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Category Archives: Strategy

Camps for dummies – 101

So you’ve been umming and ahhing about whether or not to organise your regional camp. You know that it’s worth 5 contribution credits, but you really don’t know where to start.

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Retaining Black Belts

Retaining black belts, particularly adults, for the long term, without the anchor of burdensome membership contracts as a fundamental retention tool weighing them down, is a balancing act between commitment, motivation and commercial solvency.

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Goal Setting: Worth Your Time Or Waste Of Time?

As much as entrepreneurs, businessmen, managers, consultants, mentors and coaches talk about goals and how much you need them, you might be surprised at how few people actually have their goals listed out along with a plan to achieve them.

Some people think they are just too busy. Some think that they already know what they want and don’t need to bother writing it down. Some just think that it’s a waste of time. The biggest reason people don’t set goals is because the don’t know how to do it effectively. They might have already done it and not produced the results they intended.

I’ve recently been reading Brian Tracy’s “The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws Of Business Success” and in there he talks about Lloyd Conant (you may have heard of him) who is the founder of the Nighingale Conant Corporation which is one of the largest producers and distributors of audio programs on personal achievement and success in the world. He’s spent over 50 years studying and working with successful people and has come to the conclusion that,

[Tweet “Success is goals, and all else is commentary.”]

Why is that? What makes him so absolutely sure that goals will make the difference?

Because when goal setting is done correctly you have a detailed map and plan of action to get you to where you want to be.

Look at it this way.

Let’s say you and three friends are competing to get from Los Angeles to New York in the shortest amount of time and each one of you is given a map. You all have the goal of getting to New York.

One map is just an outline of the United States. The next map is a satellite image of the U.S. that shows the terrain. The next map is a satellite image that shows the terrain and includes roads. The final map is a navigation system that shows the terrain, the roads and includes traffic updates and verbal directions.

Which one of you is most likely to get to New York the fastest?

That’s right, the one with the most detailed map that will allow them to create a plan of action to reach the goal of New York.

So, which Taekwon-Do school owner is going to become successful the fastest? That’s right, the one who has created the goal, the map and the plan!

Here’s a quick and effective way to start goal setting. This is part of the outline I use with school owners to get them started on the path the want for themselves.

The first thing to do is take out a clean sheet of paper. At the top write “Dream List” and make sure to include the date as well.

On this sheet you want to create your “5 Year Fantasy”, as Brian Tracy calls it. This exercise will require you to let go of all your current concerns and beliefs regarding what you think is possible for yourself. It’s called a 5 Year Fantasy because I want you to let loose, I want you to dream, I want you to give yourself permission to create your ideal life.

Imagine that it’s five years from now and you have accomplished all of your goals, all of your problems are solved and your life is absolutely perfect in every way. Imagine that you are living the life of your dreams!

Write down in great sensory detail (and as if you have already achieved them) what these areas of your life would look like if they were perfect in every way:

  • Income
  • Bank Account
  • Relationships
  • Family Life
  • Health
  • Work
  • Career
  • Car
  • Clothes
  • Physical Fitness

What would you be doing and who would you be doing it with? Who would you no longer be with? What would your lifestyle look like and how much would you be earning? What would your family look like?

After you’ve created you five year fantasy, you can now go through it and pluck out your goals creating a list. This is now the list of your big time, long term goals. Then you want to divide that list into three categories.

The first category is your Personal and Family Goals. These are usually qualitative goals that deal with people, time and quality of life. These are the reasons why you are doing what you are doing. They are the motivation behind the material and tangible goals you have. This is necessary because it often happens that people lose focus and get consumed with working towards material goals, losing sight of the important reasons WHY they are doing what they are doing.

The second category is your Career and Material goals. These are the WHAT of your goal list. These are the goals you have to reach in order to get to your WHY. This includes business and financial goals, career achievements, financial income, sales or profits, and the money and material objects you want for your life.

