Developing Your Martial Arts School to Be the Best it can Be
With all the revelations going on in the martial arts industry, new curriculums, marketing products, business systems, new and improved software, and even the organization of corporate chains of schools. Sometimes with all of this great information and changes, we can often get distracted and overlook some of our very basic tasks that really make a difference in our school by providing great customer service and can bring us to a new level of professionalism. In my next few columns I would like to exam some of these simple, but important issues that will insure that we become the best we can be.
Signs – most schools I visit are cluttered with notices, announcements, kids pictures, messy bulletin boards, creeds, hand written prices on star bursts in the pro shop, a hand written SALE sign, tournament flyers hanging on the wall. The first thing I am going to suggest is we work on this area. In fact I usually see so much clutter you notice nothing.
You should have the following – A nice professional sign for your school on the building.
Your school should also have signs in the school directing people to rest rooms or dressing areas. This makes it more comfortable for people because they don’t have to ask embarrassing questions. All signs should be lower case (don’t ask me why) I have just read in several books that people find lower case lettering easier to read and more pleasant to look at. It’s also recommended you use the same font on all signs.
Signs telling people what’s on the other side of doors are the only others you need, office, men, women, dressing room, intro room, storage, and exit.
Remove everything else with the exception of your STARS or Black Belt Excellence posters and the, “This is a Black Belt School” phrase over the mirrors. Creed is not necessary as I’m sure you’ve got it memorized.
Paint – Now that you will probably have a ton more wall space you may want to repaint. Choose great warm colors that are comforting and not overwhelming. Think earth tones like the ones used by Star Bucks. Repainting can bring a whole new feel and life to your school. Besides repainting is easier than trying to clean those white walls of yours.
The viewing area or waiting room – There are two thoughts on viewing areas. Some owners feel the viewing area should be separated so the classroom is more private while others like the parents and spectators to hear the class and be right off the floor. I am a fan of the latter as I feel if you are really teaching benefits and life skills, you are constantly educating parents on the value of your programs. The parents now become fans and tell other about your school. It also makes for easier upgrades and renewals.
Seating – Make sure the chairs are comfortable. Some schools have bleachers. Moms in dresses, skirts and high heels don’t want to climb bleachers. Kids like to play on them and of course that will eventually result in an injury. They are also uncomfortable because there is no back rest. Some schools buy the plastic outdoor style chairs. There are inexpensive but also uncomfortable. If you are going to provide the best service, get nice padded chairs in fabric or leather from a office supply store like office depot. These are not that expensive. They look great and are comfortable to sit in.
Parents – If your classes are fast paced and you teach lots of life skills you will find the parents listening to your every word. If the classes are slow paced you are going to find parents beginning to talk. Keep them engaged in the class. We have them stand during the student creed, clap for the kids and sometimes hold pads. The point here is to make sure they are involved and are educated about what your school is all about. Some parents will want to read a magazine. You should have CURRENT magazines that interest them. Make sure your school smells good. Have air fresheners near by. Have a pot of coffee available for parents with, cups, sweeteners, spoons, napkins and cream.
Remember, our goal is to be the best, The BEST SCHOOL, WITH THE BEST MARTIAL ARTS, and WITH THE BEST SERVICE in your area.