How can you find out where you stand? I’ve created a measuring tool to help you, whether you are considering opening a school or you own a school and need perspective on your role. You will discover if owning a school is for you, or if you are the right person to own a school. Most of us launch our school with dreams of influencing hundreds of students. As the Core Dynamic of Clarity of Purpose illustrates, that is not enough to make a school grow.
This questionnaire covers 100 key points in 10 categories. It is not scientific, but it is helpful and, according to the guys I tested it on, very powerful.
Score yourself a point for each YES.
There are 10 categories of questions. Of course, there could be more categories and questions, but these questions will stimulate your thinking, helping you to make a good decision.
Martial Arts School Owner Preparation Questionnaire
1. Preparation and timing
2. Your business skills
3. Strategic planning
4. Sales strategies and tactics
5. Systems for student service
6. Profitability timeline
7. Your school as a success
8. The key numbers and assets
9. The Core Dynamics
10. Are you the right person?
Answer each question with Yes or No.
Preparation and Timing
- I have been using the systems I will implement for at least six months. I am not reinventing the wheel.
- My family, attorney, CPA, and mentors are behind this idea.
- I understand that I am not selling my style or my credentials. I am selling benefits and results for my students.
- My school will have low overhead, but I am positioned to expand should I need to within the first two years.
- I am in excellent physical shape.
- My martial arts skills are the best of anyone in the school I learned in.
- I have at least six months of expenses in savings.
- I have been teaching and improving my teaching skills for at least a year.
- I have researched the area and have calculated my Pull Radius and Potential Ratio.
- My space matches my rent, and both match my area. I can see myself grossing ten times my monthly rent within the first year.
- I would rather lead than follow in most situations.
- I am comfortable directing, challenging, and encouraging students and potential staff.
- I do not put off confrontation even if the situation is uncomfortable.
- I would rather fail and correct than not try something new I feel will help.
- I am an expert in martial arts, but I will always have much to learn and am seeking knowledge each day.
- I understand that my expertise in martial arts does not make me an expert in life.
- People tend to look to me for direction in many different situations.
- I respect suggestions, comments, and complaints, regardless of the source.
- I have an attitude of Positive Self Expectancy. I expect, with hard, smart work, that good things will happen to me.
- I place a high value on what I do, and that will be reflected in every aspect of my school, from my logo to my business systems.
- I plan my day and execute my plan each day.
- I understand that the hardest tasks are usually those with the highest return, and I attack them daily.
- I have an annual goal-setting program which I break down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.
- I have created a start-up expense projection and will be able to survive if expenses are twice as high as I’ve projected.
- My marketing plan is weighted towards low-risk/low-cost marketing.
- I know exactly when I will begin promoting the Black Belt Club.
- I know exactly when I will begin promoting my Leadership Team.
- I have a CPA and a business attorney.
- My sales projections are conservative, and my expense projections are high.
- I have created an extensive business plan from scratch.
- I know that I will have to become an excellent sales person.
- I know that I will not be able to delegate selling until I am so skilled at selling I can teach the skills to my staff.
- I can articulate the benefits of martial arts for adults and children in a manner that connects emotionally with my audience.
- I have my scripts memorized cold for:
- Answering the question, “What do you do for a living?”
- Answering the phone.
- Taking a visitor on a tour of the school.
- Performing solo demos.
- Community presentations and speeches.
- Introductory classes.
- Enrollment conferences.
- Black Belt Club upgrades.
- Belt exam motivational speeches (more than 30 motivational speeches for martial arts are on the www.martialartsteachers.com website).
- I understand the key statistics I must track and have a system for tracking and analyzing them daily.
- My marketing materials and logo are professionally designed.
- I am comfortable asking people for money (Value What You Do).
- I use a third-party billing company for tuition processing.
- I have a gift certificate program in place to generate referrals.
- I understand that I don’t get paid until a student enrolls, and I will use a proven system for moving strangers to students and students to black belt.
- I understand that the student and parent are the most important people in the school. My school is student-centric.
- I understand that a complaint is an opportunity to impress my client.
- I understand the 24-hour response rule and live by it.
- My staff will have authority to make students and parents happy without consulting me.
- I post event and exam dates for the coming year in December or January.
- I have a convenient method for making up missed exams.
- I have quantifiable standards for exams, so everyone is clear on the standards of performance at each belt.
- My school is a safe haven of positive encouragement. I do not discuss politics, religion, or negative community events in the school.
- My school will be cleaned every day and then spot-checked throughout the evening.
- My staff and I will work to help students and parents understand and appreciate the benefits of our training and methods. We will not assume they understand them.
Getting to Profits Fast
- I have negotiated a free-rent period.
