10 Ways To Increase Gym Revenue Without Selling More Memberships

Closeup over shoulder of woman looking at financial report of gym revenue on tablet device

Most gym owners drive business growth in two ways: by finding new members and by keeping the members they already have. While marketing and retention are great for growing your community, they represent only a fraction of the ways to increase gym revenue. By shifting your focus to maximizing every available revenue stream, you can uncover ways to improve your earnings overnight.

Consider how your pricing, service offerings, and operations impact your bottom line. Imagine being able to capture every payment reliably; selling memberships at a fair price that reflects the value of your services; and members who are engaged and enthusiastic about your brand.

In this ideal scenario, your business captures the maximum amount of revenue from every member. You can relax while your gym rakes in profits from multiple revenue streams. No more struggling to attract more and more new members each month with expensive and complicated marketing campaigns.

Realize the full potential of your business by using these 10 methods to increase gym revenue:


1. Reduce payment declines

According to publications released by major credit card issuers, 15% of recurring credit card payments decline. For some industries, the decline rate can reach as high as 30%.

To put this in perspective, if you have 100 members paying $50/month, you’d expect to receive $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue. However, credit card declines will cost you $750 to $1,500 per month. That’s $9,000 to $18,000 in lost revenue each year.

Credit card declines can prevent loyal members from paying what they know you deserve. These payments weren’t lost to poor customer service, low-quality classes, or high prices. These losses are completely out of your control—that is, until you put a process in place to avoid payment declines.

Use a combination of technology and customer service processes to recover declined payments and add back revenue to your bottom line. Choose a software solution that offers payment reminders and automatic retries after failed payments. While you can hire staff to collect declined payments from your members, third-party companies offer the most cost-effective service solutions. Well-trained managed billing professionals can increase recurring revenue by up to 25% for a minimal fee.


2. Raise your prices

Are you charging what your services are worth? Many gym owners panic at the thought of raising prices because they immediately envision a mass exodus of even their most loyal members. In reality, a carefully calculated price increase will improve your gym’s financial health and profitability with little impact on member retention.

Consider the following scenario: Your gym has 100 members each paying $50/month. You plan to implement a modest 5% price increase of $2.50/month per member. Given the new price of $52.50/month, you expect to keep 95 of your existing members. Following the price increase, you’ll earn an extra $2,850 per year.

No clever marketing tricks or slick sales pitch required. Your simple price change has increased your revenue all on its own.

To keep member attrition to a minimum, communicate your new pricing appropriately. Give members plenty of notice. Explain why the change is necessary to continue the high-quality services that they value from you.


3. Use paid trials

Most gyms offers free trial memberships or guest passes to prospective members. These freebies pay off when they result in new members, but sometimes you end up spending money to support non-paying guests who never return.

Paid trials help to secure a return on your investment. Payees are more serious about keeping initial appointments. They’re more invested in learning about your gym, understanding your value, and building relationships with your staff.

Consider using a combination of free and paid trials in a way that makes sense for your business. For instance, you might offer a free trial of your basic gym access, but a paid trial for your premium classes or training sessions.


4. Offer premium memberships

Do you offer tiered membership options and pricing? If not, it’s time to start. Rather than forcing your members into a one-size-fits-all model, structure pricing options around their needs and preferences.

If you’ve tracked purchases and attendance in your membership management software, you can use reports to investigate spending patterns and identify popular services. For example, your members may fall into three categories:

Once you’ve categorized your members and set your pricing model, you can send targeted promotions to each group to entice them to upgrade their membership package.


5. Sell retail items

Do you know how often members get to the gym only to realize they’ve forgotten something that will prevent them from working out? Stock essentials like earbuds, water bottles, and socks in your retail store to make sure members can get what they need.

If you’ve built a loyal following, invest in branded merchandise. Use an online service to print your logo on t-shirts, hats, yoga mats, bags, and more. A beautiful, eye-catching design goes a long way, so if you’re not confident in your logo or layout, try an online graphic design service.


