You're a black belt at teaching but a white belt at business. How can you overcome the many obstacles to successfully grow a new school to 100 students? Master Rich Grogan led our most popular webinar to date and is back to take you through the ins and outs of opening a new school.
In this webinar, Master Grogan will dive into:
- How to turn your love for martial arts into a profitable business
- Some common pitfalls to avoid, costs and unexpected expenses of starting up
- How to manage your time and resources when you're doing the teaching, administrative tasks and marketing
- Useful tools and resources to help you along the way
About the Speaker
Master Rich Grogan
Master Rich Grogan is the owner of Grogan's Academy of Martial Arts in Edwardsville, Illinois. Focusing on positive motivation, self-defense and bully prevention, Grogan's Academy inspires students of all ages to reach their full potential. Although his passion lies with teaching, Master Grogan has consulted school owners on marketing and operations best practices and enjoys engaging with the martial arts business community on a regular basis.
Pei En: Alright, hello everyone, let's get started! Good morning, afternoon or evening to everyone today, depending on where you're joining us from. Welcome to today's webinar on "What You Must Know About Opening A New School" with Master Rich Grogan. I'm Pei and I'm your host for today.
Before we get started, let's do a quick sound check. If you can hear me, could you please type 'yes' into the chat box now? Great, lot's of yes's coming in! Alright so we're good to go.
Welcome, everyone! I'd like to give a quick rundown of who we are for those of you who are joining us for the first time or not familiar with ChampionsWay or PerfectMind. Our all-in-one martial arts management software is used by thousands of schools worldwide and enables school owners to manage membership, / belt ranks and promotions, email marketing, reporting, and more from a single cloud-based platform. We provide web development and online marketing services for martial arts schools and a variety of other businesses. We've been active in the martial arts community for more than 15 years now and we provide free martial arts webinars - like the one today, e-books, blog posts, and more. If you'd like to learn more about us, visit our website at championsway.com.
Now enough about us, let's introduce our special presenter. Master Grogan runs a very successful school - Grogan's Academy of Martial Arts in Edwardsville, Illinois. Master Grogan has led our most popular webinar to date so we're really excited to have him back again. He's a passionate teacher, he focuses on positive motivation and inspires his students to reach their full potential at his academy. Master Grogan is also a known industry expert. He's a martial arts marketing guru, he knows the ins and outs of operational best practices, and constantly engages with the martial arts community. For those of you who are looking to start a new school in the near future or later on, this webinar is jam-packed with lots of great tips that you're not going to want to miss.
So now that you heard me talk for long enough, I will pass it over to the man we're all here to listen to. Master Grogan, we're so thrilled to have you here today. Please take it away!
Master Grogan: Well thank you very much, Pei! And thank you very much to ChampionsWay for allowing me the opportunity to be with you guys, I'm very honored. And everybody out there that's taken time out of your busy day - thank you so much for taking time to join us. I'm going to do everything I can to cram in as much content and answer as many questions as I can at the end of the webinar here. As the title says "What You Must Know about Opening a Martial Arts School", but also if you've already got the school opened up, or maybe you're teaching for your instructor and you want to move forward, I'm going to share some tips and strategies with you to help make that possible. One thing, if you want to save all your questions and answers until the end, therefore we can go through and address them at the very end of the webinar.
Okay, so who am I? I'm Master Rich Grogan, and I've got a little podcast called 'Kick'n Life' - so I've got the title of 'Kick'n Life Guru'. I've been a martial artist for over 36 years. I've been in business for quite some time. Master motivator and leadership specialist, that's kind of the biggest thing that sets us apart from the competition. Our focus are on those things - having the kids believe in themselves, developing extraordinary leaders that inspire others to live their best life. That's something I strongly encourage you to do is develop a purpose, a mission, a Why - why you do what you do, and what sets you apart from everybody else. I'm also an athlete - baseball, football, hockey are my three big sports that I play. A coach for those sports as well and also with the / department at different high schools and middle schools, encouraging their kids to perform at the highest level. And then I'm a dad of three kids.
Big questions to start off with - can traditional martial artist have a successful studio? This is kind of old school, new school. I was kind of brought up with if you had more than 100 students, then you weren't a traditional martial artist, because you couldn't have both. Well I'm here to say that's not true at all. Yes, you can! You can have a successful studio. You just have to do things the right way, and it all starts with, once again it's something I instill in my students: believe in yourself, believe you can do it, but setting your core values ahead of everything else. Biggest thing you have to do is empty your cup. We tell our students in every single class - meditation, empty your cup, absorb new knowledge, have a white belt mindset. Well we have to do the same thing with the business side of things.
Another one that traditional martial artist sometimes have a hard time with is success over ego. Parents don't really want to know how you can help their child, they don't care how many world titles you have, they don't care how many black belts you have, they don't care all the things that are important to us as martial artist. That's sometimes the ego overrides success. We have to cater to what the parents want. That doesn't mean we sell out, so to speak. Definitely doesn't mean we sold off on our curriculum, but it does mean we have to cater to what's best, and that's helping their child succeed. The next thing we have to think big, plan big in order to grow big. We have that white belt comes in, we tell them the same thing. We tell them, "Hey you're going to think like a black belt, you're going to prepare like a black belt, you're going to work towards being a black belt, and you're going to grow to become a black belt." We must believe it ourselves and we must believe that it's possible with our studios.
So a little rundown of Grogan's Martial Arts. Our one year anniversary's the picture up here to the left top, with the curve so others can see can see it. That was our one year anniversary, that was the entire child's class, and we had like two people in the adult class. Everybody cramped to this building here, approximately 800 square feet. With that 800 square feet was an office, a bathroom, two changing rooms, and then the training service with the big pole right in the middle. So we didn't start off with a lot but we started some place. As there's an old saying 'You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great' and 'Think small in order to grow big scheme of things, but don't be afraid to start off small'.
