31 – 25 Tips For Martial Arts Business Owners From Industry Experts (Part 1)

We’re down to our 31st episode but this isn’t your typical podcast interview. This is a recap of the first 14 episodes, with tips from martial arts experts.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The first step you need to take to go full time in your martial arts business
  • Change this one thing on your website and your conversions will skyrocket
  • What it takes to manage a thriving martial arts business
  • Beginning with the end vision in mind
  • Knowing your market and matching your message to them
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, this is George Fourie, and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast Episode 31. We are going to do something different today, which is a bit of a recap. And I'm going to split this into two parts. So we are up to number 14. So up to episode number 14, we're doing the recap. And I going to give you the top 25 learnings, findings, gold nuggets, whatever you want to call them from the first 14 episodes. So there are a lot of cool things in this episode.

I actually wanted to do this in one shot but I realized that there's a lot to talk about so

I'm breaking it up into two parts. In the next episode, we’ll probably have about 30 tips. So for now, there's the top 25 tips from the first 14 episodes and a lot of the message you'll see, a lot of things start to overlap, a lot of the message is in sync with some of the previous episodes.

And that's a good thing because when you hear people saying the same things, and these are successful business owners, then you know that this is gospel.

This are things that are working across the board. So pay attention to those things. So as always, the transcripts are available on https://martialartsmedia.com/31, the number 31. And I'm going to jump right into this and start off with number one. Here we go again.

So number one and episodes number 1, 2, and 3 were Phil Britten and Graham McDonnell from the WA Institute of Martial Arts.

1 – At some point you have to burn the bridges.

And what I was referring to, of course, is when you're running a full-time job and you try to build the gym on the side. At some point in time, something is going to have to give go.

Something is going to have to let go and you're going to have to burn the bridges at some point in time.

It's most likely not going to be a smooth transition. Most people take a lot of risks to go from a part-time business owner to a full-time business owner. So there's going to be some risks involved by taking that step but at some point, you're just going to have to cut the ties and just go flat out and say, “Alright! This is it I'm going all in. And when you doing that, you might be struggling for cash. You don't have support. And if you are struggling for cash, why don't you focus on private sessions, part-time sessions, do part-time session training during the day or whenever you have time and filling those gaps to boost the cash flow while you are transitioning to a full-time successful business owner.

2 – If you want to grow your school, stop doing everything yourself.

So invest in the systems and try and start putting the focus on your students and your instructors. That you can get out of the limelight out of your business. So this of course, depends on your model and how you want to structure things. All right, so number three and this sort of goes in with two but…

3 – Before opening your second school, why don't you take a holiday or travel away for a few weeks and see how your systems hold up.

And I know Tim Ferriss talks about becoming redundant and the way he does it is, if he wants to test systems and his business, you'll go away for a couple of months in a place where there's no internet and no nothing. And then he cannot take charge of everything himself. Obviously, you don't have to go something that's that extreme. But when you do an exercise like that you are forced to cut all ties.

So you have to let go. And that really forces you to look into your systems and how your business is set up so that you can take that next step. So valuable exercise to do; take more holidays and see if everything's in one piece when you get back and if it is not, you know where your systems are failing.

All right, point number 4. And this was the black belt story from Phil Britten. The story goes something like that and I'll get to the message right at the end of this but this is about…

4 – The Black Belt Story

“…a mum that spoke about the fee increase for the next level and the instructor said to her, “Look how about I do this for you. What have you invested in the last four years?” And let's just pick a figure say that was ten grand. So you invested $10,000 in the last four years with your child to do martial arts. And now they are a black belt. Now if I was to give you that $10,000 in cash that you would have to take away all the skills and all abilities and all the life lessons that your child has gained over this time, would you take the $10,000? And then the mum thinks and says, Not at all.

He said well let's double it. I'll give you $20,000. But if I give you twenty thousand dollars, you've got to take away all the life skills, the abilities and all the lessons that your child has learned while he has been learning martial arts and of course, she turns it down.”

So the moral of the story, of course, is put the focus on the value that martial arts delivers and not the cost.

All right, so where are we at. We are at point number 5. Point number 5 was from me and that was,

5 – You should not have prices listed on your martial arts website.

Never a good idea. I'm going to jump back a little bit.

Now, generally speaking if you're a martial arts school and you go in for entry level type, you're focusing on kids and people that are not familiar with martial arts, you should definitely not have your prices on your website because people don't know martial arts. And if people don't know about martial arts and what it's about. Then when you put the price, the only comparison they can make and derive from is the price and not the experience. So now they become price shoppers because that's the comparison point. Whereas when people have experienced the benefits of what it's going to do for them or their child then they might have a different story.

So it's never a good idea to have prices on your website. But, there's a but, let's say you have a different type of job and let's say Justin Sidelle, for example, who has Bali MMA in Bali and they run different type of system because people want to take their holiday In Bali and they still want to come a train for a week or two weeks or so forth. So they have their prices listed on the website. So if you have that type of school where you're providing a service for people that are maybe travelling or you have a high level type of club, which is known among fighters or jiu jitsu practitioners or something that people that are already established in martial arts come and train at, then that could work for you to have the prices up for certain packages and memberships and so forth.

