’re satisfied that you have the right person for the job.  

Building a Championship Staff

Perhaps the biggest problem that the successful school owner has to deal with is recruiting new staff. Once your studio is up and running above 200 active students, you might begin to think about expanding further a-field. If you have one successful location, why not try a second?

Staff – that’s why not. No matter how good your advertising, no matter how good your marketing, no matter how good your curriculum – the bottom line comes down to how good are your staff? A studio is only as good as the person who runs it. Sure, if you do most of the business aspects yourself, you can survive with a mediocre instructor. But, in order to succeed at a high level, you need staff – an excellent staff.

The way to develop excellent staff is through a carefully instituted training program, like the Kaizan Club. While a great deal of attention and effort is given towards the martial arts end of training a person, very little time is spent by most people in training their staff in business skills, communication skills, and leadership skills.

Without these skills, your staff can’t perform up to your expectations – unless you’ve set them very low. Before you can train staff, though, you have to find them. This in itself can be a lot harder than at first glance. While finding people is not hard, finding people that are good, or that have the potential to be good, is certainly not easy.

When you recruit students from within your school, you inherit something of a built-in problem – that these members of staff have friends who are students. This often makes it difficult or embarrassing for them to ask their friends for money when they are behind in their payments. Then they also want to give some people special treatment, at the expense of others. It’s a natural reaction, but it must be dealt with quickly, and up front. You must make it clear to all staff members that the studio must be run like a business.

Another problem that will often creep up when you hire from within, is that of discussing studio business with their friends. This, again, is a big no-no. Studio business should not be discussed with any other students. Handle these problems the very first day, and remind new staff members of these points over and over again during the first few weeks, and they will seldom develop into problems later.

If you hire staff from within, and then, for one reason or another, the person does not always work out, and leaves – often, some of their friends will leave with them. Even if the employee leaves with no intention of opening up another school, this can, and often is, damaging to studio morale.

So, consider these points carefully when you think about hiring someone who is already a student. Outside recruiting also has its own problems. Run an ad in your local classified asking for black belts to teach, and you’ll have an avalanche of phone calls. Put up a flyer in your local martial arts store, and you’ll be greeted with the same response. There’s simply no shortage of people who want to teach martial arts for a living.

The problem with recruiting from outside your school is that they do not have the built in factors of loyalty and respect for you already in place. This is less of a problem with sales or office staff. It can be a major problem with teaching staff. Think for the moment for the respect you had for your first master, and you’ll begin to see how hard it is for someone else to be told that a specific technique, or method of teaching, is no good for your school.

When I ran ads, I found that many people who applied for jobs as instructors were often hard core fighters, or instructors who had already failed once – or several times – in running their own school. Interviewing prospective employees, whether it’s for a teaching position or an office position, is a very important task.

During the interviewing process, you must make a decision within a few minutes on that person’s ability to help your school grow over the next few years. Make a wrong decision, and it can cost you a great deal of money – not only in lost sales, but also in lost students as well.

The key skills to look for in hiring anyone are enthusiasm and attitude. Nothing takes their place when it comes to developing good employees. When in an interview, don’t cut off the interview by telling the person about your school and what you expect. Instead, encourage the person to talk about themselves. Listen very carefully. Past behavior is repetitive.

If an instructor has studied several different styles, then the chances are that after he’s studied some of your style, he’ll be rolling along again, to the next school. If he’s already failed in business, there must be a reason. If he’s discovered the reason – great. If not, beware.

Find out about your prospective instructor’s past – his training, his experience, and his feeling towards past masters, associations, and schools. I once watched a chain of schools hire six new instructors from outside their system to speed up their expansion. The first was a New Zealand kickboxing champion. He had a hardcore following of 45 students, and I don’t think he ever got beyond 50.

The second two were from Pakistan, where they taught in a school of several hundred students. One was so hard core, he failed instantly. The other learned enough about running a school in the USA to leave and open on his own. Although an excellent martial artist, he was far too hard core to get much beyond 50 or 60 students.

The final three were all local instructors who’d already failed in the martial arts business – some more than once. Now, having failed once, or even twice, is not necessarily bad. It means they must have learned something. But, within a few months, all six instructors were gone.

The moral is very simple: Be careful when you hire from outside of your school or system. Dig deep for answers about the instructor’s past, and his intentions in the future. It can work, but it takes careful planning.

Ask the prospective instructor, if he’s failed before, why he thinks he failed. If he says because his students were wimps, his partner quit and took all the students, or another school opened up close by – beware. If, on the other hand, he says he was too hard on his students, or didn’t know enough about the business, he’s probably a keeper, because he’s learned from his mistakes.

Always ask questions that allow the person to open up. Don’t ask yes or no questions. Ask questions which allows the person to tell you about their attitude, beliefs, and expectations. “What do you think is the most important aspect of teaching?” If he says, “Correct technique” instead of “Motivation,” chances are he needs a lot of work. If he says “Discipline” instead of “Fun,” – beware.

Ask him what they feel is a fair price to charge for lessons. Ask them how they feel about getting paid for lessons. Here, you’re trying to uncover the person’s underlying belief about his value, and the value of the martial arts program your school teaches.

If he feels that lessons should be cheap, there may be an underlying problem that afflicts many in the martial arts – that somehow, they think you shouldn’t charge for teaching. That is not a good underlying principle for a successful business. Be very careful of any instructor who does not respond well to this type of questions.

Once you are comfortable with the person you are interviewing, invite them to come back and teach a class. You can tell them that this instructor is a guest instructor, and is going to teach for you, for this class. Watch the instructor for his people skills, motivation skills, leadership skills, and communication skills. If they look good, keep him. You can always work on his martial arts technique later on. It’s easy to teach someone a kata. It’s very hard to teach someone how to have a good personality.

I know of several schools that have hired non-martial artists to work in the office, and then taught them to be part time instructors as they went along. If you can hire someone who’s worked selling insurance, health club memberships, timeshares, or anything like that, selling martial arts will be a breeze for them. Hire based on communication skills, sales skills, motivation skills, and personality – not on rank of the martial arts.

If you’re hiring an office person, voice is also very important – especially on the phone. In fact, very often I suggest that the first interview with anyone should take place over the telephone, rather than in person, so you can guage the quality of their voice, and the way they handle questions over the telephone.

Call the person up after the interview in your office, and continue it on the phone to see how clearly they can be understood. Here are ten essential qualities to look for when hiring a new instructor for your staff:

  1. Enthusiasm for the martial arts, for teaching them, and for life in general. If someone on your staff does not have this vital ingredient, try to help them get it – or get rid of them, fast. Without this simple quality, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

All of your staff must have enthusiasm on two fronts. First, they must love the martial arts. Secondly, they must love people, and want to help them by imparting their martial arts knowledge to them. Enthusiasm is contagious, and spreads like wildfire across all who encounter it. Students like it, parents love it, and you will get caught up in its spell yourself.

Enthusiasm makes up for a multitude of deficiencies in skills or knowledge. Enthusiasm attracts people to your school. Enthusiasm opens doors closed to others. Enthusiasm is practiced by all successful instructors. And, enthusiasm goes hand-in-hand with the next key, which is good attitude.

  1. A good attitude towards work and people. Excellent instructors need excellent attitudes. That means they must have positive, helpful attitudes, towards themselves and others. Instructors with positive attitudes have more energy. Instructors with positive attitudes help students adjust their attitudes. Instructors with positive attitudes allow their attitudes to shine brighter than any deficiencies they might have.

Instructors with a positive attitude are more creative in their teaching, and more caring in the ways they help their school. Instructors with a positive attitude can laugh at themselves when they make a mistake. And, instructors with a positive attitude attract people to your school.

Are You Ready To Hire?

Determining whether your studio is ready to hire on additional help can be influenced by two factors —

  • The number of students you feel comfortable handling with your current resources.
  • Your financial goals.

Let’s consider some of the problems facing a lone instructor…

Who answers the phone while you’re teaching a class?

The phone poses the biggest distraction for a lone instructor.   However, there are ways to handle that particular problem.  

Do you use an answering machine to handle the calls?   Absolutely not.

When folks are calling for information about signing up for martial arts lessons, they want a real person on the other end ready to answer their questions.   If they don’t get one, they may end up calling another martial arts school.

Should a visitor in the lobby answer the phone for you?   Never.

You’ll always want the person answering the phone to sound professional.   We all know the first thought that crosses our minds when we call a place of business and the person that answers says “Yeah?”   Not good.

Should you hire a receptionist?

Not necessarily.   In this day of modern technology, a cellular phone is probably the best option for handling calls during a class and when you’re away from the studio.   You can have your office phone set up to forward your calls to you wherever you are.

If you choose not to have a cellular phone, your second best option is to step away from your class and handle the call quickly, preferably in less than a minute.  

This may require you having to ask the caller to call back when your class ends. Or, you may need to have a pen and paper next to the phone in order to scribble down a name and number so that you can call the person back after class.

Taking Care Of The Paperwork

Again, modern technology serves us well.   A computer is a staple in most studios, and the record keeping for a martial arts studio is relatively minimal.   Generally, a good database will assist you in tracking student attendance and payment, creating lesson plans, and such.

However, you might consider employing a professional billing company to handle your accounts receivables.   They have the necessary equipment, as well as a well-trained staff able to make collections more efficiently as well as save you valuable time that you could put to better use.

In addition, you may also think about hiring a bookkeeper to handle your accounts payable and manage your taxes.

By outsourcing these two functions, you can save a great deal of money by not having to hire an employee.

If your goal is to increase your profitability, then you’ll want to put off hiring employees until your studio income is high enough to accommodate the expense of an employee.

When you hire an employee, there’s a lot more to consider than just their salary.   For instance, there are employee taxes, social security, vacation and other benefits that can really take a bite out of your overall profits.   Not to mention, additional equipment and a place for them to perform their duties.

How many students can a lone instructor handle before he needs reinforcement?

It’s not so much how many students, as how your classes are arranged.   This is the point where you’ll need to decide between how much work that you personally want to do versus the profit that you desire to achieve.

Experts suggest that about 150 students per instructor is a good rule of thumb.   The key to handling student load is in scheduling smart and creating a good leadership team program. (Use the search function to find articles on each)

The ideal formula for maximizing your school’s profits it to conduct business with a low overhead and a lot of classes.   Here’s a suggestion for easily accommodating as many as 150 students.  

First, space your classes out correctly.   You can do that by having your students attend class no more than twice a week. Teaching three classes per day, five days a week, and limit your classes to no more than 20 students.   There you have it… 150 students attending class twice a week. Of course, that’s nice in theory, but you can get very close to that by assigning specific class times to students and getting your leadership team going.

Once you’ve exceeded 150 students, you might consider hiring an additional staff member.   However, in order to maximize the benefits of this additional staff member they should not only be able to teach lessons, they should also be able to assist you in the marketing and sales functions of your studio.

Keep in mind that in order for you to teach a staff member how to answer the phone and enroll intros, you have to be able to do it yourself.

In order to get the most bang for your buck, this additional staff member should be able to complete all of the other tasks that you can do without a great deal of supervision.

Basically, you should be able to function well and bring in a considerable profit if you plan on one full-time instructor per 150 students.

Handling Intro lessons

Intro lessons are, of course, valuable in convincing customers to try out the martial arts.   However, they can be time-consuming.  

Therefore, you might consider eliminating the traditional two or three 30-minute class samplers and incorporating your intro into your enrollment process.   For instance, you can offer a prospective student a 20-minute introduction to the martial arts followed by a five minutes sales presentation. Schedule the second intro only if the student doesn’t enroll after the first.

Create an enrollment program that is fun and easy, and consider holding class intros just one day a week – a Saturday, for example.   You’ll find that you’re able to devote your energy and enthusiasm to gaining new students.

In the interest of providing the best service to your students and bringing in a nice profit on your studio, you need to maximize your resources.   Which means not hiring a new employee until cash flow has increased enough to justify the expense.

How much should a studio bring in?

Staff expenses, including your salary, should not exceed 35% of the total school gross each month. Each new hire cuts into that amount.

A good rule of thumb for a well-run studio is that it nets between 40- to 60-percent of the gross annual income.   That is hard to do with paid employees. Of course, that ratio may be affected by where your studio is located.

For instance, a studio in Oklahoma is likely to net more than one in Washington DC due to the lower overhead.

Developing an Eye For Good Staff

Recruiting good instructors is a lot like recruiting a student. The potential staff member must clearly see and understand the benefits of devoting their time, energy and a portion of their career to you. You also must develop a solid training program to grow your staff members along a rewarding career path.

Like any good program from white belt to black belt, this requires lots of planning. Good staff training and retention does not happen by accident. If both of you are going to invest the time and effort required for training, then make sure is worthwhile for both of you. By showing the instructor exactly what benefits he will receive from you over a period of time, you will increase your chances of success.

Why would someone want to become a martial arts instructor? Seems like an easy question to us, since that’s what we chose. But it helps to understand that people train for different reasons and you can be sure they become instructors for different reasons as well.

Benefits as an instructor might include:

  1. Making a good living doing what they love.
  2. Long term job security.
  3. Respect from peers.
  4. Potential advancement to becoming a head instructor in charge of several schools or their own school.
  5. The opportunity to advance their martial arts skills.

When To Start Looking For Staff

You can actually begin to plant seeds with new students within weeks of them joining the school. You will have some students that seem to be like a fish in water at the school. Everything about the school and the arts appeal to them. They are always present and giving 100%.

Sometimes that’s because they have nothing else going on. They have not yet found their calling, but may very have in your school. How do you find out? You ask.

Periodically, you plant seeds with questions such as:

  1. Joe, what do you do for a living? How do you like that?
  2. Joe, that’s our leadership team. They take special classes and learn how to teach martial arts. We’ve found that the skills really help them in work also. Do you think that would interest you?
  3. Joe, if we were having this conversation in three years, and everything had gone the way you want it to, what would you be doing?
  4. Joe, how do you like your job? Is there anything you would rather be doing?

Odds are you will not ask these questions at the same time. As you can see, they are progressively more probing, which means you will need to build some trust with your student first.

But, we’ve had many cases where we were able to hire a four-month Orange belt to teach intros and enroll people. The key is to keep your eyes out for potential staff regardless of their rank. It’s not where they start, it’s where they end up that matters.

10 Qualities to Look for in Hiring Staff Part 1

Perhaps the biggest problem that the successful school owner has to deal with is recruiting new staff. Once your studio is up and running above 200 active students, you might begin to think about expanding further a-field. If you have one successful location, why not try a second?