6. Book private training sessions and lessons

Almost all fitness businesses offer one-on-one sessions, and most of them wish they could book more of these money-making services. The trick to maximizing this revenue stream is a combination of staff training and communication with existing members.

Market your private sessions to members using low-cost, easy-to-use communication channels. Put signs throughout your facility, post on social media, and send emails with special offers. Your goal is for every member to know that you offer private sessions.

From there, leverage your staff’s relationships with members to close the deal. Teach instructors to observe members’ behaviors and to discuss goals with them. An instructor may notice a member who puts forth great effort and attends regularly, but her technique holds her back. With a bit of coaching the member could excel. In seizing this opportunity, you’ll help a member meet her fitness goals more quickly and open a new revenue stream for your business.


7. Childcare

If lots of parents visit your gym, you may want to consider adding childcare services at your facility. A busy mom or dad who doesn’t want to give up gym time will gladly pay extra to know their child is happy, safe, and nearby during a workout.

Before introducing childcare services, be sure to review the legal requirements for your staff, facility, and business. While these services can bring in a significant amount of additional revenue, you’ll need to plan carefully to make sure you’re able to provide high-quality care.


8. Host events and workshops

Members love workshops, boot camps, and fitness challenges because they help them stay motivated and reach goals more quickly. These paid events provide a lump sum that has an immediate positive impact on cash flow.

To make the most of this revenue stream, think strategically about the needs of your business and members. Review the calendar for times when an event could provide extra cash during a seasonal downturn. Add events to help members meet a common goal, like staying fit through the holiday season.

Need some fresh ideas? Browse this event list to get started.


9. Nutrition and health coaching

According to IHRSA’s senior research manager Melissa Rodrigues, 25% of fitness club revenue comes from ancillary services. Your members aren’t just looking for a place to work out. They’re looking for all kinds of services to help them stay healthy, fit, and confident.

Most members would be happy to pay extra for services to help them eat better, make healthy choices, and track their fitness progress. These services will make your bottom line happy as well. By adding health coaching or consulting, you can increase the amount of revenue generated by each member.


10. Sell advertising

Looking for an out-of-the-box way to increase gym revenue? Try selling advertising space in your facility or email newsletters to local businesses. If you’ve done a good job building your membership base, you’ll have a fitness-conscious audience that’s attractive to an array of advertisers. Create a list of local grocery stores, specialty shops, salons, spas, venues, and restaurants who might be interested in your new advertising opportunity.


Go beyond marketing and retention to increase gym revenue through alternative revenue streams, new services, and operational efficiencies. In doing so, you’ll allow members to strengthen their relationships with you, giving your gym its greatest potential for growth.

5 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Your Business’s Grand Opening Event

Client Question: I am opening a new business soon. Can you provide some ideas to drive traffic to my business on our grand opening day?

Chances are good that you have invested a lot of money into starting your new business. Here I’ll provide some low-budget ideas for a grand opening celebration.

1) Rent an inflatable jumpy or bouncy to place in front of your business. If you don’t have a front lawn, rent a sky tube. Add balloons, yard signs, and gigantic banners out front that read, Grand Opening—anything that will make people look at your location. Use your connections, too. Know someone that owns a hot rod, race car, or chopper? See if they’ll let you borrow it. Place it out front to draw attention.

2) Offer free hot dogs and sodas throughout your event. Have visitors go inside your martial srts school or gym to get a coupon for the free food. In order to get the coupon, have them fill out an info card.

3) Create grand opening postcards or flyers. Donate $250 to your local high school football, soccer, baseball, or basketball teams. In return, ask them to put the postcards or flyers out in the neighborhood they live in. This is an easy way to get cards out for little to no money. It’s also a win-win for you and your local schools and sports teams. They need money, too, and will appreciate your donation.

4) Have hourly giveaways for gift cards to local restaurants and movie theaters. Have visitors fill out an info card to enter the drawing for the prizes. Make sure you keep their information and enter it in your member management software so you can follow up with them about joining your martial arts school or gym.