Here was our last belt ceremony. That was approximately one month of our promotion ceremony and this was just the intermediate class. You can kind of see how we're growing over the years. Here's our new academy. It's 5,400 square feet and we just purchased the building. We have worked out a great deal with our landlords and we're able to buy the building. A little bit of time here, we moved from one to the other. It does take time and I'll cover that as we move forward.
Ways to avoid common pitfalls. Realize it's hard work - but so is everything else. Too many times when I attend webinars or conferences and I hear people up there [say],"Oh it's easy if you do this, it's easy if you do that." Well nothing's easy! Everything's hard work. Your black belt wasn't easy but it was worth it, and so is this. But you have to believe that and you have to understand you're going to hit pitfalls, you're going to run into road blocks, you're going to battle through adversity and challenges. But it's the same thing as battling for your black belt. You didn't give up there, you don't want your students to give up, so I'm here to tell you, "Don't give up on your dream either. You can make it happen!"
Next thing and I talked about that a little bit earlier, that previous slide. Starts small in order to grow your business. Sometimes too big too soon, that's all gone too fast. So yes it's a journey, but so is going to black belt. I'll keep reference on that , the reference there about the journey to black belt, because that's a journey we've all been on. If you think about that journey and think about how you're going to apply that journey to everything else in your life, especially the business side, it's going to be all new at first. Well everything's new to a white belt too, but as you continue to grow and moving forward, you start to learn things as you go but you have to keep an open mind. So start small, think big but start small with what you can afford.
And then I put down here also - have your friends. When you get a building, save as much as you can on renovation cost, have your friends. Maybe even some students to do wipe out lessons, have them help you with renovating your space, so you don't have a lot of pocket cost right off the bat.
There is no magic bullet. There is no overnight success or 1 to 100 overnight. You can get there but just like it says up here: Realize it's hard work - but so is everything else. Avoid all these companies telling you it's quick and it's easy. If somebody tells you it's quick and it's easy, you need to get out of there as quickly as you can because it's not. But once again, it's worth it, you got to put in the time.
Doing all the little things. All the little things would add up to make the big things. It's kind of the Compound Effect. That's an excellent book here I've read by Darren Hardy. He's the founder of Success magazine; it's called the Compound Effect. He talks about that very thing about one little thing, day in and day out, adds to another little thing, another little thing, and that's how you get the big things. / you're not going to get the big boom all at once. And sometimes, I've talked to many businesses and martial arts academies that they disappear, too big too soon. They went from, I don't know maybe 25 students, and they did a big movie premiere, and bang! Suddenly they had 75 students beating at their doors. Well that's great, but they didn't have the experience nor the staff to facilitate that. And what happens, / up and below their initial 25 and a lot of headaches and heartaches along the way there. So slow grower's best, you want to just continuously trickle effect moving forward doing all the right things and learning from the mistakes you make.
Here's kind of a big one for me here. Don't be negatively influenced by a federation. I know a lot of our friends out there are a part of organizations and federations, and that's absolutely fine. I was with an organization for over 26 years. But over time our values, core values and everything what I believe we stood for started drifting further and further away. I want to stay with my values and the values were honor, integrity and respect, and it's / federation mindset it was all about who's mightier, who's got a lower Dan number, you got to bow to your sensei, you got to listen to what I'm saying because I'm your senior, even though the senior didn't own a studio or a business, they were trying to tell you how to run the business, which obviously doesn't lead to success. I just put down here and this is true for anything in life - the people you surround yourself with will determine your growth and success.
There's an old saying by Jim Rohm - if you surround yourself with four successful people, four people with honor, integrity and respect, you're going to be the fifth one. Simply because those people are going to lift you up. However if you surround yourself with four negative people, four people that are envious of everybody, four people that casually talk negative, they don't practice what they preach - well you're going to be the fifth one, they're going to pull you down. So this is absolutely huge. I'm not saying leave if you're happy, and the federation's doing what works with you, stay with them. But if you got a doubt and you feel “this would hold me back”, it's probably a good chance to get out of this.
Ways to avoid common pitfalls is to join honorable Facebook groups. I want you to focus on this word here - honorable Facebook groups. I'm part of how many different Facebook groups and just because your name isn't on this list, doesn't mean they're not honorable. I'm just sharing the two that I follow the most. There's others that I'm in and out of but Martial Arts Business Alliance and Dojo Nation Times. I think those are two solid groups that have a lot of input and a lot of knowledge from successful martial artists. And the most important factor is they're honest, they'll all tell you, you need feedback that goes back and forth that look it's not easy but it is possible.
Next one - watch webinars such as this one here. Attend conferences and read, read, read, read. The book you don't read could be the book that gives you the / that you need to put over the top. And here's the thing, / says I don't have time for webinars, I don't have time for conference, I don't have time to read. Well I used to say the exact same thing and guess what, I wasn't getting any better. My numbers weren't going up, I wasn't getting any smarter, I wasn't able to figure out how I couldn't get over this hump. So I started making just a little bit time each day for these things. Before you know it, by making time to attend webinars, to attend conferences and to read, just set a little bit of time, everything else starts to flow too. I found that I'm making more time because I wasn't spending as much time on non-practical things, I was able to figure out answers a little bit quicker.
