128 – 5 Factors That Make An Irresistible Martial Arts Offer

An irresistible martial arts offer can be the ‘make or break’ of any promotion to attract new students. Follow these steps to turn your offers into winners.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Being uber specific with what’s included in your irresistible martial arts offer
  • Should you give away free items with your martial arts offer?
  • Do this and you instantly increase the value of your martial arts offer
  • What’s the best price for a martial arts paid trial offer?
  • This turns any martial arts offer into a ‘no-brainer’
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. In this episode, I'm going to be talking about irresistible martial arts offers.

So what is an irresistible martial arts offer? And do you even need a good offer? Well, of course, you do. And that's what this episode is all about. So we're going to dive into the details of what it is that you actually need to include in your offer. Does it need to be free? Does it need to be paid? What do you add? Do you add different items? How do you package it and so forth?

And I can tell you what, with all the school owners that we've worked with over the years, whenever somebody shares with us a campaign that's just not working, or they're struggling to get traction on the ads, or just a general internal promotion that's not really getting results, it's almost always due to a broken offer.

So you can run a really bad campaign with a great offer and still get great results, but you can't run a great campaign with a bad offer. So we're going to dive into the details on how you go about creating an offer, what it even is, and how you craft it so that it gives your future students the confidence to take the first step and start training with you on their martial arts journey.

Hang around to the end. I'll share with you where you can download our PDF, called The Irresistible Martial Arts Offer, and it will show you step-by-step the process that we go through to create your irresistible martial arts offer in just a few minutes.

All right, let's start with the basics. What actually is an offer? Well, an offer is, and if we go straight into referring to martial arts terms, it's a combination of how you package different free classes with potential free items. And how you package it in a way that the value exceeds the price if it's a paid trial or the actual value that's being presented for the commitment that needs to be taken to take advantage of the offer.

So that brings up the question, should your offer be free, or should it be paid? Well, it really depends, and I'm not going to dive into that, but if you do go to martialartsmedia.com/124, I did cover for a recent episode on free trials versus paid trials for martial arts and comparing the different platforms and when you should use which one. But either way, it's always important that the value exceeds the actual commitment or the financial commitment of the offer. So that's a bit of a bonus tip, I guess.

So I'm going to cover five points of what actually makes an irresistible martial arts offer. All right, let's dive in. Number one, be specific. Be specific with anything, and I think this is just copywriting in general, and this is if I say copywriting, I mean, sales copywriting, not copywriting, that's like the legal thing, normally at the bottom of a website, right, with different terms.

So when crafting good sales copy, it's important to really be specific and in a way almost dumb things down. There's a rule in copywriting, it says you've got to write for third-grade level because you don't want to leave people to look at something and have to think about what you just wrote.

So it's important to make things so specific and so simple, that even the obvious things that you think people would maybe know, that you still state the obvious, right? So you've got to state the obvious. You've got to be super specific in how you present what is included in the offer. The minute someone's got to think, you potentially just lost them because now they're trying to figure out what your offer is.

So being super specific is very important. So what should you be specific on, well numbers and what they get. So let's start with the beginning. What are you giving away? Is it a couple of classes? Is it one day? Is it one class? Is it five classes? Is it seven? Is it one month?

If I had to be technical, if I had a month trial versus a four-week trial, I'd rather have a four-week trial because four is more than one, right? It's a little play on words, but guess what, crafting an irresistible offer, a lot of the mechanics is having a well-structured play on words so that the perceived value does increase, right?

So this is partly important, it's not going to be the make or break. You can't trick someone into thinking that it's a good offer when it's not, but it's important to have a look at some of these elements. All right. So that's number one, be specific.

Number two is what are you giving away? What is included? Is there a free item included? So let's assume you are running a paid trial. And in fact, most of these elements are references to you running a paid trial. Although there's a lot of overlap that you can use if it's a free trial as well. If it's a free trial, you might not be giving away a free item, unless you've got a good backend process of where you sign people up.

So on the front end, you're running a paid trial, for example. So let's say you include a free item. Including a free item is really important, and it does increase the perceived value of your offer. And this might sound funny, but it also helps people rationalize the value in their mind because let's face it, how can anyone determine what the value of a martial arts class is if they've never actually taken a martial arts class? I mean, we'd all want to think, yep, everybody's just going to love it and they understand the value.

But if I'm looking at an ad or promotion and I've never taken a martial arts class before, then how do I know what the value is? But if there's a free T-shirt, a free uniform, or free gloves, that's something tangible I can actually visualize. And in my mind, I can rationalize the value of that item. All right. So number two, include a free item.

Number three, state the value of the item. Okay, now sometimes we break this rule and I'll cover why that is in point five, but include the value of your actual item. So I don't know an item's value unless you tell me what it is, right? So if there's a free uniform, well what is the value of that uniform? I need to know that this is a good, valuable offer. So if I'm paying, let's say 39.95 for the offer and the uniform is worth $85. Well, now I can immediately actually see that the offer is pretty valuable and it's a good deal.

All right, now I'll tell you what the rules are when we don't use this and when we do not include the value of the item, is when the value of the item is actually less than what the paid trial is worth. And I'll show you how we get around that in point five. All right. But in general, it's good to include the value of the item, right?

Number four, pricing. So again, obviously for a paid trial. For a paid trial include what the pricing is. Now, what type of numbers do you use? Well, odds typically convert better than evens when you're running ad promotions. Don't ask me why. I didn't make this up, I didn't invent this, but this has been tested by so many marketers online and typically the odd numbers convert better than even numbers. That's just a given fact. I like to start with facts and look, it's always good to prove your own tests wrong.

So if you do want to test even numbers, go for it. But rather start with a tried and true and tested first before you try and prove it wrong by going in a direction that's not really proven. All right. So what's up in numbers. Well, if you download the worksheet, the PDF that we included in this episode, we'll actually share with you the price points that we've tested the most. We do that in free items, in classes, in items, value, etc. And what we're discussing here of course is the price points. So I'll share with you how you can get that in just a minute. All right, so that's point number four.

And number five, number five is we talk about either the savings or the total value. So we use this if number three just doesn't look great.

Let's say our offer is 69.95 and we're including a free T-shirt, that's worth 20 bucks. To mention the 20 bucks included, it just doesn't give so much of a wow impact. So here's what we do instead, we talk about the total savings or the total value. So how does that work? Well, if I'm giving away four weeks' classes and I'm including, let's say just a free T-shirt. So what we'll do then is we'll calculate the value of the four weeks of classes and included with the T-shirt and now we can say in brackets, total value X. Or what we could also do is we could look at what they would save.

So what would it cost them to train those four weeks and buy the free item? And we will deduct that, and then we'll work out what the savings is, right? So that is an alternative for you to use. And that's really it.

Now, if you want to get practical and you want to get stuck and you do want to create your irresistible martial arts offer, then what you want to do is just download the PDF and we'll show you exactly what numbers we use, what type of free items, what price points, and exactly how you can go and structure your irresistible martial arts offer so that you can increase your conversions because that's what it really is about.

It's really about including a great offer in your ads so that when your potential students look at it, they can go from curious to serious, to signing up much easier and much faster. And you get much better results with your ads. All right. So where do you get this? Go to martialartsmedia.com/128, so that's the number 128, and just have a look below the video of this podcast, you'll find a link where you can download the free PDF, Your Irresistible Martial Arts Offer. And go ahead, let us know how you go with this.

And if you've got value from this video, don't forget to share it and I will see you in the next episode. Have a good one. Cheers.

 

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127 – [Case Study] How A Traditional Karate School Generated $30,000+ In 72 Hours With This Simple Campaign

Richard Fall shares how they generated $30,000+ in 72 hours for his karate school with The 72 Hour ‘Cash Boost’ Sale. 