At the end of the day, I would rather say, no don't do it because when you put it there, you gotta know how to place the value on what your training provides (in the wording – copy). And most people don't do that and most people just put the price on strike.

Number 6, Rod Darling.

martial arts school marketing

6 – Talk about the results that people want. Your product is the obstacle.

And what was discussed, we're talking about the benefits especially if you're doing Facebook ads we were talking about Facebook ads, Facebook marketing in this episode. Talk about the results that people are after, the benefits that they're going to get from martial arts and not talk about the training itself. The training is the obstacle. People don’t want to talk about the training but they do want to focus on the results. It's the result that they want. So when you focus on the result, that's something that people are striving for and that's something that they can relate to. So talk about the benefits.

7 – Be specific with your targeting and keep it simple.

With your Facebook ads, be specific. You only need to talk to one person; you can't talk to everyone. If you know that's the common thing at newspapers and flyers, you put a message out there for everyone. You can filter it with your copy and say woman only and so forth. People to talk about the customer Avatar, who's that one person that you're having a conversation with.

And if you can visualize that one person, who they are, it's a mum, she's in her late 30's and her kids are five and eight years old. This is the type of lady that you are talking to. You can structure and customize your marketing message and tailor it to that person. All right, be specific with your targeting and keep it simple.

Number 8. And this is something we preach about website copy.

8 – Don't talk about I and we. Talk about YOU because the person wants to hear about themselves, their wants, their needs, their aspirations.

They don't care about your rank and the gold medal that you won and the tournament that you won. They care about themselves and can you provide value for them or for their kids. Can I lose weight through this? Can I learn self-defense? Can my kid become confident? That's what they want to learn. And Rod said it best, don't be wee’ing all over yourself, meaning don't put the wee’s on your website.

Over to number 9, Michelle Hext. There was a lot of deep value in this. A few things I'm going to draw from here…

Michelle Hext

9 – Have a vision then plan your steps backwards.

Okay, have a clear vision of what you want. There are a lot of great nuggets in there about niche’ing down as well.

And I want to go to Number 10.

10 – Have self-awareness to assess when something is pulling on your self belief.

So, when you have obstacles in your business. Some things don't feel right. Seth Godin talks about being the intruder (Imposter).

Everybody feels like they have that internal dialogue happening like, can I really do this? Can I really be doing this? Is this really me? I think he talks about Barack Obama, being the president does probably the same sort of intruder type of perspective sometimes. He has an internal dialogue, asks himself: “Me? Am I really the president?” Well, not the president anymore.

That conversation of doubt and everybody has that doubt and if you're having that doubt, have self-awareness to assess where something is pulling on yourself. Believe and try and work yourself through that. All right. So that would be on episode six.

And we're moving over to number 11 with Paul Veldman. So first up…

11 – Know your demographic without being everything to everyone.

And on 12…

12 – Grow your students confidence through leadership programs.

So that's confidence within your students, have leadership programs that boost their confidence and take them to the next level.

13 – Market for a season or a reason.

And that is being in sync with what is happening in your community, being the season or a reason. Is there a reason something is happening in your community or is there a season happening. Is it Easter, is it Christmas, is it Valentine's Day. How can you follow, how can you piggyback on that trend that is already happening in your marketplace and attach your marketing message to that.

14 – Spot the quitting signals from your students.

And Paul mentioned:  “We run a rule of three that every student and every class has to be encouraged and acknowledged at least three times. So the first one is, ‘Good day, how are you doing?’ And have a look at the card and they see the training pattern and they can see that at the start of the year, the students are training a lot.

Mid-year, they kind of dropped off. And in the last two months, you can barely see them and address things accordingly. So if you spot the quitting signals then have a talk and have a chat and see where they are at and what is holding them back from their training.”

All right number 15 with Sean Allen. Sean Allen was all about…

15 – Structuring your martial arts business to suit your lifestyle.

So how can your business suit your lifestyle and for him, he's moved down to Margaret River, he surfs every day, some of the best surf, and he runs a small niche school, which he is very passionate about, because number 16…

importance of martial arts in physical education

16 – Use your martial arts school as a vehicle to get the message out about education you value most.

Education about climate change, education and helping empowering kids through his program. And he is always full. He has a waiting list for his small school and is not into growth for growth. He is into living his values and living a good life and teaching his message through martial arts.

Number 17, Brannon Beliso. Brannon is all about service orientation.

17 – Focus on providing a valuable service to your martial arts students. No contracts or upsells, service and care, which leads to retention.

Brannon believes in no contracts, no constant upsells but rather placing value in the service that they offer and treating their students with gold. And by focusing the way that they focus, they try to keep the retention through the value of their service and not being constantly on the sales process of constantly having to upgrade for this and this black belt program and so forth.

martial arts merit badges

So that's the constant message that Brannon Beliso spoke about and also about the way kids and their values and how they are used to just getting things, instant gratification and how martial arts can teach kids discipline through not getting rewarded… or getting their awards but not getting rewarded as if getting a black belt tomorrow when they started today.

All right, number 18. Should you use a Facebook page or profile to promote your business?