Another thing - spend money on professional services. It could be more than $100 for a lawyer to look over your lease, it could be less, and it's kind of $800 a good average number there. I really strongly emphasize you're doing this. Our first lease at our first location that I mentioned, we put everything we had my savings into it. As a matter of fact I drained my savings account, maxed our credit card, put everything we had into building this place and making it look nice, just for the landlord to sell the building for new people to come in, bought the building. Well, when I started rent the building, it was pretty much a /, we put everything into it. Then new people came in. I don't know, I trusted them, it was my mistake, I should've had a lawyer look at the lease, I really didn't. I said, "Well $100, I'll look it over the last lease was fine, it should be good." Well, it was wrong. I don't want to say they took advantage of me because that would be blaming them. I'm the one that signed the lease, so I'm responsible for my actions. However, if I would had a lawyer look it over, he or she would've realized that this was not a good lease to go into. Long story short, my rent was $600 a month, and when the new people bought it, it went to $1,200, 1,800, 2,400 a month. / $600 a month lease payment and there's no way in the world that's going to make $2,400 a month lease payment. A lot of bad things happened from that, but as we tell our kids and our students you get knocked down, you get two choices, later and cry about it, but get your butt back up and battle back. That's exactly what we did.
The next thing after we battled back from this major downfall here was spent a few bucks on proven software platform. And of course I highly recommend ChampionsWay. I've been with them since 2009 I believe, by attending these webinars, conferences, and reading the materials that they suggested and others I met through the ChampionsWay family, I've been able to grow the business to numbers we're on now.
As I mentioned we're able to finalize and buy our building, and continue expanding on that, which is something wasn't even a thought before. I had the vision but I didn't know how to connect the dots and get from A to B. So I spent some money on a proven software company, it will save you so many headaches, it'll save you so much wasted time trying to track things. I tried to track things on Excel, I was never very good at it. I was always late in collecting payments. Attendance tracking was terrible. Just every little new ones and I'll get to those later, but it's important to have a software company that you know, trust and believe in, but how much time it's going to save you on the back end.
Misconceptions - things you really need to know. First one is and I kind of touched on this a little earlier. You may have the best round kick in town and you may have 15 World titles and you maybe a black belt in six different arts. That is great, I highly praise and commend you on those things. Those are some things you've earned, they're dear to you. But the reality of things, right here - moms don't know what this means anyway. They don't know half the styles, they know what their friends suggested or they know what they saw when the kid was watching the Ninja Turtles or Karate Kid. They don't know any of this stuff. And most importantly - they really don't care. All they care about is how are you going to help my child. This was absolutely huge to me and I'm not saying I had the best round kick, but we always say, "Hey we're better because our techniques are sharper and I travel all over the world. I've been to Korea I don' know how many different times, and I train with this guy and that guy." Big deal! The parents are like, "Okay. What are you going to do with my child?" When I was able to realize that, hopefully I should've realized it sooner than later, and hopefully you guys by listening to me and there's sincerity in my voice, I'm being honest here - these people don't care about that stuff. How are you going to help their child - that's what we have to focus on.
Next thing and this is for most of the guys out there. Macho ego does not pay the bills, okay. I'm not saying soften your curriculum, I'm not saying / your core values, but I am saying this, "Guys, being testosterone-filled guys do not pay the bills." Everywhere we go, when you go places and / "Oh, well you're a black belt. You do /, you do Brazilian Jujitsu, do you fight in the cage, do you have a cage, how many you can train, and you fought this guy." Okay, that's all cool being macho but most of the time unless that's the academy that you're running, it's not going to pay your bills. If that's your academy, that's fine. But most of this, our biggest populace is kids, so we want to make sure we cater to our kids. Not changing who we are to getting into a testosterone battle with this guy because six years ago he trained with somebody else / somebody else. So let go of your macho ego.
Customer service, customer service, customer service. You must create an environment that people want to be at. Think of it yourself. Would you want to go to a place that makes you feel uncomfortable, would you want to go to a place that makes you feel uneasy? No! Well, guess what, neither do our customers. That's what they are, they're paying our bills. But I want to keep / point here. I'm not saying you change who you are. I'm just saying you invest in your product and do the best you can. i understand there's misconceptions - that's a tough word today for some reason, and the things you must know.
Be you - that kind of ties this in together. Do what you do and do it better than anyone else. I go around to schools, as a matter of fact these last three months I've probably given 200 presentations to grade school, middle school, high school kids and then different companies about this very thing - be you, do what you do and do it better than anyone else. In other words believe in your purpose. You got something that nobody else has, believe in that. And by all means, don't get sucked into every new fad. Sometimes as martial artist, we see the next shiny red ball - "Oh I got to do that! Oh I got to do this!" No, be you. If you spread yourself out in trying to do too many things that aren't you, you're going to lose total control. And when you lose control, what do you do then? Well most of the time you're going to blow things up and start all over. So avoid this. I'm not saying, [if] you got a good martial arts program and part of that you want to add a kickboxing program, that you've got the staff and people to facilitate that, then do it. But if you don't, be / of that, because when you spread yourself too thin, you can't focus on your main thing. So be very careful of this one.
Here's a question that's kind of haunted me forever. I always felt I taught exceptionally great classes. I was a PE teacher for 11 years, I got a degree in kinesiology education, that's a study of human movement in the education part, the teacher part. I go in there just like I'm sure everyone out there, you give everything you've got. The teacher absolute very best classes. So the mindset is that's all i got to do, I teach classes and the business will take care of itself.
Great classes are extremely important. They are probably top of the list as the most important. But guess what, so are paying bills. What I mean by that is if you take your eye off, you don't pay attention to it, you're going to be able to pay bills. And this is coming from a guy that work 100+ hours a week. I was teaching during the days as PE teacher, going to the academy at night, and then staying up half the night working on business things, trying to pay bills, and would be holy smokes, I just worked 100 and something hours this week and I still can't pay the bills. How is that possible? Well the reason it's possible is because I didn't focus on the business side. You've got to spend time on the business side. Now I thought I was spending time on the business side because I would sit down once or twice a week and pay the bills with the few dollars I had, but I really wasn’t treating the business like a business, which I'd get into just a minute here.
