Biggest Issue When You Started A School

Discussion in 'School Management' started by martialartsnerd, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. martialartsnerd

    martialartsnerd Orange Belt

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    Hey, guys! Newbie here, but I'd like to know what your biggest issue was when you started your own school or club. I've seen some really awesome instructors who really know their stuff, but can't really get a school running because they lack savvy in some area, usually marketing. It's part of why I decided to get into marketing so I can help those guys and, well, make some money off of that.
     
  2. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Little ironic...it seems like your soliciting for clients with this Webb sight thread. Not a very effective method to do that. It's not a very productive way to market yourself....thus we will assume your marketing of a school probably won't be that great.
     
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  3. Malos1979

    Malos1979 Blue Belt

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    You are the marketing guy and then you are asking us?

    You know were the problems are in your area right?
     
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  4. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Maybe he’s just trying to help some people out?
     
  5. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    A marketing person asking potential clients and consumers what they think is perfectly acceptable imo, it's called market research isn't it?

    So, someone wants to make some money by helping instructors with marketing - they need to look at the market and find the shortcomings and possible solutions, then package them.

    Asking here seems a reasonable place to start that process...
     
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  6. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    Marketing is not usually someones first problem, first problem is getting their class floor solid. Having the capital to make the place look nice and not like it will be gone 6 months later. Basically getting all the things internally working properly.

    If the internals aren't polished marketing will just get people in the door to see that you aren't very good :D
     
  7. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    correct, market research is good. i didnt read it like that. what i read was this.....

    " I've seen some really awesome instructors who really know their stuff, but can't really get a school running because they lack savvy in ... marketing.
    maybe i can make a post on this web sight and maybe someone will hire me."

    the OP states that good instructors cant get their MA school off the ground due to marketing. i feel that is a bit of confirmation bias. MA schools biggest problem is usually lack of start up capital and lack of business knowledge. thus hiring a marketing consultant is not in the budget.

    judging by the wording of the post, i have a hard time believing the OP had any intention other than self promotion.
     
  8. martialartsnerd

    martialartsnerd Orange Belt

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    That's a fair point, thanks for the callout. I should've made my intentions for market research clear. Yes, this IS strictly market so that I can also make a vid of it on my YouTube Channel to get the advice out. As far as a marketing process goes, I'd be putting a complete sales funnel and value ladder together starting off with a freebie for people to use. My only intentions with this forum would be coming up with ideas to cover in my videos. Also, you bring up a fair point, hoshin1600. Start-up capital and lack of business savvy DO tend to be two of the largest obstacles for quite a few. I've seen some guys go "garage-days" like the Gracies started before they had to expand. But as far as business knowledge, would their immediate concerns be getting a business coach instead?
     
  9. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Obviously we interpreted it slightly differently - you seemed to imply he was touting for business here initially.

    I read it more like "I see a potential gap in the market for an MA oriented marketing system, so I'm asking here from people who may have had the same problems".

    If that were to lead on to self promotion I personally still wouldn't have an issue with it though - if the research led to valid marketing methods which he charged for (which I assumed was the intention from the start) then sure he'd be helping himself, but also helping people grow their schools. Win/win in my book.

    Thing is, if someone came on saying they're trying to start a school but are having trouble with the business side of it, people would likely advise to see a business coach - if they said they're having trouble with sales and marketing they'd likely get told to see a marketing person.

    Would this not be simply helping to expand the range of marketeers available, and one with specific (rather than generic) MA marketing ideas?

    I may have implied too much negativity into your first reply as well of course ;)
     
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  10. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    implied negativity??......i thought i was fairly obvious in my negativity :D
    but by design. if it was a covert method of drumming up business i think that is against the TOS for martial talk. but if not then i felt he would clarify and he has ....so we are all good.
     
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  11. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    well the problem there is ignorance (not knowing) often people are not aware of how much they dont know. they think they know karate so it is self apparent that they can open a school. 6 month later they are hemorrhaging money and dont know why.
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Two areas I've seen stymie school start-ups. As others have pointed out, starting capital is an issue in many cases. For those starting out with a program in a shared space, this is less of an issue - we get to build up our equipment and such over time, and the shared space doesn't usually require (or, in fact, allow) any upgrades. I started with an 8x8' mat space and my personal practice equipment, and used fee income to get everything else I currently have for the program.

    Even when there's enough start-up capital, or with shared-space startups, I see instructors struggle with getting students. This is less an issue when kids classes are involved (those seem to be easier to fill), but a significant barrier to building adult programs. Sometimes this is mitigated by foot traffic in shared spaces (like a larger YMCA), but I've never found that helps much in the spaces I've used. For me, this is the biggest barrier - just getting enough prospective students to walk in the door.
     
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  13. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    1. Find a suitable and affordable place.
    2. Find students to fill the room.

    The point 1 was the hardest. The point 2 was easier because I booked a small room. :) And, as part of an organisation, I was selling ‘only’ local and convenient training, which would give them access to other (many) events with different (and better) instructors and complementary subjects.
     
  14. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Installing the bathrooms.
     
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  15. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master Black Belt

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    I think that business coaching would be more valuable to most beginning school owners than just marketing services. Having the best SEO, or nice flyers, doesn't help too much if you don't have good business processes in place.
     
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  16. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I think you need a balance - the best business processes don't mean much without anyone giving you income...

    I know I could significantly grow my own business with some good targeted marketing - but I really don't think I want to because that'd mean doing more work ;)
     
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  17. martialartsnerd

    martialartsnerd Orange Belt

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    That's something I've noticed with the instructors I know personally who are in the garage-days phase. I would certainly love to figure out how to help them market to the older crowds so that they can give their attention there. Out of the three instructors I've gotten to know, one of them watered down his Taekwondo so as to attract a following of kids, and I also feel that this is because of how it's attracting uninformed consumers, another problem I want to solve with the marketing that I'm learning.
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    There’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg koan there. Hard to say one is more urgent than the other. With no students, business savvy doesn’t make much difference
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Most instructors I know would love to do better attracting adults.
     
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  20. dvcochran

    dvcochran Black Belt

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    For me, definitely not. A business coach is one of the newest and biggest rip-offs out there. Just a new phrase to try and spin.
     

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