As Martial Arts School Owners it’s difficult to find time to do anything. We have to teach classes, perform administrative tasks, talk to parents, teach after school programs, teach gym classes, and so many other things that I can’t even think of at the moment. The key to staying above water is making sure that we’re spending our time wisely and making time to do things that need to be done.

As a school owner we should make sure that we’re taking advantage of Prime Time and Down Time. We also need to make sure that our instructors understand the difference between them and what their priorities should be during that time.

Prime Time vs. Down Time

Prime Time is when you have students at your school or at you are at an event. If you are actively teaching martial arts, you’re in Prime Time.

Down Time is when you have no students present and you are not at an event. Down Time is basically any time that isn’t Prime Time.

The question is, do your instructors know the difference and are they making the best use of Prime Time and Down Time?

Prime Time

Prime Time can be broken down into two part: Classes and Events.

Class Time

Your focus for classes is first and foremost to give students a great experience. As the school owner you get to decide what you think that experience should be. However, whatever experience you decide upon it needs to be great.

During classes there is the time where you are actively teaching and the time between teaching. Ideally there is about 10 – 15 minutes of time you teaching (during this time students should be warming up for class). Those 10 – 15 minutes are critical for building rapport with students’ parents.

Take time to talk about little Jimmy’s report card, or how he’s behaving at home. Talk to parents about what their children are doing well in and what their children need to work on. This builds your relationship with your students’ parents. You also gain the knowledge you need to help each student individually.

Events

At events there are two primary goals:

  1. Provide an amazing experience
  2. Generate leads

Primary focus is on creating a great experience. That experience will depend on what type of event you are running.

If you are giving a demonstration, the focus is on making that a great experience. If you’re teaching a gym class or after school program for kids the focus should be on creating a great experience for those children. Regardless of the event, have a plan for making the event killer.

Secondly your goal is to generate leads. How you do this is also dependent on the event you are running.

After demonstrations is a good time to make yourself available to people who were watching. Talk to people who seem interested and get their information so you can call them later.

If you’re running an after school program, make time to talk to parents when the children are being picked up. Build the relationship and, at the end of the program, talk to parents about becoming students in the future, get their information, and then contact them.

Remember, if you don’t get leads you can’t get new students. No new students means you aren’t growing and you won’t be able to keep your school open.

Down Time

There are lots of things to do during your down time, but it can be broken down into 4 parts:

  1. Building Relationships
  2. Scheduling Events
  3. Marketing
  4. Administrative Tasks

Building Relationships

During Down Time you should be setting aside time to build relationships with anyone and everyone that you interact with as a martial arts school owner. This includes students, students’ parents, PTA, local Schools (and their admin team), and other local businesses (especially if you run a charity event that looks for sponsors).

Some examples of building relationships:

  • Spend time putting together packets of information on gym classes and after school programs for school administrators and deliver them in person
  • Put together a packet of information on self-defense seminars and give them to the PTA at local schools
  • 2-4-6 Calls / Emails for New Students (check in with new students 2, 4, and 6 weeks after they enroll to make sure they’re happy)
  • We Miss You calls – if someone hasn’t been to class in a couple of weeks, call them and tell them you miss them

There are lots of other ways to build relationships, but you should be building relationships during your Down Time.

Scheduling Events

You should always be working on scheduling more events with a focus on at least 2 events a week. This helps you get fresh leads, instead of just waiting for people to visit your website and contact you.

Good examples of events to schedule that work with the community to build your reputation and school:

  • Gym Classes – teach gym classes at your local schools
  • After School Programs – teach children after school and donate the enrollment fee back to the school
  • Women’s Self-Defense Seminars – host women’s self-defense seminars at your school for students and their friends
  • Boy Scout & Girl Scout Events – invite local Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups to come to your school and have a fun afternoon of martial arts (sprinkled with focus and discipline)

There are 1001 different types of events that martial arts schools can do to get their name out there. Pick a few, focus on scheduling those events and making them great experiences. Once you have those down pat expand your repertoire.

Marketing Your School

You should be spending at least 30 minutes a day marketing your school. Ideally you should be setting aside 60 minutes daily for marketing.

Marketing comes in all forms, but your focus should be on developing your lead generating marketing efforts every day. Whether it’s emails, improving your website, entering leads into a spreadsheet and calling them, or ordering print advertisement, you should be spending an hour a day on your marketing efforts.

Note: Scheduling events and building relationships can be indirect forms of marketing, so spending time on those two activities is like a double whammy. Schedule events that will generate leads for your martial arts school and you will have take care of two birds with one stone.

Administrative Tasks

The last thing that you should focus on is your general administrative tasks. Things like payroll, checking attendance, following up on missed credit card charges, and other administrative tasks should only happen while students are outside of the school.

Training Your Staff

It’s incredibly important that you train all of your staff to understand the difference between Prime Time and Down Time. This includes junior staff and volunteers. If your Junior Staff is chit chatting with their peers instead of building rapport with students’ parents they are missing an opportunity to help students.

Instructors and Enrollment Directors should also be very clear on the difference and focused on using their time wisely.

If an Instructor comes into the school during Prime Time and starts processing payments, they’re missing key opportunities to work with students and those students’ parents. They also have their priorities in the wrong place (not to say they aren’t good employees).

Onboarding New Instructors and Junior Instructors

Take time during onboarding to outline for Instructors and Junior Instructors the difference between Prime Time and Down Time.

Prime Time is when students are in the school or you are at an event. Down Time is when there are no students around and you are not at an event.

Prime Time focuses are on providing students with a great experience in class or at events and building rapport with students, their parents, and whoever is watching you at an event.

Down Time focuses are on building relationships with people other than students and their parents, scheduling events, marketing, and various administrative tasks.

If you teach them this they will have the principles necessary to optimize each and every day.

 


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