What I had, I can't trust anyone else to teach my classes. People are paying me to have me teach their kids. People are paying me because I'm the master. People are paying me because I'm the guy that's supposed to be teaching the class. Well, this was probably as hard as this would for me, and those out there listening if you have trouble with this thing, I'm not saying just turn your classes over to anybody. But what I am saying is right here - train your people and develop system along the way. This is something I felt like I was training them, but I really wasn't training them to be instructors. I was just training them as students. You know there’s two or three or more students that you think, "Man, this kid is going to be a great instructor, or maybe this teenager's going to be a great instructor." It doesn't matter what rank they are, if you see it, if you feel it, go with your gut and start pumping in their head. I've got a kid, ever since he was an orange belt, he was a standout, and I [knew] he was going to be one of our instructors. It didn't happen overnight but I kept telling him, "Daniel, you're going to be one of our instructors one of these days. I'm so proud of you." What do you think that did to him? That lit him up, his eyes, "Oh yeah, I'm going to be one of your instructors?" That's a 7-year-old kid. Well guess what,, eight years later he's 15 years old, and now he's one of our instructors. [It] didn't happen overnight, but continuously training the mindset. That's something I didn't start doing until just a few years ago, which is another thing that really inhibit growth, was develop system along the way. My excuse was I don't have time for that, I've got to be teaching classes, I've got to be going out here making sure I got more people coming in. Yes those things are important, but take the few minutes, jot down and develop system along the way. Because if you don't, you're going to forget about it. Or you're going to do what I did which is, "You know what, I'll just handle it, I'll do everything." And for the longest time I was a one-man band, meaning I was teaching every class, I was replying to every email, I answered every phone call, talk to every parents, sign everybody up, and just going absolutely nuts and spinning around like a dog chasing its tail and you just never catch up.
Another book I'm going to throw at you, you'll see it later on in the slide is called the E-Myth, the Entrepreneur Myth, it's by a guy named Michael Berber. When I read this book, I felt like Michael Berber was talking directly to me. He was talking about having the entrepreneurial mindset, that’s what the E stands for, but you also have to be the technician, and you also have to be the manager. So you're running three different shows at once here, kind of a three-ring circle all by yourself by continuous working in your business, you're unable to grow your business. That was a big part about building and developing the systems.
What you must know and of course that's the title all these little things I'm telling to you, and I hope you're taking notes and listening because these are all the things that I wished somebody would've told me. Now I'm sure the material was out there but I didn't know how to look for it I guess, but I didn't. No excuses, I just didn't do it. But by being on this webinar today, you're taking an active step and that's why I want to give everything I can to help you get to a level of success that you can become. / I probably talk about it for the last 20 minutes here - treat your business like a business and you have to do that. No if's and/or but's. And it's not that you're a sell-out, it's not that you're "I got to make money and I don't care about quality technique." No, you can have both, but you have to make sure you pay attention to the business.
Most of us open a karate studio, why? Why do we open a studio? Because we love martial arts. We wanted to share our love with others. We saw and we know the positive impact that martial arts had on us and it's had on many others that we've been a part of. And we want to share that with others. That's the *best* reason to open a studio. If you want to open a studio just to make money, your heart's not on the right place and it's probably not going to work. Open it for the right reasons - the love, but treat it like a business. Oh that kind of follows up I'm sorry, I jump ahead of myself.
Why do we do it? Because we love the business and sometimes we just don't know much about the business. Don't be ashamed of that, don't be embarrassed of that.
You don't know what you don't know. I know as masters you felt that you're supposed to know everything, that kind of federation I was brought up in, When you're the Master, you're the master, you know everything and you can never show weakness. You can never show that you don't know something. Well that's... whatever. I mean I'm so against that now, but that was the kind of I was conditioned for 26 years in my brain there. I'm better than that saying, "I don't know much about business or I didn't know much about business." So I went out there and found out who did and how to make myself better at it. To me that's the humility of what a black belt is all about, it's saying and realizing you don't know something and in finding the resource in order to educate you to become better. Because how do we get better, how do we help our students to become better? By learning more to help them become better.
Alright, here we go, here, Step 2: Your Business Must be Clean and Smell Good. Here's a picture, this was our the front back mat. We've had this front mat for a handful of years now, since 2011, and we've continuously added to it. Always fresh paint, cleaning the floors, all the little touches. We just had carpet not too long ago. This was the big renovation project that took seems like forever but we got it done, we stayed with it, and now we've got two mats. We got a front mat and a back mat.
Now, to talk about my first studio, this back mat, if you cut that baby in half, that was the amount of training space that I had at the first location. So I started all small but I kept mentioned that friends help me renovations trying to keep cost down, and we had a pretty good thing going. And unfortunately I signed that goofy lease and messed things up. That's where the business is a business. If you're not a lawyer, you don't understand leases and contracts, you need to make sure you get somebody that does.
So - clean, clean, clean. That is a part of our checklist. Between classes, we clean it up. We walk in through, doing a quick little walkthrough. We're saying hi and high-fives the kiddos and the parents, we're checking the bathrooms. Always clean.
Big thing here, I put this on a couple slides. So you'll see two different slides coming up because I believe in this. Ask yourself, and we're going to get
deep down and personal. Ask yourself:
- Would you pay what you're charging for classes to go someplace else?
- Does your studio represent who you are?
- Would you send your own kids there?
