Balancing The Pursuit Of Your Passion And Playtime With Being A Business Owner
“My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”
– Michael Gerber
Every instructor and school owner has their idea of what’s important to them about the martial arts. For me, it was always street self-defense, women’s self-defense, child safety, and making sure my students could protect themselves if need be.
For others, it may be competition, the faithful preservation of a particular style or art, learning a myriad of techniques in multiple arts, or perhaps learning as much as possible about a single particular subset of skills in the arts.
I believe it’s important for an instructor to pursue their passions within the martial arts, and certainly doing so should be a priority in their career, for obvious reasons. Without having a passion for training and teaching, no instructor will last very long or go very far, and it’s often our own individual interests that continue to spark that inner fire over the long haul.
Practicality Should Always Take Precedence Over Play
Even so, as business owners we must remember that practicality should always take precedence over play. Sure, it’s fun to go do “that thing” we most enjoy, be it cross-training, performing, competing, or research.
But when we begin to allow our “playtime” to take precedence over our role as business owners, we lose sight of the fact that in business we must constantly be improving… or we run the risk of allowing our competitors to gain an edge over us.
And, don’t kid yourself – we are competing with a whole lot more than just other martial arts school owners. There’s a whole industry devoted to adult fitness and health that is chomping at the bit to take whatever market share we hold and call it their own.
Case in point: The keynote speaker for this years CI09 health club industry exposition is Mark Mastrov… you know, the Mark Mastrov that built 24-Hour Fitness into a huge billion dollar a year company… who is, incidentally, the same Mark Mastrov that is partnering with Dana White and the UFC to launch the UFC Gym concept. This show he’s speaking at is a huge training and industry event for the health club industry that dwarfs any martial arts industry event you’ve attended. If you don’t find that significant, check your pulse…
The Drive For Achieving Excellence… In Business
Here’s the thing… you know that same drive that makes someone the best fighter or competitor? Well, there are plenty of people in business who have that exact same drive when it comes to edging out (and, when possible, completely crushing) the competition in business.
- They’re the ones who consistently spend their time and money on business education.
- They read business books, articles, and publications… constantly.
- They network with other successful business owners.
- They study the arts of management, marketing, and selling.
And, when given a choice between playtime or learning something that will make them a better business person, nine times out of ten they’ll pick the latter.
Because they have their priorities straight… and they realize that playtime is only possible when the bills get paid.
Final Thoughts On The Topic of Martial Arts Business Priorities
The middle of a recession is not the time to be playing around. This business owner stuff, it’s serious stuff… and even in good times you can lose your shirt in a heartbeat if you allow yourself to start slipping.
Me personally? For me, the middle of a recession is time to pull out the stops and study everything I can that will give me an edge in this market.
And if my competitors goof-off, dilly-dallying at some event that isn’t going to help them put students on their floor and food on the table?
More power to ’em.