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How Richard and Kim generated $30,000 in just 72 hours
  • How asking for help leads to faster martial arts business growth
  • Why action takers are the money makers
  • The power of surrounding yourself with like-minded people
  • How to get over the fear of charging what you're worth
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. Today, I have two special guests with me, and in fact, this is my favorite type of episode to create. Look, we have great interviews on our show, but these ones are a bit more special for me, because this is a case study interview. And so, a case study interview is me interviewing some of our top clients and documenting the journey that they've gone through working with us, and celebrating the great result that they have achieved. 

And so today, I have Richard Fall, and Kim Comeau, from London Karate Club in Ontario, Canada. And we actually met via this podcast – I was chatting to Kim on Instagram, she was, “Hey, we actually listen to you every day!” And we got chatting, and we started working together, and it's been really such a great pleasure working with Richard and Kim, and seeing what great results they have achieved. And we're going to chat about that, because just recently, Richard and Kim went through a process that we call the '72 Hour Cash Boost Sale', which is exactly what it is. And they managed to generate $30,000 in just 72 hours. 

Now, that's the highlight, right? And hey, we got to talk about the highlights first. But it wasn't that easy to get to that point! Yep. The cash was collected in just 72 hours, but there was a lot that had to happen. Mindset, just belief in the process, belief that it can happen, and just being comfortable in creating a promotion like that without feeling like they're being sellout or cheap, or, you know, just being weird about how they operate their martial arts school. 

So, we're going to jump into the details, just how they worked through it, what they went through, the change of mindset, and really how any school owner could achieve results like that on a continuous basis, if they committed to the process. So, we'll jump into the details, and just for a bit of context, the strategy, it's something that we do in our Partners program.

Our Partners program is our flagship program that you've heard me speak about before if you've listened to us before. It's a group of school owners that we work with around the globe, we get together weekly and, you know, work through different strategies on how to attract the right students, increase signups, and retain more members. And so, the 72 Hour Cash Boost Sale is a process that you can run about four times per year, and it's just a great way to boost your cash flow. 

We'll dive into the details and I'll tell you how. So, jump right in. If you – depending on where you're listening or watching this episode, you can get the show notes on martialartsmedia.com/127. That's the numbers one-two-seven.

And you can also download our eBook, ‘The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula for Martial Art Schools'. And that's it, jump into the episode, I'm sure you're gonna enjoy it. And wherever you're listening or watching make sure that you subscribe, that you get notified when we have a new episode. Enjoy.  

So, Richard and Kim, what's been the most profitable and most successful marketing campaign and ad campaign that you've done recently, or up to date? 

RICHARD: Most important one that I've done and the most profitable one I've done was the 72 Hour Sale that you set out for us. Like, I've had goals in the past that I've made, but I've never surpassed what you had mapped out for us in the 72 Hour Sale. I think moving forward, the most important, yeah, that was the most important one that stood out in my whole running of the dojo career. 

GEORGE: That's awesome. And what was the outcome? What was the result? 

RICHARD: The outcome was around almost $31,000, which is what we did. Like, we had a goal to sell 20 memberships, and we were okay at only selling 12. Twelve was our minimum, 20 was our goal; and we did 20, right on the nose. So, we did 20 memberships right on the nose.

GEORGE: That is pretty cool, right? 31,000 in between the COVID madness and things like that. How did that impact the business? 

RICHARD: The impact on the business? We… It was to the point where COVID was kind of taking away from my business what I had made up to that point and it actually fueled the dojo to be, or the school to actually be able to carry forward into this year. So, I had no worries carrying forward into this year. 

So, it actually helped me out quite a bit, with just the money part of it. Just the money part and the worries of being able to pay the bills, being able to pay employees, and, you know, taking care of business itself. So, it took a lot off my shoulders stress-wise that way, and really gave me a good kickstart for 2022. 

GEORGE: Love it. Alright, so, before we get into all the other good stuff, welcome to the show and thanks for jumping on! So, a bit of context. I've been working with Richard and Kim for, I don't know, maybe about almost a year, maybe? 

RICHARD: Almost a year, yeah. 

GEORGE: Before we jump into everything else, firstly, you're sitting behind an awesome wall. But I've got Richard Fall and Kim Comeau from London Karate Club in Ontario, Canada. Just give us a bit of a round up. What do you do? What do you teach? And yeah, just a bit of a background; a quick, brief background about the business.

Martial Arts Business

RICHARD: I'm the owner of the London Karate Club and my teacher is Master Meitatsu Yagi out of Okinawa, Japan, and I've been training with him since 1985. And I've been training myself in karate for about 42 years. And yeah, so, we teach Meibukan Goju-Ryu, and we just teach karate, we don't teach anything else but karate. 

And, you know, we leave all the other stuff, jiu jitsu and that stuff, to the professionals that handle that stuff, and that's what we do. I follow the family religiously, and I travel to Okinawa when I can. Just over the last few years, I couldn't travel and see my teacher, but it's  – we're moving forward. We're moving forward towards seeing each other again. 

GEORGE: Awesome. And the important right-hand lady sitting next to you… Kim! 

KIM: Yeah, so, I've been training for about 20 years now, and I joined the London Karate Club about six years ago. So, I've been training under Sensei Richard Fall for six years. And I've also traveled to Okinawa and have credentials internationally, or black belt gradings and stuff. I came on board to help with the backend of the business. So, a lot of the advertising and Facebook and social media stuff.

RICHARD: She was also the first Canadian woman to win a tournament in Okinawa. 

GEORGE: Wow… and you just left that out, right?! 

KIM: And that… 

GEORGE: Of course, yeah. Any other credentials that are hidden from us, Richard, that we need to, we need to bring to light? 

RICHARD: Ranks don't really matter, but I'm a 9th Degree Black Belt. Hanshi under Dyson, say, Meitatsu Yagi in Okinawa, which makes me the highest rank in my style in Canada. So… 

GEORGE: Amazing. 

RICHARD: Allows me to do international gradings myself, and on behalf of my teacher, and we're hopefully going to soon connect Zoom classes with them, so that we can reach out to the entire world, right, with him and try to see if we can get some movement for him, you know, as well. 

GEORGE: That's cool. So, now I know you're very passionate about your karate and you're a purist at heart and can see it in the display behind you there. Do you want to just give us a quick round up – what are we looking at in the background there?

martial arts business case study

RICHARD: So, the three people behind me, the black and white picture above my head is Master Meitoku Yagi, the founder of Meibukan Goju-Ryu, who I have a third degree under, and fortunate to meet in 1990. To over Sensei Kim's head is my master, Master Dai Sensei Meitatsu Yagi, and then the guy that's just below is Ippei Sensie, his son. The kanji behind me means great well, so it means to move forward and the opportunity to make great wealth. 

GEORGE: And what else have we got?

RICHARD: Well, we got, we have the rope above my head, on the shrine there, that's from the tug of war in Okinawa. 2013, I went over and we did the festival of rope. The festival of rope is the longest tug of war in the world. They do it every October, it's kind of like an Oktoberfest, but it's to usher in good crops. They used to be to usher in good crops, and then what all would do, all the territories around the area would come together, and they would do kata in the Kokusai-dori, which is the main strip in Okinawa, and I had the fortune to be able to demonstrate my karate in with the Okinawans as well.

GEORGE: That's cool. So, you treasure that, and the history and the heritage, how do you bring that into the school and into the teaching?

RICHARD: When our students move forward, they have to actually learn history. So, as they move forward, they have to know who the master of the style is, who the creator of the style is, and what our history is. So, we go all the way from Chojun Miyagi to Meitoku Yagi. So, the founder of Goju-Ryu, Goju-Ryu is one of the major styles that make up all of karate in the world. So, Chojun Miyagi passed on, his family passed on the style to Meitoku Yagi Dai Sensei, and then passed the style onto his son. So, our lineage is a pure straight line. 

So, right straight from Chojun Miyagi, all the way to me is a straight line, there's no fragments in between at all. So, the culture is carried forward, because bringing my teacher here, he's very big on history. And I know history has a part of understanding where you come from, but it's not the end-all be-all, right? So, you can't, with me being part of, understanding history, I've always found that I'm humble. 