You have to firmly say yes, yes, yes on all these. If there's a hesitation, then there's an area you need to correct, because you're asking people to pay you but yet you wouldn't pay it. You're asking people to come to a studio that represents the values that you want but you're not teaching them. And yeah I love my place here but I wouldn't send my kids there, well guess what, neither would anybody else. So make sure you clean, smell good, and these three questions on another slide. In fact Pei, when I sent the slide over to her, she sent them back saying, "Hey I think you messed up and doubled your slides up." No actually I didn't mess up, I had them all on purpose. And it was all about these three point again. You must provide the absolute very best service. Once again - ask yourself if you would pay what you charge over these classes, your studio represents who you are and would you send your kids there. Service, service, service. Once again that does not mean you sacrifice quality. You can do both, but answer these three questions. And these are three things I wish I would've known a long time. I felt like I knew them, but to be honest I did not see it from that point of view. I saw it from, "I'm Master Grogan, I'm teaching the classes, and heck yeah I know what I'm teaching." Does anybody else know? You have to make sure it's there.
Look at this smile on this little guy's face. You know how many times this picture was shared and posted? I was there for the graduation ceremony. So even though you may get out of the realm of teaching every class, make sure on the special events you're there. That's service, that's what the parents are looking for.
It's not about you. It's about what you can do for me and my kids. We live in a WIIFM society. WIIFM is What's In It For Me and that's all parents care about. What's in it for me and what can you do for my kids. It reflects back earlier, we talked about, "Yeah well I got the best round kick around, I got all these world titles, I've got all this and that." People don't care. That's great that you have credentials, and by all means you need credentials. But this is what it is - what can you do to help my child become a success, what can you do to help my child develop the courage and confidence they need, to raise their hands at school, to stand up to a bully, to focus more to get better grades at school. That's what it's about. Ranks and titles are features, self-esteem and self-confidence are benefits. So this is something actually Vahid with ChampionsWay, I had a great long conversation with him on a number of occasions. He is that pounded this in my mind - doesn't matter what ranks and titles, those are just features. Yes they're great, but features. Benefits are what parents want - self-esteem, self-confidence. And this was his big selling point here - features versus benefits.
Features tell - they tell a story. But benefits sell your product, sell your service, sell your program. So focus on those.
The Dark Side. This is something and I put here the ugly side your instructor never told you about, more commonly known as "The Business Side". You got a picture of Darth Vader, the dark side. My instructor was great and my seniors but none of them ever shared the business side. So I developed that mindset that "Hey just teach great classes, everything else will take care of itself." Well suddenly 24 hours has turned into 40+ hours. As I mentioned I even went beyond that because I was working full time job to make ends meet at the same time, so then you get into 60, 100 hours a week and you're just spinning in circle.
You're getting phone calls and emails but you're not getting back around to calling them back, why? You're one person, you can't do everything. I was never told how to do these things. And a lot of you out there, maybe you got a background in business, if you do, man that's awesome! But I know most of us were martial artists, we're not business people. But in order to run a successful business we have to focus on the business side.
So Johnny's quitting and you don't know why, and now his mom wants a refund. How do you handle that?
+ Well, you know Johnny just doesn't want to do it anymore."
- Why not?"
+ Well he wants to do baseball now, or he wants to do hockey. He just doesn't want to do it anymore. And since we already paid for the month, can I get a refund?"
How do you handle that? Nobody ever taught me how to handle that but that's a tough one. You don't know these things, now you're handling this.
You have belt testing on Saturday, but in the midst of handling Johnny quitting, trying to get back the phone calls, you forgot to order belts. So some of us out there but that happened too, it's happened to all of us, and here's the thing, this is why this is so important. I mentioned earlier about writing systems. Well you're out of belts so I can focus on gosh I can't let that happen again! Here's the deal: if you don't write a system to remind you to order belts, it will happen. I would love to say, "Well there's been one time I fix the problem." It didn't. As a matter of fact, last month we had an overflow of advancements and I turn them over to one of our instructors who's kind of / Program Director. And we had a system but guess what, the system wasn't complete. I left off a couple minor details to look in advance, and we were able to swipe by but we had to put some kids in some bigger belts than we wanted, because we had a little bit inventory kind of overstock, but it still happened.
So when you were writing those systems, be as detailed as possible. Here's the little tip that actually is kind of presented itself this past month was write the system not for you to understand it, but write the system for the person you're going to train to do to understand it. And you're like how do I know that? How you know that is you include every detail. Some of the systems I write is how you're going to a bath? If you walk in, you look to see if there's water on the floor. If there is, you wipe it up. Make sure there's toilet paper on the roll, make sure there's a backup roll of toilet paper. You can't assume anything, and you know the acronym for ASSUME, right? You make a out of you and me, if you haven't heard that before just write the word ASSUME and break it up into sections.
Okay, 10 of your students this month are late on the payments. This was something I did before I went to ChampionsWay, it handles all our payments now, it's all automated so I don't have to worry about that. I know for the most part what's coming in every month, which now a peace of mind that allows you to know what bills you're going to be able to pay and then what money / allocate toward renovations or new equipment. But students are / happen to me all the time. Ten students, here it is the second of the month, they were late on payments, and I go to them, "Hey, you guys are late on your payment. Could you get caught up ?" I would hear this so many times, it drove me nuts, it would be, "Well we miss half the month, we still have to pay for the whole month?" Those out there that have heard that before you know exactly what I'm talking about. And that puts you in a tough situation. I was like, "Yeah had been for the whole month," they will disappear, come back a month or two later, and the cycle would start itself all over again. Once again - that's the business side, the ugly side maybe you're never told about. Oh well there we go, I've got the slide was there, what I just said.
And then of course at all of this that going on and look out, bills are due, how do you pay the bills? Well, I don't know, I'm out of belts, Johnny's quitting and this person wants a refund because they're quitting and this person hasn't paid, they're not here, I got to pay bills. All these things happen and you suddenly realize that you may be master of the martial arts, but you're a white belt at the business. And the fact that you're taking time to be on the webinar today, that says something about you. You got a humble mind, you got a white belt mindset, you're always willing to learn. As I always talked about, you may be a black belt or master belt around your waist, but the humble white belt in mind to continue learning.
