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  • Small Dojo, Big Profits Manual

    Has anyone read this book? What are your thoughts on it?

  • #2
    I purchased it recently & I must admit I'm very pleased.
    I plan to execute some of the ideas ASAP in my business venture.
    The author seems to have good knowledge of the martial arts business.

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    • #3
      I also purchased the book.

      I purchased the book a few weeks back. I think it is very good. It makes a lot of sense and is practical.

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      • #4
        Who is the author, and where can I find it? Just my local bookstore? Or on a webpage?

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        • #5
          http://www.small-dojo-big-profits.com/
          Author: Michael D. Massie

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          • #6
            I don’t know about Massie’s book, but I have read everything by John Graden. The problem for me with the approach most books I have read concerning the business aspect of running a school is they focus on the school having a belt system. They suggest teaching from the first trial lesson you should try and give the student “black belt eyes”. Make them desire that black belt by making it special. Have an honor role of black belts hanging in your school and have a special black belt only class once a week are a few things that are suggested. With 6 or more belts to work through, you can create a 5 year student. Ok, that all sounds fine but what if what you teach has no belt system like JKD? How do you create retention? If Massie addresses that, I would buy the book.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kvntu View Post
              I don’t know about Massie’s book, but I have read everything by John Graden. The problem for me with the approach most books I have read concerning the business aspect of running a school is they focus on the school having a belt system. They suggest teaching from the first trial lesson you should try and give the student “black belt eyes”. Make them desire that black belt by making it special. Have an honor role of black belts hanging in your school and have a special black belt only class once a week are a few things that are suggested. With 6 or more belts to work through, you can create a 5 year student. Ok, that all sounds fine but what if what you teach has no belt system like JKD? How do you create retention? If Massie addresses that, I would buy the book.
              Actually, you misunderstand Mr. Graden's concept of "Black Belt Eyes." Black Belt Eyes refer to associations we make due to our background as veteran martial artists that we expect other who don't understand to make.

              Furthermore, Mr. Graden's approach isn't simply about the "black belt," he's showing you a way of retaining students, because THEY ARE the life-blood of your gym. Even if you don't have belts, you can create levels to motivate and retain students.

              However, the most important point made by Mr. Graden is that you MUST value what you teach; AND that means you charge for your lessons and conduct yourself as a business professional at all times.

              That said, most books on running a martial arts school have similar concepts, such as:

              1. Start small, not big.
              2. Hold more classes for better student-to-teacher ratios.
              3. Hold shorter classes (less than one hour each).
              4. Understand your target market.
              5. Market, market and market!
              6. Use agreements (contracts).
              7. Hire help where needed (collections, secretary).
              8. Deliver what you promise.
              9. Offer different programs.
              10. Have "systems" in place for every situation.

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              • #8
                Thank you for your response and interesting perspective. I would say if I misunderstood, I am certainly not alone. In fact, every consultant I spoke to at NAPMA must have also misunderstood. I was a member of John Graden’s NAPMA years ago when he was still there. I used to call for telephone consultation concerning this issue and everyone I spoke there agreed that Graden’s business model was the more traditional school with a belt system. Having told the people at NAPMA that I don’t use a belt system in my school, they pushed me to start a Black sash system. However, a student claiming to have a Black sash in JKD seemed inappropriate to me. The Black belt has been so exposed to the American public; it’s hard to find someone who isn’t aware of what it is. There is a marketing advantage to offering a Black belt program to the average person and Graden was and is very aware of that. His books are filled with references of creating the desire and confidence so the student will stick it out in your school to earn this well known achievement.

                Now having said all that, I am in no way saying the Graden books are bad in any way. I bought 3 of them! I found lots of great info in them and recommend them highly. His concepts of how to organize your school and keep track of students is awesome. It just isn’t orientated to non- traditional schools and you will have to read between the lines and figure out how to apply it to your situation.

                Getting back to Massie’s book, I was curious if those that have read it feel its covers schools with a ranking system other than belts?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kvntu View Post
                  Thank you for your response and interesting perspective. I would say if I misunderstood, I am certainly not alone. In fact, every consultant I spoke to at NAPMA must have also misunderstood. I was a member of John Graden’s NAPMA years ago when he was still there. I used to call for telephone consultation concerning this issue and everyone I spoke there agreed that Graden’s business model was the more traditional school with a belt system. Having told the people at NAPMA that I don’t use a belt system in my school, they pushed me to start a Black sash system. However, a student claiming to have a Black sash in JKD seemed inappropriate to me. The Black belt has been so exposed to the American public; it’s hard to find someone who isn’t aware of what it is. There is a marketing advantage to offering a Black belt program to the average person and Graden was and is very aware of that. His books are filled with references of creating the desire and confidence so the student will stick it out in your school to earn this well known achievement.

                  Now having said all that, I am in no way saying the Graden books are bad in any way. I bought 3 of them! I found lots of great info in them and recommend them highly. His concepts of how to organize your school and keep track of students is awesome. It just isn’t orientated to non- traditional schools and you will have to read between the lines and figure out how to apply it to your situation.