18 – Use a Facebook Page to promote your business, not a Facebook Profile.

I'd like to think we've kind of evolved from that conversation and it just shows you, this is early last year and this is the big thing and I still see a lot of people use their of their personal profile to promote their business. But the better way to do it is you've got to have that page because if you don't have a Facebook page, you can't advertise your business.

Advertising on Facebook is a core part of your marketing. It's one of the top places to advertise right now. So if you have a page, why don't you post your content on your page first and then share it to your personal profile because your personal profile in the beginning especially will get a lot more reach because Facebook values their audience and they would rather have pictures of birth of a cousin or something in your news feed than your business.

Well, debatable if your ads are relevant to your audience, but no so much free content. There is a thing called Edgerank where Facebook likes to filter out business-type posts. So you've got to be strategic with that kind of thing. But for the purpose of this point, post things on your Facebook page and share them onto your profile.

That was number 18, over to number 19.

19 – Message to market match. Say the right message to the right person at the right time for them.

So where are they in your buying cycle? That was from me. Where are they in your buying cycle? What have they seen? Have they been exposed to your brand and what message are you going to be putting in front of that person at that point in time.

Number 20 was from episode 13 with Jess Fraser.

20 – If you have ladies training Jiu Jitsu at your gym, get them involved in a ladies community (like the Australian Girls In Gi) to get training support from other ladies and build relationships.

And Jess Fraser has the Australian Girls in GI community and she was talking about how having that type of overlapping community. And it is in overlapping community it seems that ladies are training at multiple gyms and they have this one community as glue if you want to call it that because ladies have different experiences with jiu jitsu and they express different problems and having this community involved that ladies can share their experiences with jiu jitsu keeps it all together.

And I was talking to Martin Gonzalez from Vanguard BJJ and I had a training session with them one night and they were very hospitable. I went for a burger and a couple of beers with them afterwards and he was telling me that Jess has done amazing things for jiu jitsu for ladies that most people are just not aware of. And he was her instructor right at the beginning and he says he remembers when it was pretty much heard, she was the only lady and she's the 12th female to earn her black belt in Australia.

But at that time, the Australian Girls in GI community was pretty much nothing. It was just her and she was just pushing to get it going. And now, with all the time, and the investment and the commitment, there's a there's a big community of ladies doing jiu jitsu and she is very responsible for that in Australia. So for the ladies, check out Australian Girls in GI.

21, Hakan Manav from Australian Martial Arts Academy. All right, on number 21, firstly, Hakan Manav is an extreme athlete. He is a super smart guy and if you go search for any of his training, videos tutorials on Facebook or YouTube, you'll find tricks and techniques that are just mind-blowing. And he's had big shoes to fill with his dad, Master Ridvan Manav, he's been been in the industry for 35 years. The Australian Martial Arts Academy also recently celebrated their 35th year anniversary. And I got a lot of good things to share.

21 – The skills, discipline and coordination taught in martial arts will help you in all other team sports.

Hakan got first-hand experience and proof that the skills and coordination taught in martial arts benefit other sports. He experienced that when he was taking up soccer.

22 – Invest in your education. A business degree will help you develop the frameworks and systems for business success.

So Hakan got the best degree he could in the top university in Sydney and a lot of the frameworks and systems come from his education and just applying everything he learned into the martial arts school.

23 – Develop a leadership culture where everyone is looked after and make sure that everybody is consistently improving.

So they had the leadership culture and everybody is investing into their education and everybody's always raising the bar. And that's how the Australian Martial Arts Academy run 120 classes, seven days per week!

Number 24, the core difference to know between Google Adwords marketing and Facebook marketing.

24 – The difference between Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing. Google searchers have intent, they are looking. With Facebook, you are generally interrupting the browser. Consider your approach accordingly.

The big difference is Google starts with intent. So you have a person who is already searching for something martial arts-related, something martial arts in their area, something martial arts or different types martial arts and doing comparison. So this is the person that's already on the lookout. With Facebook, you have a very direct targeting. But the person might not have intent. So it's more of an interruption based on how you capture this person's person's attention and work from there.

25 – For both Facebook marketing and Google Adwords. Remarketing / Retargeting can bring your biggest conversions.

Remarketing or retargeting as it's called is a method of attracting people that actually see your ads and have ads show up to them at a later stage. You might see that when you go to a website, to Amazon, eBay or somewhere. And then the next minute, you're seeing an eBay ad on Facebook and that is retargeting. So you can get very strategic with this and all about being relevant with your conversations to people.

And that's it for this episode. We will continue either next week or the week after, depending on the scheduling of a very cool interview that I've got lined up. So depending on that when we will release the other half of this episode. So, still a lot to talk about. Lots of cool tips that we're going to be sharing.

And again, show notes on www.martialartsmedia.com/31, www.martialartsmedia.com/31, the number 31. Thanks! Chat you soon. Cheers.

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

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George Fourie

Hi I'm George Fourie, the founder of MartialArtsMedia.com. When I'm not doing dad duties or training on the mats (which I manage to combine when my son is willing! :), I'm helping Martial Arts Gym owners grow their business through the power of online media.

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