In this episode of The Martial Arts Business Podcast, Mike shares several tips regarding end-of-year tasks that’ll lower your overhead and boost your profits. And, he offers up some timely advice on how to run holiday parties for your students.
Mentioned In This Episode:
You’re listening to the Martial Arts Business podcast with your host, Small Dojo Big Profits author Mike Massie. Remember to go to martial arts business daily dot com for show notes, transcripts, links to martial arts, business resources, and more. Now here’s your host, Mike Massie.
Hey everyone. Mike Massie here. Back with another edition of the Martial Arts Business podcast. And I hope everyone’s having a great start to their holiday season. Um, here around the Massie household, I guess, uh, the theme is, uh, decorating, decorating trees and so forth. So that’s always good. Um, before I get into the main segment of the podcast, I want to go over a few things. Um, because, uh, I’m going to be taking a short break from the podcast for the next few weeks, and I want to explain why I’m taking that break. So, uh, I just got back from MD Anderson this week, and, uh, while the news I received was good, it was positive news. Everything’s stable. You know, there’s a, uh, there’s no sign of the, uh, cancer returning in. My lungs have a couple of nodules that, uh, have remained stable for the last. You know, I guess here they were there, you know, when they found the tumor. Um, so those don’t show any signs of, uh, of developing into anything, uh, you know, benign or malignant. And, uh, my lungs look good. I saw pulmonologist had a complete, uh, pulmonary function test, and, you know, the pulmonologist basically said, you know, he said, hey, if I was looking at these numbers and I didn’t know you had had cancer, I wouldn’t know you had cancer. So kind of interesting, because I’ve been working really hard to try to get my lungs back in shape and, you know, get my wind back up and so forth. Um, it’s it’s kind of a struggle. But, you know, I’ve been working at it pretty hard. And my numbers are they’re close. They’re not quite what they were before. You know, I lost that little bit my lung, but they’re pretty close. So I’m pretty pleased about that. But, um, it’s interesting because, you know, in the time leading up to the this, uh, this checkup, because I have these checkups quarterly now, and the reason why I have these checkups quarterly is because the type of cancer that I had is very rare and only affects about 1200 people a year, 1000 1200 people, something like that. And, uh, it has a very high rate of occurrence. It’s also a type of cancer that is genetically related. About 80% of the people who have this type of cancer, um, they get it. Uh, well, they have genetic markers. Um, it’s such a rare cancer. There’s not a whole lot of research done on it. There’s only a handful of, uh, medical researchers and physicians and labs around the country that actually do research on this type of cancer. So, you know, also, because there’s so few patients, you know, there just aren’t there’s just isn’t a lot of money for research to be done on that type of cancer simply because, you know, our our medical system here in the United States anyway is driven by money and profit. It’s just, you know, it’s just sad fact. So. You know, you only have a very few researchers that are actually looking into, you know, treatments and cures for this type of cancer. And so, you know, most of the treatments that, um, that are available for people who have this type of cancer, they’re either experimental or, um, their treatments that are off label treatments, you know, like off label medications and so forth, medications that, you know, were originally, um, prescribed, you know, and, uh, you know, created and prescribed, I should say, for other diseases, other purposes, other illnesses and so forth. Um, then have a secondary purpose, um, based on, you know, particular research that might have been done for this type of cancer, you know, they show they might be able to suppress it or slow down, uh, metastasis, you know, spreading the cancer or whatever. So, so, um, you know, I’ve done quite a bit of reflection since I had my surgery, you know, and for the first three months, all I had was time to reflect because, you know, even though I was training and, you know, trying to get back in shape and so forth, you know, um, wasn’t really working that much simply because, you know, it’s really, you know, when you’re when you’re recovering from that type of surgery, it’s kind of difficult to to, uh, get a lot of work done. But in the last three months, you know, I’ve really kind of jumped back into my old work schedule. And, you know, to be honest, I jumped back into that schedule because, you know, very simply, you know, when you spend two years, um, fighting cancer, you know, you’re not at your best. And even though I worked all the way through my cancer journey because, you know, I had to support my family and, you know, based on the diagnosis that I had originally, you know, I was pretty much looking forward to an inevitable, you know, um, demise, if you will. And so I wanted to prepare for my family and make sure that they were taken care of after, you know, after I was gone. So since having the surgery and, um, recovering and now getting the six month checkup, which when you have cancer, you know, during cancer and then after cancer, you know, you pretty much live from scan to scan, as they say, uh, but after getting the six month scan and seeing that it’s clear getting that good news, you know, in light of the type of cancer that I have and the fact that it has a hybrid recurrence and it’s genetic. So, you know, I’m doing everything I can to make sure it doesn’t come back, you know, diet, nutrition, supplements, medications, etc.. But, you know, a lot of that stuff, you know, as far as, you know, the factors that are that are going to cause it to come back or not or beyond my control, never mind the fact that it showed up in my lungs first, which is pretty much the worst place that you can have this type of cancer. Um, lungs or liver and pancreas are pretty much the worst spots to get it. And so, um. If it does come back. You know, the oncologist, a specialist that I see thinks, you know, it’ll probably come back to my lungs again, you know. So, um, so the thing is, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting, and I realized, um, you know, as I was driving to and, and from Houston, you know, which is kind of a longer drive, longish drive from Austin, it’s about a three, four hour drive. Um, I realized that I jumped back into my work schedule without giving myself time off to, you know, not only heal physically, but also mentally and to process everything that’s happened. Because when you go from, you know, everyday waking up thinking, you know, gosh, I may not be here next week for two years and then, you know, you have the surgery that you didn’t think you were going to be able to have because nobody wanted to do the surgery because the tumor