No one can do it as good as you right? How can I trust the team to do it the way I do it? No one does it as good as me. These are very common for employers to say and do. But the reality is, in order for your business to thrive you just have to put in systems that allow you to free up your time so you and work on the business and not necessarily in it. But first things first. In your martial arts business, it may be an easy option to offer a discount in the training fees to get a little assistance in the office or on the dojo floor but that method is fraught with danger.
For starters, the student never sees a tangible result ie dollars going into their account. And how can you put a value on the offset. But the biggest thing is if they are on a “mates’ rates” student discount, essentially doing you a favour, it can be difficult to then treat them like an employee, which is what you need to do in order to run your team efficiently. So, from the beginning, with your students, treat them as you should be treating them as an employee. Have an interview, make an offer, have them sign a contract, give them the terms of employment (your rules and regulations), then train them up and get them on the floor. This way you have a whole lot more leverage and they will not be inclined to say “oh this is just a casual agreement” and not show up or go sick at the last minute, leaving you short.
Forget about the training fees they are still paying, that is for them to work out. Just because some one is your paid employee, that does not entitle them to a free training ticket. The same goes for office staff.
It is a great day when you have all the ducks in a line and you get to the stage where you are no longer needed in the office. But in essence you need to buy your freedom. None of this happens for free. You need to pay and pay well. My martial arts business just boomed when I was not pushed up against the coal face micromanaging students, trainers and parents. I was able to do the things that enhanced the business blue print, the nuts and bolts and not get caught up in the hum drum of the daily running. But I would never be far away.
There are 3 important things that you must do. Systemise everything. Train your staff in the system, make it a no brainer, use checklists, so all they need to do is tick a box. I recommend “the emyth” by Michael Gerber, a business classic and must read for all business leaders that want a bit of their life back. Have regular train the trainer sessions. Make them no longer than 20-30 minutes and cover relevant key points. Constantly challenge your employee to grow by asking them to do more. As soon as they achieve a level where they feel comfortable, challenge them to go to the next level. Give them incentive by giving them small increments in their pay.
And the last one, do regular appraisals and spot checks. Just drop in at random times to make sure the team is doing it the way you want it done. I guarantee, in the beginning they will all have their feet up on the desk, going missing and doing their own thing. But once you sack a couple for this, they will begin to think twice about it next time.
The demise of the business. If you continue to run from pillar to post, trying to do it all yourself, the cracks will be very subtle at first, but they will appear. You will begin to wonder why business is dropping off. You will appear frantic and stressed and lock horns with your staff and associates. The big thing is you just will not be having a good time. People will feel it and they will not quite understand it, but they will say to themselves, the kids are just not enjoying it. Or the adult will say, I’m going to try F45 or 12 Rounds for a while, these classes have lost their Zing.
At the height of my business I had 1100 students over 2 studios, 14 trainers and 5 office staff. I completely removed myself from teaching all children and adult beginners and was able to drop into the office when it suited me.-Andy-
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