Staff – that’s why not. No matter how good your advertising, no matter how good your marketing, no matter how good your curriculum – the bottom line comes down to how good are your staff? A studio is only as good as the person who runs it. Sure, if you do most of the business aspects yourself, you can survive with a mediocre instructor. But, in order to succeed at a high level, you need staff – an excellent staff.

The way to develop excellent staff is through a carefully instituted training program, like the MATA. While a great deal of attention and effort is given towards the martial arts end of training a person, very little time is spent by most people in training their staff in business skills, communication skills, and leadership skills.

Without these skills, your staff can’t perform up to your expectations – unless you’ve set them very low. Before you can train staff, though, you have to find them. This in itself can be a lot harder than at first glance. While finding people is not hard, finding people that are good, or that have the potential to be good, is certainly not easy.

When you recruit students from within your school, you inherit something of a built-in problem – that these members of staff have friends who are students. This often makes it difficult or embarrassing for them to ask their friends for money when they are behind in their payments. Then they also want to give some people special treatment, at the expense of others. It’s a natural reaction, but it must be dealt with quickly, and up front. You must make it clear to all staff members that the studio must be run like a business.

Another problem that will often creep up when you hire from within, is that of discussing studio business with their friends. This, again, is a big no-no. Studio business should not be discussed with any other students. Handle these problems the very first day, and remind new staff members of these points over and over again during the first few weeks, and they will seldom develop into problems later.

If you hire staff from within, and then, for one reason or another, the person does not always work out, and leaves – often, some of their friends will leave with them. Even if the employee leaves with no intention of opening up another school, this can, and often is, damaging to studio morale.

So, consider these points carefully when you think about hiring someone who is already a student. Outside recruiting also has its own problems. Run an ad in your local classified asking for black belts to teach, and you’ll have an avalanche of phone calls. Put up a flyer in your local martial arts store, and you’ll be greeted with the same response. There’s simply no shortage of people who want to teach martial arts for a living.

The problem with recruiting from outside your school is that they do not have the built in factors of loyalty and respect for you already in place. This is less of a problem with sales or office staff. It can be a major problem with teaching staff. Think for the moment for the respect you had for your first master, and you’ll begin to see how hard it is for someone else to be told that a specific technique, or method of teaching, is no good for your school.

When I ran ads, I found that many people who applied for jobs as instructors were often hard core fighters, or instructors who had already failed once – or several times – in running their own school. Interviewing prospective employees, whether it’s for a teaching position or an office position, is a very important task.

During the interviewing process, you must make a decision within a few minutes on that person’s ability to help your school grow over the next few years. Make a wrong decision, and it can cost you a great deal of money – not only in lost sales, but also in lost students as well.

The key skills to look for in hiring anyone are enthusiasm and attitude. Nothing takes their place when it comes to developing good employees. When in an interview, don’t cut off the interview by telling the person about your school and what you expect. Instead, encourage the person to talk about themselves. Listen very carefully. Past behavior is repetitive.

If an instructor has studied several different styles, then the chances are that after he’s studied some of your style, he’ll be rolling along again, to the next school. If he’s already failed in business, there must be a reason. If he’s discovered the reason – great. If not, beware.

Find out about your prospective instructor’s past – his training, his experience, and his feeling towards past masters, associations, and schools. I once watched a chain of schools hire six new instructors from outside their system to speed up their expansion. The first was a New Zealand kickboxing champion. He had a hardcore following of 45 students, and I don’t think he ever got beyond 50.

The second two were from Pakistan, where they taught in a school of several hundred students. One was so hard core, he failed instantly. The other learned enough about running a school in the USA to leave and open on his own. Although an excellent martial artist, he was far too hard core to get much beyond 50 or 60 students.

The final three were all local instructors who’d already failed in the martial arts business – some more than once. Now, having failed once, or even twice, is not necessarily bad. It means they must have learned something. But, within a few months, all six instructors were gone.

The moral is very simple: Be careful when you hire from outside of your school or system. Dig deep for answers about the instructor’s past, and his intentions in the future. It can work, but it takes careful planning.

Ask the prospective instructor, if he’s failed before, why he thinks he failed. If he says because his students were wimps, his partner quit and took all the students, or another school opened up close by – beware. If, on the other hand, he says he was too hard on his students, or didn’t know enough about the business, he’s probably a keeper, because he’s learned from his mistakes.

Always ask questions that allow the person to open up. Don’t ask yes or no questions. Ask questions which allows the person to tell you about their attitude, beliefs, and expectations. “What do you think is the most important aspect of teaching?” If he says, “Correct technique” instead of “Motivation,” chances are he needs a lot of work. If he says “Discipline” instead of “Fun,” – beware.

Ask him what they feel is a fair price to charge for lessons. Ask them how they feel about getting paid for lessons. Here, you’re trying to uncover the person’s underlying belief about his value, and the value of the martial arts program your school teaches.

If he feels that lessons should be cheap, there may be an underlying problem that afflicts many in the martial arts – that somehow, they think you shouldn’t charge for teaching. That is not a good underlying principle for a successful business. Be very careful of any instructor who does not respond well to this type of questions.

Once you are comfortable with the person you are interviewing, invite them to come back and teach a class. You can tell them that this instructor is a guest instructor, and is going to teach for you, for this class. Watch the instructor for his people skills, motivation skills, leadership skills, and communication skills. If they look good, keep him. You can always work on his martial arts technique later on. It’s easy to teach someone Akata. It’s very hard to teach someone how to have a good personality.

I know of several schools that have hired non-martial artists to work in the office, and then taught them to be part time instructors as they went along. If you can hire someone who’s worked selling insurance, health club memberships, timeshares, or anything like that, selling martial arts will be a breeze for them. Hire based on communication skills, sales skills, motivation skills, and personality – not on rank of the martial arts.

If you’re hiring an office person, voice is also very important – especially on the phone. In fact, very often I suggest that the first interview with anyone should take place over the telephone, rather than in person, so you can guage the quality of their voice, and the way they handle questions over the telephone.

Call the person up after the interview in your office, and continue it on the phone to see how clearly they can be understood. Here are ten essential qualities to look for when hiring a new instructor for your staff:

  1. Enthusiasm for the martial arts, for teaching them, and for life in general. If someone on your staff does not have this vital ingredient, try to help them get it – or get rid of them, fast. Without this simple quality, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

All of your staff must have enthusiasm on two fronts. First, they must love the martial arts. Secondly, they must love people, and want to help them by imparting their martial arts knowledge to them. Enthusiasm is contagious, and spreads like wildfire across all who encounter it. Students like it, parents love it, and you will get caught up in its spell yourself.

Enthusiasm makes up for a multitude of deficiencies in skills or knowledge. Enthusiasm attracts people to your school. Enthusiasm opens doors closed to others. Enthusiasm is practiced by all successful instructors. And, enthusiasm goes hand-in-hand with the next key, which is good attitude.

  1. A good attitude towards work and people. Excellent instructors need excellent attitudes. That means they must have positive, helpful attitudes, towards themselves and others. Instructors with positive attitudes have more energy. Instructors with positive attitudes help students adjust their attitudes. Instructors with positive attitudes allow their attitudes to shine brighter than any deficiencies they might have.

Instructors with a positive attitude are more creative in their teaching, and more caring in the ways they help their school. Instructors with a positive attitude can laugh at themselves when they make a mistake. And, instructors with a positive attitude attract people to your school.

10 Qualities to Look for in Hiring Staff Part 2
  1. Excellent communication skills. The martial arts business is a service business. A people business – and people like good, clear communications. They want to be recognized, complimented, encouraged, and rewarded. They want to know that they are important and special individuals, and they want you to tell them this.

They want you to listen to their problems when they’re down. They want sympathy, counsel, and moral support. A good instructor plays the role not only of master, but also of coach, doctor, lawyer, friend, and mentor. The student looks to the instructor as a pillar of strength to help them overcome the problems of daily life.

Tom wants a few stretches, and some sympathy, for his bad back. Mrs. Jones wants to instill some discipline in little Tommy, but also she wants the world to know what a great little angel he really is most of the time. Fifteen year old Sammy wants to know how he can get a date with a girl from the high school for the prom.

Instructors with good communication skills provide all these things, and much more besides. Good communication is 80% listening to the other people, and showing them that you’re interested in them and their lives. Less than 20% is actually helping them out with any of their problems.

  1. Excellent sales skills. Chuck Norris, who obviously did not lack martial art skills, went bankrupt in his martial arts schools 3 times before becoming a movie star. I had the opportunity to talk with him about this several years ago, and he told me his biggest mistake was this – “I thought that everyone wanted to be World Champion, just like me.”

In addition to a hard style of teaching, Chuck could have used some help selling and marketing his school to make sure it was a success. If you hire an instructor with no sales skills, or any aptitude to learn them, you will continually be handicapped in your efforts to maximize your school. Everyone is in sales – if not directly selling lessons, selling themselves to their students, so they come back again and again.

  1. Teaching skills. There are hundreds of thousands of excellent black belts, who couldn’t teach a dog to lick a bone. Teaching skill has nothing to do with personal skill. The best golf instruction I ever had was given to me by a rather crass, middle aged pro, that I could have beat, one-handed.

What he did have, however, was an amazing skill in helping other players play better golf. So it is with martial arts. Do not make the mistake, as many of us have, of thinking that an excellent martial artist will also be an excellent instructor. In fact, in many cases, the opposite may be true. Because the person is technically excellent themselves, they will often demand the same of their students, creating a negative rather than a positive atmosphere.

Teaching martial arts requires a lot of patience, a lot of energy, and above all, lots of coaching, encouragement, and leadership skills.

  1. Good physical appearance. Although I know of several successful instructors who are shamelessly out of shape, it does not create a good image for you or for your school if you have an over weight or out of shape instructor teaching. America, wrongly or rightly, is a society of looks. If you or your instructors do not look good, you are hurting yourself.

Would you go to a weight loss clinic or a health club run by a 300 lb. lady? Most people wouldn’t. Not only should your staff look good physically, but they should always have clean, pressed uniforms and excellent grooming. The uniform does a lot to create the aura of mystique in the martial arts. Make sure that your instructors are always wearing theirs.

While ponytails, men’s earrings, an unshaven look, and other fads of fashion come and go, the best look for anyone who’s going to be successful – other of being of Asian descent and looking like Bruce Lee – is clean cut. All American – like a Marine on Embassy Guard Duty. The more you get your instructors to look sharp, appear sharp, and act sharp, the better it will be for your school.

  1. Self-confidence and motivation. It’s essential that your instructors have confidence in themselves and in their ability. If they do not, it will quickly show, and hurt your class. The ideal instructor is not an ego-maniac, but someone who is sure of their own abilities

Nothing is more draining to a studio owner than having to go in every day and pump up an instructor, just to get him to do his job. If you have to pump up your employees every day, you have the wrong people working for you. Once a week, yes. By all means, once in a while. But not every single day.

You have to find and hire self-motivated individuals. People who can get up in the morning early enough to show up at the school by noon, and not be late on a regular basis. People who have their eyes wide open without 19 cups of coffee. People brimmin’ with enthusiasm, energy, and a great attitude.

  1. Willingness to continue learning. Very often you will find that once instructors reach a certain level of martial arts achievement, or financial success, they mentally shut down their learning systems. Unfortunately, this phenomenon often happens just as soon as an instructor reaches black belt.

In many cases, we contribute to this problem, by always making black belt seem like the end of the journey, rather than the beginning. We always ask questions like, “You want to be a black belt, don’t you, Jimmy?” Or, we have signs posted – ‘Your Goal is to be a Black Belt.’ Fine, for most of the students, who might never get there. But, what about those that do?

After one of the first Apollo Missions returned from the Moon, all of the astronauts became clinically depressed. A study was conducted, and found some very interesting answers to their problems. Since they were all little boys, all had wanted to become astronauts. Once astronauts, they all wanted to be picked to go to the moon. But, what do you do with the rest of your life, when your entire focus for ten or fifteen years, is to go to the moon – and you’ve already been there?

They became depressed because their wildest dream had come true – and they’d not focused their life beyond that specific goal of going to the Moon. Your staff must have a willingness to continue training – both in the arts, and in the business skills. Help them develop this willingness by holding meetings where ideas and information can be exchanged. 

I’m constantly amazed by the number of people I talk to who tell me they don’t go to a seminar, or don’t buy a specific program, because they already know everything they need to know. This is such an ignorant attitude towards success. I know a lot about sales, a lot about marketing, and a lot about leadership – and yet, last year alone, read over 200 books on those subjects.

You can never know enough. Always look to know more about teaching, about training, and about business. Be good, get better, be the best.

  1. A team player. A good instructor must be a team player. When staff or resources are not available, he must be just as willing to clean the restrooms as he is to teach the advanced Bokada. This is where the value of an up-front job description can come into play.

Show your staff a wide range of job descriptions, right from the word ‘Go.’ Let them know that teaching is only part of the job an instructor must perform. Perhaps the biggest mistake I see studio owners making is that of thinking that the instructor they hire is there only to teach class.

I feel that an instructor’s main job should be that of promoting the school, and helping the school grow. If you make it seem like this is the main job, you will find that your staff do a lot more to help your studio grow – and it won’t affect their teaching. The key instrument in making this happen is to provide your people with a position agreement.

The position agreement should cover all the things you expect them to do, in minute detail, and also let them know all the things they can expect from you in return. We’ll talk more about this valuable instrument later in the program.

  1. Last, but certainly not least, is martial arts skills. While I know it’s hard to believe that martial arts skills are all the way down here at the bottom of this list, in terms of having a valuable instructor who could help your students, and your school, grow – that’s exactly where it belongs.

Not to say that you should not take every opportunity to improve your staff’s technical martial arts skills – but the other skills must be developed first. Once they are in play, and operations are running are smoothly, there will be time for you to get those martial art skills exactly where you want them to be.

Look for these ten key attributes when hiring people to teach in your school. Whether you are paying them or not, it’s important they have each of these attributes. I’ve seen many, many schools who have people that help out, teaching for free – only to find out that these people, because they don’t have the enthusiasm or attitude, far from helping the school, are driving it under.

You can’t take people who don’t possess these skills and let them loose in your school.   Even if you’re not paying them, it’s a false economy. You have to have people who are upbeat and excited about working for you.