So, being too humble sometimes can shoot you in the foot, because you don't feel like you should charge as much for what you're doing. Because it's more spiritual to you, right? It's more inside that you feel gratification, through teaching, right? So, as I was growing up, going through, growing up as a child, I wasn't a very good teenager. I was actually getting into a lot of trouble and causing problems. And then that's when I first got introduced at around 15 and a half to karate, and karate actually saved my life. Two people that I hung around with actually committed murder and it could have easily been me. 

So, I owe karate my life. So, I kind of took that for… I've been in business for probably about 32 years now, and never really made a huge success. I'm still doing a part-time school, and still working a job during the day. I know, George, that makes you cringe. But I'm trying to get past that guy who is still afraid to step out of what he does as a job and get into something that he does for a passion.

GEORGE: Alright, so, you mentioned and I want to get back to Kim on just what part of that attracted you to training under Sensei Richard Fall. So, but on that, because you bring up a point, and this is a point that comes up a lot. I think the connection between the spiritual aspect and what martial arts mean to you personally, and then there's the business side, that's what's got to happen. 

Somehow, in most humans' brains, we make this connection, or there's past programming, that money is evil, or money's bad. Or there's somebody that's a real, you know, I don't even like the term dojo, but there's, you know, people that are just teaching real watered down, poor martial arts, and they're charging an arm and a leg and they're ripping people off. We didn't, I don't really see much of that in Australia, but you know, if you watch McDojoLife, you'll probably see, you can probably see it all, right? But I think there's a lot of danger there, right? Because you don't want to be that guy, and so now you link old programming to you know, money, how money is bad. 

And if I'm going to make money with my spiritual thing, that means so much to me and has impacted my life in such a positive way, and now I start focusing on the money, I'm going to be perceived as that guy… and I think that's a big thing that a lot of martial artists get stuck with. How do you feel you've overcome that? Because I think you, you might not be giving yourself as much credit is due, right, because you've moved a few mountains. How's your perspective changed over the last six months or so?

martial arts business case study

RICHARD: Well, I think when working with you and with Martial Arts Media and Partners, I think talking to everybody in the community kind of helped me to realize, “Hey, there's a lot of good martial artists out there that are charging what they're worth.” And like I said to you before, I have a hard time relating to people that have 400 students, 350 students. 

I used to have 250 students, and I did it all by myself and I realized that I can't do it by myself. That failure, that I went backwards, actually taught me a lot, that if I can get there, once I get there again. I just have to get it in my mind and the tools to be able to do it, right? And I think by joining the group and the Partners has kind of helped me, kind of start that machine and get those wheels moving, that see that, “Hey, you know what, it's not bad to make money at doing what you're doing, right?” And it's not bad at – teaching your craft and getting something for it, right? 

I put a lot of time and effort, and since Kim puts a lot of time and effort into making things happen, and the Facebook ads, all that stuff is something that you taught us, and like I said before, is that we're very thankful for that. And, you know, there's a point in time where money is tight. And I said, “Well, what did I do? Like I stepped into this thing, this commitment. And maybe it's the wrong thing to do at this time.” And the only thing I could cut is things that are new, and I'm grateful that I kept on going with Partners, because it's really teaching me a lot how to move forward, and how to move past that barrier of, you know, is it okay to make money? 

GEORGE: Cool. I remember there was a, I mean, we've had many conversations after but I remember, in our, the game plan call that we have as onboarding when school owners join our Partners Group… I remember this, it had an impact on me as well, because I remember talking to you, and I remember seeing something go off in your mind, that you realized, “Oh, hang on, like, I can charge what I'm worth. I'm, you know, I'm more valuable than the way that we are going.” Can you recall that moment? I recall it, it really stuck with me.

RICHARD: That was when we had a private, kind of a private, call. And you sat down and showed me the map of what I could do, and I think that moment, I realized that, “Hey, you know, I'm actually a part of this game, too.” And like I said, I did it by myself before, I can't do it by myself. 

I'm thankful for the person sitting beside me, because she does a lot, and she does a lot of stuff that I can't do, right? And not that I can't do it, I can probably learn it. It's just, it's difficult being, you know, I'm 58 years old, it's kind of hard to teach an old dog new tricks, as they say, right? That's not a Canadian term, either. That's actually a real term. 

GEORGE: I've actually heard that one before. 

RICHARD: But it's showed me, that showed me that I can make more, and since you showed me that, we are making more. Like, we got more people coming into the dojo, more than ever, with our Facebook ad. We're averaging about nine to… Well, I send it to you every week, right? Nine, and we just went up from nine, and went up from there; and, you know, we never had that traffic before. 

Growing pains is a good thing. It's scary, but it's a good thing. And we just, we're floating our boat in a little bit rocky water that we don't know, but we're navigating through it, right? And we have you to help us along the way, to navigate through that. So yeah, that moment, I do remember that moment, that moment that you had showed us the way to do it. Yes. 

GEORGE: That's cool. So, Kim, we want to hear a bit more from you there. No pressure. But I guess first, just as a quick side intro, right, what of the history and what of that attracted you to starting with Sensei Richard Fall?

Martial Arts Schools

KIM: I just moved to the city, and I was looking for a place that was… I was doing Goju-Ryu and I wanted to keep with that. It was actually a friend from way up north that told me about the London Karate Club. So, I did a class here. And I was kind of hooked, because I was doing it, I was training for about 15 years before, and it was a little different. I liked the lineage, how pure it was. It wasn't, like, branched off to different people. It was very direct. And I really liked that I could do the same style that I was doing for, like, 15 years, I can continue that, so… yeah, and then I just was hooked. I was like training every day here, and I continue to do that still to this day. So, yeah.

GEORGE: That's cool. Now, you also implement a lot of the marketing and so forth. So, how does your role work within the club? 

KIM: Okay, yeah, so I started with being more social media, like, with getting stuff out there for our club and just putting it out there on Instagram and social media. And then I was just making positive progress with it, and it just turned into a manager role here. So, I've done sales for 15 years. So, I know a lot about that, and I have a lot of stuff that I can offer and I'm able to do for Richard. I also went to school last year, when I was let go of my job, and I did coding and website design. So, that's when I started getting into redoing the whole website, and it's going really, really well. And yes, so, I'm just continuing to keep going forward. 

GEORGE: And keeping the marketing engine rotating… 

KIM: Just going, which is a consistent thing that you do like every single day. So, yeah. 

GEORGE: Love it. Ok, so, a quick couple of questions just on, I really wanted to bring the two of you on as my favorite Canadians, first and foremost. Getting a better understanding as well from just everything that you do, just the history and so forth. I want to take this opportunity as well, and just ask a couple of questions just about, you know, us working together, like what's helped you most. Although you have revealed a lot of that, just going into a couple of things, right? So, first up, like, when we started working together, you mentioned a bit about the money thing and the value in the belief, but what were the biggest problems that you were facing at that time? 

RICHARD: The biggest problems that we were facing is that, in my mindset, I didn't want to be the lowest guy, I didn't want to be the highest guy, I wanted to be the middle guy. And being the middle guy, I gave away a lot of free two-week classes, which are two-week courses, which kind of shot me in the foot, because it's, uh, they're tire kickers, right? They don't really want to pay a big amount of money. 

So, we would get maybe one, maybe one or two, one or two people from that, right? And it didn't really pan out, right? It didn't really pan out for us. So, I was kind of trying to feel my way through it, and then it really, the success I had, like I said, I've been doing this for 32 years on a part time basis. There were five Meibukan schools in London, and I'm the only one left. So, I'm very, I'm a very dug-in person. I'm a very perseverant person, right? 

So, I think, by the mindset of giving stuff away, I always gave it away, instead of selling it, right? So, moving on to meeting you, Kim and I used to listen to podcasts all the time. They kind of got me hooked. I said, “Well, let's…” I let her listen to you, and we listened to you. I even used to listen to you all the way when I went to work or home. I found it very interesting. I'm going, like, you know, I wonder if this guy is really true blue, real guy, right? 