The last category is Personal and Professional Development goals. These are the HOW goals. These include the tasks you must do, or become competent at doing in order to achieve the material goals that will lead you to the accomplishment of your personal and family goals. You can see how it all rolls from one into another!

The next big question is, “Now that I have this long list, where do I start?”

You have now entered into the planning stage.

Take your three lists of goals and organize each of them in order of importance by dividing them in to A’s, B’s and C’s.  The A’s in each category represent those things that are most important to you and that you are passionate about. Then further break the list down as A-1, A-2, A-3, B-1, B-1, C-1 and so on.

Now take each of the A goals, and on separate sheets of paper, write the goal at the top as if you have already accomplished it, as if it is already a reality. Then begin to create detailed plans of action to achieve that goal. After you have done that with each of your A goals, prioritize the plans and actions you have laid out in order of importance using the same A-1, A-2, B-1 system.

After doing this with all of your A goals you job is to create deadlines and get things scheduled on your calendar. Doing this puts the accomplishment of the goal in your future and allows you to see it as a reality.

Review this plan everyday and resolve to do at least one thing everyday that will take you another step closer to achieving your most important goals and your dreams. Soon you will find yourself with a certain level of inertia and momentum and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you begin to make progress on even your largest, most challenging and seemingly most unattainable goals!

You’ve now taken your dreams, those things that most people can’t even imagine as a reality, and have begun creating the detailed map that will take you from where you are to where you want to be in your life!

One more thing. Don’t get stuck on things going exactly as planned. They rarely do. There are many paths to what you want for yourself and your life. As Zig Ziglar says:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving your goals!”

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Why Hard Work Doesn’t Always Equal Big Bucks

[Tweet “”It’s not enough to be busy.. the question is: what are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreu”]

I want to let you in on a big secret… You don’t get paid to work.

If you spend weeks perfecting your curriculum, working on new flyers, scheduling demos, figuring out your website, setting up seminars and events, collecting tuition, running errands and the many other things you fill your days with…  Guess what?

No one but you cares and no one is going to pay you for any of that effort.

In school we were taught there’s always a big reward for the completion of tasks. As small business owners that translates to us thinking that if we put in the work then the results are guaranteed. The problem with that is that your prospects and students have no regard, nor do they care about the thousands of hours you’ve put into cleaning your school, into the perfect graphics for your advertising or how many times you’ve rewritten your schedule or testing requirements.

LISTEN UP: This is super important. As a business owner, a school owner, you don’t get paid for completing tasks. You are not an hourly worker. You get paid based on the value that you are able to contribute to the prospects and students you serve.

[Tweet “You get paid based on the value that you are able to contribute to students”]

While you could make a case that all of the things listed above are related to the value you are contributing to your prospects and students, they’re not directly related. They are all the things that YOU think, or have been told by other instructors, that contribute to them.

To understand this more clearly, you have to deal with the use of the word VALUE.

Value is something that is subjective. Whether or not something has value depends on the individual person. What you think provides value to your students is colored by your perspective, it’s your opinion, your point of view.

In order to provide value to your prospects and students you have to be able see the world through their eyes.

I wish I could tell you, right now, what your prospect’s point of view is but I can’t. If I claimed that I could (or anyone else does), then I’d be full of s#!t (and so would they) and you should stop reading this (or anything they claim) now!

But the truth is, that only by doing the right research on your current students and your target market, can you discover what it is that is of value to your prospects and students.

One of the things you can do is send a survey out to your students. There are websites that allow you to create free surveys, will give you a link to send it out and track your results. For your students, simple questions like:

  • What do you like most about your training?
  • What do you like the least about your training?
  • What do see as your greatest personal accomplishment since you’ve began training?
  • How have you grown personally since you began training?
  • What would you change, if anything, about your experience training with us?

Something as short and sweet as that will give you great insight into what your students really value about you and your school and guide you towards creating high value activities and experiences that they will truly appreciate. This information can also be used to produce marketing materials that will attract the same type of students.