was too large. And on and on and on. You know, all these, you know, seeming miracles happened, you know, one right after another to help me, you know, get well and recover. So now what I’m looking at is now what I’m facing is, um, the reality that I worked myself way too hard, um, before the cancer. And I think I talked about this in a previous podcast episode where I think that, you know, working too hard. Overwork contributed to, um, developing cancer and developing, you know, my illness. Now, I can’t prove that. But it is a suspicion that I have, you know, and based on my own intuition and also some research that I did, I did plenty of research, plenty of reading on cancer and what causes it and so forth, and theories of of what causes cancer while I was sick. And so now that I’m, you know, kind of reflecting and looking at all that, I’m like thinking to myself, do I really want to jump back into what I was doing before? Because, you know, from 2019 until I got my diagnosis, you know, in 2019, I was riding full time, I was running a studio full time, and I was doing consulting part time, you know, but part time is enough. So basically, I was working two and a half jobs all the way through the pandemic, all the way through 2019. Then I shut that studio down right before the pandemic hit, which was good timing, you know? But, um, I continued to teach. And because, you know, a lot of you out there were suffering during the pandemic, which I understand, you know, a lot of my consulting income went away. You know, it my consulting income was reduced drastically during the pandemic. So I continue to teach. And that’s when I developed the micro Dojo system, which, you know, incidentally, is available in the app if you want to check it out. But, um, I operated my studio on the micro dojo, um, you know, on that business model throughout the pandemic. And so I was teaching full time out of my house, I was consulting out of my house, and I was writing full time, keeping up with my publishing schedule during the pandemic. So, you know, during that time I work myself, you know, like crazy for two years straight, like, you know, 2020 and 2021. And it was at the, uh, it was really at the I want to say it was at the end of 2021 because it was, I want to say, 2020 2nd January 2022 when I got diagnosed. So, um, you know, and then we had some losses in the family due to Covid that were really hard. And they happened one or after another. And, you know, it’s just a really stressful time. And I think I’ll let stress led up to me getting cancer. So so now I’m just reevaluating. And I realized I need some time off. So I’m going to take the rest of December off. Um, you know, from the podcast, I’ve actually paused my small Energy Big Profits group on Facebook, although the Martial Arts Business Daily page will still be running, my social media team will continue to run that, that I’m taking time off and taking time off to reflect and kind of consider what my next steps are. And you know, what I want to do with the next stage of my life. I know it’s not teaching martial arts, even though I love teaching martial arts, I don’t really think that my body is healthy enough, um, to keep up with a full time teaching schedule anymore. You know, I’m healthy enough to maintain my own training, which, you know, I’m thankful for. I’m very grateful for that and grateful the fact that I’m alive. But I don’t really think that full time teaching is where my, you know, where my future lies right now simply because of the fact that, you know, after going through what I went through, um, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up a full time teaching schedule again. As far as consulting goes, I enjoy doing consulting and I enjoy consulting work, but I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I used to for a long time, to be honest. And the reason why? Um, well, the reasons are twofold. First, it doesn’t make enough money to afford me the the type of lifestyle that I enjoy my family enjoys. Quite simply, you know, the way that I run my consulting business, um, I run it differently for the way most consultants do. Most consultants, um, try to charge a lot on the front end. They spend a lot of their time selling large consulting packages. And, you know, I get that. I understand if you’re doing consulting full time, that’s what you have to do. I don’t do consulting as my full time income, so it doesn’t bring in enough money to really support me and support my family. So, you know, because of that, um, that and the fact that it’s a time suck, I spend much more time on my consulting business than I do on my writing and publishing business. But my writing and publishing business brings in five times the income. So you can imagine how after a while, I would start to look at the amount of time that I invest in doing things like this podcast and, you know, um, working with my coaching group and, you know, dealing with, uh, you know, people in my, you know, the three groups that I run and newsletters and things of that nature, um, you know, maintaining websites and courses and so forth, um, doing promotions and whatnot, and then looking at the income that brings in compared to, you know, what I bring in with my writing and publishing business. Um, and, you know, you start to do the math and you start to think, you know, really, maybe I’m not spending my time wisely here, you know, even though I’m helping people and stuff, maybe there’s a way to streamline this or a way to revamp this business to where it’s not taking so much of my time, but I’m still able to help people. So that’s what I’m dealing with right now. That’s what I’m looking at, and that’s why I’m going to take this break. So I just wanted to let everybody know and explain in detail why I’m taking this break, and why you won’t see any new podcast episodes for the next few weeks, at least until after the new year. Now I have a ton, almost 30 old podcast episodes that, um. I had hosted them, I’d moved to anchor FM and I was hosting on anchor FM for a while, just to keep the podcast online and to keep those podcast episodes available for people, for listeners. While I wasn’t doing new podcast episodes, while it wasn’t really actively running the podcast anchor got bought by Spotify and then Spotify. They did a great job of losing, uh, more than half of my podcast episodes when they moved everything over. So I still have the most recent podcast episodes from episode, I think 32 on, but everything from 32 back got lost, and it used to be that you could access them on my website. You can access them anywhere now. So what I’m doing is, is I’m digging those old podcast episodes up and I’m uploading them. So you’re going to see about two of those hit the podcast, um, you know, the backlist every week for the next few weeks over the holidays, I’ll upload about two a week. So, um, I’m uploading them in reverse order, reverse chronological order. So in order for you to access those just every week, if you get a notification that says that they’re, you know, new podcast episodes available, um, in your chosen podcast app, whatever it may be. Um, you’ll have to scroll down. So you want to scroll down on the podcast feed list and look for the oldest episodes. And that’s where you’re going to find the episodes that I’ve uploaded that are oldies but goodies. There’s a lot of good information, those old episodes, you know, I want to make sure they stay online, so I’ll eventually have them all uploaded. But, uh, for now, I’m just doing two weeks to look for that. Okay. All right. So that’s it for everything that I had to announce before we get into the main podcast segment this week. So now let’s move on to the tip of the week, the tip of