So, I think Sensei Kim, I think Kim reached out to you. I'm going, “Holy crap, he actually listened and he actually, you know, got back to us, right?” So, that's kind of what got that ball rolling, was actually Kim calling you or sending a message to you, and yeah, then it went from there, right?

GEORGE: And what was the big goal? I mean, at that time, what was the big aim? The big goal that you wanted to achieve? 

RICHARD: I wanted 300 students, that was all. 

GEORGE: 300 students, why did you want 300 students?

Martial Arts Business

RICHARD: Because I think moving forward, I want to have a living doing this. I want to get away from my day job and do this as a living. Like, I want to have what Lindsay Guy has, I want to have what Cheyne McMahon has, I want to have what Ross has, right? I want to have that and not because of… No, good for them, I just want to have that for me. As at the end of, when it's all said and done, I can say, “I built that.” I made that happen, right? And it was always – I came close but never really made an achievement. 

So, I guess it's seeing my baby, which is the dojo here, the school, to become what I want it to be. You know, this gem that I want it to be and I want those students just, not to blow my horn, I teach a really good martial art and I want those students to move forward and them to become teachers. I want them to become senseis of their own dojo, right? And that is why I want to get to the point of becoming bigger, right? 

GEORGE: So, out of that, while working together, I mean, what's had the biggest impact? And what's helped you the most? 

RICHARD: Of growing now? I think the social media part. I think Facebook – Kim can answer that as well.

KIM: Yeah, for sure. Definitely the Facebook ads, and learning about them, and how to advertise and catch people's eyes for the ads. That's been a huge impact for us, like, I received messages, like, 30 messages a day. So, that's had a huge impact on us for sure. 100%. Like, we've had to actually make classes built around beginner classes. So, that really pushed us forward too and it started us thinking about how we can gradually bring them into our family of London Karate Club. So… 

RICHARD: So, when you had that challenge, that 72 Hour Sale, I remember saying to Kim, “There's no way we win this, there's no way.” We've got Brad who has 400 students, you got Cheyne who has 350 students… This little dojo of 100 students, there's no way we're going to be able to beat these guys, right?
So, we did give it our best. We gave it our best and hoped for the best. And I just had one more day, I had one more encore day in my pocket, and we sold four memberships on that one encore day, right? That moment showed me that I can move a mountain, right? I can make it happen, right? And it's refreshing that something can make you and bring you up and lift you up like that, right? 

And, you know, why did this little dojo, this little school, beat these guys with all these students? Right, perseverance, right? It's perseverance. It's like the Rocky movie, right? You know, the guy who doesn't think he's going to win, and all of a sudden, he's there, right? You know, now I know moving forward. And like I said, the other night, I'm looking forward to moving forward with you, and I'm excited for what's coming, right? 

GEORGE: So, just a bit more on the 72 Hour Sale, I think just for context for anyone listening. I know a lot of people run like a Black Friday sale or Christmas sale. We've got this method in the Partners group called the 72 Hour Sale, because it was created before we created anything for Black Friday sale, but it can be used as a Black Friday sale or Christmas sale or any valid reason that you really give it. 

So, you can run it four times a year, twice a year, you know, whatever. Whatever mountains you're trying to move. In our Partners Group, we put together these challenges every so often. So, we run on six week cycles, and we put together a challenge, and we just see who gets the most numbers. Who would have thought martial artists are competitive? 

Everybody tends to rally up and get stuck in, right? And, so, we ran the six-week challenge. You could tell us more, right? But like Richard, as you were saying, you thought it was not possible, because you've never done something like this, and then you ended up with the number?

RICHARD: Right. I never thought you could do that in 72 hours. I never thought in my life. I've never done – that was the best sale – and that was the best month I've ever done. Like, ever, ever! And it was, like, it opened my eyes. If you really put your mind to it and really put everything aside and just focus on that number – focus on that number – 20, 20, 20. 

And that's what I was focused on, I was focused on 20, but in the back of my mind, I would have settled for 15, right? But that last day I said to Sensei Kim, “We're not settling for 15. We're not settling for 16. We're going to get 20.” And we got 20! And well, the way we did it was that we took – it's not just selling individual memberships, we started involving families, right? 

So, we had one lady who signed up for a family of three, right? So, we took the first number as the number, and then the other ones would kind of it's a little bit smaller, right? So, we actually sold family memberships and went there. So, we made that number just by being a little bit creative, right?

GEORGE: And that number, the dollar number, was 31? 

RICHARD: Just almost 31,000. Was 30,880 odd dollars. Yeah. 

GEORGE: That's nice. Bonus, right? 

RICHARD: It was…

GEORGE: Especially if you haven't done that! Now, I think what's more important from that, and you were sort of mentioning that as well, is how does that make you feel as in what you can achieve next? Like, I mean, it's nice to grab the cash and money's great, but what impact does it have on you? 

Martial Arts

RICHARD: It shows me that I – everyday sales – if I really ramp it up and really focus on what I need to focus on, and it shows me that I can make this as a living. It shows me that if I really had to spend all my time and effort at this, that I will never have to go through that door for someone else again… because really, when we go to work, and we're not working for ourselves, working for somebody else, that door becomes a dreadful, dreadful entrance, right? The shrine that's behind me, you see the gate of training there.

I have the gi of training at the door of my dojo, and every time I pass over that, the world stays behind. This is my world, right? So, I want that door. I want to walk through that door every day. I want that door to feed me every day. Feed me that positivity every day. And then, Kim and I, we work on positivity stuff all the time, right? We try to keep ourselves positive. I said, you know, through this 72 Hour Sale, we can't be negative, we got to be positive and we got to think positive, right? 

And it just shows me that I can make a living at this, right? I can make a living at this, right? And I gotta shake off those fears, right? Like fight full contact in Japan and shoot fighting – getting punched in the face sucks. It really sucks getting punched in the face sucks, right? I did a 20 man fight in Okinawa for my 8th Dan. It sucks, bare fist, fair enough, it sucks. But that stuff's easy compared to… To me, that stuff's easy compared to shaking off the fear of going into business for yourself. But it showed me, the 72 Hour Sale showed me that I can do that – I can shake off those fears. 

GEORGE: Yeah, and hats off to you because it's not, I mean, we provide the strategy and the formula… and it's great that we've got so many smart cats in our group that we can test different strategies, and we even refined things that last few days, and how can we change the offer to make it more valuable. 

But it should be said that none of this happens if you don't have a great product – and that means you deliver great classes, teach epic classes and deliver great martial arts classes. So, nothing happens without that. Last few questions, if you had to answer this: I almost didn't join, because…? 

RICHARD: I almost didn't join, because I didn't know if I could make the commitment to afford it. To be honest with you, George, what I did was – hoping my wife doesn't listen to this – during the first part of COVID, I, well, leveraged my house to keep this place open, because nobody was here – was just me, right?

And the first part, I didn't know how to do Zoom, we didn't know how to do Zoom, right? We didn't understand it, and then – we joined – it was the Partners that helped us with Zoom, right? We joined Zoom, we joined Partners, and we had to figure Zoom out. And so, what we did is we bought a year subscription for Zoom, and now we're teaching Zoom classes when we're locked out. 

And people are coming out – people don't like it so much – but the people are coming out, right? Because it's information. It's information. And I, like, I picked up a student through Sensei Kim in the UK, and he's training now and he's enjoying it, right? So, I mean, Zoom has its place, and you know, it taught us that we can touch and get involved with a lot of different people around the world. 

GEORGE: Love it. 

RICHARD: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to commit to you. That's my biggest fear. That was my biggest fear. 

GEORGE: Now can I ask, Kim, what did he really tell you?