As far as your prospects go, this will take some more on your part because you don’t know these people yet. However, you can define your perfect client geographically and demographically (which provides you A LOT of information). From there, you can put yourself in their shoes and think about the things that they are concerned about, the things that keep them up at night, the issues that they or their family deal with that you and your school have the answer for.

Because Taekwon-Do is a way of life, it doesn’t matter if someone wants to lose weight, get more flexible, increase their confidence or learn to defend themselves, you’ve got it covered. You just need to be clear about who you are talking to so you can create a message that will catch their attention.

When you are able to identify those things that your students and prospects hold in high regard, those things that are of value to them… and are able to clearly show them how you can provide that value for them… that’s when you know you’ve hit the sweet spot. That’s when business is flying and you know you are making the difference you set out to make.

That is what you get paid for.

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The Secret Personal Develpment And Business Success Gurus Don’t Want You To Know

If you listen to most of the business experts out there and personal development “gurus”, you’d think that success is some well defined thing that only a few people can attain and even fewer people know how to help you get it.

What those supposed experts and gurus don’t want you to know is that success is not a set, immutable, fixed thing or place that you can easily define for all people with a specific path everyone must follow if they wish to eventually attain or reach it.

But they want you to think that it is. They want  you to think that because, they all claim to have THE ANSWER that will send you skyrocketing to success! They know it’s false to claim that what they have to offer is the only way, but they do it anyway, insisting on telling you that their way is THE WAY. Why is that?

So they can sell you something.

They don’t think they can make any money if they tell you the truth, if they tell you that there are an infinite number of ways to define success and just as many ways to attain it. They have to be the expert, the know it all, the one with THE answer.

So then, what is SUCCESS?

Success is an individual phenomenon. Success is defined by you. You can have success in your health, your family life, your Taekwon-Do training, competition, finances, gardening, raising children… anything. With anything you do in your life, you can create and define what success in that area of life looks like.

When it comes to your Taekwon-Do school, again, there is no right way to do it. For some people success might mean having 20 locations in your town, for others it may just be running a small club in a community center with a group of people you are closely related to. It doesn’t matter what your definition of success is, but you must define it.

I spent more than 10 years and thousands upon thousands of dollars looking for THE PERSON who had THE ANSWER to running a successful Taekwon-Do school. I found many successful school owners and I was constantly trying and changing and implementing and changing and implementing and changing how I ran my school in order to be like those who were successful. But I never achieved the success that the others had accomplished, and couldn’t ever understand why.

Until one day, it dawned on me.

I was judging my success based on what others had accomplished and their definitions of what as successful school looked like FOR THEM.

I had not created for myself what success for ME looked like. I had not created how many schools I wanted, how many students, how much money I wanted to make, how much I wanted to train, how much I wanted to compete, and so on. I never created any of this for myself and it seemed to me that I had wasted untold amounts of time, money and energy pursuing what other people said my goals should be.

However, once I did create that for myself, everything began to fall into place. I realized that all of that time, energy and money was not spent in vain. I had an enormous wealth of information that I could draw from to make MY dreams come true, to make my vision of success a reality.

Suddenly I was achieving more than I ever thought I could and it was happening faster than I thought it would!

I urge you to take a few hours, with no distractions, and really create what success looks like for you and your life in all areas (for me, this meant doing it after everyone was asleep and finishing around 2 a.m.!). What does success look like for you? What, for you, would mean success with your income, your bank account, your relationships, your family life, your health, your work, your career, the home you want to live in, the car you want to drive, the clothes you want to wear, the level of physical fitness you desire?

Just get started creating!

So then, what about all the experts and gurus out there? Are they bad? Should you avoid them?

NO! And here’s why…  Even if you know that their claim to have THE ANSWER is false (and you do now because you just read this article) it doesn’t mean that they don’t have good ideas, systems and information that can be valuable to you. You  just need to take their advertising and their claims with a grain of salt.