the week. It’s time for our featured martial arts business tip of the week. For more great tips, be sure to visit Martial Arts Business Telecom to subscribe to our newsletter. And while you’re there, click on the Business Resources tab for links to all Mike’s martial arts business. And courses. Now here’s your martial arts business. Tip of the week.
Okay, so the tip of the week this week is also the main segment of the podcast because it’s a huge one. I have a lot of information for you this week. And so what we’re going to be talking about is, is we’re going to be talking about tasks that you can do to boost your profits at the end of the year, at the end of your fiscal year, at the end of the calendar year. And this is something that I work with my coaching group members on quite a bit around this time of year, simply because, you know, the Christmas holidays, the, the, you know, the, the end of year holiday season, I guess you could say, you know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, it’s a really good time to work on things you don’t normally have time to work on your dojo, because things do tend to kind of slow down. And, you know, in my coaching group, my coaching group members are working on end of year holiday promotions, advertisement promotions, marketing promotions that are going to boost their income not only this month, but also in the coming months in the new year. And so they’re working on that. But, you know, things tend to slow down as far as, you know, the number of students that you have attending classes. And, you know, you’ll take some time off probably hopefully between Christmas and New Year, season or the New year, New Year’s Day, I should say. And during that time, you have time to work on things you wouldn’t normally have time to work on your dojo. So I’m not saying that you should work all the way through your holiday break. I think when you take vacation, it should be a vacation and that’s that. But you should be able to find some time here and there, um, in between events and things that are going on this holiday season in your studio to be able to work on some of these things. So when things slow down, it does give you time to reflect and analyze in your studio, which is good. So that’s one reason why we should be looking at doing these tasks. The second thing is people are spending money this time of year, and if you’re smart, you can capture some of that money and bring it into your dojo if you know what you’re doing. And then also it helps you start the new year on the right foot, which is so, so, so important because, you know, we want to come back from our Christmas break, you know, energized and charged up and ready to tackle the new year. And every year, you know, I tried to make sure that I recharge my batteries, you know, during our Christmas break because I’d always take off time during Christmas and then during our summer break, you know, that was my time to recharge my batteries and kind of refocus. And you know, re-energize myself. And so this allows you to to be able to do that. So in that, uh, in that vein or, um, you know, following that theme, here are a few ideas for things that you can do to boost your profits at the end of the year. And the first one is to have, uh, an end of year spending audit to conduct an end of your spending audit, I should say. Okay. So basically, are you going to do is is you’re going to take all your bank statements, all your credit card statements, your statements from your, um, credit card processors, um, whether you stripe or whether you use, you know, a merchant bank card processing, uh, account or something like that, um, you’re going to print up, you know, profit and loss statements, especially detailed profit and loss statements that allow you to see spending and expenditures in different areas of your studio and different areas of your business by topic, because it’s just so, so, so important. And print out, um, also, you know, if you use any third party processing. Thing, uh, you know, gateways like PayPal or stripe or something like that. Print out those reports, too. You want to have pretty much everything in front of you. Print out anything that that is related to money and how you spend in your studio. You want to have all this stuff up in front of you and you’re going to sit down. You’re going to go through line by line. And I know this sounds super, super boring and I know it is, but by doing this, you’re going to be able to boost your profits by cutting back and cutting out the fat in your studio. So you’re going to go through everything line by line. Start with your bank statements and start looking at your expenditures. And look at your expenditures, not just for a single month, but look at your expenditures over the course of the year. Now, a good place to start, really, is to go to your PNL report and look at your profit and loss report for the year and look at the, um, you know, print out the detailed version, look for a detailed profit and loss report, and start going through each segment and look in places that seem like they’re out of whack. You know, say you’re spending too much on advertising, you’re spending too much on office products or or, you know, your payroll looks excessively high or whatever. Start looking at those areas and dialing down and start picking out things in your bank statements and so forth, your credit card statements and whatnot, and look for expenditures that match those areas of your business where you feel like you’re overspending and then look for items, look for things, look for services, whatever that look like. They could either be eliminated completely or reduced. You know, a good example of this is cell phone service, cell phone service and internet service. Um, you know, these are services that, you know, the way that they operate when you sign up for them, usually they entice you with a really low rate in the beginning. And then, uh, they kind of boil, boil you like a frog and, and they increase, you know, what you’re spending each and every month or, you know, every quarter or whatever, you know, gradually increasing your rates until eventually you look at your bill and you’re like, man, I started off and I was paying less than 100 bucks a month for phone and internet. Now I’m paying $250 a month. So, you know, if you’re in a situation like that, obviously you could