Summer time gives families an opportunity to take a break from their normal routine for a short period and recharge. While this might be a great thing for them personally, we want to make sure it does not impact their regular martial arts training and their long term goals to black belt and beyond.There are a few key things we can do as professional martial arts instructors to help stack the odds in our favor. As we head into the summer months these things will help strengthen retention, but they can be applied year-round as well.
Planning ahead should always be the initial step. Kyoshi Dave Kovar reminds us, “Proper Planning Promotes Peak Performance” (the 5 P’s). It is a good idea to have at least the next quarter of the year planned out, if not further ahead. What karate camp themes will you be doing? When are your Parent’s Night Out events? Will you be having a water day at the park or board breaking at the school? Planning your events ahead of time also allows your students to plan their activities for the season ahead of time. From experience, students can and will adjust their upcoming plans to be available for your event if they are interested and have time to plan.
Next is communication. This has the greatest impact on the success of any business or relationship. In these next few summer months it is extremely important to talk to the families of your school, know what their upcoming plans are and continue to inform them about what’s happening in the dojo. Don’t overlook the significance of one-on-one chats with your families. However, utilizing social media platforms, in-school posters, and class announcements to promote your events can also keep everyone engaged, especially those you may not have had a chance to talk to.
Here are a few extra tools you can implement within your school:
- Vacation List: Have a list available so that your families can write in or fill out the days they will be gone on vacation or out of the dojo. To get the best results, schedule a private lesson or a make-up class the day or two after they are expected to return.
- 8 Step Progress checks: This is a very helpful and simple 8 question “parent- teacher” conference that will help build rapport and continue to build raving fans of your martial arts school (You can find these questions in our past blog 8 Steps to Strengthen Your Student Retention).
- Did Not Show calls: If a student hasn’t been in the dojo in a week or longer they should receive a call from someone on your team. This call is to check in and make sure everything is okay and if there is anything “we” can do to get them back in and training.
Remember, we teach great classes, never good classes and we have awesome parent/student communication.
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