The final thing to consider, and one which covers all these key traits, is that of leadership skills. In the MATA Program, you have a wonderful leadership program. Make sure you use it, and help each member of your staff, whatever their position, enhance their leadership skills.

The better staff become in a leadership role, however small that may be in your operation, the greater your studio will perform.

How to Hire Great Help and Avoid the Bad Ones Part 1

In the course of my travels, I’m frequently asked at what point new staff should be added to the school. This, of course, depends on many factors, but I can say that most schools hire staff long before it’s really needed. Now when I talk about staff, I’m talking about paid staff – not the multitude of students you have that may help out, without getting paid, whenever they are needed.

Some instructors hire not so much so the students can be looked after, but so the head instructor can take Monday nights off to watch football. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – once you are satisfied with the income from your school. Most instructors who hire for this reason, do it before that income point is reached – thereby ensuring that it’s never reached.

Some instructors hire staff purely out of ego.   They want someone they can have underneath them that will jump at their commands without quitting. They want someone to run errands, fetch coffee, and stand in awe of their fearsome master. Others hire staff because they feel the students demand more staff.

A parent might complain once about the instructor leaving the class when the phone rings, and so the next day he runs out and hires a secretary. One night, too many people show up for class, and again he hears the comments from the lobby. Immediately, the instructor runs out and hires somebody else to help him teach.

I’ve just come back from a consulting visit with a school that grosses around $14,000 per month, with a rent of $2,000. This should be an ample figure to provide a healthy profit for its owner. But in fact, the studio actually loses money. The simple fact of the matter is that after the assistant instructor gets his $400 per week, the secretary gets her $300, and the night help share a little money that’s left over, there’s nothing left to pay the other bills.

And we haven’t discussed the bookkeeper, six part time assistants, or the girl who puts the data in the computer. Add in payroll taxes, which many schools fail to keep up with, plus federal, state, taxes, Social Security, and it’s easy to see why the only person who doesn’t get paid in the school is the guy that actually owns it.

On the subject of taxes, the IRS is coming down very hard on people who claim to be independent contractors. I know of several schools in the last couple of years who have burned big time by claiming that their staff were subcontractors, rather than putting them on payroll. Two people I know were actually forced to sell thriving schools to pay their tax bill – so beware.

The criteria is now very strict. Check with your accountant on the specifics. This point alone should make many instructors think twice before adding to their staff, since payroll taxes and Social Security add a hefty burden to your expenses, and come directly off your bottom line profits.

Many schools add an extra office person, when they have less than a hundred paying students. This is an unnecessary luxury. I have phone conversations every week with instructors who have 50, 60, or 70 students, who ask if they are ready for staff. In my opinion, the need for a second paid member of staff rarely comes around until you’ve reached that critical stage over 120 students.

At that point, a second full time instructor can be added to the staff. That’s not to say you won’t need some part time help before you reach 120 students, but if you can’t handle a hundred students on your own, you’re going to have trouble making a good living in this business.

If possible, the person hired should not just teach, but also contribute to the sales, marketing, and follow up effort for each student. In other words, he should be capable of signing up, selling, merchandising, updating the computer, and all the other daily, and sometimes mundane, tasks that running a successful school demands.

It’s hard for you to justify hiring an office person who’s incapable of teaching trial lessons, or substituting in a pinch if needed. That’s not to say that at some point, I wouldn’t hire an office person without these skills. But typically, I’d like that person to have a few basic skills.

I ran my school with the aid of one full-time instructor, myself, and two young assistants to teach on Saturdays, so I could take the day off. This allowed us to service 250 students, and more importantly, allowed our bottom line profit to stay in excess of $10,000 a month. Was it hard work running a studio like that? You bet it was!

But at that time, I was far more concerned with getting ahead financially, than I was worried about working hard. We ran back to back private lessons from noon until 9:00, and group classes from 4:00 until 9:00. All classes started on the hour, and ran for 50 minutes.

This is a key point. Whether you run hour classes or 50 minute classes, it doesn’t matter. But, you need to keep a ten-minute period at the end of each class. That is the most important period of your day. Those ten minutes between your classes are the time you run your business, sell your merchandise, upgrade students, and make your renewals.

At times, we would even allow a high ranking student to teach the class during the stretching and warm-up period, thereby giving us an additional 15 minutes, where business could be taken care of with no problem. Often, this would be a black belt, not on the staff. Or, perhaps even a brown or green belt.

I had several teenage kids around 16 and 17 who were excellent instructors, and I also had several professional people among the high ranks, such as doctors or lawyers, who jumped at the chance to teach class for just a moment. As a matter of fact, some of them were so gung ho to get out there and teach, that I bet I could have charged them for the privilege. In fact, later on I’ll explain how I did.

I’m sure that you have many high ranking and equally enthusiastic students in your school. Teach them how to run the very beginning of your class. The stretching period, or the intro period, or the basic period. Then, use that period to do business with your students who finished the previous class.

The problem that instructors bring up to me again and again when I recommend lean staff – again – paid staff. You can take all the free staff and people willing to help you for nothing, that you can get. What we’re talking about here is paid staff.

Now, how do you handle a phone? If an instructor has trained himself properly on telephone techniques, he should be able to get on and off the phone when it rings in the middle of class in less than 60 seconds. This thereby overcomes the most venomous of objections about the single instructor and that of interrupted classes.

Whatever you do, if you are running a school on your own, or are lacking in help, do not put an answering machine on when you are teaching class. That is business suicide, plan and simple. If you’re not in, and a prospect is looking through the Yellow Pages, he or she will go right down the page to the next school listed.

Do not let a mother or parent answer the phone and say the wrong thing, and sound very unprofessional. Instead, make sure that anyone who answers the phone, even if it’s a parent, is trained to do so professionally. Never let an untrained assistant or student answer the phone.   Yet, as I call around the country, these things happen to me every single day, and I shake my head in wonder that these schools are actually open.

What would you do if you needed work on your car, and when you called the first garage in the middle of the business day, the answering machine came on, and the mechanic said, “I’m sorry. I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m working on a car.” Or, if a customer picked up the phone and you asked how much a tune-up was, only to be told, “I don’t work here, I’m just a mother waiting for my car, and the mechanic’s up to his knees in grease right now.”

I can tell you exactly what I’d do, and I’m sure it’s exactly the same thing most of you would do – hang up and call the next person. Here’s how to handle the phone when you find yourself alone, teaching class, without any qualified help to answer it. It happens to all of us sometimes.

Firstly, most of the phone calls you take are from friends, advertisers, and existing students who have questions. With these people you can always simply ask them to call you after class. Give them a specific time – ‘John, do me a favor, please. I’m in the middle of class. Call me back at 6:02.” That takes five seconds of your time to accomplish, and you’ll be back in class before they’ve even finished doing the 20 front punches you’ve just called out.

In my school, the phone would ring anywhere from 3-5 times an hour. Most of these were from students who wanted to know the time of their private lesson, or change it to another day. These questions were quick. When they called, I simply prefaced every sentence with, “I’m in the middle of class right now, but let me see if I can help you quickly.”

That way, it let them know in advance I had to be brief, and they understood. If I could not help them inside 60 seconds, I offered to call them back at the end of class and, writing down their name and number, made sure they did.

Then there was the information call. If you figure that you get 30 calls per month, that works out at only one information call per day, so it’s much less of a problem than most instructors make it out to be. If you use the basic method that I do, whereby it is to get the prospect to come in for an information kit and a short, free trial lesson, it’s very easy to get on and off the phone in 60 seconds without much hassle:

“I tell you what, Bob – I’m right in the middle of class right now. So, let me suggest this – the best thing for you to do is to come by the school and pick up our free, 8 page information kit to answer all of your questions. At that time you can also take a look at the facilities, meet the staff, and we’ll even give you a short trial class so you can actually see what it’s all about. What would be a good time for you to come in? Would 4 pm be good, or would 7 pm be better?”

I can’t tell you how effective this simple statement has been for me, and for the people that I work with, over the years. It sounds like you have their interest at heart. That you do indeed want to provide them with all the information they need to make a good decision.

The point is, to develop a way to get the prospect down to your school without spending a good 10 or 20 minutes on the phone answering useless questions. In fact, the longer you stay on the phone, the less likely it is that they show up at all.

Now and again, even if you are fast, someone is going to complain about you leaving class. I had this problem happen to me several times – even though I got handling the phone in 60 seconds or less down to an art form – still occasionally, I had complaints. And here’s how I dealt with them:

Mother: “That phone rings a lot during Johnny’s class. You should get a secretary or something.” Here’s what I said: “You know, that’s a great idea. In fact, I’m looking into doing just that – and it will only cost $400 a week. Would you mind paying an extra $10 or $20 per month, if I use the money for a secretary?”

At that point, the parent usually says, “Er…” at which point I say, “I’ll tell you what – do me a favor. Why don’t you make up a list of other parents willing to pay an extra $20, and we’ll hire someone next month. One of two things will happen. Either she’ll do nothing, which is the case 99% of the time, or she will actually come back with a few parents who are willing to pay more. In that case, go ahead and get the extra staff, since it didn’t hurt the bottom line.

Let’s talk about how to take care of trial lessons when you find yourself short on qualified staff. Because our schedule was so tight, we moved away from the long time tradition of two or three 30-minute intros. We simply didn’t have time. Instead, we developed the 15-minute sign up, whereby a student took a 7-10 minute intro, followed up by a 5-7 minute sales conference.

We set up our programs to make signing up easy, and would follow up after their first test, usually in 4-6 weeks, with the option of upgrading to the Black Belt Club program.

How to Hire Great Help and Avoid the Bad Ones Part 2
  1. Excellent communication skills. The martial arts business is a service business. A people business – and people like good, clear communications. They want to be recognized, complimented, encouraged, and rewarded. They want to know that they are important and special individuals, and they want you to tell them this.

They want you to listen to their problems when they’re down. They want sympathy, counsel, and moral support. A good instructor plays the role not only of master, but also of coach, doctor, lawyer, friend, and mentor. The student looks to the instructor as a pillar of strength to help them overcome the problems of daily life.

Tom wants a few stretches, and some sympathy, for his bad back. Mrs. Jones wants to instill some discipline in little Tommy, but also she wants the world to know what a great little angel he really is most of the time. Fifteen year old Sammy wants to know how he can get a date with a girl from the high school for the prom.

Instructors with good communication skills provide all these things, and much more besides. Good communication is 80% listening to the other people, and showing them that you’re interested in them and their lives. Less than 20% is actually helping them out with any of their problems.

  1. Excellent sales skills. Chuck Norris, who obviously did not lack martial art skills, went bankrupt in his martial arts schools 3 times before becoming a movie star. I had the opportunity to talk with him about this several years ago, and he told me his biggest mistake was this – “I thought that everyone wanted to be World Champion, just like me.”

In addition to a hard style of teaching, Chuck could have used some help selling and marketing his school to make sure it was a success. If you hire an instructor with no sales skills, or any aptitude to learn them, you will continually be handicapped in your efforts to maximize your school. Everyone is in sales – if not directly selling lessons, selling themselves to their students, so they come back again and again.

  1. Teaching skills. There are hundreds of thousands of excellent black belts, who couldn’t teach a dog to lick a bone. Teaching skill has nothing to do with personal skill. The best golf instruction I ever had was given to me by a rather crass, middle aged pro, that I could have beat, one-handed.

What he did have, however, was an amazing skill in helping other players play better golf. So it is with martial arts. Do not make the mistake, as many of us have, of thinking that an excellent martial artist will also be an excellent instructor. In fact, in many cases, the opposite may be true. Because the person is technically excellent themselves, they will often demand the same of their students, creating a negative rather than a positive atmosphere.

Teaching martial arts requires a lot of patience, a lot of energy, and above all, lots of coaching, encouragement, and leadership skills.

  1. Good physical appearance. Although I know of several successful instructors who are shamelessly out of shape, it does not create a good image for you or for your school if you have an over weight or out of shape instructor teaching. America, wrongly or rightly, is a society of looks. If you or your instructors do not look good, you are hurting yourself.

Would you go to a weight loss clinic or a health club run by a 300 lb. lady? Most people wouldn’t. Not only should your staff look good physically, but they should always have clean, pressed uniforms and excellent grooming. The uniform does a lot to create the aura of mystique in the martial arts. Make sure that your instructors are always wearing theirs.

While ponytails, men’s earrings, an unshaven look, and other fads of fashion come and go, the best look for anyone who’s going to be successful – other of being of Asian descent and looking like Bruce Lee – is clean cut. All American – like a Marine on Embassy Guard Duty. The more you get your instructors to look sharp, appear sharp, and act sharp, the better it will be for your school.

  1. Self-confidence and motivation. It’s essential that your instructors have confidence in themselves and in their ability. If they do not, it will quickly show, and hurt your class. The ideal instructor is not an ego-maniac, but someone who is sure of their own abilities

Nothing is more draining to a studio owner than having to go in every day and pump up an instructor, just to get him to do his job. If you have to pump up your employees every day, you have the wrong people working for you. Once a week, yes. By all means, once in a while. But not every single day.

You have to find and hire self-motivated individuals. People who can get up in the morning early enough to show up at the school by noon, and not be late on a regular basis. People who have their eyes wide open without 19 cups of coffee. People brimmin’ with enthusiasm, energy, and a great attitude.

  1. Willingness to continue learning. Very often you will find that once instructors reach a certain level of martial arts achievement, or financial success, they mentally shut down their learning systems. Unfortunately, this phenomenon often happens just as soon as an instructor reaches black belt.

In many cases, we contribute to this problem, by always making black belt seem like the end of the journey, rather than the beginning. We always ask questions like, “You want to be a black belt, don’t you, Jimmy?” Or, we have signs posted – ‘Your Goal is to be a Black Belt.’ Fine, for most of the students, who might never get there. But, what about those that do?

After one of the first Apollo Missions returned from the Moon, all of the astronauts became clinically depressed. A study was conducted, and found some very interesting answers to their problems. Since they were all little boys, all had wanted to become astronauts. Once astronauts, they all wanted to be picked to go to the moon. But, what do you do with the rest of your life, when your entire focus for ten or fifteen years, is to go to the moon – and you’ve already been there?

They became depressed because their wildest dream had come true – and they’d not focused their life beyond that specific goal of going to the Moon. Your staff must have a willingness to continue training – both in the arts, and in the business skills. Help them develop this willingness by holding meetings where ideas and information can be exchanged. 