Treat your business like a business. The little things that make the biggest difference. You cannot run in the door at the last minute right before classes are starting.
And I'm embarrassed to say this - I used to do this more than I would like, and I run in from thing to thing. I got three kids, I tried to spend some time with my kids when they were growing up too. So like well I've got 15 minutes so I tried to cram half an hour's worth of work into 15 minutes and then of course I was late, running there and there's nothing more embarrassing than having students wait on you to open the door. But then you get in there, your mindset's not right, and you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off, ill-prepared, and guess what as much as you think you taught your best class, you taught the best class you could with the preparations you had. Take the time to write out lesson plan, winging it. Fail to plan and you plan to fail, flat out. You may have taught this lesson, you may have taught how to throw around a round kick 500 times, but the simple act of just taking a few minutes to write out is going to open the mind of creativity and the classes are going to be so much better, because you're going to be more excited and it's going to open up other thoughts, oh I never thought about doing this, oh I never thought about doing that! I've got another webinar I did with ChampionsWay, it talks about planning. And then there's another one called the three easy steps to 100 students. You may want to check those out. I spend a great deal of time talking about these things, which we just don't have time for it today but check those other webinars out because they spent a lot of time talking about these very things that I'm presenting right now.
Guessing and hoping. You can't guess and hope that you know what the stats and incoming finances are. You can't do it. And this is coming from a guy that did that, I did it. I hope I knew what was going on but as I said, I get the other / after working more hours than anybody should and I still couldn't pay the bills. So I thought, "I know we've got 25, 30 students here." But guess what - I only had 10 students paying. There's a huge difference with 10 students paying and 25 students paying.
Trying to do everything yourself. You can only play a one-man band for so long and that's doing everything. I know everybody's saying, "Well I can't hire somebody right now, I can't do this." You can help with the mindset this person's going to be an instructor. Start having them help out in class, plant that seed in their mind. And trying to do what you don't know how. Well you only know what you know and if you don't know how to handle the business areas, that's where you're going to get advice and suggestions. Reach out. There's plenty of conferences, there's plenty of things on Facebook, and as I mentioned trust your gut. We tell women in our self-defense classes when it doesn't feel right, don't do it. So if somebody's giving you a quick fix that doesn't feel right, don't do it okay. Hold out. And if you / all these things, your business is going to die, it truly is. There's nothing more discouraging than killing yourself. Putting everything you can into a business for it to end up dying on you.
Part 2 about treating your business like a business - get business help, get business help, shall I say it third time? Get business help, the sooner the better. You can't do, you don't know what you don't know, get help. Your time is too valuable to spend it on and you're wasting money. I went to a conference, I don't know how many different conference they talk about the same thing. If you value your time at $100 an hour, but yet you're spending time doing things that maybe somebody else could do for $10 an hour, why are you wasting your time on that? I know, I was the same way - I don't have the time to train somebody, but I do have the time to waste $100 an hour. Think about that for a minute. Take the time, start tracking it now, start creating your systems now. The wise warriors willing to learn, the arrogance soldier already knows everything. And you know what right there, that summarizes Master Grogan a few years ago - oh I know everything about everything because I'm a Master. I wasn't very humble although number one black belt principle is humility, I wasn't living it because I had no fear, I know it all. That's not being a wise warrior. Being a wise warrior will help you to success, because once again - you don't know what you don't know.
There is a business that don't lie and will not take care of themselves, and if you don't watch them, boom! That's what's going to happen. Stats and numbers - they don't lie. They do not lie, but they also do not take care of themselves. / one thing but I don't have time for stats and numbers, I just don't have time for them. How can I track stats and numbers when I'm teaching every class and I'm doing all the other things inside the business?
Important of stats and number, inquiries and leads, phone, website, social media, follow up calls. You've got to know what's coming in.
Appointments and intros, confirmation calls. And as I mentioned I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on this because the time allowed today we don't have time for. But these things are covered in great detail in the other couple webinars I'd done with ChampionsWay so you can just check those out, and we're going to break details about these.
Trial offers, beginner specials, 2-4-6 calls.
Five years ago I had no idea what any of this stuff was, truly I didn't. Active count, A, B, C, and N/A students. A is if they attend minimum twice a week. That's awesome attendance. B, borderline, they're dropping on to C, or borderline going up to awesome student. C is getting close to see you later. And then N/A, not active is basically the attendance that's dropping now. I never knew any of this stuff either. Matter of fact I never had attendance tracking program at all. I've tried little sign-in book but I never had time to follow up on it, it was always my vision. But once again, am I promoting ChampionsWay? Yeah and the reason I'm promoting them is because I know what they've done for me. They have helped me when I knew none of these things, what even what these were, have helped me really identify what they are and help utilize those stats and numbers to grow our business, knowing what to focus on. Most importantly not having to spend extra time on this because it's already done on the background. All I do is prep reports and I tell you what a convenience that is. You don't have to make them up, they already done it for you.
Get help as soon as possible. You truly cannot afford not to. I hear this all the time. I go to conferences and it's exactly right because I've done it for years - step over $1 to save pennies. I can't afford that because I don't have the money. I'm stepping over things, wasted my $100 an hour to save a penny an hour. Get a company that can help you, get with somebody, pay them to do some of the minor task [for] $8, 9, 10 an hour, or swap out services. Say, "Hey you know what, I can see you're really smart with numbers, you're really smart with this and that, how about if I reduce your tuition rate to this cost and you help me out of a few hours a week with this?" Bang! It's win-win solution. You can't do it alone, say that over and over again. You're going to waste money, you're going to burn money, and trying to do it alone, you're not going to have growth. But you learn that you can't, you get help, then growth's going to be right ahead.