probably switch. You could probably jump to another service and find, you know, a lower rate, you know, an introductory rate or something like that to get the same service. Because whether you realize it or not, um, if you’re with one of the big three, you know, competitors, you know, you have sprint, you have T-Mobile, you have, um, uh, what AT&T and Verizon, right. The big four. Right. So if you’re with one of those carriers and you go with a bargain basement carrier like Ting or like, uh, Mint Mobile or something like that, they’re all using the same networks. It’s just the discount carriers. They, um, offer rates at a discount because they don’t market up as much. So you could go with a carrier like Ting or Mint. I’ve used both of those and they were completely fine. I was using you sprint for like 20 years before that. And finally my sprint bill was so high I was like, you know what? I must be able to find a better deal somewhere. And I saved myself 100 hundred and 50 bucks a month just by switching to another carrier. So that’s one example. Um, another example would be, uh, if you look at different expenditures, like say for example, you’re spending way too much on, uh, credit card processing fees. This is an area that gets a lot of. Schools because when they first start off, many school learners will go with a service like stripe to process their credit card payments and their, you know, uh, debit card payments and so forth for their students, in other words, to do automated billing. And that’s fine. Stripe is a good service. I use it myself, but stripe charges 3% plus for processing. If you go directly to a bank card service and you want to shop around for merchant credit card processing services and look for one that has wholesale rates, um, or that have, uh, rates that are discounted rates. And you’ll have to look around because many times you can get 0% rates on card present and 1% rates when the card’s not present. So basically what that means is, is that when you have the card presence and you’re running the card, that you get 0% processing it, maybe there might be just a minor transactional fee for every transaction or something like that. Um, and then when the card’s not present, like when you’re doing recurring billing or something like that through the merchant processing gateway, then they’re going to charge you maybe like 1%. So if you think about it, you know, if you’re billing like, you know, 10,000 and $15,000 in tuition a month, which some of you may not. That may sound crazy to you, but most full time studios are going to be doing at least that. If they’re a successful full time martial arts studio, some of them are going to be billing, you know, upwards of 30, 40,000, $50,000 a month. 2% of that, uh, of that amount of money every month is a huge sum of money. And so if you can cut your merchant credit card processing rates down from, say, 3%, down to 1% or less, half a percent or whatever, and you could save a ton of money and put a lot more money in your pocket, you know, enough to, you know, to, you know, get yourself a nice vacation next year or something like that if you want. Okay. So look at different areas of your business. Make sure you go through that audit. Go through it thoroughly, take your time with it. And you know, just set aside an afternoon or something to go through all of your numbers, to look through everything, all your finances, and try to find places where you can cut out the fat in your business. Okay. Now the next thing, which is not quite as dramatic as doing a full audit on your business, but it’s still an easy way to be able to turn over money in your business is to get rid of all your stale inventory this time of year. Um, right before Christmas is a great time to just set up a table and the front area of your school, um, near your pro shop or something like that, and just take all your stale inventory, anything that’s been sitting for three months or longer, you want to look at it, evaluate it, um, see if it’s something that you think will sell, you know, at the at the regular rate, if you think you can sell it, you know, but it just is slow moving inventory. But you think you can still sell it at retail. That’s fine. But what we want to do is, is we want to take all the inventory we have, that we have money, cash tied up in that we have our financial resources tied up in this just sitting there that’s not doing anything. And we want to mark it down to 50% off, but no less than what we put into it, no less than what we have invested in in that item. Unless it’s absolutely necessary. We’re going to mark it down, put it in a table at 50% off, clearly mark everything with the original price and then the 50% off sale price, and just put signs up everywhere around that table that say, hey, 50% off sale, you know, clearance sale, etc.. Just so our students are coming in the studio, will see this stuff and go, hey, you know what? I want that. And students will pick things up because it’s at a bargain at a discount. Now, obviously we need to do this. And I used to do this in my studios every year. Obviously, you’re not going to make a huge profit on the items you sell because you’re not selling them at retail. You’re selling them at 50% off retail, which is pretty much wholesale prices. But the thing is, you got to understand that one of the ways that you make money, or the main way that you make money in a retail business, when you’re doing retail pro shop sales or retail, is that you turn over your money, you turn over the money. You have invested in your inventory routinely. And if your money is invested in inventory and that inventory is not turning over, it’s not making money for you. So the way for you to double your money in retail is to turn over all of your inventory as routinely as you possibly can. So if your money’s tied up in inventory, that’s not moving. That money’s tied up, is just sitting there. It’s not making any money. It’s actually losing you money. Because of what? Because of inflation? Because when money isn’t making money, it’s losing money because it’s always there’s something called the time value of money, which says that a dollar today is not going to be worth is going to be worth more. I should say a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow, or next week, or next month or next year. So if you have a dollar that’s just sitting there, you know, and it sits there for a year straight, guess what? You’ve lost whatever the inflation rate was on that, on that dollar, you know, during that year. So you’ve lost that money. So we want our money making us money. So all we’re trying to do is, is we’re just trying to free up that money. So what what do we do with that money when we free it up? We have the sale. We sell out a bunch of gear, a bunch of equipment. We make a, you know, 1500, $2,000 or whatever. Just as an example. What do we do with that money? Do we pocket it or spend it on Christmas or spend it on vacation? No. We take that money, we turn around and we reinvested in inventory. That is actually going