Martial Arts

KIM: It was, that's what it was. It was, you know, can we keep putting money into this and you know, keep going and going forward at the same time? That's what it really was. And we just decided like, “Hey, let's just do it.” And like I said, the 72 Hour Sale, I think really opened us up to what we could do. It did for me too, because it – we were just a small dojo in, you know, in Canada, London, Canada, and we blew it out of the water really. For the short time and the work that you put into it, we got a lot out of it, and it just tells me that we can do a lot more.

RICHARD: Well, the other thing is though, when you sat down and went through the four-week sale with us, the four-week program? We used that four-week program, it brought a lot of students into us. So, that was the moment that you were talking about, when you saw the, “Hey, I can do this.” When I, when my wheel started changing, was that day and that's why I stayed. And also, just the feedback I get from all the people just sitting by – I don't talk a lot in the meetings – but I'm absorbing. 

I'm absorbing what they're saying and, you know, we're very much a paper and pen dojo. We haven't gotten on to a lot of apps and sign-in apps and stuff, and we're trying to figure it out now. Like, we're trying to figure it's got to be easier, right? So, we're getting a lot from the group and the Partners group and we're very thankful to be a part of it. Like it's, it's really helped us a lot, George. You guys have really helped us a lot. And I kind of like you a little. 

GEORGE: Ah, cool. So… 

RICHARD: Just a little bit, just a little bit. Take it easy. 

GEORGE: Okay, just a little, right. Good. I was glad to say that the, you know, the South African Aussie accent wasn't, you know, anything weird. 

RICHARD: Your Canadian accent is better than your Aussie accent. 

GEORGE: I do my best, hey! But one last thing, who'd you recommend us to, and why?

Martial Arts Schools

RICHARD: I would recommend you to anyone, anyone who's looking to make gains in their schools, and to just all around, make their schools a better place, financially wise, and even with the stuff that you guys help us with, with getting classes scheduled and figuring out timewise… I would recommend it to any martial artists out there that really, really are struggling and martial arts schools all struggle, we all struggle. 

And if you want to be able to move forward in your craft that you love so much, I would recommend it to anyone, any school. Any school out there can always use the martial arts Partners, Martial Arts Media, and… nothing but good things, nothing but good things will come from it. 

GEORGE: Thanks so much, Richard and Kim. Thank you. And if that's you, and you're listening to this, and you do need some help. Best way to do that probably if you go to martialartsmedia.com/scale. We've got a little questionnaire you can just add your details there, and we'll reach out and have a chat and see if it's the right fit for you. No Canadian Club whiskey or anything was sent over as a funded endorsement. Do you guys even drink Canadian Club or is that just a thing? 

RICHARD: No, no, that's, that's so… no, no. 

GEORGE: Right, because I discovered Fosters beer when I lived in the United States, which is this big one liter can of beer. I was like, “Oh, wow, this is really cool.” And then when I ended up living in Australia was like, “Where the hell is Fosters?” Like you cannot buy Fosters. It's not a local Australian beer and nobody drinks fosters here. So, it's just an American thing or a North American Canadian thing. I don't know if you guys get it in Canada, but I think the attraction was it was just this big one liter can of beer. Yeah, right. So, Canadian Club is not a? No? 

RICHARD: No. It's not really good whiskey.  

GEORGE: Cool. Hey, Richard, Kim, thanks so much for being on. I'll speak to you soon. See you on the next call. 

RICHARD: Great. Thank you for having us, George. We really appreciate it.

KIM: Thank you. 

RICHARD: Appreciate everything you've done. 

GEORGE: Thank you. 

RICHARD: Thank you.

 

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125 – Ross Cameron: The Evolution Of The Ultimate Martial Arts Gym

Ross Cameron from Fightcross MMA has built the ultimate, world-class martial arts gym and lifestyle center. We do a deep dive on the planning, contracts, insurances and marketing that have made this a success.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What sets this world-class martial arts gym in its own league?
  • Ross’s unconventional ways of building a thriving community
  • Details often overlooked when opening up a new location
  • Timing and changing the frame with martial arts campaigns
  • How branding helps the business of martial arts
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

I'm a big believer in doing this anyhow, it is to learn every job. I don't need to do it, but I need to understand how every job works. Then if someone's not doing their job, I can point it out and I can just tell them how I want it done or, but I've got to know every job.

GEORGE: Hey, George Fourie here! Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. Today's special guest is Ross Cameron from Fightcross MMA in Brisbane, Australia. Now, Ross and I go way back, we've been working together for quite some time, and I've been fortunate enough to witness his business explode from the sidelines.

Just recently, he's opened up his new location, and let me tell you what, it's not just any location. We were on one of our Partners Power Hour calls, our coaching calls, and Ross took us on a virtual tour through the location – we're going to include a virtual tour on this page as well. But he took us through the whole location, and just the multiple floors, the different aspects, the bar, the coffee shop, and of course, the world class gym.

So, we break down just the whole process of the two to three years that it took to put this together, the obstacles that he faced, with obviously things like COVID, things that weren't expected. And we do a deep dive into the technicalities of how to set up your contracts, how to structure your staffing, and a lot of the details that often go missed when opening up a new location. And then we do a bit of a deep dive on marketing and how he's gone about marketing this new location and the plan on filling it up to 500 to 1000 members over the next 12 months. Jump in, this is a good one.

Also, if you – head over to martialartsmedia.com/125 – where this podcast episode is hosted. So, no matter where you're listening or watching, you can check out the full transcript of the show. And you can also grab a download of our new ebook, Ultimate Facebook™ Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools.

So, check that out, and make sure you subscribe to the show wherever you're listening, just to make sure that you get notified when our next show comes up. All right, let's jump in. Ross, what's been the top marketing strategy or campaign that you've run lately? What's been the highest performance?

ROSS: So, the best one we've had recently, because we've been moving into a new gym, has been our foundation membership drive, with Facebook and video and all the rest of it. And based around that, was a box that we gave away that had different items inside it. We had samples from some of our suppliers, we had a towel from the gym, we had a water bottle, we had a mouth guard, all the little bits and pieces to make them feel comfortable and give them some added value to signing on.

GEORGE: Great! So, what was the offer for the foundational membership?

ROSS: So, they got a discounted rate on the membership for 12 months. They got a – foundation sign-on fee was $99, and in that, they got this box that had a t-shirt, a mouth guard, a water bottle, a towel, samples, a card that actually had a link to some extra video content we'd done on how to tie a belt, welcome to the gym, how to do a mobility flow, all sorts of bits and pieces.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, I guess we can now give some full context, why the foundational membership, so, just a shorter intro. Ross Cameron from Fightcross in Brisbane, Australia. If you've been following the podcast, Ross has also been on the podcast before, we spoke about lockdown, which is their event… What do you call it? Modified jiu jitsu?

ROSS: It's submission grappling. Yeah. MMA in the cage without the strikes.

GEORGE: That's the tagline I've been looking for! So, you can – want to backtrack on that, which was episode 37.

So, Ross, you know, we chat every week, every so often when you're not busy evolving this new… What do we call it? It's like the evolution of the martial art school, is almost the way I look at it. You gave us a bit of a video tour and showed us what you've got going there, but why don't you give us a bit of a background, the vision and how this all came about?

ROSS: So, when I first started teaching martial arts here in Australia, I'd moved from having three clubs in New Zealand, with coaches and school halls and all the rest of it, to moving over to Australia.

And then I started teaching in my garage, and then quickly from that I went to a tin shed, and over a period of about 20 years, we've gone from the tin shed to what we have now, as I see it a very professional, high-end martial arts academy.

We've put in Fuji mats, we've put in a cage, we've got top-level cardio equipment, we've got top-level weights equipment, recovery center – so, ice pods, infrared sauna, massage therapists, physiotherapists, fitness rooms, the private PT studios, the lot. It's not just a martial arts school in the school hall, it's taking it to the next level of professionalism.

And in doing that, we've had to look at staff contracts, insurances, all the different things that you don't actually take into account when you're in a school hall. And sure, you have to have insurances and things in place, but do you need this type of insurance or this type of insurance?