Train and delegate. Once again you can't do it alone and this is another step I go into in a great detail in the other webinars. Find and mold your superstars, potential instructors and assistants, and parent volunteers. Have them help out. You can swap out like I said with tuition payments. Here's a little picture of me and my staff just kind of go over some reports there, just talking to them. Spend the little extra time to do it, it will pay for it in the long run. It was one of our T&T. We call our staff development program T&T - Dynamite and T for Training. They're dynamite because they are, they're rock stars, they're superstars. Here's the thing, you can teach just about anybody anything, but you really can't teach attitude, passion and desire. They have to have that and those are the core three I would look for in any of our instructor team.
Consistency with your training, weekly meetings, and open communication. If you've heard me talk about the other setbacks or failures or things I've done wrong, for the longest time we weren't consistent with our meetings. We'd have it, I got tied up, so you know what that 10 minutes still, we're not going to have our meeting today, you guys go ahead and discuss a couple things we need to work on. Well you're turning teenagers and 20-year-olds loose with no direction on what to do, they're going to wander around like ducks in water. They don't know what they're doing. You have to be consistent. Now that baby is stamped in there, we know every Monday 3 o'clock is our instructor training. We haven't missed one and if we have a holiday on Monday, we roll that baby over to Tuesday.
Open communication, let them know they can come to you and talk to you about anything. Have that open communication. They need to have your cellphone number. Try to condition them to figure things out on their own but it's better to text you or call you instead of them making a mistake. But that's all about your conditioning and your training.
Teach only excellent classes, never just good classes. Great lesson planning. You heard me talk about this, and as I mentioned two or three times I've got a whole webinar that talks just about this. Great lesson planning, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Know that it's two ways about it. A great football coach, if they don't have a great lesson plan or a great plan of action for the week, they fail to plan, then they're actually planning to fail. Doesn't mean because you got the best plan in the world that's going to lead to success, but it's going to lead to more success than it is without having a plan altogether.
Excellent curriculum, excellent design. You've got to offer more than just punching and kicking. Anybody can flop their arms and legs around. And in today's society where everybody's black belt, everybody's a master, and everybody's got 15 different black belts, parents don't know the difference of flopping their arms and legs around. Make sure your curriculum focus on developing the student. Yeah we want them to throw outstanding techniques but we also want them to be outstanding members of society, growing up with confidence and believe in themselves, manners, discipline, respect.
Outstanding instruction. You and your instructors must bring their very best to every single class. There is no off days, there is no "Oh it's one of those days".
Our instructors know, our front desk know, our staff know, yeah you may feel that way but when you walk in that dojo, you bow the door, you empty your cup, you hang all your stress on the stress tree that's outside, your baggage, you walk in, you take a breathe, bang! I am here to inspire, I am here to motivate, and I'm here to bring out the very best. Nobody pays you to hear all your problems, because as far as they know we have no problems. We're the /, we're the martial arts instructors. We're going to help them become their very best and live their best life. We have to bring that to the table. We can't burn the wire and complaining.
These things, what are they going to do? Increase your retention. / mindset is it's much easier to retain a student than it is to get a new student.
Moving on here - fun and exciting classes. Teaching good technique does not have to be boring. Camouflage repetition, over and over again. Switch things up, have fun. You can work on a round kick the entire night as long as you change it up. If you walk up and down the mat for 45 minutes teaching about a round kick, that's going to get boring. So have a plan and change it up.
/ say here, kids get bored but parents are the one to quit. When kid gets bored, "I don't want to do it anymore." That's it. The parents are out. As much as you create a value with it, rarely parents are going to argue with the kids. However if you let the parents know the value of what you're doing and talk to them and show them what's going on, when the kid comes to them for being bored, the parent's going to [say], "You know what, I like the values we're getting here." But if the kid continuously comes to the parent, they hate it, they're going to quit. Parents are always going to end up doing what the kids want. It's unfortunate but that's what happens. There's an old saying we've got, it says, "Every parent wants their child to learn to discipline, manners, respect, but yet they're not willing to make kids do anything they don't want to do." So make it fun, make it exciting.
Must be balanced, great value for the parents but also great fun and excitement for the kids. This is easy - absolutely not. Is worth it? Yes, it is, put in the time.
Mat chats, this is the value of doing something besides just punching and kicking. Talking to kids about structured mat chats, character development, life skills, message of the week. Three to five minutes every class. When we first started this, instructors, "Ah there's no way I can do it, I can't fit it in." I said, "We have a choice, we're fitting it in." And it was tough. But it's paid tremendous dividends moving forward.
Surround yourself with successful people, honor, integrity is in your heart not on your patch. That kind of gets back to the federation mindset that I was a part of. Well you had to have a patch in order to have honor because you had to be with this organization. No, I don't believe that anymore at all. Honor and integrity's in your heart, what you're doing to help your community, your society, these kids. It's not displayed on a patch, especially if the patch has lost all honor and integrity. So remove yourself from negative influences. An old saying here, "Lose money fast. Ask me how." That's continuing to surround yourself with this type of people, that's exactly what's going to happen to you.
