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Kovar Systems
Staff Development Business Tips

How to Spend Time Effectively for School Owners

By Kovar Systems

Running a professional martial arts school requires a variety of skill sets. A successful school owner needs to be a good teacher, communicator, salesperson, motivational speaker, bookkeeper, receptionist, and even a guidance counselor. The trick to running a successful school is knowing when to use which skill. For this reason, it is important to learn to become both effective and efficient with your time.

Being “effective” means doing the right thing.  Being “efficient” means doing things right. For example, you can be very efficient at writing cards to inactive students, but if you’re doing it when the school is full of students, you should be on the floor or in the stands speaking with parents, and therefore you are not being very effective. We have found that breaking your time down into three categories is extremely helpful in developing a high level of effectiveness and efficiency. The three categories are Down-time, Prime-time, and Premium-time.

  • Down-time: Down-time is categorized as any time that no classes are being taught. For a martial arts school this usually means any time before 3:30 in the afternoon.
  • Prime-time: Prime-time is categorized as any time the classes are in session. Prime-time is usually between the hours of 3:30 pm and 9:00 pm at most martial arts schools.
  • Premium-time: Premium-time is categorized as any time that you are at or near capacity. In most martial arts schools, premium-time occurs between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:30pm.

Let’s discuss what we should be covering in the each of these three time zones:

Down-time is probably the most underused, underdeveloped time zone in our business. Many professional martial arts instructors don’t even open their school until between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm.. Just in time to quickly vacuum the floors, straighten out the reception area, and turn on the open sign. Then they try to cram in all the Down-time activities into Prime-time. This makes for less effective classes as well as poorly executed business practices.

The most successful schools in the country make great use of Down-time. A brief sample of Down-time activities include: cleaning and repairing the school, confirming appointments, checking inventory, setting up and handling renewal conferences, writing notes to students {both active and inactive}, training staff, and most importantly recruiting new students. Maximizing your Down-time allows you to make better use of Prime-time and Premium-time.

Compare it to a football game on Sunday. There are only 60 minutes of actual playing time; but, it requires a week of practice and takes nearly four hours to play. No matter how badly a team wants to win on Sunday, if they neglected to practice the week prior for when the clock is stopped during the game, they won’t win. Down-time is where most schools fall short. It is worth carefully evaluating to see how efficiently and effectively you’re using this time.

During Prime-time there still might be an occasional moment to where you can work on down-time activities. This might happen when there are plenty of instructors on the floor or the class is small. The priority, however, during Prime-time should be on student service, making sure that their needs are being met.

Premium-time is also known as "All hands on deck." Everyone on the team should be focused on student service. Remember, if you don’t handle Premium-time well, you’ll end up having plenty of Down-time. Make sure your entire team is aware of Prime-time and the need to deliver great energy during this time. Premium-time will vary depending on the time of day, size of the class, and the number of available instructors. Developing maximum effectiveness during Premium-time is crucial to the success of a martial arts school.

Take a moment and rate yourself on your use of these three time zones.

Where are you strong?
Where could you use improvement?

Remember, "proper planning promotes peak performance." If you really discipline yourself to follow the Down-time, Prime-time, and Premium-time concept you will see your team leadership skills and the school you are responsible for grow to the next level.

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by Kovar Systems