Do you need to have 20 million public liability insurance or 10 million public liability insurance? Do you have to have product insurance? Do you have to have insurance to cover your income? Do you have to have insurance to cover fidelity? All sorts of bits and pieces. Do you cover your staff for all sorts of weird and wonderful things? So, it's taken a lot of time to go through and get to that point… But we're there now.

GEORGE: You there? Yeah, I remember we started having this conversation… Jeez, how long ago? It's been a few years, right?

ROSS: Yep. Yeah.

GEORGE: So, how many years in the making? I mean, not the planning – the physical actually putting it together?

ROSS: Ah, well, it's probably two to three years of actually putting it all together. It's not a quick process.

GEORGE: I'd love to dive into all the technicalities and details of, like, if you're a school owner, and you're looking at taking your business to the next level and elevating your brand, and upgrading your facilities, and being this premier school, and the process you've taken, like, the technicalities that often get overlooked. Just take us again through the facility because you left out one big part. What's in the gym, right?

ROSS: Right. So, we have a building that’s ours. Our gym is about 650 square meters. Below that is a high-end bar. Behind us is a five-star French restaurant, we have a coffee roaster, a brewer, a French patisserie kitchen, coffee shop, all in the facility.

GEORGE: Right. So, now that brings up a lot of questions. First up is – how many students arrive to class and never get up to the gym, because they are stuck in the bar?

ROSS: None, thank God.

GEORGE: Great!

ROSS: Although, they do go to the bar after.

GEORGE: Right. Their special punishment, if you're late, if you don't make it… begs the question, right? Why a bar? Why a coffee shop? What's the whole idea behind all the add-ons?

ROSS: It's trying to build a community, alright? And it's trying to have things that link into what will connect people to what we do. So, the bar is the social aspect. The coffee shop provides high-end coffee, cold brew, things that are really good for pre-workout and things like that.

And again, it's providing us a social atmosphere, where we can take the guys downstairs and have a coffee, have something to eat. People come in and spend the whole day around the gym, without actually having to go out anywhere.

GEORGE: Right. So, can you give us insight on a bit of the vision, and I think what we'll do, if it's okay with you, Ross; if you can do a bit of a video walkthrough after sometime and we'll add it onto this page where the podcast is hosted.

So, you could go to martialartsmedia.com/125 and catch the video there, because that will give you a… We were on one of our Partners coaching calls and Ross was there and he took us through the whole gym. Took up most of the coaching call, but everyone was really wowed, just by its… I mean, there's nothing I can compare to, which is just what makes it so fascinating.

So, what was the whole vision behind it? You mentioned community and it brings the whole community together, but what's the whole vision behind the new Fightcross?

ROSS: Well, martial arts as a way of life? So, the whole vision is actually that whole encompassing community. So, that's why we have a recovery center, as well as why we have the physios and the message therapists. That's why we have the PTs.

People can come in the door and do a workout, they can recover, they can eat good food, and it's all organic. It's not rubbish food, like the average pub food. It's all organic food. We've got the microbrewery on site that actually brews here with, again, organic, that whole encompassing vision is where we've gone.

GEORGE: Gotcha. What are you doing differently now, with the new – the whole new environment than you used to do just with running classes and so forth?

ROSS: Well, I'm trying to get out of doing all the work – hiring staff and doing those things. So, we have multiple styles in the gym. So, we have boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Japanese jiu jitsu, judo, taekwondo, karate we have, and then MMA, and everyone's got to fit in, we have like 72 classes a week, including pilates and yoga and so.

We've got a lot more of a community pull, because we have all these other add-on sessions.

GEORGE: Is there something you do differently to build the community when you've got all these various styles, and you attract a different caliber or type of person that resonates to these different styles?
 

ROSS: Yeah, you have to be more on the ball with the community building, as in… I spend a lot of my time now actually, just talking to people, that connection between them and me, it has to be really good because if I'm not taking all the classes, they lose contact with who you are and what you do, and all that sort of stuff.

So, you've got to spend the time around the facility, meeting with people, talking with people, building the community by organizing, like we're doing David Goggins' 4x4x48 as part of a team, we'll have a barbecue the whole weekend, we'll do all those things. And just constantly doing that sort of stuff, rather than just here I'm at the class, here's the grading barbecue and away we go.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And that's where a bar just works well as well, right? Because it brings the community together.

ROSS: Yep, yep, yep. So, even some of our little social club meetings, a Friday night sparring session, Friday nights, lots of the guys just go downstairs have a beer and a burger and then toddle off on home.

GEORGE: Love it. Alright, so, let's get into the nuts and bolts, right? I mean, what goes into this? So, first up, you have this, you have this vision, and now you have to get work, and turn the vision into reality, right? So, what sort of, what are some of the first few steps and how do you go about all this?

ROSS: Besides all the planning, dreaming and sketching, and all that sort of stuff, you get a building or you lease a building or whatever. The first thing you should do; we were finding the zoning, and making sure you have council zoning to be able to run a sport and rec facility. Step one. If you don't have sport and rec, you can be closed down by the council at any moment. Any moment.

GEORGE: Before you continue, I think, and you pointed at it, right? After the planning? So, I think we shouldn't just brush over that part, right? You've got this vision, what goes into the planning? And you've got a bit of experience in this type of thing as well.

ROSS: Yep, I'm an engineer by trade. So, planning is the key to everything. So, planning out how your building's going to look, the layout of your building, your color schemes, which mats you're going to have, what cage you're going to have, what staff you're going to require, what classes you're going to have, how you're going to get the stuff into the building, when you have to get the stuff into the building…

When you have to have your insurances in place, when your staff has to come on board, what contracts you need for your staff, whether or not you've got enough insurance to cover your product in your pro shop, and the equipment on the floor – whether or not you've got enough to handle the – if it all goes bad. Having a game plan B, C, and D. Yeah, there's lots to go into it – many moving parts.

GEORGE: Right, now there – plan B, C, and D played a big role, right? Because…

ROSS: Oh, yeah!

GEORGE: We were expecting the big old COVID to come around.

ROSS: Yep. So, we had an eight-month delay in actually getting into the building, due to building issues, due to COVID. So, in that time, we've had to, to go to game plan B, C, and D. We were doing things like running out of one of my franchises, we were running out of the coffee shop next door taking classes.

So, we had a local community, we were doing stuff in the park, we were doing bootcamp type stuff. All these bits come into play, so that we could keep community involvement here in the natural area where the gym is.

GEORGE: Alright, let's continue the journey, we’ve done the planning, we're getting all the infrastructure set up. Where do we go from here?

ROSS: So, I still think the first thing you should make sure is your building has got, one; before you sign the lease, or before you buy the building, check the zoning! Make sure that you have the correct zoning, because if the council comes along and shuts you down? You're shut down. Happened to one of my franchises, that the zoning got changed once, and they had to go and get an environmental impact study done on the traffic coming to the gym, to prove that they could stay. And it cost him about $25,000 just to do that.

So, I would make sure that that's a big tip to start with. Once you've got that, then you can start the nitty gritty into, like, what classes do you want to run, because that'll tell you what equipment you require. What sort of a gym you want to be – if you want to have weights, and you want to have, we want to be a CrossFit, box, and a martial arts gym – or if you want to be a health and fitness center, and a martial arts studio.

And then you can start planning out your equipment. Once you've got your equipment, then you can start planning out what sorts of insurances you need, what classes you're going to need, the staffing you're going to require for those.

And then you start going into if you need new staffing – are they casual? Are they permanent? How are they… are you going to pay PAYG? Are you going to have to pay supers? Are you going to have to do all those things? Are you going to… and your contracts that you require for those? Each one takes time, takes energy and takes effort. Even if you have good lawyers, and I've got good lawyers, you still have to make sure that you check all your T's and dot all your I's. So…

GEORGE: What issues did you run into that were completely unexpected, and that you particularly hadn't planned for? Or planned for?

ROSS: COVID?

GEORGE: Right. We didn't see that one coming, right?

