Live Stream with Tony Kook: Coronavirus Strategies for Martial Arts School Owners

Today we had a great live stream on Facebook with Master Tony Kook, a successful school owner with 4 schools, about strategies for school owners to mitigate the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. While we encourage you to listen to the whole stream (posted above) we’ve also broken the main points down into bullet points to save you some time.

  • We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we respond to it. As martial arts leaders one of the best things you can do is sit down with your staff and come up with a plan. You have to know your mission and what safety measures you’ll be taking. You need to know whether you’ll remain open and if you do decide to close you need to think of what you can provide your students when they are at your school.
  • Refer to your local news. Things are different area to area.
  • You need to sit down every day and think of what you’re going to do. You need to network with local club owners and find out what they are going to do. So that you can make the best informed decision for your club
  • Every decision you make you need to communicate to the parents. They need to know you are sanitizing your gym. That there is minimal touching. We are making students use hand sanitizer. And we are screening the kids before they come into the school.
  • At least until the end of May we will see slower business. We will not see the same enrollments. What we can focus on is communicating to our parents is that we are offering other options including virtual options.
  • We can have conversations with our parents about continuing their support. You can offer credits or incentives in the future. It’s natural as business owners to realize the expenses will stay the same while we have less revenue. Why don’t we take the black belt attitude and find some positives and creative solutions?
  • If you don’t have one, come up with a clear communication system for your students and parents. While you as a club owner or instructor you may know the protocols, parents might not know.
  • Every Monday I have my program director send out an email blast. These are the updates, this is what we are doing this week. We upload everything to our mobile app. Safety measures we are taking this week. Instructors announce it in class. We will also have big screens at our dojangs that flash all the updates. We even give fliers for people to take home.
  • If you are anticipating a big financial loss, train your staff and yourself how you respond to emails and calls. You are going to get parents saying they want to cancel until further notice. How do you respond? Be very honest with your teachers. You tell them you are doing everything you can so their children have an academy to come back to. You let them know this is a very difficult time and that’s why its so great to have members like yourself. Would you consider continuing making the payment, if we give incentives so that we can stay afloat? So that we can still be here when things calm down. If you can do that we’ll be grateful. If you aren’t in that place right now, that’s okay, but thanks for your consideration. Wording matters. Be honest. Be compassionate.
  • You can’t force parents to stay against their will. The worst thing you can do is to pull out the contract. Now parents will feel like you are nickle and diming them. And that’s not the kind of message we are trying to send. Being sincere and being honest is the best thing you can do.
  • Backing up your claims with actions: We are getting everything privately cleaned. Hand sanitizer is fully stocked. In between class every handles and benches are cleaned off. Before and after each class we clean the matts. You have to communicate but you need to back that up with action
  • Build in time in between classes to make sure that there is social distancing and to give yourself time to clean everything properly.
  • We do prerecorded videos for online. If we go full virtual, we will supplement with live streaming. The follow up question is how do you structure your class to continue building your relationship to the student. To verbalize the benefits of training and saying hello the students. Start by bowing, this shows respect. Being healthy is the best respect to your body. Keep sending the messages to the kids about the skills they are learning. Go through warm up, poomsae, then end with positive message. Give them a homework assignment. When you come back to your class, you’ll get your stripes. Be fun and animated.
  • Construct online classes with a one too many mentality. A good example is the Zumba Strong Youtube channel.

We are going to continue to provide resources for school owners dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus on their small business. Sign up on our website for regular updates and join our Facebook group to get all the insights from our live streams. We are going to do everything we can to help. We are going to get through this together.

For medical advice for United States customers go to the CDC website and for Canadian customers please go here for the latest updates.