to sell inventory that we know is going to move quickly, inventory that that are proven winners. So that way we can have that money reinvested, making money for us and turning, turning over constantly, um, turning over that, that money, that inventory and products that we know are going to sell. So our money is working for us and not working against us. Okay. So having an end of year inventory clearance sale, great way to do that. All right. And then finally, what I want you to do is and this is the third task. And the final task I would suggest is to plan all your marketing out for the upcoming year, for 2020, for planning your marketing out for the upcoming year. May sound like something that’s crazy to you. Like a crazy idea, especially if you don’t even have a marketing plan. And I know a lot of martial arts school owners, and I’m not trying to shame anybody for this that I know a lot of martial arts school owners, that they they run their studios by the seat of their pants and, uh, you know, they don’t plan anything. And I get that. I used to do that myself early on in my martial art school, uh, career, my martial arts school owner career. So if you don’t have a plan yet, a marketing plan, planning out the entire year may sound nuts, but trust me on this. It’s one of the best things you can do. And the reason why it’s one of the best things you can do is because by planning out all your marketing for the coming year, you’re never going. They have a time next year when you’re sitting around in your thumbs wondering what the heck you should do to get new students in your studio. What it’s going to do is it’s going to train you by having your marketing planned out for the entire year, by knowing what promotions, what ads, what marketing pushes you’re going to do, what specials you’re going to run every single month of the year. And when you’re going to run them and how you’re going to run them, you’re going to start to build up marketing momentum. And marketing momentum is super important for building your enrollment in your studio. Because the thing is, if you look at marketing, somebody wants to explain it to me like it’s like it’s a big flywheel. Okay? If you can imagine back in the day, you know, in the preindustrial area, they used to have these big grain mills, right. And the grain mills would be run. Sometimes they’d be run by a waterwheel, sometimes they’d be run by oxen or, you know, farm animals or whatever. But just imagine this big wheel that’s moving or imagine a flywheel if you know what a flywheel looks like. Right? You know, flywheels are heavy, those big grind stones are heavy. And it takes, you know, because they have what they have is is the, you know, it takes momentum to overcome the inertia of that, all that weight just sitting there. Right. So we have to overcome that inertia and build momentum in order to get that thing going. But once you get the the grindstone going or once you get the flywheel going, it’s much easier to keep it going. It takes much less and less effort to keep it going because you’ve already built up momentum. Okay, your marketing is the same way initially. When you start marketing, things start to move very, very slowly, and it takes a lot of effort to get things going and to see results. And at first, it seems like you’re putting in a lot of effort and you’re not getting a lot of benefit back from the efforts and the money that you’re spending. Okay. But then as you go along and you start to build marketing momentum and people start to see your ads over and over and over again, you know, there’s that old sore that says that a consumer has to see an ad seven times before they respond to it, or something like that. Okay, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it seems like the more often people see your ads, the more often they see different ads that you’re running, and they see new ads every month, and they see your name coming up over and over and over again. The greater the trust is built between you and that consumer, and it’s something that you can’t measure, that you don’t know is happening when it’s happening. But when people see your name in the community over and over and over again, they see your name coming up in Facebook groups or in their Facebook feed, or on their Instagram feed or whatever, over and over and over again. After a while, they start to trust your name. You start to become a trusted brand in your area. Especially, you know, if you’re running ads with testimonials and things like that, you know, which is going to help build that brand trust in your local area, then guess what? Pretty soon you’ve built up marketing momentum, and before long you’ll start to see that ads that you used to run that would get, you know, a very low response rate. All of a sudden, these ads are starting to get greater and greater response rates because you built up momentum, you built up trust with local consumers. And so your marketing dollars are going further. Every dollar you spend on marketing going further for you. Okay. So that’s why you want to plan out your marketing. Now, how do we plan out our marketing for the entire year? Well, we’re going to use seasonal promotions. It’s okay. And this is probably the oldest way for local businesses to plan their marketing, but it’s also one of the easiest. Every major business does this. If you look at major brands like Apple and Coca-Cola and so forth, look at how they’re advertising around the holiday season. What are they doing? Everything has to do with Christmas. Everything has to do with Christmas. Emotions, nostalgia, family get togethers, gift giving, you know, the joy of the season, etc. etc. etc. this is this is what’s known as seasonal promotions. Okay? Now planning your marketing out based around seasonal events and seasonal promotions is just a simple way for you to tie in to the um, I guess you could say the thought process, the internal conversation that’s already going on inside consumers heads as you’re marketing. Okay, so for example, right now, what’s going on inside everybody’s heads? Everybody’s thinking about holiday gift shopping, right? You know what am I going to get my family for Christmas? I got this big, huge Christmas list. Oh, you know, I’ve got to bake, you know, goods for, you know, the the children’s Christmas party at school. You know, I’ve got to do this. I got to do that. We’ve got this get together. We’re planning that party, um, you know, families coming in for the holidays, etc.. These are all the things that are going on in consumer’s heads already. They’re already primed to spend money for the Christmas season. You have to basically just insert yourself into that internal conversation that’s going on inside the person’s head, and get them to see you as a way that they can solve some of the problems they have during this time of year, which what are their problems, you know, Christmas gift giving. Um, what do I get for so-and-so for Christmas? And, uh, you know, what am I going to do for, you know, you know, this person on my list or that