ROSS: Yeah. And the effect COVID had on delays meant that the staff that I had organized, a lot of them were not here, not available when we actually got to moving into the gym. So, I've had that reshuffle of staffing and organizing things that has taken me longer, because of the fact that the delay was there.

Council approvals took longer than expected, building compliance took longer than expected. All those things that you think, “Oh, yeah, we'll just get it ticked off and it's… Oh no, these Braille signs are not in the right place. This fire exit needs another sign. That door swings the wrong way.” All those little bits and pieces just take time and take energy.

GEORGE: How do you go about your employment contracts and accounting and so forth? And I mean, if we can talk about budgeting as well, how did you go about all that?

ROSS: Accountants are great. If you have a good accountant, they'll make your business. We did a whole financial modeling. So, we sat down and we went through and we worked out, you know, our cash flow, our spending, funding the equipment, not funding the equipment, funding staff, how long that's going to take to ramp up the numbers to get to where we want to be…

So, we did a 2 to 5-year cash flow, then we could sit down and go, “Right. What other issues do we have here? As an accountant, what do you see?” And they always go, “You know, the next level is your staffing is going to cost you.” You got to make sure that you get your contracts right, you got to make sure that you are planning to hire slow, fire fast.

Make sure that you're looking after your people, but make sure that they're not costing you money. And contracts for your staff – again, it's that – are they casual? Are they permanent? Getting the technicalities of your employment contracts correct. I'm lucky, I've got – not only do I have good lawyers, I actually have an employment contract lawyer as a member in the gym, so I was able to go, “Tell me what I need to look at. Now go to my lawyers and say, ‘now write this'.”

And it's interesting to see all the little intricacies that you've got to have in there. And then you've got to worry about your contractors. So, if you have a guy who takes two BJJ classes a week, and if he's a contractor, you need to have a contract with him. It's not just, “Hey, mate, I know you're a BJJ black belt, can you take a couple of classes for me?” “Ah, yeah, it's 50 bucks a class.” “No worries.” It's not that easy these days, because if you do it wrong, it bites you on the ass.

GEORGE: And what could go wrong with that, because I think a lot of people do that, right? They just, you've got the top guy at the school and you're like, “Alright, we'll give you a couple of bucks to run the classes.” What's the downside?

ROSS: Well, number one, he could open a gym down the road, even though that's technically a breach of what's called fiduciary duties. So, they're not allowed to do that, but they do.

GEORGE: … because that's never happened before, has it?

ROSS: Never happened at all! That, if you have your contracts in place, that's going to cover your bum for that sort of thing. You can't stop them from opening a martial arts school, but you can stop them opening a martial arts school within a certain area to compete with you. So, there's the, sort of the fine line of understanding what they're allowed to do and what they're not allowed to do. And you only know that through experience or lawyers.

GEORGE: Very important, yeah.

ROSS: And as the contractors, you know, do they have their insurance? Do they have their first aid certificate, do they have…? And by signing the contract, you get them to agree that they have all these things in place. And then when there's verbal involved, it never lasts. If it's written, you can go back to that writing. Contracts, contracts, contracts!

GEORGE: Right.

ROSS: Like an engineer does it.

GEORGE: Now, how did you decide between… because you've got this massive organization that runs, I mean, morning, you said from 6am to?

ROSS: 5:30am to 9pm.

GEORGE: 5:30 to 9. Alright, and there's lots happening, so, you've got permanent staff, you've got casual staff, contractors. How did you decide on who you need? And did you work on a ratio, or like the ratio of students? How do you determine what staff you really need?

ROSS: What I worked on is actually the skill bases that I require to cover the multiple disciplines. So, my boxing coach that I have as a contractor, he's a boxing coach, he's a CrossFit coach. He used to fence for Australia at an Olympic level. He's done Muay Thai and karate. So, he covers multiple bases. The same with my BJJ coach. The BJJ coach, I haven't, he's, not only is he a BJJ black belt, he's also a karate black belt.

My PTs that I have, they tend to have boxing or kickboxing backgrounds, as well as being PTs. So, we've got even down to some of the reception sort of staff. I have one receptionist, a remedial massage therapist, so he can cover multiple angles for me. Sit down, work out the skill bases, then try and find the people that will fit those skill bases.

GEORGE: And then what about culture?

ROSS: That's a huge thing. Culture is a huge thing – and culture comes from the top. So, you have to drive the culture and what you want and how you want people to act and behave and talk – even down to talking. So, all the boys have their locker talk and things like that – if I catch them having locker talk anywhere in the gym, I shut that down straight away. You know, I want a large percentage of my clients to be female.

So, I'm not letting the locker talk go on in the gym and things like that. So, I set the rules, and I'm told I'm pretty hard on people. But I think it will be hard to see the culture that you want from the beginning. Tell people how you expect to be treated, and then expect them to come up to that standard.

GEORGE: And what's your strategy with that? Are you just, I mean, you just, I know you're pretty straightforward with a smile on your face, right? But is that just your approach? You just go out and tell people, “That's not cool,” pull them aside?

ROSS: That's it. I like the military principle. I don't tell people off in front of other people. I'll pull them aside and have a word with them. But I pick when I do it as well, and try not to do it so it's too obvious, or if they're making a fool of themselves, when they shouldn't be and something's dangerous? I'll say something then.

GEORGE: Alright, are you going to open a big center like this again? Another one?

ROSS: Oh, yes.

GEORGE: Oh, yes. Right, cool. Great. What would you do differently this time, if anything?

ROSS: Avoid COVID. Probably more planning, more control over certain parts that I just let other people do. One of the big things that I've learned out of this, and I'm a big believer in doing this anyhow, is to learn every job. I don't need to do it, but I need to understand how every job works.

Then if someone's not doing their job, I can point it out and I can just tell them how I want it done or, but I've got to know every job. Handy being an engineer, because that means I look at all those things and get most of it. So, yeah, but that would be more planning and more understanding of every bit that goes into it, before I get the person to look after it.

GEORGE: That means marketing too, right?

ROSS: Absolutely. Yep. Marketing is one of the things that I've had other people do before. And I'm a believer in that I should show you your job, tell you your job, let you do it. And if you don't come up to the tee, I'm going to crack across the knuckles.

I've had a few guys that have done that for me, where they've come up and then just disappeared, or they've gone and hidden from me, because they know that the knuckle breaks are coming. You've got to be able to hand over the job to somebody at some point. Otherwise you spend 24 hours a day doing every job. You still need to understand every job, you just don't need to do every job.

GEORGE: Yeah, and so, I mean, that's something that I deal with a lot, just with marketing. And I think it's, obviously if you're a school owner and you've got all this on your plate, and now you've got to handle marketing…

I mean, it's just easier to hand it off to someone and say, “Can you do it?” That's great. The problem is, if you don't know the strategy, you've actually just handed over the drive and the growth of your business to a person or foreign entity. And if they don't perform, as they do, your business is crippled right there.

And this is, I guess, my big pet peeve with, sometimes with agencies, because they can start out, you know, or the go-to guy that is doing all these great things, decides to do your marketing for you, and he does well…

But then he realizes, “Alright, well, I'm going to make a business out of this. I'm a good marketer. Maybe I'm not a good business owner.” And most agency owners would know when you get about 10, 20 clients – you better have your systems in place. So, the person that was your go-to guy becomes your not so go-to guy. And again, you're looking for the new one.

ROSS: Yep. Yeah. And exactly it with agencies – it's exactly the same as if you have – and every martial arts school works the same sort of way. They all work on their community. So, Joe Bloggs knows how to do this stuff, “Can you give it a crack for me?” And then later down the track, it doesn't work.

So, you've got to know how to do the job and then have some KPIs in place that you can check and all the rest of it and have control over it all. You don't want to hand that control over to somebody, so you get an agency doing it, and they're doing everything for you. You've got no control over it at all. Suddenly, you've got no data, you've got no information that you require to keep your systems moving.