I’m constantly amazed by the number of people I talk to who tell me they don’t go to a seminar, or don’t buy a specific program, because they already know everything they need to know. This is such an ignorant attitude towards success. I know a lot about sales, a lot about marketing, and a lot about leadership – and yet, last year alone, read over 200 books on those subjects.

You can never know enough. Always look to know more about teaching, about training, and about business. Be good, get better, be the best.

  1. A team player. A good instructor must be a team player. When staff or resources are not available, he must be just as willing to clean the restrooms as he is to teach the advanced Bokada. This is where the value of an up-front job description can come into play.

Show your staff a wide range of job descriptions, right from the word ‘Go.’ Let them know that teaching is only part of the job an instructor must perform. Perhaps the biggest mistake I see studio owners making is that of thinking that the instructor they hire is there only to teach class.

I feel that an instructor’s main job should be that of promoting the school, and helping the school grow. If you make it seem like this is the main job, you will find that your staff do a lot more to help your studio grow – and it won’t affect their teaching. The key instrument in making this happen is to provide your people with a position agreement.

The position agreement should cover all the things you expect them to do, in minute detail, and also let them know all the things they can expect from you in return. We’ll talk more about this valuable instrument later in the program.

  1. Last, but certainly not least, is martial arts skills. While I know it’s hard to believe that martial arts skills are all the way down here at the bottom of this list, in terms of having a valuable instructor who could help your students, and your school, grow – that’s exactly where it belongs.

Not to say that you should not take every opportunity to improve your staff’s technical martial arts skills – but the other skills must be developed first. Once they are in play, and operations are running are smoothly, there will be time for you to get those martial art skills exactly where you want them to be.

Look for these ten key attributes when hiring people to teach in your school. Whether you are paying them or not, it’s important they have each of these attributes. I’ve seen many, many schools who have people that help out, teaching for free – only to find out that these people, because they don’t have the enthusiasm or attitude, far from helping the school, are driving it under.

You can’t take people who don’t possess these skills and let them loose in your school.   Even if you’re not paying them, it’s a false economy. You have to have people who are upbeat and excited about working for you.

The final thing to consider, and one which covers all these key traits, is that of leadership skills. In the MATA Program, you have a wonderful leadership program. Make sure you use it, and help each member of your staff, whatever their position, enhance their leadership skills.

The better staff become in a leadership role, however small that may be in your operation, the greater your studio will perform.

Three Staff Scouting Tips from a Master Recruiter

Determining whether your studio is ready to hire on additional help can be influenced by two factors —

  • The number of students you feel comfortable handling with your current resources.
  • Your financial goals.

Let’s consider some of the problems facing a lone instructor…

Who answers the phone while you’re teaching a class?

The phone poses the biggest distraction for a lone instructor.   However, there are ways to handle that particular problem.  

Do you use an answering machine to handle the calls?   Absolutely not.

When folks are calling for information about signing up for martial arts lessons, they want a real person on the other end ready to answer their questions.   If they don’t get one, they may end up calling another martial arts school.

Should a visitor in the lobby answer the phone for you?   Never.

You’ll always want the person answering the phone to sound professional.   We all know the first thought that crosses our minds when we call a place of business and the person that answers says “Yeah?”   Not good.

Should you hire a receptionist?

Not necessarily.   In this day of modern technology, a cellular phone is probably the best option for handling calls during a class and when you’re away from the studio.   You can have your office phone set up to forward your calls to you wherever you are.

If you choose not to have a cellular phone, your second best option is to step away from your class and handle the call quickly, preferably in less than a minute.  

This may require you having to ask the caller to call back when your class ends. Or, you may need to have a pen and paper next to the phone in order to scribble down a name and number so that you can call the person back after class.

Taking Care Of The Paperwork

Again, modern technology serves us well.   A computer is a staple in most studios, and the record keeping for a martial arts studio is relatively minimal.   Generally, a good database will assist you in tracking student attendance and payment, creating lesson plans, and such.

However, you might consider employing a professional billing company to handle your accounts receivables.   They have the necessary equipment, as well as a well-trained staff able to make collections more efficiently as well as save you valuable time that you could put to better use.

In addition, you may also think about hiring a bookkeeper to handle your accounts payable and manage your taxes.

By outsourcing these two functions, you can save a great deal of money by not having to hire an employee.

If your goal is to increase your profitability, then you’ll want to put off hiring employees until your studio income is high enough to accommodate the expense of an employee.

When you hire an employee, there’s a lot more to consider than just their salary.   For instance, there are employee taxes, social security, vacation and other benefits that can really take a bite out of your overall profits.   Not to mention, additional equipment and a place for them to perform their duties.

How many students can a lone instructor handle before he needs reinforcement?

It’s not so much how many students, as how your classes are arranged.   This is the point where you’ll need to decide between how much work that you personally want to do versus the profit that you desire to achieve.

Experts suggest that about 150 students per instructor is a good rule of thumb.   The key to handling student load is in scheduling smart and creating a good leadership team program. (Use the search function to find articles on each)

The ideal formula for maximizing your school’s profits it to conduct business with a low overhead and a lot of classes.   Here’s a suggestion for easily accommodating as many as 150 students.  

First, space your classes out correctly.   You can do that by having your students attend class no more than twice a week. Teaching three classes per day, five days a week, and limit your classes to no more than 20 students.   There you have it… 150 students attending class twice a week. Of course, that’s nice in theory, but you can get very close to that by assigning specific class times to students and getting your leadership team going.

Once you’ve exceeded 150 students, you might consider hiring an additional staff member.   However, in order to maximize the benefits of this additional staff member they should not only be able to teach lessons, they should also be able to assist you in the marketing and sales functions of your studio.

Keep in mind that in order for you to teach a staff member how to answer the phone and enroll intros, you have to be able to do it yourself.

In order to get the most bang for your buck, this additional staff member should be able to complete all of the other tasks that you can do without a great deal of supervision.

Basically, you should be able to function well and bring in a considerable profit if you plan on one full-time instructor per 150 students.

Handling Intro lessons

Intro lessons are, of course, valuable in convincing customers to try out the martial arts.   However, they can be time-consuming.  

Therefore, you might consider eliminating the traditional two or three 30-minute class samplers and incorporating your intro into your enrollment process.   For instance, you can offer a prospective student a 20-minute introduction to the martial arts followed by a five minutes sales presentation. Schedule the second intro only if the student doesn’t enroll after the first.

Create an enrollment program that is fun and easy, and consider holding class intros just one day a week – a Saturday, for example.   You’ll find that you’re able to devote your energy and enthusiasm to gaining new students.

In the interest of providing the best service to your students and bringing in a nice profit on your studio, you need to maximize your resources.   Which means not hiring a new employee until cash flow has increased enough to justify the expense.

How much should a studio bring in?

Staff expenses, including your salary, should not exceed 35% of the total school gross each month. Each new hire cuts into that amount.

A good rule of thumb for a well-run studio is that it nets between 40- to 60-percent of the gross annual income.   That is hard to do with paid employees. Of course, that ratio may be affected by where your studio is located.

For instance, a studio in Oklahoma is likely to net more than one in Washington DC due to the lower overhead.

A Good Instructor Doesn't Always Make a Good Manager

While an instructor may run a class with stern discipline that doesn’t always translate well when that instructor puts on his management hat. The job of the owner/manager is not to be a dictator, but to tell people how they’re doing, what they’re doing, give encouragement, and give guidance.  At participative meetings, you hand out assignments, you discuss work in progress, you re-assign work to each person, here’s what the others are doing and the staff discusses everything.  In motivation, we only become committed to something to the degree to which we are allowed to discuss it.  We only become involved and loyal and excited about any task to the degree to which we can contribute our opinions and our ideas.  So the more discussion you have over the work, the objectives, the goals and how to accomplish them, the more discussion you have, the more commitment, the more loyalty, the more excitement, the more enthusiasm your staff will have.

Commitment to quality performance is a key factor.  Quality performance can never be produced without some kind of emotional commitment.  Emotion and quality work are only achieved through involvement.  People only get excited enough, determined, and committed enough to work and take things to the final step where they do excellent work when they get a chance to participate in setting goals, setting standards, taking feedback, discussing with other people and so on.  Discussion has a one to one relationship to motivation.  If you want your people to be motivated, have high self esteem, be positive, and be committed, then they need an opportunity to talk about what they are doing.  And more than that, good people will not tolerate a work environment where they are not involved in their work.

We are going to talk about the three R’s and the four factors of motivation.  The first is leadership style.  This is a key factor in determining how motivated people are within the team.  Sometimes just changing the leader changes the whole performance of the school.

The second is the reward structure within the school.  In other words, what are the incentives for excellent performance?

The third is the organizational climate.  In other words is it a happy place to work or is it a negative place to work?  Is it a performance oriented place or a politically oriented place?

The fourth is, work in the school has to be inherently motivational instead of inherently depressing, so those are the four keys.  By the way, good schools are always trying to structure the work so that the nature of the work fits the nature of the person, and the two of them combine for high self esteem and peak performance.  For example, they match the instructors who work well with children with the appropriate classes. Conversely, they keep those who are more suited for adult classes in those classes as well.

The reward structure, the organizational climate, and the nature of the work can be changed slowly and have to be thought through, but leadership style is the thing that can be changed the fastest.  In other words, you can go from being negative to being positive, and as a positive leader you suddenly become a multiplying factor in work.  Now the three R’s for motivation are rewards, and rewards must be based on performance.  The only way for a reward structure to work, in helping the school to be successful is that it must be related to performance.  You must not reward anything else, not rank, not seniority, not longevity, not education, not anything but just performance.

Recognition is something that managers owe to their people and one of the greatest complaints in the world of work is not being recognized for good work.  Whenever a person does something that is good, something that is exceptional or even makes a good try, give them recognition, give them public recognition and number three re-enforcement, remember what we know from behavioral psychology is what gets re-enforced, gets done again.  So every single time that you give praise, privately and publicly for any behavior, you know you’re going to get more of it.  If you don’t praise and re-enforce good work behavior and quality work you’re going to get less of it.  Whatever you want more of, you reward, recognize and re-enforce.  Successful schools create environments, where the only way that you can get ahead, is by achieving the recognition in the areas that contribute to the school’s goals.

Management by values is the next concept.  I think this is really important.  What it simply says is that, the deepest of all human needs, right at the core of the self concept is the need for meaning and purpose.  And meaning and purpose always arise out of the value structure of the individual.  So that’s why it is so important for you as a school owner to convey over and over again, what the values of the school are.  What you believe in and the higher the values of the school, quality, friendliness, service, respect for the individual, building self esteem, training and growing people, whatever your values are, those are the values that stimulate, trigger, motivate and inspire people.  But don’t assume that people know what the values are.  Its important that you as the school owner continually re-enforce the values in action.  That means when somebody’s having a problem, that’s where you demonstrate what the values are.  When you have to deal with a difficult student, that’s where you demonstrate what your values are.  When you deal with somebody who is being unfair or demanding, that’s how you demonstrate what the school really stands for.

Training Staff

Set Up A Staff Training Program
Motivating Your Staff

Money is always a nice incentive.   For some folks, however, money isn’t the main reason that they teach the martial arts.   Therefore, while they enjoy the extra monetary bonuses, they are often motivated more by intangibles that cost you little or nothing.

Comp Time

For instance, martial arts professionals are known for working long hours.   Occasionally, the best reward a staff member can receive is some time off – or comp time.  

No matter how you much you love your work, we can all appreciate the feeling that you get when you leave work knowing that you don’t have to come back for three or four days.

Using Time Off As A Motivator

Using time off as a motivator is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.   You simply set a goal for your instructors to meet.  

The goal that must be met can include reaching a specific number of sign ups, or attaining a specified income level by a certain time.

Once they meet that goal within the specified amount of time they’ll receive an extended weekend.   This works particularly well around a holiday weekend.

Another incentive is to offer a week of paid vacation once your particular goal has been met.   To sweeten the deal, you can book a cruise, or a weekend for the lucky instructor at an exclusive resort.

Accommodating Time Off Requests

Occasionally, there may be a special event or get-together that an instructor would like to attend.  

A great way to motivate your instructors to give their best when they’re at work, is to make every effort to accommodate their time off requests – provided they give you a reasonable amount of advance notice.

Let Your Instructors Choose Their Own Schedule

As a way to reward excellent performance from an instructor, you can let him select the classes that he prefers to teach.

Spontaneous Comp Time

Action Step #1: Getting Started

The very first thing to do in your plan for achieving excellence through excellent staff training is to rate yourself, honestly, as a trainer. That means you’re rating your staff training ability and effectiveness. Just like with the martial arts, real staff training transformation comes first from within. On a scale from 1 to 10, with Level 1 being your worst and Level 10 representing excellence, where do you stand?

First, if you’re not leading staff training meetings because you don’t have a staff yet, then rating your proficiency doesn’t yet apply to you. Action Step #1 is for people who already lead some kind of staff training –or who ought to be. If you’re not there, don’t be discouraged, but do proceed.

 With those two examples to use as a gauge, try rating yourself (and DO NOT be too hard on yourself), then, as an exercise, define the difference between where you are and where you want to be.

Action Step #2: Defining Excellent Service

Action Step #2: Defining Excellent Service

Having given yourself an honest rating, the next step is to define what excellent service means to you. If you know what you’re striving to achieve, then training your staff to get there is all that much easier.

The best way to tackle this project is to break down “excellent” service into easy-to-handle bite-sized chunks.

Think of doing it the same way you would train a student to give a Level 10 kata performance. Each aspect of the kata, from the student snapping her head up when called by the judges, to the way she stands up and adjusts her uniform, to the way she approaches and then addresses the judge’s panel –each small part of the performance creates the overall “Level 10” effect.

To define excellent service in your school, start from the beginning. Get in your car, drive out of your parking lot, go around the block and drive back to your school. Is the visual effect at the front of your school a Level 10?

Then, go through the front door. What would represent a Level 10 reception from your staff? THAT is how and where you can begin your staff-training program.

Action Step #3: Breaking it Down

Action Step #3 Breaking Your Training Program into Pieces

Like the kata mentioned above, you’re going to take each part of your school’s operation and break them into clearly defined pieces. Then you’re going to take each area and define what a Level 10 performance is for that part, and then design a staff-training session to practice the skills needed to make it happen. For example, the following list represents some different aspects of your school’s operation that could be broken up into staff training topics. Staff Training Sessions:

  • How the School Looks
  • The Greeting
  • The Beginning of Classes
  • The Interaction with Parents and Family
  • The Retail Sale
  • The Follow Up
  • Staff Training Session
  • The Team Effort in Teaching
Action Step #4: Designing the Meeting

Action Step #4: Designing the Meeting

On Action Step #1, you rated your own skills as a trainer. If you scored less than a 10, then you need to define the difference between where you are and where you want to be.

