Are you systemized?

There’s a great book called “The E-myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.

The E-Myth or “entrepreneurial myth” is the concept that a worker believing that just because they can perform a certain job or function, they believe they can run a business.

For example…

A “technician” (someone who works in a business) such as a mechanic is getting paid say $25 per hour but the boss is charging the customer $75 per hour. The technician thinks “Hey wait a minute. I’m the one doing all the work… where’s the other $50 going? I could open my own business and make far more money!”

So the technician suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure, quits and opens his business not realizing that just because he can fix cars, doesn’t mean that he can run a business. He hasn’t taken into consideration all the other aspects such as marketing, administration or any of the systems a business needs to have in place in order to grow.

These are skills that he hasn’t learned as he simply performs just ONE of the aspects of the mechanic’s business. He’s also never really considered all the overhead costs, or why the boss is charging $75/hour.

Gerber describes a successful business not as one where “people run the business” but one in which “the systems run the business and the people run the systems”.

In order to have a successful school you need to have systems in place so that your business runs even when you’re not there. This is the basic reason 9/10 businesses (including martial arts schools) fail within 5 years – a lack of systems.

You might be thinking “But I’m just teaching martial arts! How hard can that be?”

To give you some idea I’ve systemized just about every part of my business from the marketing, to collecting payment, to student administration, to the way we teach, to how we promote students, etc.

Everything has a system. Though it took a while to figure out, document and put it all in place it’s been worth it. The benefits are these…

  • A systemized business allows you to grow far more quickly.
  • A systemized business gives you freedom as you can step away and someone else can run it exactly as you have documented.
  • A systemized business is far easier to run. When you’ve figured out a successful process you can follow it every time.
  • A business with documented systems is far easier to sell if you ever want to. But an unsystemized business that is dependent on you is not sellable.

For example, I’m taking 10 minutes to write this blog right now while I’m on vacation, and I know my club will still run smoothly while I’m gone, because I’ve systemized my school. All classes still run as they would without me and I have faith in the people who are running the club while I’m not there because they were easy to train because the business is systemized.

Start structuring your school by designing systems to run your business. Document everything and create a “Business Procedures Manual”. Then anyone who needs to step in and run your school can then run those systems that will run your business.

If you’re not sure where to start, Marco Mazzanti’s Early Learning System will jump start you in the right direction. It’s what I’ve modeled my school on. Then if you’re looking for ways to organize the administration side of your business, you might consider the Dojo Organizer – again this is what I designed and use to keep track of student information.

To your success!


Adding new classes to increase revenue

One way to generate more income from your karate school is to add more specialty classes to your schedule.

For example, I teach karate as my #1 focus which brings in around 80% of the school’s income. However I also teach other RELATED specialty classes.

On Saturday mornings I teach Escrima for an hour and have students both who are in my primary karate class and also other students who do this class only. Students who already do karate get a discount on the Escrima class and those who do it only pay the regular price. From adding this one class the school makes an extra few hundred dollars per month.

Contrast this to the old way I used to teach this with Escrima being an irregular part of my karate classes.

1) It wasn’t often enough for students to retain their knowledge
2) Was drawing away from the learning time for the number #1 reason people train at my school (karate)
3) And it wasn’t helping the financial situation as we weren’t charging any extra to learn it.

Every 3 months or so I teach a 4 week women’s self defense class on a Saturday morning. It’s right after my Escrima class and goes for 90 minutes. Again this adds an extra few hundred dollars for the month. I also run other specialty classes and seminars from time to time for both my students and also for people from other clubs. These special classes add an extra 5-10% to the bottom line without any external advertising. I know if I got aggressive with this I could easily double those figures.

The point here is that adding RELATED specialty classes can increase your revenue and help you pay your rent, buy new equipment and make a few extra dollars. The good thing is that if you do it right the reward will be worth the extra effort.

The benefits of adding a related specialty class (or more) are these:

1) It adds to your bottom line.
2) It gives your school more exposure through the extra classes available.
3) It’s a good marketing tool to bring in new students and other family members.
4) Increases your depth as a teacher and increases your perceived value as a teacher.
5) It doesn’t take away from the learning time of your core class.

Now the key point is to make your extra classes related to your primary class. For example you don’t want to add a class on yoga or gymnastics. People come to you for karate/self defense, so teach things closely related, otherwise you’ll lose focus for your school and you’ll decrease your perceived (and paid) value as an expert in the martial arts.