- I understand that “any bloody fool can write a check or charge a card” and will avoid being a “bloody fool.”
- I understand that every dollar saved is 100-percent profit.
- I understand that wealthy people collect interest, while poor people pay it. I will be wealthy, so I will pay off credit cards each month and NEVER lease anything but the space.
- I have a separate account for retail. I deposit all revenue for retail into this account. I use an American Express card to pay all retail bills, so I am forced to pay it off each month. I build reward miles, so I can take my vacations for free.
- I am the most expensive school in the area and worth it.
- I will use Market Eyes in designing my system instead of Black Belt Eyes.
- I have no debt other than my home, and I am paying that off in advance with advance principle payments each month with a separate check.
- I understand Cash Out and Agreement Short strategies.
- I have a goal of enrolling one person per working day, and a system for doing it.
How Will My School Look When It’s Successful? (These are goals stated in the present tense as though they have already been reached).
- I will be personally debt free and saving over 20 percent of my income in conservative growth investment accounts.
- My school will have a thriving Black Belt Club and Leadership Team.
- My retail account will be in five figures within 12 months.
- My school’s billing check will pay 75 percent of my school’s expenses.
- I have a plan for purchasing this or another building.
- I have a generous plan for helping my staff open their own schools.
- My profit margin, not counting my salary, is 30 percent or higher.
- My annual income is six figures and growing 20 percent per year.
- My net worth is increasing 10 percent or more annually.
What are the Key Numbers and Stats?
- I have a bookkeeping and stat tracking system in place.
- I know my cost per call and keep it under $20.
- I calculate my retention every month, quarter and year.
- I understand the future value in my school is in my receivables.
- I understand that cash out revenue must be saved.
- I fight to keep my profit margin over 30 percent.
- I move at least 50 percent of my inquiries into students.
- I use at least a half-dozen revenue streams each month.
- I track my stats daily and have strategies to improve weak areas quickly.
The Core Dynamics and You
- I can step outside my Black Belt Eyes and see my school, procedures, curriculum, and teaching methods through Market Eyes.
- I am not dependent on my students’ personal happiness for me to succeed.
- I understand that what is important to my students may not be important to me.
- I am not afraid to try new ideas in order to improve my school.
- I respect my teachers but am finding my own voice. I am not trying to mimic anyone. I like my authentic self and am not afraid to respectfully express myself, even it flies in the face of tradition.
- The reason that I am risking my time, money, and opportunities in opening this school is to build wealth for my family. I will not sacrifice my family for my students.
- I have high esteem for the martial arts. I have worked hard to become the best teacher in this area, and my school will reflect that high value in every way.
- I embrace short-term pain for long-term gain and will not let conflicting goals stop me.
- I recognize that my patterns of thought and patterns of behavior define who I am and what I do, not what I say.
Are You the Right Person for This?
- I love the martial arts. I think about them throughout the day and enjoy training and teaching a great deal.
- If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still teach and train.
- I have no negative addictions or unhealthy patterns of behavior.
- I can delegate what I am not the best at, so I can focus on what I am good at.
- My family supports me in this endeavor in every way but financially.
- I love to learn and expand my skills in all areas of personal and professional life.
- I know the success of this school is up to me, not the students, the location, the economy, or any other factor. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.
- I am hungry to succeed and not afraid to sacrifice in the short term in order to succeed in the long term.
- I do not absorb my friends and relationships into my world. I have healthy, respectful relationships with my friends and loved ones.
- I know money is just a tool. I do not resent wealthy people, nor do I feel it is wrong to charge for my services.
How was your score?
If you scored between 75 – 100, you are in the right business and positioned for success.
If you scored between 60 – 74, you still have some work to do. You may want to continue your training, save more money, and get more experience teaching.
If you scored under 60, odds are you are setting yourself up for failure. You may want to regroup and hone your skills for a while before making the leap into opening your own school.
Widely recognized as the man who revolutionized the martial arts industry, John Graden launched organizations such as NAPMA (National Association of Professional Martial Artists), ACMA (American Council on Martial Arts), and MATA (Martial Arts Teachers Association). Graden also introduced the first trade magazine for the martial arts business, Martial Arts Professional. John Graden’s latest book, The Truth about the Martial Arts Business looks into key strategies involved in launching a martial arts business and includes Graden’s own experience as a student, a leader and a business owner. Graden is the author of six books including The Truth about the Martial Arts Business, The Impostor Syndrome: How to Replace Self-Doubt with Self-Confidence and Train Your Brain for Success, Mr. Graden has been profiled by hundreds of international publications including over 20 magazine cover stories and a comprehensive profile in the Wall Street Journal.