What skills do you need to acquire to get to level 10? To break this process into bite sized chunks, like you did your training subjects in Action Step #3, start with the way you plan to conduct your meetings.

Exactly how do you intend to run your first staff training session? How long is the meeting going to be? How are you going to boost the moral of the participants? How can you get your staff to play the “game” full out?

As best I can figure it, I’ve held somewhere between 3000 and 5000 staff meetings over the years. While there are many different types of meetings, when it comes to effective staff-training sessions, I’ve always followed this format:

 

Prior to the meeting

  • 10 minutes to 30 minutes of preparation.

The General Meeting

  • 10 minutes of a performance review of some sort, focusing on the positive, and allowing for staff members to briefly talk about what went right the night –or week –before. This is also the time to get updates on any small projects the staff is working on.
  • 10 minutes of staff training on a particular subject, with time for some Q & A or feedback.
  • A review of what’s happening that night in classes, in the office and behind the scenes.

After the General Meeting

  • 5 to 7 minutes with Instructors where they tell me their plan for running Level 10 classes that evening. Then sales staff joins in and a person-by-person review of pending sales is reviewed.
  • Any staff members who need more guidance or help meet with me privately.

 

Of course, this is just one example. This topic is worthy of a report in itself, or a book, and in fact there are plenty of books and training materials on how to conduct excellent meetings and staff training sessions.

The question is, how many of those materials are currently in your library? And how many have you studied? If the answer is “none” or “few,” then your course of action has just become clearer. In the next 7 days, it must become your mission to absorb at least two books or video training tapes on the subject of giving excellent training sessions and/or meetings.

Action Step #5: Plan Your Meeting Schedule

Action Step #5: Plan Your Meeting Schedule

There are a variety of ways to conduct effective staff-training programs. As a suggestion on how to get started:

  1. Hold a one or two-hour staff training “kick-off” on a Saturday or Sunday, where you’re going to outline your goals and start your first training session (Suggested topic: How to Make the School Look Ready for Classes, at Level 10).
  2. Then hold one 30-minute group staff training session each week, where you spend:
  • five-minutes recapping the last meeting,
  • 8 to 10-minutes explaining the new topic and what excellence means for that topic,
  • 8 to 10-minutes practicing the new skills… and then the remainder of the time getting group feedback on the session.
  1. Follow those meetings up with a number of 2 to 5 minute daily (or nightly) tune-in meetings and short pre-shift meetings to keep everyone focused on the desired performance level and outcome.

Get out your calendar and plan a month of meetings at a time. Begin that process anew each month so that you can clearly evaluate your progress to date and adjust your approach if needed.

Action Step #6: Find Role Models of Excellence

Action Step #6: Find Role Models of Excellence

Over the course of the next 30-days, it’s your mission to find at least two role models of excellent service. One of those can be within the martial arts industry and one can be outside of the industry.

Chances are you’ll find more role models of how not to achieve excellence, as there is indeed a massive difference between good service and excellent service. It is a wide gap, almost as big as the giant distance between a professionally trained staff and an untrained one.

By taking the Six Action Steps defined in this report, you have begun the process of building a bridge between the two. Tony Robbins calls it: “Taking massive action.” After taking massive action –you see what happens, adjust your course if need be —and then take more action.

Helping Your Staff To Perform Well

Communication is so important in all of our relationships.  Whether it be with our spouse, with our kids, or with our employees – it’s crucial to communicate in order to let our expectations be known. Most of us haven’t been blessed with the gift of mind reading.  Therefore, in order to keep your staff happy, as well as to make sure that your needs are being met, you must communicate your wishes often.

You must express appreciation to those deserving of it, as well as offer constructive criticism to those that need a little direction. Have you ever had the experience of working for a supervisor that didn’t communicate their needs or expectations to you? 

You may have gone along in your work thinking that you were doing a satisfactory job and then surprised when, at your evaluation, you were informed that your performance was lacking in various areas. You probably felt frustrated and hurt.  If you were doing poorly, why didn’t they tell you earlier so you that could have fixed the problem?

New Employee Orientation


When you hire an employee, you’ll want to get your relationship started off on the right foot by communicating your specific expectations.  Are you a stickler for punctuality?  Then, make it be known in advance. 

Do you expect them to be heavily involved in the marketing and sales portion of your business?  If you have a quota that needs to be met, make sure they know what it is up front. Thoroughly explain your grooming standards.  Do you mind if they come in wearing a nose ring? Yes?  Better explain your policy on body piercing before they show up with one.

Basically, you’ll want to review the areas that you’ll be evaluating them on so that they’ll know what’s expected of them. Finally, make sure that you are readily available to them in case they have any questions or concerns about their performance or what is expected of them.

Hold Weekly Staff Meetings 
A regular weekly staff meeting is crucial to keeping you and your staff on top of what’s going on in your school.   



You’ll want to begin every meeting with a review of the previous week’s progress and activities.

Now is the time to address any shortcomings that may have occurred in reaching the previous week’s goals, as well as ways to overcome them.

Then, you’ll want to discuss the goals, and the strategies for reaching those goals, for the upcoming week. It’s also a good time to make any changes to policy, or to address any general problems that you see happening with the overall performance of your staff i.e. talking about personal matters while on the job, lack of courtesy to the customers, unprofessional conduct, etc.

Performance Evaluation 
If you let your employee know what was expected of him or her when you hired them, and conducted weekly staff meetings to keep them abreast of any changes, this next step should be a piece of cake.

As a general rule, when a new employee is hired, they are given a 90-day probation period.  This is a test drive for you as well as your employee to see if there’s a suitable match.  At the end of the probation period, you will meet with your new employee and review their performance. 

Some studio owners like to give the employee an opportunity to evaluate their own performance – a self-evaluation.  Then, discuss the evaluation and any differences of opinion between the employee and the studio owner. Or, you might just want to fill out the evaluation sheet on the employee, review each area, and discuss your opinions with them. 

Make sure to include an area where the employee has excelled, as well as a place to explain the areas of his performance that need to be improved.  Your employee will walk out of your office feeling good about his accomplishments, as well as knowing what he needs to work on to get a better review the next time around.

Finally, make sure he signs his evaluation form, so there’s no confusion in the future about the contents of the review. You can choose to conduct your reviews either quarterly or bi-annually, and your review should cover the following areas…

Appearance: Always sharp; Usually neat; Needs improvement.


Punctuality: Never tardy; Occasionally tardy; or Frequently tardy.

Sales Skills: Excellent; Good; or Needs improvement.

Attitude: Excellent; Good; or Needs improvement. 


Motivation: Always enthusiastic; Usually enthusiastic; or Occasionally enthusiastic. 


Follow-Up: Excellent; Good; Needs improvement. 


Overall Performance: Excellent employee; Good employee; Average employee; or

Staffing For The Future

Developing a staff is a science! It is not something to be taken lightly. It takes years to develop a “GREAT” staff. You begin by starting to groom your staff at a very young age (I start at age 11 right now, but when I needed to, I used to start them as young as 9). Why do we need to start them so young? Starting them at a young age gives us an opportunity to mold them into what we need.

Developing staff is something that should be done 3 – 5 years in advance. Most of the training is mental, and motivational. Anyone can teach a student to kick and punch.

We could grab a person off the street, and teach them how to teach somebody else how to kick and punch in about 10 minutes. The part that takes years, is teaching them how to be great motivators.

Also making sure they understand how to speak, correct, answer tough questions, and most importantly build self-esteem and confidence. It takes time until all of the things I listed above become second nature to a future instructor.

Now, how do we do this? Here is a formula that I have been using for years: 

  1. Leadership Team: Your leadership team is a group of selected advanced students who demonstrate in the lower rank classes (freeing up the instructor to work with the students). More importantly they are observing you and the other instructors from a different perspective. These students must be a minimum age of 11 years old. Leadership team members must attend 100 classes as a leader (1 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, and most importantly be a member of the Black Belt Club (I have had students upgrade to the black belt club just so that they can get onto the leadership team). Once those requirements are met, they must write an essay about why they should be promoted to “Junior Instructor”.

 

  1. Junior Instructor: These are your top leaders who have made it to the next step. At this point, the students who did not “have it in them”, have weeded themselves out. These students are permitted to demonstrate, lead a warm up or cool down, and assist with basic kata. These students must hold a minimum rank of Black belt (if you are a new school, use a lower rank. Junior instructors must teach in 100 classes as a Junior instructor (1 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class , and still be an active member of the Black Belt Club. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “Assistant Instructor”.

 

  1. Assistant Instructor: By this point you will be lucky to have 15% of the students who started on the original “Leadership Team”. So if you started with 30 leaders, you will most likely have approx. 4 – 5 Assistant Instructors out of that group. And you can expect to keep 50% – 60% of this group. Once they make it to this point, it is likely they will be around for a while. These students are permitted to demonstrate, lead a warm up or cool down, teach basic techniques (up to two ranks below them), and teach kata (up to 2 ranks below them) . These students must hold a minimum rank of black belt. Assistant instructors must teach 150 classes as an assistant instructor (1 1/2 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, still be an active member of the Black Belt Club. Be a minimum age 15 years old. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Instructor”.
  1. Instructor: These instructors have already had approx. 4 years of training, and are now ready to run a classes under the supervision of a “Full Instructor” or higher.. This is the point were I begin to pay the instructors. This level instructor may not be left alone in the class unless they are over 18 years of age. “Instructors” must teach a minimum of 200 classes as an “Instructor” (1 1/2 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, still be an active member of the Black Belt Club, a minimum rank of 2nd degree black belt, and be minimum age 18 years old. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Full Instructor”.
  1. Full Instructor: They have now reached the point when they are able to run a class from start to finish (with a provided lesson plan). They are permitted to do everything including stripe and belt testing for lower ranks. The full instructor must still report to his or her superior “Chief Instructor”. Before a full instructor can get promoted to Chief Instructor, they must have been a full instructor for a minimum of 2 years, be at least 21 years of age, still train regularly, attend the weekly instructor training class and the weekly staff meeting, and be a minimum rank of 3rd degree Black Belt. Once those requirements are met, the Instructor may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Chief Instructor”.
  1. Chief Instructor: A Chief Instructor is cleared for everything including testing for all ranks. They are responsible for writing lesson plans too. This is as high as I promote. They must still train regularly and attend the weekly instructor training meeting and the weekly staff meeting. You are likely to get one “Chief Instructor” out of every 30 leaders you start with.

Think of your instructor-training program as a ranking system for your staff. Just like with everything else in life, they will get better with experience. They also need to see their progress. The instructor-training program allows them to see this.

Two quick notes:

1- Remember that you will have new Leaders coming in to the program all the time, make sure you keep a steady flow of leaders through out the year.

2- Do not make your exams easy. They should be very difficult. You do not want to promote an instructor who is not ready for the responsibility that comes along with their instructor ranking.

         So get to work and start developing your instructor-training program today! Its a lot of hard work and effort, but 3 – 5 years down the line it all pays off! And maybe you will be able to have some free time!

Things NOT TO DO when Training Staff

Do not criticize the person, critique the performance.

Do not criticize more than you praise.

Do not get angry.

Do not use profanity.

Do not let your critiques outnumber your positive, directing comments.

Do not ramble.

Do not forget to have a sense of humor.

Do not make your staff afraid to make mistakes.

Do not allow your staff to operate in a praise vacuum.

Do not go into a meeting without a clearly defined desired outcome and a plan for achieving it.

Do not forget your staff needs attention and praise as much as they need instruction.

Do not fail to encourage your people to take action, massive action, when it comes to servicing customers.

Do not let a week go by without having a wrap-up meeting of discussing the positive progress to date.

Do not forget to clearly define the outcome you desire in every meeting.

Do not forget that staff training is as important (or more important) as any other job duty you have.

Do not forget to make it fun!

How To Surround Yourself With Ready, Willing and Able Instructors

One of the biggest challenges is a perceived lack of instructors. We say perceived because it’s our view that most of us are surrounded by instructors just waiting to be discovered. Often, instructors don’t feel as though they can afford to pay someone what they need to exist and they’re right.

Others judge the potential of an instructor by the level of their technical execution when, in reality, they may have 10-to-20 very personable, enthused students who may not have the best round kick but love to help people and feel important.

The question is, how do you find these diamonds in the rough? The secret is the formation of an intern or leadership program.

In obtaining a degree in education, university students are required to be interns for a period of time for little or no money. In pursuit of a medical degree, one of the most difficult and trying periods is the internship. In following our idea of operating a karate school like a private school instead of a gym, it would certainly be advantageous to look at this internship program very closely.

During most of our classes, you will find the student body broken down into groups of six to eight people per group. While the class may number 25 – 30 students we endeavor to keep an eight or ten to one student to instructor ratio.

Paying four to five instructors for each class would not only be impractical, it would be impossible. However, these instructors are members of our leadership program and as such are very enthused and trained volunteers.

They receive weekly classes in leadership skills and communication in addition to straightforward lessons on how to teach our curriculum. Payment is the furthest thing from their mind. They are honored to have the opportunity to help their school and flattered that we would ask them to help teach, and they should be.

Our school takes great pride in the quality of student we produce and if someone is considered skilled enough to contribute to that, then it is indeed an honor. As a result, some of them have even decided that to make martial arts their career.

Understand that with very rare exceptions, this leadership team never runs a class or is responsible for more than six to eight students for any longer than 10 – 15-minutes at a time. They are not ready for that level of responsibility and frankly, students want the main instructor to work with them.

However, it’s not necessary that the main instructor work with the class every minute. A parallel example would be a dentist’s or doctor’ office. The assistant takes care of the preparation for the first half of the visit and then the doctor comes in and takes care of the expert detail work.

In most cases, the main instructor is very careful to match a group or individual with a leadership team member with the ability to handle the job.

Often, leadership team members are restricted to just wandering corrections. As they advance in skill and experience they progress to teaching small groups or individuals.

The beauty of this system is that you are really helping these people take their martial arts skills to a new level. As you well know, teaching is an art in itself that instills confidence, clear and concise communications skills and the ability to motivate.