GEORGE: Yeah, and I think there's a special place in hell for agency owners that set up your accounts on their business – their own Google accounts, their own Facebook business managers, and they run your ads or keep your data and your accounts hostage. And so, you walk away with nothing. And that's a real thing. I couldn't believe that was a real thing, but that's actually a real thing.

ROSS: Yeah, I've seen it on multiple levels, and the same sort of thing. Not just Facebook marketing, but in other areas of marketing, where they just keep everything and keep it hostage until either you pay them what they want to get paid, or they just take it and go.

GEORGE: Crazy stuff, right? So, Ross, I mean, it's, I feel it's always the lame question, right? But it's such a topic that, you know, you've got such an extensive knowledge on all this, and I just want to make sure I get all the information from you. Is there something I should be asking you that I haven't asked yet?

ROSS: No, I think sort of the next thing for us will be our ongoing marketing campaigns and planning out our year. Month by month by month, week by week by week by week, when we have to have our marketing running by, when we're having our campaigns and how we're planning those little bits. Sounds funny, but the artwork and the copy, once you've got it right, it's easy.

The planning and execution of when you need to execute it at the right time, because you can always put out an ad, and whether that ad is actually beneficial for the timing is the issue. So, if you run it, run your Christmas special in August, it's not going to work. But if you run your Christmas Special, four weeks, six weeks out from Christmas, you've got a bit of lead time up and you've got the groundswell hit just before Christmas, it's perfect timing.

Same with your February fitness or your New Year's resolution stuff. If you're trying to do that, July, it doesn't work, you know, everyone's hunkering down for the winter and they're not thinking about getting out and moving and doing all those bits and pieces.

So, timing is the important part for your marketing, understanding your market, understanding when you have to hit the go button. And then having a process from that, that says, I need my artwork ready by this date. I need my wording by this date, I need to have my flyers printed on this day. I need them distributed by hand by here to be able to get the result I want on this date.

So, all that sounds, and it sounds very easy. But you've got to have the systems in place to make it happen, because if you don't have the systems in place, you just won't do it.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. I want to ask you, just because you touched on design, how important do you feel is the design from top-level through to your social media? And how do you combine it?

ROSS: So, design's really important. So, I go down to, and this is a bit old, I don't have business cards anymore, but it used to go down to how the business card felt in your hand – the paper, the weight, the gloss, if it was embossed or not. So, your design and everything being the same image, the same look, the same feel is so important.

Because if you haven't got an even playing field when it comes to that, and you drop the ball on an ad that doesn't look anything like what you actually do? And I see it quite a bit in, well, the classic is you see ads out there that don't have their phone number, or their email address, or… there was a fight show here in Queensland that wrapped up a whole bus with just their name and all the rest of it, and didn't have a website, didn't have a phone number, didn't have when the event was, no details on the bus.

The bus drove around for about eight weeks before the fight show with no real marketing material on. So, it's that, little things. I'm quite lucky I have a graphic designer that I use in Japan. He's been a student of mine for many years, and he always looks at the little things and goes, “Oh, you've missed out your phone number here,” or, “You can't notice where your address is,” or… And everything you do, say, leaving off your website on a flyer.

GEORGE: Yeah, we were just chatting about this on the coaching call, Partners coaching call yesterday. But I think what, just to add to that, things that are so important, we were talking about timing, you know, your frame. We always say change the frame, you know, don't necessarily have to change your offer, just change the frame – that your frame is relevant.

You know, what is the talk? What are people talking about right now? Is it Mother’s Day, Easter, etc.? And then one of the mistakes we always see on any ad or any promotion is no call-to-action. It's like, here's the ad, but like, what the hell do I do to get this thing?

And then, just lastly, the wrong call-to-action on the wrong platform, because if you've got this super spanky flyer, that's really great when you hold it in your hand, and it's got a phone number. But when you see it on social media, you look at the phone number. If I'm on my phone, I can't click it. I can't type. I can't write it down. There's nothing I can do. So, it goes into the “I'll check it out later” basket, which means there goes your lead.

ROSS: Yep, exactly. On social media, you've got to have your links on your email address, on your email campaigns, have your links to things. Big mistake, I see it all the time, and not just martial arts businesses, you see it by some big businesses doing, making huge mistakes.

GEORGE: And so, just what Ross was mentioning on branding, I think what's important here – just to add on that aspect – if you're running campaigns back to back, and you have a brand identity and people can see, can you see this… I always look at Apple, you know. You don't have to know, you don't have to see an Apple logo to know it's Apple. It's just got this; the colors and the design speak for itself.

If people are seeing your ads all the time, you know, and they might not respond to this month's campaign, next month, the third month. But if you've got a design and a concept that people resonate with, and they see – when they're ready, whenever that is and they see your ad, there's a bit of a trust factor that's been built, just because they're familiar, the familiarity of your brand. So yeah, definitely important to keep that congruent from top down.

ROSS: Yeah, the classic with that is Coca Cola. You know, they don't have to change a lot, but they still have to market. So, yeah, you know what, you know what's a Coca Cola brand. You know, what's – the colors, the look, the flow. But, yeah.

GEORGE: So, Ross, what's next? 

ROSS: What's next? 

GEORGE: What's next for Ross and Fightcross? 

ROSS: So, for the next 12 months, it's consolidation. We're aiming to have somewhere between 500 and 1000 members of the facility here. And then I'm looking to purchase some more buildings and expand. So, that's the plan. 

GEORGE: Now, if you don't mind sharing, wrapping some numbers around this, what budget do you set aside? I mean, what budget did you set aside for your current location and when people see the video, they'll get a good aspect of what it's about, and how would you be budgeting for the next round? 

ROSS: So, I've spent, and fitout-wise, I've spent about $250,000 in fitout. So, it's not a cheap fitout. 

GEORGE: So, everyone will see why. Yep, yeah.

ROSS: Yeah. And it's what you're trying to achieve with your building and your fitout, like I say, even down to choosing the mats. I chose the Firmimats, and I chose the traditional Tammy Green matte finish, and all the rest of it, for the right look. So, I've spent extra dollars to make sure I got the right look and the right feel, because it's so important. 

GEORGE: Epic! Well, Ross, great catching up again, and would love to catch up again when, yeah, maybe not in the next location, but just in between and just chat about your experience with running the business and how things are going. Any last words? How can people find out more about you? We haven't even spoken about the events and things that you run. But where can people find out more about you?

ROSS: I'm all over social media so ‘Ross Cameron MMA' on Instagram, ‘Fightcross Ross Cameron' on Facebook, Aftershock, lockdown, hammer fight nights. They're there. They're all over social media. So, at one stage I did a lot of social media work. 

GEORGE: That's cool. Awesome. Great. Thanks so much. I'll speak to you soon. 

ROSS: No worries, yes!

 

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is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted on https://martialartsmedia.com. is not a forum for testimonials, however provides testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with one another. To protect against abuse, all testimonials appear after they have been reviewed by management of . doe not share the opinions, views or commentary of any testimonials on https://martialartsmedia.com – the opinions are strictly the views of the testimonial source.

The testimonials are never intended to make claims that our products and/or services can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Any such claims, implicit or explicit, in any shape or form, have not been clinically tested or evaluated.

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

Email is not recognized as a secure medium of communication. For this reason, we request that you do not send private information to us by email. However, doing so is allowed, but at your own risk. Some of the information you may enter on our website may be transmitted securely via a secure medium known as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. Credit Card information and other sensitive information is never transmitted via email.

may use software programs to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to this site.

All the materials on this site are provided “as is” without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, noninfringement of intellectual property or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event shall or its agents or associates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information, injury or death) arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials, even if has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy at any time with or without notice. However, please be assured that if the privacy policy changes in the future, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this privacy policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this privacy policy, without your prior consent.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding this policy, or your dealings with our website, please contact us here:

Martial Arts Media™
Suite 218
5/115 Grand Boulevard
Joondalup WA
6027
Australia

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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