person on the list that’s really hard to buy for. Well, maybe, you know, if you did a promotion around this time of year for, like, Christmas gift certificates or something like that, you know, you might be able to get some of that shopping money that people are going to spend anyway. You might be able to get it from some of your existing clientele who possibly want to buy gift cards for somebody, and it’s the only thing they can think of to buy for someone. Or, you know, you might attract some new people into your studio that will buy gift certificates for, you know, other people, members of their family. Maybe they get a family member that really wants to start martial arts or kickboxing or something like that. You put together a package, sell the Christmas gift certificate package, and then that person comes and redeems the gift certificate. Next year, they come in, they try out your studio and then they join. Okay, so that’s the way seasonal promotions work. So how do we run seasonal promotions? Well, you know, I go over all the stuff in my in my coaching group. All my coaching group members are exposed to this stuff every year at this time of year. But, you know, just to give you an example, um, you know, in January we want to focus on fitness, um, New Year’s resolutions and getting back in shape. Okay. That should be our focus for our January marketing. Um, in February, everything is going to be, um, you know, basically themed around Valentine’s Day. Okay. So, you know, what do you do themed around Valentine’s Day? Maybe you do two for one special or something like that, like a couple special or something. You know, that’s something that, uh, that can often work. You know, having somebody, you know, just say, hey, you know, if you join this month, you can bring in your spouse or significant other for free. Um, you know, not for the entire year, but maybe just, like, for a month or something like that. Okay. And then in March, you know, we’re going to theme things around Saint Patrick’s Day or spring break or, um, both. You know, we might have, you know, spring break special event, you know, maybe for kids, like, maybe do a spring break camp, we might have a Saint Patrick’s Day special, maybe do a flash sale. There’s just all kinds of stuff you can do by thinking ahead and thinking about events every month. What we can theme our marketing around again, you’re gonna have everything planned out in advance. You’re going to be able to start working on next month’s marketing this month all throughout the year. So again, you never have to think about where you’re going to do to bring students in. You always have your next steps planned out in your marketing, and you build marketing momentum. So once you get that big flywheel going in your marketing, you’re going to have to use minimal effort to keep it going. And then guess what? After you’ve done this for an entire year and you’ve planned out your marketing for the entire year, you’ve gone through the process of running promotions or running specials and running ad campaigns and so forth. Different times of the year you’ve determined what works and what doesn’t. Over the course of the year. You’ve gotten better at marketing by doing this the whole entire year. And then you also have all these marketing systems, all these marketing things that you’ve worked out, these marketing plan specials, uh, marketing graphics, etc. maybe you purchased them from somebody else, or maybe you’ve gotten them from my coaching group because we give, you know, we provide this stuff to our coaching group members. Um, every single month they get new ads and so forth for their seasonal promotions or you’ve created them yourself. Now you have systems that you can use that you can repeat every single year and do the same thing every single year, over and over and over again to get the same results or better results as you go on. Okay. And systems are where it’s at because systems are what allow you to have, you know, not necessarily hands off school, but a school that, uh, runs easily. Okay. So that’s what we do. All right. Now, if you want detailed info on how to market your studio, I’d suggest you start with my Simplified Dojo marketing course that’s available in the Madison app at May busuu.com amazon.com. Just go there. Go to the top of the site, click on the tab that says Mobile App and you’ll get all the information you need. You can download the app for free. There’s a couple of sample lessons in there just so you can kind of see what’s in there. The app itself is 30 bucks a month. Um, trust me, the amount of value you get for 30 bucks a month is insane. It’ll be the best 30 bucks you ever spent on your school, trust me. So go check it out. Okay. All right, so that’s it for this segment. Now I’m going to give you a bonus tip okay. So our bonus tip is on Christmas parties and holiday events. So you should have holiday themed events that are specifically just for your students and their family members, especially around major holidays. Now the reasons for having these events are threefold. Number one, great way to show appreciation for your students. You always want to be finding ways to show your students how much you appreciate them. And that may sound backwards to some of you who come from a traditional background, because I know in traditional backgrounds, you know, the idea was that the student should be, you know, essentially kissing the master instructors. But but, you know, we live in the modern era. We live in a modern age. People are more educated than they ever had been. They have more information they’ve ever been than they’ve ever had at their fingertips. And they’re both phones and so forth, you know, and they have more choices than they’ve ever been able to have. So the bottom line is we need to make sure that we show our customers we appreciate them on a regular basis if we want to keep them around. Second, they allow your students to socialize and engage with other students outside of classes. And this is so, so important because this is where your school makes the shift from becoming just another fitness or afterschool activity to becoming a social center. And that’s how you’re going to keep students for the long term by building up kind of a family environment in your studio. And then they also help boost retention by giving students the idea, I guess you could say, by putting the idea in their head that your school is something more than just an after school or a fitness activity, that it is actually a social center for them. And remember, you know, we’re going through this kind of phenomena in society and it’s been augmented back and forth. I posted a video on this that I think Stossel did the other day that was talking about how they’re actually is no loneliness epidemic. But I don’t know, I, I read a lot and I’ve seen some of the, uh, you know, some of the studies that have come out and some of the numbers. And I think there is a loneliness epidemic. I think we’re seeing people, you know, um, higher rates of suicide amongst older men