I personally prefer to read the biographies of successful people and closely watch what they do. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and often times there are inconsistencies in what people are doing, compared to what they are selling. If someone is selling you information on how to market your school, and they are not using what they are teaching, then you should see a big red flag!

The same goes with anything else someone claims to be an expert in. I believe you can learn more by watching what people do, rather than what they’re selling.

And finally, to address the 800 pound gorilla in the room, I’m sure you are wondering… “But Johnny, aren’t you doing what you are accusing these experts and gurus of doing?”

No, and here’s why. I believe that there are many paths to the mountain top and that there are as many mountain tops as people can imagine. I also know that I don’t know everything, but I do know many tactics and strategies for running a successful Taekwon-Do school that is run professionally, profitably, and produces talented martial artists.

My goal is to share that with you so you can take advantage of the things I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made and not make them yourself.

I’m not interested in running a program out of a community center or having a mega school with 1,000 students but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with that. I know what I want… a professionally run school that is highly profitable and that produces students, competitors and instructors who can operate at a world class level.

Continue to educate yourself, take what others have to offer, not as the truth, but as examples of success that you can apply to your vision of success!

THE WAY is YOUR WAY yet to be discovered! And the real leaders, experts and gurus are the ones who give you the skills and tools you need to discover your way and fulfill on what matters to you.

Do me a favor and learn from my mistakes. You’ll be happy you did!

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WARNING: Don’t Let The Tempting “Cash-Out” Ruin Your School!

The cash-out is one of many tools you can use in your business. It is not a primary way of doing business.

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The effective Taekwon-Do after-school program


Creating ITF Instructors, Schools and Organizations that operate professionally and profitably while maintaining the integrity of Taekwon-Do. For more information about 1TKD, click here

After-School Program Brings In 15-20 New Students In Just One Month!

There are many ways to do an after-school Taekwon-Do program. I’m not here to tell you which one is the best one, but I am going to share with you how I do an after-school Taekwon-Do program that is only one month long and reliably brings in 15-20 new students every time I do it.

I only call it an after-school program when talking to you because that’s what you know it as. But, I call it something different, and that’s the reason why I can get my program into the public schools in my area.

I don’t know how much experience you have dealing with the public school system, but it can be a real pain in the ass… and I don’t blame them, it should be! In Phoenix, unless you are a non-profit or an “approved vendor” you can’t get access to the kids. It’s a pain in the ass for me as a business owner who sees a school full of hundreds of future Taekwon-Do students, but the rules are in place to protect the kids from being blasted by advertising all day in school. Could you imagine what school would look like if businesses could advertise there? You’d have desks “Built by the Home Depot”, recess sponsored by the local health club, lunch sponsored by Taco Bell and homework sponsored by Pepsi.

The rules are there for good reason, but it often makes it difficult to get your foot in the door. And often times, when you do get in, they want you to do a program that meets once a week for 9 weeks, you can only charge $30-$60 for it and you are just listed on a flyer along with 10 other after-school activities. You can’t control the marketing, you are only getting 10  to 20 kids (if you’re lucky), a few of them are the because the parents need someone to watch their kids for an extra hour after school and whatever excitement they had about Taekwon-Do usually dies in the 6th or 7th week. If you’re lucky you’ll get one or two to join your school.

You wind up making $500 or so for two months and a week of work, but you also paid for the uniforms or t-shirts you give them, gas driving to and from the school and it takes up prime class time when you could be teaching students at your school. Then there’s the really adventurous instructors out there who think you can make more money doing more programs and drive more students into your school. You try doing the same thing at five different schools and quickly discover that this isn’t worth the time and energy for the little bit of reward.

I know because I did this. I had even given up on trying to get into the public schools for a while because of how little return on investment there was.

Then I discovered a new way to execute the program that was short, exciting, produced amazing results and was loved by the teachers, parents and school administration. After doing this, the schools can’t wait to have me back.

How is this possible?