These skills can be translated outside of the school in both the professional world of management and the academic world. Leadership team members are given special privileges in recognition and appreciation of their outstanding contribution to the school.

They may receive special uniforms, patches and, in rare cases, scholarships for tuition. The key is to select your leadership team carefully, then monitor and train them. In other words, inspect what you expect.

Leadership Team Handbook

“Welcome to the Best of the Best”!

Your selection to our Leadership Team is the result of numerous meetings, discussions and ”spirited lobbying” by your instructors to narrow the choices down to you; the best of the best. Your acceptance of a Leadership Team position is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

We are totally dependent on our Leadership Team to help us maintain our, “Tradition of Excellence.” Our goal remains to provide the very best training for our students. This requires a motivated and talented leadership team.

As part of the tradition and heritage of the martial arts, students have always assisted the instructor to maintain the quality and integrity of the school. While we didn’t always have a title for the team, we had the desire to teach and the pride in our school to go the extra mile to insure our reputation as the best!

You too must have tremendous pride in your school and the desire to help others enjoy the benefits and excitement we offer. For this to happen, you must be very open minded and teachable. Teaching students our way requires very special qualities.

As a Leadership Team member, you will be trained in the art of communication. Much more than the technical skill of your sidekick, your skill as a successful communicator and motivator will determine your success as a teacher.

“Confidential”

As a Leadership Team member, you will be “taken into the kitchen.” You will understand more about the actual operation and management of this school. While there is nothing to hide from anyone, we prefer that this information stay in our Leadership Team classroom and not find its way into the locker room.

Most people prefer not to know what goes on in the kitchen of a restaurant. All they want to see is the beautiful meal served. We are no different.

Leadership Team Responsibilities

Leadership Team members must accept fully the following responsibilities in order to maintain their Leadership Team status. Failure to perform in these areas must result in the stepping down of a Leadership Team member (and returning of this manual) in order to allow another student a chance.

1. Leadership Team members teach a minimum of two -one hour classes per week.

2. Leadership Team members teach at least one 20-minute private lesson per week.

3. Leadership Team members must attend Leadership Team seminars, classes and workshops.

Our Commitment To Youtc “Our Commitment To You”

The very best tool for learning about yourself and your martial arts is to teach. We will provide you with the guidance to develop your martial arts teaching skills and the opportunity to apply that knowledge consistently. As you well know, our instructors are some of the very best teachers many of us have ever encountered. The teaching system that we have developed works and works well.

TEN Leadership Team TIPS FOR SUCCESS

1. New Leadership Team members assisting in a class should not wander and help. Instead, they would be most helpful as role models. By positioning next to the students having the most difficult time, they can execute with the class at a pace suitable for the target students.

2. More experienced Leadership Team members, with the instructor’s permission, may wander and correct.

3. Wandering corrections should be brief and led with a smile.

4. It’s very important to keep moving. Try and make contact (a gentle, guiding hand) with each student twice during a class. Avoid hovering over one person. This tends to make them all the more nervous and error prone.

5. If you make a verbal correction, make it quickly and move on. Do not over-explain or allude to the obvious. Examples would be phrases such as, “this is a fist,” or “this is your belt.” Being a student doesn’t translate to total ignorance.

6.  Correct and Praise – Try to find something good to say along with a correction. An example might be, “Joey, your sidekick is straight as an arrow, now let’s get that foot to blade and you’ll have a black belt kick!”

Do not praise if it is not for real. If it is not a good job, don’t say, “good job!” It’s phony and everyone knows it. However, you will usually be able to find something about the technique worthy of note. Maybe it’s the snap or the knee positioning or just the effort. Be sincere, your students will respect it.

7. Never speak to a student while an instructor is speaking to the class.

8. Always support the school and its efforts. If we have a change or a challenge, never get caught up in a negative conversation about it. If you hear a student nay-saying something, back the school up and help them to understand why it’s in their best interest to ride the horse in the direction it’s going.

9. If you are leading a group or single student, do not make more than one correction per step. Resist the urge to correct every student in the group after only one step. By the time you get to the last person, the first one is already bored and forgotten what you told them.

When working with one student, do not correct every element of their balance, posture, shoulders, weight distribution, angles. power and so on. Keep the pace moving with. For example: “Step. Eyes straight. Step. Square those shoulders. Step. Good power, now punch down the center. Step. slide those feet like a cat. Step. there! Now point your feet straight!”

10. Use your voice, face and body! What is the opposite of love? Is it hate? No, it’s indifference! When you lead a group with a stone face, and a monotone voice, you are conveying a message of indifference and boredom!

If you want enthusiasm from a group you have to give enthusiasm to the group! When you want power, you turn the volume up and put power into your words. When you want slow technique for form, you speak a little slower and softer.

In any case you must project loud enough for everyone not to just hear your voice but to feel your energy. Too many of us have a blast teaching but never get around to telling our face about it! Loosen up and have some fun. Karate shouldn’t mask emotions rather it should allow you the confidence to be more expressive.

Before Class

Five minutes before a kid’s class, you would like to be interacting with the students and getting a feel for their mental state. Are they excited or tired? This will tell you a lot about the warm up you will do.

Help the less excited by taking their mind off the day’s challenges. Maybe you could ask them if there is anything you could help them with before class. Another very good question is, “How do you feel about your next exam?” Or, “How did your test go?”

Not only does this show interest and caring but it gives you a great opportunity to follow up with some quality one-on-one by reviewing the techniques they may be concerned with or struggled with on the exam.

Two-minutes before class, you can start lining them up with the shorter students up front (have the kids sit down for the last minute or so to insure they stay in line). This time can also be spent collecting cards and talking to the students about their martial arts and previewing the exciting class they are about to have.

Caution, do not talk down to students regardless of age. With kids, you may watch your vocabulary level but have fun with them. They want to have fun with you, so it’s OK to joke a bit as long as you don’t allow things to get silly.

Class should be fun but not funny. A little fun works as comedy relief but should not be your theme nor should the laugh be at the expense of another person.

What Do I Do?

Time Management For A Leadership Team Member

During Class

Warm ups are tailored to the theme of the class. If the class will spar, have them do movement drills and combinations in a loose, free form manner. Do not have a group of students with their sparring gear on execute horse stance punching, basics or forms.

Remember, stretching is part of the workout, not the warm up. Students should get a little sweat going to insure the muscles are warm and ready for stretching.

During class you will want to learn to, “read the instructor.” If the instructor is demonstrating a technique, then, with permission, you can wander and correct as the students try to model the instructor.

Then, if the instructor stands up and starts to wander, you can jump into the demonstrating position. If the instructor is wandering, you can provide a visual example for the students. If the instructor is demonstrating, you can wander and make corrections.

Always position yourself so the students can see you. If you have a Leadership Team partner, then one of you would work the front and the other would work the back. Then, when the class turns around they have a model to follow.

Corrections while wandering should be very brief and not as much commanding as suggesting. For instance, as a blue belt, you may have less success with a sharp, “blade your foot!” than you would with a kind but firm, “don’t forget to blade your foot” or “let me help you blade your foot.”

It’s very important to allow someone to maintain his or her dignity when being corrected. This is not the place for power-hungry egos.

Your tone is one of stern encouragement and always with a positive attitude. In their enthusiasm to do a good job, new Leadership Team members tend to over-explain and over-correct. Less is best in the beginning or, for that matter, at any time. Choose your words wisely and they will carry more weight and power.

After Class Seek the Silence

Silent students are often taken for granted since they seem to always be there and never seem to have a problem with anything. In fact, they’re so quiet you hardly notice when they are gone. That’s the danger.

Seek these students out and introduce yourself. Engage them in conversation with questions such as, “How are your classes coming along?” or “How did you do with that new kick?” or “Are you looking forward to your exam?”

In addition to the silent students, seek out the students who struggled in class and offer, if they have time, to review the material for them. This is where Leadership Team serves a great function for the entire school.

Our instructors are swamped after every class and many students will not ask for help from them because they seem so busy. Leadership Team fills the gap and reaches the students that need that extra help.

Private Lessons

This is where you, “cut your teeth.” One-on-one private lessons provide you with a variety of students, ranks and situations to learn from. It’s very important that you establish the time you will be teaching privates. As the week goes by, check the appointment book to see who you are working with and what material they want covered.

This gives you a chance to prepare and seek out help you may need on how to teach something.

Privates are only 20-minutes long so they can’t really cover more than one or two techniques with very little if any warm up. The student should know what they need to work on and you want to focus completely on it.

If, for instance, the student wants to work on round kick and after 10 minutes you feel you’ve covered it completely, grab a target and let them work round kick on the target. Have them hold the target for you so they can see how it’s done.

Be sure to watch your clock so you can review and end at the 20 minute mark. Finish by walking the student off the deck and, in the case of children, touching base with the parents and updating them on what was covered and your recommendations tor practice at home.

WHAT IS MY REAL CONTRIBUTION?

Your high profile role is as an instructor-in-training. However, often the more critical but less measurable and certainly lower profile role is as a mentor / liaison for the students.

Often students are more at ease talking to a Leadership Team member than a high ranking Black Belt. Cultivate that rapport into relationships of trust and caring. You may have no idea how powerful your simple, “Hello. Nice to see you,” comment is to a student.

People do not get praised enough in our world. In most cases, the last time someone heard any applause was at their high school graduation!

Here is a chance for you to really make a difference in someone’s life. By helping them to feel more comfortable at this school we, as a team, have a much better chance of getting them to believe in their potential. If we can get that belief we can get the person to Black Belt! It’s worked with us and with your help, it will work with others!

Training Staff Members as Martial Arts Summer Camp Coaches

Tip #1
Priority number-one is to build rapport with campers and their parents. All staff needs to shake hands, make eye contact and learn names of campers and their parents. The goal is to make campers feel comfortable and their parents confident that they’ve made the right choice in enrolling their children in our camp.

Tip #2
Avoid negative statements. Focus on the positive. Be patient and kind. This is not a military school –but there will be periods of time when training when a certain degree of discipline is expected, it should be done with a smile.

Tip # 3
All staff is trained to avoid being alone with campers in offices, locker rooms or any other area where they’re out of the direct sight of other campers or coaches.

Tip #4
All coaches should have stickers, prizes and snacks they can distribute for good behavior throughout the day. The job is to catch campers “doing things right” and reward them for good behaviors.

Tip #5

All coaches and helpers line up and greet parents and campers both at the beginning of each day and when the campers depart. Our goals is to show team unity and a level of interaction and involvement with our campers that is above and beyond the norm.

Tip #6

Have fun and be a great role model of behavior, language and enthusiasm.

MATA Peer Review

“If everyone on this team was just like me, what kind of team would it be?”

This is an excellent review process for paid staff. The idea is to help them see how the other team members perceive them. This helps answer the question, “If everyone on this team was just like me, what kind of team would it be?”

Have your team rate each team member in each of the ten categories on a scale of 1 – 5 with 5 being the highest.

Be careful to keep this educational and fun. Don’t use it to embarrass someone or “prove a point.” You may have staff members who react negatively to the rating, so be careful and review the results in private one-on-one with each team member. We strongly suggest you do not review the results as a team but use this as a chance to help each individual staff member to grow.

The downloadable file is an Excel spreadsheet that will calculate the results for you. If you do not have Excel or a compatible program, we also attached an rtf template for you to use.

Here is what it looks like:

Sample Peer Review
NameMelvin Grant
Score 1 (lowest) – 5 (highest)
Contribution to Team Goals4
Cooperation for Extra Effort5
Respect Demonstrated4
Dependability3
Follow Through3
Dedication to Student Service4
Positive Influence on Peers3
Communication Style4
Works Under Pressure3
Overall Team Player4
Total score37
Total Possible Score50
Percentage Result74.00%

General Staff

Not Everyone Shares Your Creative Vision
Take Care of Yourself

Running your own school and stress go hand in hand. Stress can be a real plus in keeping you motivated to continually improve your program. If left unchecked, however, it can be detrimental to your health and to the success of your school

.

If you own a studio and teach martial arts, your professional life will be particularly challenging and stressful. 
Stress can manifest itself in many ways.

If you are highly stressed, you may have experienced a few of these symptoms:


1. Depression


2. Loss of appetite


3. You may either sleep too much, or suffer from insomnia


4. Eat or drink too much


5. Irritability


6. Mood swings


7. Lack of interest in activities you normally enjoy doing


8. Forgetfulness


9. Indigestion


10. Anxiety


11. Lack of endurance


12. High blood pressure


13. Preoccupied


14. Nervous twitching


15. Chronic headaches


16. Muscular tension resulting in chronic pain in your back and shoulders

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make a point of resolving the issues that are at the root of the stress you are experiencing immediately.

Not only does your health depend on this, the success of your school is also at risk. Your staff, students, and the parents of your students, will notice that you are chronically cranky and not teaching your class with the enthusiasm that they’ve come to expect from you.



Bad stress – the kind that causes health problems – often stems from feeling that we are not in control of important situations in our life. Family problems, financial problems, or just trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time, can leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

First, find a quiet spot to sit and think about what is creating the stress in your life.

Create a detailed list of situations that you feel are causing you the most stress. 

Then analyze each situation and come up with solutions to each of your problems. This is a brainstorming activity designed to help you realize that you are, indeed, in control.

Your problems won’t dissolve away, however, once you realize that you are in control of many of the aspects of your stressors, your stress will be reduced considerably.



For instance, you may take on the lion’s share of the work at your school because you have difficulty delegating duties to your assistant instructors. You are overworked and you’re beginning not to enjoy your chosen profession anymore.

First, you need to ask yourself why you are having difficulty sharing work with others at your school. Do you feel that they are not qualified? Would you feel left out if some of the less important decisions were made by your assistants?



A couple of solutions come to mind:


1. Cross-train your staff to handle some of the responsibilities that you currently have


2. Hire additional staff


3. Most importantly, learn to delegate some of your less important responsibilities to your assistant instructors. Let them do the work and have them keep you informed about the status of these responsibilities

You may feel anxious when you realize that the amount of work you have seems to exceed the time you have available to do it. You can remedy this by creating a list of long-term goals and prioritizing them in the order of importance. 

Begin each morning by creating a prioritized “to do” list you’d like to accomplish that day. This should be a list of duties you feel that you can easily achieve in one day. Make sure that you allow time for unexpected interruptions. As you finish each item on your list, mark it off as completed. 