and older women and, you know, higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among teens and youth. You know, and, you know, we’ve always had an issue with, with men, especially, you know, our troops that are coming back from the, uh, you know, from the theater of war and so forth, you know, that are fighting, struggling with depression and PTSD and, and, and, uh, suicidal thoughts and so forth, you know, so I think we are having a, you know, kind of an epidemic of loneliness in this country. And people need connection, um, for whatever reason, societally, you know, many people have, uh, you know, they’ve kind of jettisoned they’ve skewed the, the traditional institutions that have given them those social connections, you know, whether it be church or civic, you know, organizations or whatever, civic involvement and volunteering and whatnot. People, those those things are kind of going by the wayside, unfortunately. And so people need places where they can get social connection, places where they feel like they belong. And by having these types of events and stuff in your school, you’re helping people start to see your school and experience your school as a place where it is more than just an event. They do it once or twice a week. Okay, so a couple things about this. When you’re having these events, you should not charge for events like Halloween parties and Christmas parties, because not only is that just tacky as all hell, but also it sends the wrong message to your students. When you charge an entry fee for Halloween party or Christmas party, the message you are giving your students is that the only thing you care about is their pocketbook. And you know, I talked to parents, you know, as a parent, you know, since, you know, I’ve got a 13 year old and, uh, we’ve had a martial arts and roller martial arts, you know, both in my classes and my friends schools and so forth, you know, for the since he was four. So you end up talking with other parents and stuff. You don’t know that you teach martial. And. And one of the things you’ll hear from parents is, you know, that they get tired of martial arts studios and different activities, nickel and diming them as parents. Okay. You don’t ever want to give your clients the impression that you’re nickel and diming them. All right? Um, for example, you know, I get a notice that, you know, I’ve got to pay a testing fee for my kid for his martial arts classes, you know, which is not a big deal. I used to charge testing fees. I get it, studios got to make a living. But in my mind, I’m like, okay, maybe you should just charge a little bit more tuition every month and and make those fees included versus, you know, hitting me with a fee every couple of months. It’s unexpected. And, you know, then I got to pay this fee and, you know, anyway, it’s just a little annoying for parents, you know, even me knowing, having run martial arts studios, it still annoys me a little bit. So you never want to give your, your students, um, their families, etc. you never want to give them the impression that you’re nickel and diming them. Okay. Now, my advice is that you center these events around the bulk of your students. Okay, so if you have mostly children in your studio, you should center your events around children’s and children and families, which what does that mean? Like for a Christmas party, that means the party is going to consist of fun and games and food. Okay. So, you know, I’ll give you an example of how we used to run our Christmas parties or, you know, our special events. Um, you know, students would show up, they would have to sign up early, you know, everyone would have to register for the event, because sometimes people bring friends. And if they’re going to bring a guest or something like that, you know, typically we do that on buddy night events. But, you know, also people want to bring their cousins, they have family in town or whatever. Can I bring so-and-so? Yeah, sure. Just make sure they register on the side because you can have a liability waiver for everyone. So then people will start showing up at a certain time. Uh, we, you know, the parents would, you know, we’d have extra chairs set up so parents could hang out and, you know, mellow out and enjoy some punch or some, you know, hot chocolate or whatever while their kids are out on the floor, all the kids take off their shoes. They come out in the street clothes, whatever we start, line them up and get them doing like, like kicking drills and things like that to keep them motivated, keep them, uh, you know, doing something to make sure that we maintain some structure while we’re still having fun and let the kids kind of goof off and yell and just, you know, be crazy. And, you know, my assistant instructors are out there, I’m out there and we’re all making sure that the kids are having a good time as they’re doing drills and so forth while we’re waiting for everybody to show up. Then once the event shows up, we get all the kids together. We explain what we’re going to do. We kind of give them some just basic ground rules for those students who, you know, those kids who aren’t students of our studio. And then we start doing games. You know, you start running games. Maybe we’d have, you know, like during Halloween, we’d always have a costume contest. We’d play some Halloween themed games for Christmas, we might do some different Christmas themed games or whatever, you know, um, we might do like a variety, you know, you can have everybody bring an inexpensive present, do a white elephant thing, you know, um, or, you know, if you don’t want to make it, you know, something to where, you know, parents got to spend money on one more thing for the holidays. You know, you could find something else to do, you know, some other type of things. But I recommend you have at least, you know, three games or activities that everybody can play. You know, sensei says games like that, which are big group games where the whole classroom can play, stuff like that, is always it always goes over really well. And then after that, if you do the games and so forth, then what do you do? You have snack time. So you know everybody, you know you can encourage all the parents to like. Bring their own favorite snack. You want to make sure that you also provide snacks and drinks for everyone, and plates and all that stuff. You know, that’s something that’s going to come out of your pocket. Um, just be aware of it. Let everybody kind of snack and hang out and so forth. And then, you know, usually around that time, you know, we’re about 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes in, then we’ll start, you know, like a family oriented Christmas movie in the background, you know, on a big screen TV. And, you know, the kids can kind of sit down either snacks and so forth, sugar and whatnot, and get all good and sugared up while they’re watching. You know, The Grinch Stole Christmas or something like that. And then, you know, parents are free to take their children and leave whenever they want after that