They love me because I make them money. If you’ve ever spent any time in a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) or PTA (Association) then you’ve heard them talk at length about the fundraisers they are always doing. Since the beginning of this school year at my son’s school they’ve had a fundraiser at McDonalds and Culvers, sold cookie dough, sold crap you can buy with kids artwork on it, did their fall festival and wont stop talking about the damn box tops that are worth 10 cents each – and that’s just since September!

They celebrate when something brings in a few hundred dollars like they’ve hit the jackpot. Now I know they need all the money they can get, but I was blown away at how little they were able to generate. For example, their Fall Festival (that dozens of parents and teachers worked on for months) only generated about $2000. That’s not chump change by any means, but for all the hours of work that went into it by all those people, it’s still frustrating.

So when I said, I’ll do a fundraiser for the school that will make at least $750 and usually makes around $1500, they were all ears.

Here’s how I did it.

First you need to get an “in” at the school and use your “in” to get to whoever is in charge of fundraising for the school. Most often this is someone in the PTO and not the principal or some administrator. I’ve learned that when the right parents speak, the administration listens.

Then you need to give them a break down of your program which is a fundraiser that teaches character development. You lead with what’s in it for them ($$$ and well behaved kids) and follow with how the program works.

Here’s how it works:

I take over the P.E. classes for three to four days. Long enough for me to see every kid in every class in the school. In the P.E. class we talk about the rules of Taekwon-Do and I interact with them as if they were at class in the school. They learn attention, bow, Yes Sir, and we talk about courtesy. Then I do a few moves with them. I only do blocking drills because otherwise you’ll have kids throwing kicks and punches in class for the rest of the day. Then they use the blocking skills they just learned and we do some pad drills and they have a blast.

I ask them if they want to do more, they all scream, “YES SIR!” and I hand out the flyers. The kids are all talking about it, the teachers love me because I told the kids they had to say YES SIR and YES MA’AM for the rest of the week and the school is buzzing about you being there. Kid’s see you walking around campus in your do bok and are super excited. Then they go home and won’t leave their parents alone about this program. Oh, and the teachers are all incentivised to fill the program as well because it benefits the whole school.

The flyers explain the program and the cost. I make a big deal about how all the money collected goes directly back to the school. They even make their checks out to the school, not me. Not only are they signing up for a great program, they contributing to their school as well.

They have the rest of the week to register and the program starts the following week. It meets twice a week for 3 weeks. There’s character development homework that they must do. Part of that is the parent signing the homework sheet and sharing what happened (which provides you stacks of testimonials). When they turn in their homework they get a stripe on their belt or a sticker and there’s a competition for who gets the most. There’s ways to earn extra credit stripes and they become rabid trying to get them.

We only work on one or two techniques each class and if they are a good group, I might teach them 4 directional punch. We finish talking about a tenet and I send them home.

In between the third and fourth class I hold a special class at the Taekwon-Do school for the kids to come “do it for REAL” during the program and they love it. After the sixth class, that following Friday we have a graduation for students at the Taekwon-Do school. Now I’ve got all the parents who are already impressed with the homework these kids are doing and the kids are impressing the parents with what they’ve learned during the class. After the graduation I give them the opportunity to enroll.

It’s common to get 10%-15% of the total students you taught in the P.E. classes to do the after-school fundraiser. Then you should be able to enroll 20%-30% of those kids into your Taekwon-Do program.

The best program I did was a few years ago and had 69 kids in the after-school fundraiser and we enrolled 27 of them at the end of that month. What would you do with 27 new students? How about just 10?

I know in this article I focused on public schools, but this works just the same with private and charter schools. Actually, it’s easier to get in with those schools because they have much more flexibility with what they can do with and for their students.

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Can You Read Your New Student’s Minds?

How to read your new student’s minds to know what they really want. This is a big deal especially when you are selling something as diverse and complex as Taekwon-Do.

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Stop Repelling New Members From Your School

How To Stop Repelling New Members From Your Taekwon-Do School… Even If You Don’t Think You Are!

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What Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks Can Teach You About Running Your School

What Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks Can Teach You About Running Your School

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