Value, treasure, and protect your students. Do not nickel-and-dime them, do not take advantage of them, do not carry the mindset that "I'm the Master and I know all." Yes, they know that. If you have to continuously tell the parents of your students that you're the Master, I always have to ask who you're trying to prove that to, yourself or them? Your actions speak loudly. You value, treasure and protect your students, and give them all you got, yeah you're going to lose some of them along the way, but for the most part you're going to hang on to the others. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
Success leaves clues, it does. Every successful person has built, just like this, success, you're following their footsteps. Doesn't mean you're going to agree with everything they say and do, probably not. But there's enough successful people out there that you can pick and choose from the ones you want. Read, learn, attend webinars and events, seminars and conferences, and follow along. Probably the most important thing - white belt mindset. You've got to think like a white belt, everything is new. You can learn a lot from even a person that you / "No way I would ever teach classes like him or her. There's no way I'd ever do what they're doing." Right? Well you've just confirmed your convictions that you don't want to do it that way. But sometimes it's good to see bad instructors or, I shouldn't say bad, just people that teach differently than you do, to reconfirm that's not your purpose, that's not who you are.
Surround yourself with successful people, of course ChampionsWay has done so much for me and my growth and development. I'm hard pressed not to say them. They're elite, all-in-one software company, dealing interact student lead, nurturing, staff tracking, automated emails, reports, dashboard, 24-hour support, they do it all.
Now here's the thing and I don't know how many people I talk to have joined ChampionsWay then give me a call saying, "You said they would do it all!" You still have to work the software, okay. They have the template there for you but you still have to work the software and setup what you want since everybody's different.
That's the beautiful thing about ChampionsWay. It's a template that's laid out for almost everybody, but you can customize it in certain areas to help you out. Some of these reports, scenarios that you want to track and focus on, they're there. If you don't want to use other ones, you don't have to, but the reports are there. You still have to put work and learn it, just like you have to learn anything - to learn a new form, a new yang, a new kata, you have to put in time to learn that, well same thing here. You got to put a little time learning it but the time you invest upfront I promise you with everything I am, it's going to pay massive dividends in the long run. Well actually in the short run and as you continue learn it and as you move forward with that white belt mindset, it's going to continue to help out more.
Dave Kovar - this is my new mentor. He's a part of ProMAC, it's Professional Martial Arts College. He's got the Instructor's Toolbox, essentially a blueprint on how to run a successful business. This is the software and this is the mentor. You may not well I got so much money to go around, I would start off here, getting this in place and then move in to here and learn how to do everything you do with the business better. And of course if you want to go here first then develop into this, whatever works best for you. But I'm telling you, I was using Excel and I could not keep up trying to enter data in three different things. You had a data runs here, boom! it tracks across all your other data or reports.
/ Dave Kovar, an amazing man, nobody in the martial arts industry has anything negative to say about him. He's honorable, he's passionate, he does everything with integrity and respect. And like I mentioned, this is my mentor, I truly believe in him. And guess where I met Dave Kovar? Through ChampionsWay of that. This is where I met most of the people that I now associate with and follow, all through getting out and going through different conferences and events.
Great books and great authors, that this was all inspired. I use it all the time when I give speeches and presentation. Five years ago I wasn't even sure if I can read. In the last five years I've devoured well over 100 books and attended numerous conferences, and you just make time for it. And I found out about Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohm, and I listen to a few others to this that I have room for. New guy I really like is Simon / and Jeffrey /, all from going to different conferences that ChampionsWay talking to people and oh this is somebody I'd really like, oh this is somebody I really like, and here's some of the books: "E-Myth Revisited", "How to Win Friends and Influence People", "The Success Principles", "The Big Leap", a book called "Mindset", copy this slide. And these are just a few of my favorites. There's only so much room for some. But if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, it's Kick'n Life Guru, I posted some of the books that I'm reading. I have a podcast that I record weekly. I also film weekly little 2-minute inspirational videos and I reference different books that I'm reading. So that's another way to kind of follow what I'm doing and then also know the people that I'm surrounding myself with.
Keys to remember:
#1. Treat your business like a business, you have to do it. It will not take care of itself.
#2. Teach only excellent classes. "Good is Never Great" - that's another great book by Jim Collins. Good is never great, good will never be great. Only excellent classes, so make sure you prepare for your classes. If you've taught 100 times and you got a mindset "I know this forward and back", that's exactly when you need to take time to sit down and write out a lesson plan to create excitement.
#3. Surround yourself with successful people.
You surround yourself with people that aren't successful, people that are negative, people that bring you down, you're going to be down. You only have so much strength to bring so many people up.
Surround yourself with successful people, not only they're going to bring you up but you're going to have more energy and passion to bring others up.
You can do it! Too many times we tell our students, "I know that you can do it, I believe in you, Johnny, I believe you can do this!" But yet you share all that with them but sometimes we don't believe in our own abilities, because we are too focused on the ego mindset. White belt mindset, you can do it, but you must be willing to learn. You got to learn what you don't know.
Attitude and mindset of warriors - realize that you've got what it takes and you've got the spirit to make it happen. Realize that it's going to be a battle but so is everything else. You got a battle your whole life. Battle doing something you truly love and you know you got to have to fight for it.
Cool movie down here, those who have seen it "300", realizing the greatest warriors don't fight alone, they have a team. So the greatest warrior ever couldn't do it without these other 300 companions. There it is, bang! You can do it! It's pouncing out at you because I truly want you to believe that you can and know that you can. Same message you say to your students, believe that yourself.
Okay, I went on there, I tried to get through this quickly as I could but also covers many topics. As I said, check out those other webinars because they go in great detail about some of the areas that I wasn't able to elaborate on as much as I'd like. Thank you so very much for listening, hopefully you got a ton out of this webinar. Please go back and review it and visit it often. And as I said, surround yourself with great people, treat your business like a business. I'll open to Questions and Answers now, so if you have any questions, I would love to be able to answer them and hopefully set you on the right direction.
Pei En: Thank you so much, Master Grogan, that was fantastic! Your presentation was loaded with lots of great information. I really thought it was great how you drove it home with parents care about what's in it for their children, making it benefits driven, and also getting help when you need. Those are really key things.