                  Getting back to Massie’s book, I was curious if those that have read it feel its covers schools with a ranking system other than belts?
                  I read Massie's book a while back and don't have it anymore. But if I can recall, his primary concept is to rent an inexpensive and small space and hold many classes (different time slots) to generate cash flow. I don't remember anything on belt systems.

                  Having said that, I don't believe a sash system would be good for JKD either. As much as I credit Mr. Graden, NAPMA, or MATA; the truth is that every school must develop a business model based on its own circumstances. For something as untraditional as JKD, I would personally use a system of levels to indicate someone's progress.

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                  • #10
                    you could develop and belt or sash and leveling system for any art. You would just right up the levels in increments. In my style of kick boxing I have both belt and stipes. the belts are for leveling up in kickboxing skills and the stripes are specifically for the skills of boxing. So if someone just wants to go with boxing, then they just level up on the boxing skills and obtain certificates of training. But I have it broken down into learning specific combinations and have a certain speed and reaction time at sepcific leves with a combination of knowledge of certian plyometrics exercises.

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                    • #12
                      Good review and pretty spot on. I bought and read the book myself. It is hard to write a book that covers most styles. While most korean style instructors think they can. His book teaches you the basics. Some is good, some of it you may struggle to implement.There isn't a magic bullet for success but rather a combination of many different methods that you make work for yourself.

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                      • #13
                        Thanks

                        I think the "that won't work" people are the worst. I believe most of them don't want to see others succeed because they themselves have not.

                        Rick

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                        • #14
                          yep. You have to find what works best for you and your market. More importantly, you can't be afraid to try and fail.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by jeffbarnes View Post
                            His book teaches you the basics. Some is good, some of it you may struggle to implement.There isn't a magic bullet for success but rather a combination of many different methods that you make work for yourself.
                            Just thought I'd chime in here - one of my readers pointed me to this thread so I figured I'd set the record straight...

                            The book focuses on the high ROI actions you need to do in any school in order to succeed. If you want to call that the basics, I suppose it's accurate... in the same sense that I've been doing martial arts for 25 years, and frankly my front kick looks a lot different from a white belt's. We both "know" the basics, but knowing and applying are two different things.

                            As for the magic bullet thing - I think I've been saying that for some time:

                            The Myth of the Silver Bullet in Small Business Marketing

                            Martial Arts Marketing - The Myth of the Magic Bullet

                            It bears mentioning that my motives for writing the book run at odds to why people normally write something like this. I wrote it because, quite frankly, I was pissed off at the martial arts business industry mainstream, because what they were teaching was not necessarily what they were doing in their own schools - I witnessed this firsthand. The book was supposed to be a manifesto, of sorts...

                            I also wrote it on the tail end of running a highly profitable small school (160-180 students - it fluctuated seasonally) for roughly a decade - and after going back to school and finishing what amounted to a major in business admin in order to complete an undergrad. So, I had both real world experience as well as about three years of business school under my belt at the time.

                            Believe me, the stuff in the book works. If you can't put it to use, you didn't read the instructions. And, it's not style-specific. I have guys from all styles who have used it as their guide for starting, growing, and running successful schools. And yes, JKD schools too...

                            Now, the thing is, I had zero intentions of getting into the "consulting" game when I wrote it, but it turns out that when you write a book, people tend to come back to you for advice if they like it. Thus, the coaching site and blogs, and all the follow-up materials, etc.

                            Too many people are putting on the consultant hat these days, because they see dollar signs in selling air to you guys. Just take my advice when I tell you that you can't give someone something you don't already have.

                            I teach people to build small, profitable schools and earn a decent living doing so. That's what I've done in my own schools for the past fifteen years, and so that's what I teach. If you like that, you'll probably get something out of my book. If not, there are tons of guys out there who have run large 300+ student schools that sell information on how to do that.

                            My advice is that you first decide exactly what kind of school you want to run, then find someone who has actually done it who can also teach it - because some folks have done it but couldn't tell you how they did it to save their life.

                            Good luck.

                            Michael D. Massie
                            Blog: Martial Arts Business | News and Commentary | Resources for Karate Schools
                            Product Reviews: Martial Arts Books | Mike Massie's Martial Arts Book Reviews
                            Adult Curriculum: Reality Based Self Defense | The Self Defense Black Belt Program
                            Social Network for Martial Arts Instructors: The Martial Art School Alliance Network - The martial arts social media site for instructors and school owners
                            Business Manual: Your martial arts business success plan, Small Dojo Big Profits
                            Resources: Starting A Martial Arts School, launch a martial arts school, open a martial arts school
                            Summer Camp Manual: Starting a Summer Day Camp | How to Run a Summer Camp
                            Facebook: Martial Arts Business Daily | Facebook
                            Twitter: Mike Massie (mabizdaily) on Twitter

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