There are two types of business owners in the Martial Arts industry. Let’s call them the Generals and the Soldiers. Although cliché, the similarities in their roles is fitting.
The vast majority of instructors belong to the group of Soldiers. They work incredibly hard. They do the majority of classes, know every one of their students, handle the administration and marketing and may even do the cleaning. This group, usually at the start of their working life, has incredible energy – usually produced by the adrenalin surge of having the buck stop with them. They are Black belts on the floor but coloured belts (often white belts) in the office.
The Generals are a smaller group … much, much smaller. Their business operates without them. They wander around the classes not because they have to be there but because they want to be there. Their time is spent in ‘M.B.W.A.’ (Management By Wandering Around)
So, how do Soldiers become Generals?
The first thing to understand is that how a General spends his time is completely different to the way a Soldier spends his time. The General realises that of all the decisions that need to be made in the business of martial arts, only about 10% of them relate to Martial Arts in a physical sense. The large remainder of decisions are in the area of business development and management. Strategy if you like.
The first challenge is to decide how much time to spend on different duties.
Questions like: “Should I spend 1 hour reviewing the syllabus or 1 hour designing a budget for the Profit and Loss?” need to be addressed. As all Generals used to be Soldiers they know the value of a good work ethic. The temptation is to do everything! We want to leave no stone unturned in our quest for martial arts and business greatness.
The problem with trying to do everything is quite simple – you just can’t. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
Hence Generals decide which duties are the most important. According to Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits, “The enemy of the best is often the good.” In other words, all activities have merit but which is the BEST one to do?
All these answers are clear when you have set clear business goals and they have been given priorities. Then you can cheerfully say, ‘No” … and smile. When you have reached this level you have taken the quantum leap.
But one warning, when you change for the better, prepare for complaints. People who aren’t growing when you are will always have advice. Like the intoxicated spectator after your competition fight telling you what you should have done, advice like this should be left far behind.