The benefits of creating a daily “to do” list is two-fold. First, you’ll be able to focus on what’s most important. Secondly, you’ll have the satisfaction of accomplishing what’s you’ve set out to do that day. It’s a win-win solution.

Qualities of An Excellent Instructor
The dominant attendance tracking system, even in today’s computer driven world, remains student cards. You have two boxes. One box is labeled 1st Class of the week. The second box is labeled 2nd & 3rd Class. Students always look for their card in the 1st Class of the week box when the come to their 1st class. Later in the week, they know to look in the 2nd & 3rd Class box for all remaining classes. Each night the cards are pulled from the 1st Class of the week box and any cards left are from students who missed class and must be called. For instance, Wednesday night after the last class, a quick review of the box reveals that there are 12 Monday / Wednesday night students still in the box. Had they been in class, they would have pulled their card. These students need to get a call that night. You may want to color code by rank or by nights. For example, you may use a yellow card for Monday / Wednesday students and a white card for Tuesday/ Thursday. You can code by rank with colored stickers. The system works best when you have assigned class nights for students like any private school. Allowing students to come and go at their whim leads to confusion and lack of control. First, students burn out too easily in the white/gold belt stages because they’re enthused and excited for about six weeks. Then they can crash and burn. Second, limiting students on your one year entry-level New Student program to two classes positions you to allow a third class when they join the Black Belt Club. Third, you have to know who is coming to class and when, in order to manage your school like a pro. All schools have assigned classes. In high school you couldn’t skip biology one period and show up the next no more than you could take exams when you wanted. In college, you pick a class and attend at the scheduled times. Your school should be no different. When a student misses one class it becomes easier for them to miss the second and then they feel behind and maybe anxious about returning. The very best schools call the student before the class is over. The less effective schools call the following week. 24 hours should be the rule of thumb for absence calls.
How to Track Attendance with the Student Card System
Promote Teamwork Among Your Staff

You’ve established the goals that you would like to achieve in your martial arts studio.   Now it’s time to get your staff involved with your plans.

If you don’t already have a staff, then you have the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for the goals that you’ve established with your new crew.    If you already have a staff, you’ll have to establish a point in which to begin your new plan of action.

Since most people are a bit reluctant to change, particularly if it means more work and extra effort on their part, you’ll have to make sure to introduce your new program at an appropriate time.

Certain times of the year leave people feeling a little more open to change than others.   For instance, the start of a new year is a great time to gather support for your new goals.  

If that is just too far away, you can change your plan of action at the beginning of the seasons i.e. fall, spring, etc.   Think in terms of school semesters – a time for a fresh start or a new beginning.

One of the best ways to promote teamwork among your staff is to hold regular staff meetings.   Once a week seems to be a good time for everyone to gather and discuss what they’ve accomplished so far, and what they plan to accomplish over the next few weeks or months.

A good way to get your staff involved on your quest to build a better martial arts school is to solicit their ideas on how they can best achieve the goals that you have set.

This serves two purposes.   First, it gives your staff ownership to these goals, as well as affords you a fresh perspective on how you can go about achieving these goals.   Secondly, if a staff member feels as if a goal is their own idea, they’ll be more likely to work hard to achieve it.

For instance, if you want to improve customer service, your instructors may begin making suggestions that you’ve already thought of – like sending sick students and their families “get well” cards when you’ve learned that they’ve been sick, sending out birthday cards, and such.

You can do one better by asking which staff member would like to be responsible for sending out these cards.   Or, who would like to be responsible for developing the bi-monthly newsletter that you have on the agenda.

This is a great way to get your staff involved and alleviate some of your duties as well.   They say that it is easier to pull than to push.   You’ll find that you’ll get much better results by getting your staff involved in the fulfillment of your goals as opposed to simply dictating the new rules and regulations that you expect them to adhere to.

Instructors Must Present A Unified Front

You can tell a great deal about the level of professionalism a business possesses the minute you walk through their front door. This is true whether you’re walking into a fine restaurant, a grocery store, or into a martial arts studio.



To the layman, martial arts and those who consider themselves to be professional martial artists are a bit mystifying. Whether it’s the uniforms that are worn, the fact that martial artists are very disciplined and can defend themselves in fascinating ways, or that the martial arts stems from ancient Orient roots, people tend to view the martial arts with awe.



Therefore, when students enter your studio, you’ll want to present the highest level of professionalism – because that’s what your customers are going to expect from you.



What does that mean exactly? 

Well, put yourself in the shoes of a person walking into your studio for the first time. Think about the image that your staff is presenting as they walk throughout the studio. 



How do they talk to each other and to the students? Do they reflect the professional, disciplined image that is expected from a martial artist?



School owners are often the only instructors in their schools in the beginning. This makes things simple. However, as your school grows, you’ll be required to select new assistants to help accommodate your students. 



Here’s where it gets tricky. You’ll want to choose an assistant instructor that shares your goals, and teaches students using the same or similar methods and techniques as you use when you teach.



The assistant that you choose must understand that you require a certain level of professionalism from him when he is teaching at your school and interacting with the students and other staff members. 



Most of all, you should be respectful of your assistant instructors and their abilities. Actually, there should be a level of mutual respect between you and your instructors. You should always avoid correcting your instructors in front of students or other staff members. 



Be particularly careful not to let your ego get in between you and your instructors. While you may be more skilled, you’ll create hard feelings all around if you are always trying to upstage your assistants in front of their students.



You should always be coaching and training your assistant in private. However, make a point to meet with your instructors at least once a week to discuss the preferred way to teach a technique. This would also be a good time to offer ideas for teaching and motivating students.



It’s important that you and your instructors work hard to present a unified front to your customers. When interviewing a student that will be taught by one of your assistants, take a moment and introduce the new student to his instructor. 



Choose your assistants wisely as they will be representing your school and all that it stands for.

The Key Strategies in Implementing Change

As you learn and grow as a martial arts school owner you will discover new methods, procedures and processes that you will want to implement into your school. How you manage that implementation will have a direct effect on the success of the change, how well it is received and your personal stress level. When considering changes remember that the students and staff that are with you now like the way things are now. If you have been losing 80% of your students because your classes are three hours long and you walk on their stomachs during sit-ups, you may now realize that you have to make some changes. However, the 20% of students who are still with you like the school the way it is. You have a vision of higher retention, a growing school and the financial rewards that come with it. Your students have a vision of their current class and maybe their next belt. That’s it. They are not training for your future; they are training for theirs. So, here are some strategies to help you implement change without a revolt.

  1. Start tuition increases with the lowest ranking students first. This way the new, higher paying students will begin to replace the old, lower paying students.
  2. If you must raise tuition for everyone, give the students at least 30-days notice and tell them they can “beat the tuition increase” by purchasing a year in advance at the current rate.
  3. Start your curriculum changes with the lowest ranking students also. To them, it won’t be a change. As they advance in the new curriculum, within a year, they will be the largest population in the school so the majority of the school will be doing the new program.
  4. Grandfather some students or ranks into the new program in order to avoid losing them.
  5. Fire the students or parents who raise an unreasonable level of resistance to the changes. They will corrupt the other students and compound your problems. “Excuse them” from the school.
  6. Use Student Surveys as the catalyst for change. If you are going to change class length or curriculum for a majority of your students at once, you can make them feel as though they were a part of the process by using Student Surveys.

The questions on the survey can be written to plant the seed of change to the students. The feedback will be helpful, but more importantly, regardless of the feedback, the you can refer to the survey as the catalyst for change. For instance, you could tell the students that, “In response to our survey, tuition will be raised $20 per month….” Or “In response to our survey, classes will now be one-hour instead of two hours.” That is a truthful statement. You are not saying, “Because most of you indicated on the survey that you would like a $20 increase in tuition.” All you need is one vote for a $20 increase and you can truthfully say that, “In response to our survey, tuition will be raised $20 per month….”

What is Level 10 Service?

Level 10 Service is When…

  • The walls are clean, and the school smells great.
  • The staff is clean and they smell good.
  • You get immediate recognition upon entering the school.
  • The staff practices active listening, despite distractions.
  • Everyone on the staff smiles and gives polite greetings.
  • The staff makes promises, and then follows through on them –fast.
  • The staff asks your name and then remembers it.
  • The printed materials are colorful, professional, clean and well designed.
  • You get thank you cards for your patronage.
  • Everyone on the staff greets students by name, and ask if they can help in any way.
  • The staff is friendly and treat students and their families like they’re the most important people in the school.
  • All of the events at the school are clearly posted, regularly announced and expertly run.
  • The curriculum is loaded with value.
  • Students leave the school happier than when they walked in.
  • The staff takes their time to ask you about your life outside of the school, and acts as if they’re interested when you tell them.
  • Students are shocked at how personable and well trained everyone is.
  • The gear you want is always in stock, and it’s the best.
  • Students feel that they’re getting 10 times the value that they’re paying for.
The 24-Hour Rule

No matter how good your school or staff is is, you’re going to experience complaints from time to time. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t lose students every time you make a mistake; you lose them when you don’t properly handle their complaints. Think of complaints as an opportunity to impress your clients.

a. Respond within four hours to the complaint via phone (not email).

b. Listen carefully to the complaint.

c. Apologize for any inconvenience caused (whether real or imagined).

d. Restate the complaint back to the student. “Let me make sure I understand your concern…”

e. Thank the student for bringing the issue to your attention.

f. Ask the student,“What would you like to do?”This is really important. Often, the answer is much less than you expect.

g. Describe exactly what you are willing and able to do to resolve the issue.

h. If you can’t do anything, avoid citing business policy. Instead, use the “feel, felt, found” pattern, for example. “I understand how you feel. A number of student through the years have expressed the same feeling. In time, they found that…” You can also use the “because” bridge: “I understand you want this, this and this. Because we have to be fair to ALL of our clients, we’re only able to do this
in these types of situations. Again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

i. Write down what you promised in your log book and follow through.

j. Send a sendoutcards.com thank-you note (you may include a gift certificate for a local restaurant as a surprise gift).

The Black Belt Club

The Black Belt Club

 

black-belt-club-patches

Great looking patches for your Black Belt Club or Black Sash Club

10 for $10 plus s/h.

 

How To Develop a Powerful Black Belt Club

4) Creating an Atmosphere Where BBC Is The Goal

5) Creating a Long-Term Perspective in Students to 'Stick It Out'

7) How to Use Belt Exams to Create High Motivation for the BBC

8) How the Recommendation Process for BBC Works

10) How to Deliver a 60-Second Motivational Speech Each Class

Know Your Revenue Streams

Introducing the Black Belt Club to your school is a very simple and exciting process. Everyone loves to be recognized for hard effort. The Black Belt Club provides a high level of recognition to your students. Plus, you increase your revenue while also increasing student enthusiasm and retention. What could be better?

If you do not presently have a Black Belt Club in your school, don’t put it off any longer! Every month you don’t have the Black Belt Club in place is a month you are losing money and losing students. That’s a terrible combination.

Step 1

At the conclusion of your next exam, announce to the students that your school is now offering the Black Belt Club.

Explain, “The Black Belt Club is not for students who just train recreationally, or miss class and don’t try as hard as they could. The Black Belt Club is for students with great attendance, a great Black Belt Attitude and who are committed to earning their Black Belt.”

  • If you are inducted into the Black Belt Club, you’ll receive a number of special privileges including:
  • This patch, membership card and a certificate demonstrating that you have committed to earning your Black Belt.
  • Then you will be able to attend our special Black Belt Club events such as the upcoming…
  • You’ll be able to attend additional classes.
  • You’ll receive a discount on one training item per month.
  • You’ll be able to wear a special uniform (if your system allows)
  • You’ll be able to wear a special belt and you’ll qualify for our leadership team.

Over the next 30 days, your instructors will be evaluating you very closely to see if you qualify for membership in the National Black Belt Club. The only way you can join the Black Belt Club is to be recommended by one of our instructors so let’s hit it hard gang.

Step Two

Target Students and Set Appointments

List all of the students that are of Black Belt Club rank. This is usually students who are in their first year of training. However, if you are just starting your Black Belt Club, you may include upper ranks also.

Rate these students A, B, or C. List the A students on the MATA BBC Qualification Progress Sheet. Schedule conferences with each of the students to explain the renewal program.

A students represent the top third of your school. Not so much because of their technique but because of their enthusiasm for the school and the training. These students do not miss class and they attend every special event and exam. A students give martial arts a very high priority in their life and cannot be persuaded to skip class to socialize with their friends.

B students are A’s some of the time and C’s other times. They have very good class attendance but their level of effort and enthusiasm varies. They attend some special events but not many. While they are not apt to skip class they will at least consider the offer. They can be quiet and easily taken for granted since they are in class all the time and all seems well with them. Little do you know how close this student is to becoming a C. B’s are just waiting for you to step in and influence them, they are not going to do it by themselves.

C students are just not very motivated people. They hold back in class and are never seen at special events.   They attend class when nothing else is happening. These students should be getting tons of attention and encouragement in order to get them excited. They judge their martial arts experience based on the excitement of the last class and are definitely not focused on Black Belt.

Step Three

In The Renewal Conference

The first part of this step is to review with them the benefits that they have enjoyed as a student.

Benefit Review

The benefit review is for information gathering. Learn to use test closes. Like a jab, we probe with minor, test closes to find out the level of buying interest. By getting Mom to commit to small agreements she is moving towards the final agreement. We move forward with the presentation to the degree she is receptive to these minor closes. We’ll point out all of the test closes.

Lead her to tell you how great your program has been for her child. It’s not only important for you to hear, but it’s even more important for the parent to review how effective your program has been. In a sense we are letting her resell herself on the program. We’ll use this information later in the presentation to fortify our position.

Black Belt Club Renewal Script

Black Belt Club Renewal Script

Make copies of this script and rehearse the presentation with your staff members.

Student Manager –

Mrs. Jones, how do you feel about Joey’s progress?

Parent –

We’re real pleased. He loves karate.”

Student Manager –

That’s great, we sure enjoy working with him. Do you think the training has been good for him?

Parent –

Yes.

This is too general an answer for our needs. We have to probe a little deeper and peel away some layers with a follow up question.

Student Manager –

How so, specifically?

Parent –

Well, his teacher sent a note home saying how much he has improved in his conduct. His grades still need some work but he seems to be learning some respect

The parent is now selling herself on the program’s success.

Student Manager –

That’s great. How does Mr. Jones feel about his training?