time. Okay. And we thank everybody to make sure that we have somebody at the door thanking everybody for coming, making sure that we’re wishing everybody a merry Christmas and so forth. Okay. That’s just one example of how you could run a Christmas party event for children. There are other ways you could go about it. There are some really good products out on the market right now that explain how to do these events. I recommend you just search for them and look for, because there’s a couple of good products out there that I know of that my clients have said worked out really well for them. Now, as far as adult events go, what do you want to do? Well, you’re not going to run an adult Christmas event like you will run a children’s Christmas event. So what are some ideas? Well, you know, you could run something at your studio, kind of like an office style Christmas party, you know, maybe with some, you know, alcoholic beverages, adult beverages. Nothing stronger than champagne or wine, obviously. Um, that’s kind of a little lame. And it’s going to be a lot of work on your part. It might be easier just to find a local hangout where you know the owners or you can, you know, arrange something with the owners or something to where, you know, you can kind of have your own section off to yourself, to where you and all your adult students can get together and kind of arrive and kind of have a party together, party event together at that local club or whatever. It should be a place that’s low key. It’s not a place where there’s going to be any trouble. Um, you don’t want to be at a place where people are going to find out, you know, or somehow hear through the grapevine that you’re all there as part of a martial arts studio. And then somebody wants to, you know, try, um, you know, challenging one of your students or whatever, you know, nothing like that. Make sure it’s a low key place that you’re going. Um, you could do a restaurant. You know, it just kind of depends. I would ask your students where they want to meet and the just kind of, you know, kind of do that. You also want to make sure that when you’re having an event like this, especially events that involve adults and alcohol, that your job, that you keep your mind focused on what your job is and your job is being the host, not being the life of the party. So your job is number one to make sure that everybody’s having a good time. Uh, number two, make sure everybody’s taken care of to be a gracious host. And then number three, to keep an eye on people and make sure that you’re watching. And anybody who might need to have an Uber called for them and might have their keys taken away because they drank a little bit too much, that that’s fine too. You also want to make sure that you look after the safety of your students during these events. Make sure everybody gets home safe. You know, keep an eye on, uh, the, uh, younger ladies and the females in your group, okay, to make sure that nothing’s happening to them, that they’re all taken care of and safe. And then also, you need to make sure that you maintain a level of professionalism. Okay. My rule has always been no messing around with students, period. It doesn’t matter if they come on to you or not. You just don’t mess around with students. Um. Any time. And only twice over the course of, you know, 20 years of, you know, running studios or, you know, actually, it was about the first 15 years before I met my wife, basically of teaching. Um, only twice did I date students, and both times ended up catastrophically awful. Horrible. So I recommend that you don’t do it. Never date your students, okay? Just make sure everybody has a good time. Gets home safe. All right? And those are just some ideas of ways that you can run holiday events and themed events. And obviously you should be having these events for major holidays throughout the year. You know, I’d recommend, you know, doing something definitely for kids on Halloween and Christmas. Definitely have some type of holiday party for your students. Um, I wouldn’t recommend doing a New Year’s Eve party because everybody has other stuff planned on New Year’s Eve. And also, New Year’s Eve is kind of a dangerous time for people to be out, but definitely some type of Christmas party sometime in mid December is something that you should be doing on a yearly basis. And then you also want to think about doing something during the summer. You know there are ways to have summer events. You know, um, we used to have uh, we would combine like have like a water balloon fight, a water gun fight out in the park with like a kind of potluck picnic thing every year, um, at the beginning of the year to kind of kick off the summer. And it was a good way to retain students because it kept students thinking about and parents thinking about. Oh, yeah, I really need to have my child at the school because I do good things for my kid. Look how much fun my kids have. And and, uh, we would do that at the beginning of the summer to kick off the summer as kind of an appreciation event and retention event. You should also think about possibly having a yearly, um, award ceremony for your students, like an appreciation ceremony and handing out awards, um, for students, you know, like, um, you know, have let people vote on their favorite instructor, you know, um, most improved student, um, students with the best attendance, you know, um, you know, students who, you know, helped out the most around the school, just on and on and on. But you want to make sure everybody gets an award. It’s one of those things where it’s going to be like field day at grade school, where everybody gets an award. So make sure you do that. But these are all just ways that you can do events that show appreciation for your students that are seasonal and, uh, that allow your students to see your school once again as a social community, as a place that’s the social center for their lives, and not just something that they do once or twice a week. Okay. So, 1s um, finally, about all these events, you want to make sure that you’re consistent, be consistent with your events. If you have an event one year, you’re going to have it the next year. Trust me, the events are going to get more popular every year. People are going to start to look forward to them, and they’re going to be better attended, and you’re going to get better at running them, um, announce events in advance and build up anticipation for them, uh, for each event by talking about them before and after class in the weeks leading up to the event. Doing so not only want to help you make your event a success, but also it will make your students feel like they belong because you’re inviting them to the special event and everybody’s invited. Okay. All right. That’s it for this episode of the podcast. I’m going to finish there. Remember, I’m taking a couple of weeks off, so I’ll see everybody after the holidays. I want to wish you a merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you again in 2024.
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