Years ago, my father and I used to suffer through the summer months hoping that we could keep the school afloat long enough to be ready for the “back to school rush” we generally experienced every September. And to tell the truth, it was more of a trickle then a rush. But we took it anyway we could get it.
At the time, it seemed like this was just the way it is, that the Taekwon-Do gods have spoken and that there’s nothing we could do about it.
Then at some point we decided to pull our heads out our asses and do something about it. Since then we regularly have some of our biggest months of the year in the summer!
Whatever part of the world you are in, there are times of the year when business seems to taper off. Here in the Phoenix it always seems to be in the summer.
When business drops off during this time of year, most instructors just explain it away as if there’s nothing they can do about it. I hear things like “that’s just the way it is” and “things will be better soon”. It seems as if the performance of their business is somehow outside of their control.
Consider that way of thinking is the siren song of the Taekwon-Do instructor. It will inevitably become a self-fulfilling prophecy and lead to upset and frustration while you waste the summer away hoping to survive this time of year.
It’s easy to blame someone or something else for why your business is under-performing. It seems logical to blame circumstances like school being out, families on vacation and the fact that it’s horribly hot outside leading to less people wanting to train. It may be logical, but it is no excuse for poor performance.
If you are experiencing seasonal swings like this in your business then you either didn’t plan for this time of year or you are not executing your plan properly.
Let’s start with those of you who do not have a plan…
This process needs to begin with you taking 100% full responsibility for the performance of your school. That means ahead of time, setting the school’s goals and putting the structures in place that are needed to fulfill those goals. Especially doing the thinking to create ways to make up for those times of the year when historically things are rough.
It all starts when you are creating your yearly calendar in December. Pay attention to when your major events are for the year such as testings and competitions. Then begin looking for opportunities where you can create events, offer paid in fulls, camps, seminars, referral drives, new student specials, etc.
If you didn’t do this at the beginning of the year, it’s not too late. Sit down, uninterrupted, right now, and take the time to start brainstorming about new ideas and events that you can do.
For example, our Karstadt Taekwon-Do schedule for the summer looks like this:
13 Buddy Night
16-21 Test Week
23-27 Summer Camp Session 1
1-5 Staff Break (No Classes)
14-18 Summer Camp Session 2
18 Buddy Night – Beach Party
19 Women’s Self Defense Course
4-9 Summer Camp Session 3
22 Buddy Night – Bully Buster Training
*We also have a Living Social Deal that will be running for 45 days starting in July.
So you can see there’s a combination of student events and opportunities to bring friends in addition to the new student promotion.
Nothing too complicated and I still get a vacation in there!
For those of you who have a plan and are still experiencing sub-par results then it’s time to look at the execution of your plans. I don’t have the space to go into detail here, but there are ways to do things and ways not to do things.
Just a few tweaks here or there could have your Buddy Night double in size and increase the number of new students you enroll from the event. Same with the Summer Camps and Women’s Self-Defense Courses.
The bottom line here is that there is nothing about your business that is out of your control.
When circumstances come up, no matter what they are, you have a choice. You can sit by, watching the time go by, hoping that you’ll be able to keep your doors open because you are a good person, or you can step up and take action to create the school and the income that you want for yourself and your family.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org