Every martial arts school owner I know wants their martial arts business to succeed—myself included.
As more and more martial arts schools spring up, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow quickly and get ahead. Every day there seems to be a new martial arts option in town. Krav Maga, BJJ or MMA gyms seem to be popping up in strip malls all over the valley everywhere I look. Successful martial arts schools are expanding or opening new locations.
Competition is getting incredibly fierce.
What prompted me to write this post was that a martial arts training facility is expanding into my area from the next valley over. And, they are paying through the nose to enter into the market and get noticed in paid search ads on Google. They’re #1 right now on a lot of terms and have bumped my ads down because they are willing to spend the money. It caught my attention and made me think about next steps.
So, here are some tips to help you persevere and grow you martial arts school in a crowded town. I’ve used many of these ideas for years and has helped me grow each and every year since I started. And, I’ll be using these same ideas to help me grow when I have more competition than ever. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
1. Find Your Hustle
If you’re sitting back and waiting for business coming to you, you’re already doomed. Deep down you know you need to get up off your chair, stop watching reruns of Steven Seagal: Lawman and take action. Every single day you should doing at least one thing to move your martial arts school forward. Just do something. Plan events. Brainstorm promotions. Make your classes better. Raise your energy. Be relentless. I have some competitors that seem to be every where. They clearly have hustle. However, so do I. And then some.
2. Never Give Up
It’s easy to push marketing your business when you just got a crop of new students. Just as when you spar, don’t drop your guard. In fact, that’s one of the best times to double your efforts and leverage your momentum. You have to keep pushing to be successful and can’t stop just because times are good today. Tomorrow, you may have 5 people quit or move out of town. I know of so many martial arts school owners who have just stopped trying because it can be draining and difficult. They gave up and are on autopilot as their martial arts dream dies a slow and horrible death. Being a small business is hard. We all know this. There are no easy ways to make it. However, you didn’t give up on getting your black belt. You can’t give up on making your business grow. We all know it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just easy to forget when the phones aren’t ringing. You must persevere.
3. Stretch Yourself
Stretching is something every martial artists is familiar with and an important part of our training. The same thing applies in business. Stretching what you know, who you know, and how to do things are three great ways to stretch yourself. Obviously, you want to avoid stretching yourself too thin (that’s where tip #4 comes in). I try and learn one new thing a day. Sometimes two. I try and meet a new business owner every week. I visit martial arts website’s all over the world. Same with Facebook fan pages. I get so many ideas from doing this. I visit related (and none related) businesses and pick up ideas all of the time. I am constantly learning. More importantly, I’m always trying to grow and actively seek it out. For example, I never thought of myself much of a salesmen. So, I started reading books. I started applying what I learned. I got better. So can you.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
4. Get Some Help
Are you a control freak? You can get more done faster and easier with other people helping you. You know this. But how many of us really leverage OPT? Some use this to mean “other people’s talents” while other’s see this as leveraging “other people’s time.” Either way, it works. All you have to do is ask and you’d be amazed at how many people want to help you. Let them. I am so much farther ahead now than ever because I just asked for help. You can quickly get ahead, too. Just ask.
5. Be Bold
You can’t be boring in business and expect to stand out. I once saw a martial arts school in town teach outside near the sidewalk during rush hour. Believe me, they got noticed. What are you doing to stand out and get noticed?
6. Say Yes More
Saying no can be good for business. However, it can also hurt it. Once I started saying yes to things more often, I quickly realized I could help more people if I just loosened up a bit. And you know what, it worked. Years ago I had a student ask me if I could start doing automated payments. I was reluctant because it meant I had to research things, invest time in calling around, weighing options, learning a new system, etc. But you know what? I’m glad I did and it changed my business. Had I said no, I’d still be chasing down someone’s monthly payment and hating every second of it. What a drain! Are you saying no when you should be saying yes? If so, rent Jim Carey’s “Yes Man” this weekend. It will not only make you laugh but also put this into better perspective. Who knows, it might even inspire you?
7. Become Remarkable
This one is easier than it sounds. One of the best way to grow is be remarkable enough to get people excited to talk about what they learned in your classes. Getting started with this idea isn’t hard. Just look at a few key areas. For example, how are you teaching your classes? Are you energetic or dull? Are they fun or predictable? Do they push people or can everyone slide? Are you constantly introducing new ideas or are you having everyone do the same old? You’d be surprised at how much people love you challenging them, giving them new ideas and making them think.
Push your paying clients in new ways and they’ll in turn help push your business to new levels.
So, I’d really like to know how are you standing out in crowded market. How do you do it?