We must determine if dad is on our side or will he be an obstacle to this program upgrade.

Parent –

At first he wanted Joey to play soccer but I think he’s coming around. “The other night he asked Joey to take the trash out and Joey said “Yes Sir.” I thought his dad was going to fall over.

Student Manager –

What would you like to see Joey get out of his karate?

Parent –

Well, I want to see his confidence and self control continue to improve.

This tells us the specific slant we want to emphasize in our presentation.

Student Manager –

We believe that confidence is the result of accomplishment. In our case, the goal is black belt. Has Joey discussed black belt as a goal with you?

Parent –

Oh yes. He wants it.

Student Manager –

And how do you and Mr. Jones feel about that goal? Do you support it?

Parent –

Yes. If it’s what he wants we’re all for it.

This is another test close. This question helps us avoid spousal deferment. She just said dad is for black belt so she should be able to go ahead without having to “talk it over with him.”

This is the signal to go ahead with the presentation. If she says dad is unsure, you may want to bail out until you can get dad on board.

Black Belt Club Overview

This is the application of the information we gathered earlier

Student Manager –

That’s important because in our years of training students to black belt, we know family support and participation is a critical factor.

As you know, Joey has been nominated for the National Black Belt Club. The Black Belt Club is a national affiliation of top level students like Joey, who are dedicated to earning their black belt. The Black Belt Club is not for students who just train just for fun, or miss class and don’t try as hard as they could. The students are recommended based upon three areas:

  1. They have great attendance. This shows enthusiasm and discipline.
  1. The have a black belt attitude. The black belt attitude is an attitude of high personal standards.

Just like Joey improving in school and saying “yes sir” to his dad, we can see that Joey has really embraced the black belt attitude.

He’s already setting higher standards for himself and that’s great to see. Imagine what he’ll be like when he earns his black belt.

Here, we reiterated the benefits she told us she has seen in Joey.

  1. Finally, and probably the most important, the student has to be committed to earning his black belt and have the family’s support and according to you that’s the case.

When a student commits to black belt, we double our commitment to the student. Here’s how it works.

As a member of the National Black Belt Club, Joey will receive a number of special privileges including:

Use the BBC Benefit Sheet

This patch, membership card and a special certificate designating his Black Belt Club membership. This is important.

Joey has worked hard and this let’s him know that people are noticing his hard work. We want him to know that there are rewards for giving it his best and that we are all behind him.

He will also be able to attend our special Black Belt Club events such as the upcoming nunchaku seminar Saturday. We only teach this type of material to students who share the black belt vision.

You will be able to come to more than two classes. On Friday nights we have our Black Belt Club class. In the class we work on techniques outside of the normal class routine.

Here, he’ll learn about weapons and musical forms and maybe even some advanced material before the rest of his class. This is a very exciting program. I know Joey will love it.

You will receive a discount on one training item per month. We know that Black Belt Club students might have an interest in special training equipment so we discount one special item each month just for the Black Belt Club members.

You will be able to wear a special uniform. This red uniform is a source of great pride for the kids. When they step on that deck with a red uniform on it’s like driving a red Porsche. It also works as a reminder to them about the commitment to black belt excellence.

It’s amazing to see how students can improve in a short while just because of the new pride they get from wearing that uniform and the special Black Belt Club patch.

The Black Belt Club belt has a black stripe down the center and it too, sends a message out.

Also, when we have a special event Black Belt Club members always get at least a 20% discount on the fee.

Finally, to make sure Joey is progressing through the ranks, their are no belt exam fees for National Black Belt Club.

When a student is as committed as Joey is to earning his black belt, we don’t want anything to slow down his advancement especially a test fee.

Tuition Arrangements And Close

Present this with no change in tone or pace.

That’s a pretty good overview of the privileges of the National Black Belt Club. Here’s how it works..

Joey has been training now for four months. Most students earn their black belt in 42 months, so he has about 38 months to go. Now this is no guarantee that he will make his black belt. He’ll have to earn it, which is exactly how we want it.

Your current tuition had a down payment of $149 and then $69 per month. At two classes per week his tuition averages $9.08 per class. With the additional classes as a Black Belt Club member, his average class tuition will drop to $7.50 per class.

His Black Belt Club tuition has a down payment of $249 and then his monthly tuition will be [YOUR TUITION] per month for the next 38 months starting next month.

We’ll cancel his current program and replace it with this one. All it takes to get him started into the Black Belt Club is the initial enrollment of $249.

SHUT UP! At this point let them respond with a question or an OK. Do not say another word until they speak first.

Objections are merely questions the student needs to ask in order to feel comfortable about moving forward with the offer:

Parent

What is the $249 for?

This doesn’t mean she can’t afford it. It means she’s interested enough in the program to inquire further.

Student Manager

The 38 months we estimate until his black belt at [YOUR TUITION] per month equals about $3200 as the total investment over the period of time. The $249 is a down payment towards that amount. How does the [YOUR TUITION] work for you?

“How does the [YOUR TUITION] work for you? ” is a comeback question/test close to regain control and isolate any financial concerns. By getting her to agree to the [YOUR TUITION], then it just a matter of working out the $249.

Parent

The [YOUR TUITION] is fine I just don’t know about the $249 (objection).

Student Manager

OK, let’s make sure I understand. The monthly tuition is fine but the $249 represents a challenge for you. Is that right?

This is a feed-it-back test close technique to check the validity of the objection. She may say “No, it’s not a problem I was just curious,” and renew.

 

The feed-it-back technique followed by listening very closely for information and buying signals is critical at this stage of the presentation.)

Parent

Yes, I just bought new tires.

Student Manager

I understand. So if we could work out the $249, Joey would get to be a member of the National Black Belt Club?

Test close to get her to commit to moving forward. This is important. Not only have we isolated the objection, but we’ve got her commitment to renew if we can overcome the objection.

If we didn’t ask this question, then she may follow with another objection and we’d be right back where we started.

Parent

Yes.

Student Manager

OK…How much do you think would be a comfortable amount tonight?

If she gives you the price she can put down, she is committing to moving forward with the renewal. This is another test close.

It’s also important that she gives you the price instead of you asking for an amount. Any price she gives is a final sign of closure.

Parent

I can put half down now.

Student Manager

When do you think the other half would work?

Parent –Probably about two weeks.

Student Manager –

OK, today is the 7th. So tonight we deposit $124.50 and then by the 21st we’ll have the other $124.50 in. Is that correct?

It’s important not to seem anxious. You want to make sure all the arrangements are very clear. When she agrees with the arrangements, she is agreeing to renew.

Parent –

Yes

Student Manager –

Fine. Here is what we can do in a situation like this. If you write a check for $124.50 to get him into the National Black Belt Club, and then write a second check for $124.50,

I’ll hold it here in the drawer until the 21st before I deposit it. This way, I can tell the billing company (good guy, bad guy) that Joey is fully registered and he can immediately get involved with the National Black Belt Club.

Parent –

Thank you.

While this may seem like a “too smooth” presentation it really isn’t. Most, if not all of the questions you asked in the information gathering segment should have been covered already in your office chats and student progress survey.

Like a good attorney, you don’t want to ask any questions that you don’t already know the answer to. You review the questions again to keep them fresh in the parent’s mind. Your job is to help the parent sell themselves on the benefits of the program by asking questions that draw these benefits out.

If, during your office chats and surveys, you get a negative answer to any of the qualifying questions then you simply go to work on correcting the challenged area.

You do not set a BBC appointment with this person. That’s why the target list of A, B, and C students is so important. You don’t make presentations to C’s and you make very few, if any, to B’s.

Only make an BBC presentation to students who are highly qualified to join.

If you make a presentation to a less than qualified student, you come off as money hungry. The student knows they don’t qualify and they can resent being “pitched” on a new course. Plus, you will lose credibility with the other students in, or considering getting into the BBC. The BBC suffers a loss of prestige if you start to water it down by pushing unqualified people into the program.

The Black Belt Club Renewal System

Start Your Black Belt Club in Three Steps

Introducing the Black Belt Club to your school is a very simple and exciting process. Everyone loves to be recognized for hard effort. The Black Belt Club provides a high level of recognition to your students. Plus, you increase your revenue while also increasing student enthusiasm and retention. What could be better?

If you do not presently have a Black Belt Club in your school, don’t put it off any longer! Every month you don’t have the Black Belt Club in place is a month you are losing money and losing students. That’s a terrible combination.

Step 1

At the conclusion of your next exam, announce to the students that your school is now offering the Black Belt Club.

Explain, “The Black Belt Club is not for students who just train recreationally, or miss class and don’t try as hard as they could. The Black Belt Club is for students with great attendance, a great Black Belt Attitude and who are committed to earning their Black Belt.”

  • If you are inducted into the Black Belt Club, you’ll receive a number of special privileges including:
  • This patch, membership card and a certificate demonstrating that you have committed to earning your Black Belt.
  • Then you will be able to attend our special Black Belt Club events such as the upcoming…
  • You’ll be able to attend additional classes.
  • You’ll receive a discount on one training item per month.
  • You’ll be able to wear a special uniform (if your system allows)
  • You’ll be able to wear a special belt and you’ll qualify for our leadership team.

Over the next 30 days, your instructors will be evaluating you very closely to see if you qualify for membership in the National Black Belt Club. The only way you can join the Black Belt Club is to be recommended by one of our instructors so let’s hit it hard gang.

Step Two

Target Students and Set Appointments

List all of the students that are of Black Belt Club rank. This is usually students who are in their first year of training. However, if you are just starting your Black Belt Club, you may include upper ranks also.

Rate these students A, B, or C. List the A students on the MATA BBC Qualification Progress Sheet. Schedule conferences with each of the students to explain the renewal program.

A students represent the top third of your school. Not so much because of their technique but because of their enthusiasm for the school and the training. These students do not miss class and they attend every special event and exam. A students give martial arts a very high priority in their life and cannot be persuaded to skip class to socialize with their friends.

B students are A’s some of the time and C’s other times. They have very good class attendance but their level of effort and enthusiasm varies. They attend some special events but not many. While they are not apt to skip class they will at least consider the offer. They can be quiet and easily taken for granted since they are in class all the time and all seems well with them. Little do you know how close this student is to becoming a C. B’s are just waiting for you to step in and influence them, they are not going to do it by themselves.

C students are just not very motivated people. They hold back in class and are never seen at special events.   They attend class when nothing else is happening. These students should be getting tons of attention and encouragement in order to get them excited. They judge their martial arts experience based on the excitement of the last class and are definitely not focused on Black Belt.

Step Three

In The Renewal Conference

The first part of this step is to review with them the benefits that they have enjoyed as a student.

Benefit Review

The benefit review is for information gathering. Learn to use test closes. Like a jab, we probe with minor, test closes to find out the level of buying interest. By getting Mom to commit to small agreements she is moving towards the final agreement. We move forward with the presentation to the degree she is receptive to these minor closes. We’ll point out all of the test closes.

Lead her to tell you how great your program has been for her child. It’s not only important for you to hear, but it’s even more important for the parent to review how effective your program has been. In a sense we are letting her resell herself on the program. We’ll use this information later in the presentation to fortify our position.

Goals with BBC

Your goal is to have 60% of your tuition come from renewals. Each month, review your billing statement and simply add it up. One total will be trial programs (non-BBC) and the other will be BBC. Then add in the down payments you receive and determine what percentage of total tuition represents BBC.

Since BBC tuition and the down payment are more than trial programs, the only reason you shouldn’t have more renewal tuition than trial tuition is that you are not making the presentations. Or, if you are making the presentations, you’re not following these steps closely.

Let’s say that in January you enroll 20 people. By June, provided your retention is reasonable, you should have at the minimum, 80% of the remaining active from that original 20 on BBC.

Our eventual goal is to have everyone who is not a brand new student or our advanced students on BBC. Even though you have C students, if you follow the steps closely, you’ll work on creating enthusiasm in those students to get on board. So they may be C’s in March but by June we have them ready for BBC membership.

BBC FAQ

What is the down payment for?

Calculate the number of months to black belt and multiply that by the current tuition your student is paying, multiple it by 1.10% and then add $249 to it as a down payment/registration. That is the total figure for their BBC membership. The $249 is a down payment towards that amount.

A higher down payment would lower the monthly. Their membership into the BBC is also included in the $249. Do not get too strict on the down payment.

Remember, our goal is high monthly recievables not cash outs. We don’t want to miss three years of their current tuition over $249. Spread the $249 out f that’s what it takes to enroll an enthused student.

I’m a traditional school, we can’t wear colored uniforms:

No problem. Devote a wall to your BBC and have the students Black Belts mounted on the wall with thier picture and the target date for their black belt exam. This is a very powerful tool and works well to make up for the lack of visiblity of the BBC in the classroom.

BBC Email Template

Dear Richard,

Thanks for your letter and goal sheet.

I’m glad that you gave this the consideration it deserves and as such, it comes as no surprise that you are as committed as you say. After working with you, I know desire when I see it and it has nothing to do with being able to “get it right the first time.”

Of course, Black Belt is not for everyone. It takes lots of practice, a Black Belt Attitude and good attendance.   I also know that you can do it. Do not be discouraged by your early struggles. That is what makes black belt the world’s most recognized and respected ranks of achievement. You will do it.

I’m happy to hear you are enjoying class much as we enjoy having you. I’m very proud of your progress

Keep up the good work and I’ll see you in brown and black belt class before you know it.

Sincerely,

John Graden

View More: Drills for Class

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The Student Sales Funnel

The Student Sales Funnel

A step-by-step audio course on how to move a stranger to prospect to student to black belt. course

 

Lesson One: Branding and Image Control

 – How to Take Control of Your School’s Image Online and Off-line

 – How to Build Your School’s Reputation

 – Word of Mouth Marketing is More Powerful Than Ever Now with Social Media

Lesson Two: Attracting and Keeping Students

– Creating the right school atmosphere.

– Modern online and offline marketing to attract students.

– How to measure the cost of getting a new student.

Lesson Three: Trial Lesson Strategies

– How to focus a trial lesson on life skills.

– How to create an emotional bond with parents and students in one class.

– How to smoothly transition from the trial class into the enrollment conference.

Lesson Four: Keeping Your Students Coming Back

– Why retention is more important than enrollments.

– How to quickly improve retention.

– How to create a more effective curriculum for your students.

Lesson Five: Renewals - Final Lesson

Congratulations! From first attraction until enrollment in the school is complete!

  • Completion 100% 100%
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