5) Giveaway t-shirts with your business name and logo. Drive around to local businesses, parks, and supermarkets. Invite the people you talk to take a class. Have an appointment book on hand. Make sure they know about the Grand Opening celebration.

Remember that your grand opening doesn’t have to be just a one-day or evening event. Make the most of your new business opening. Consider running a one- or two-week celebration to keep the excitement and the momentum going.

Hope this helps,


About the author: Chuck Heacock is the owner of the Fitness Compound, a training facility that provides unparalleled fitness activities including Martial Arts classes, special boot camps, personal training, baseball, basketball, spinning, Zumba, cardio, and more. Chuck is also a sought-after fitness industry consultant.

Developing a Solid Business Plan for Your Membership-Based Business

Brainstorming Solid Business Plan

Developing a business plan is a great tool to help you effectively address any challenges that you’ll face. More importantly, a solid business plan will help you set and reach your business objectives. After all, if you don’t have goals to meet, how do you know what you are aiming to achieve?

Here’s where to start when developing a business plan:

Begin with your business vision.

In your plan, describe the purpose and reason why your martial arts school, fitness club, or gym exists. Talk about what you are delivering to the marketplace and what sets you apart from the competition.

Be specific. Use the vision statement for inspiration and as a reminder of the business that you are trying to build. Share your vision with your employees to keep everyone on the same page and hold staff members—and yourself—accountable.

Perform a market analysis that evaluates your membership base and competition.

Group your members into specific categories based on demographics (e.g. age, gender, proximity to your business location, class participation, training program).

When analyzing your member data, look at what needs your member groups have in common and what needs are being met at your school or gym. Are your competitors doing a better job at meeting any of those needs? Where do your members reside? How can you expand your reach to other communities? Are there new market trends that can affect your business?

Next, take a hard look at your competition. Factor in their business locations, costs for training, facility environments, class and training schedules, and membership counts. You must stay ahead of your competitors in meeting the needs of your customers if you plan to be profitable this time next year.

Member Solutions Member Manager -Tracking Financial Results

Develop a financial budget for the fiscal year that ties into your market analysis.

A financial budget is a plan for future income, expense, and cash flow. Tie your financial budget to your goals that you want to meet for the year. It’s important to make sure that each goal within your financial budget and business plan is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (SMART)*.

Your goals need to be specific so that you can hold yourself, and your staff, responsible and measure progress within a designated period. For example, a business goal might look like:

<John’s Martial Arts Academy> will sign X new members during the month of March or <John’s Martial Arts Academy> will retain __% of existing member base all of 2012.

Keep your goals attainable and realistic, too. Finding a happy medium between stretch goals and erring on the side of conservatism is your best bet. You want to set goals that you and your staff can meet.

Lastly, when devising a financial budget, ask yourself best and worst-case questions such as:

  • What will revenues look like if a competitor opens up down the street?
  • What if you buy out a competitor and consolidate locations?
  • What expenses can you sustain if your promotion plan flops?

A final word: Keep in mind that a business plan is just that—a plan. It’s okay to miss your targets. If you find yourself coming up short, re-evaluate your plan, and adjust as necessary. Don’t become discouraged and abandon the business planning process entirely. It’s important to keep at it and consistently monitor your progress against your goals. What gets measured gets done.

*Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35–36.

Author: Michael Connor

Doing the Math to Calculate Martial Arts Business Success

Why do some martial arts studios have 50 students while others have 500?

Before delving into the multitude of factors contributing to business success or failure, understand first that it all comes down to two very simple metrics: Number of monthly enrollments and drop-out rate. As long as your number of enrollments is greater than the number of drop-outs, your school population will continue to climb.

Let’s take it a step further.

You enroll a certain number of students every month. Let’s say 10, for example. You also lose a certain percentage of your current student population each month, perhaps 10 percent.

When you first start a school, you gain students but lose very few. If you have 10 students and you lose 10 percent, you lose only one student. Your net gain is nine students. However, if you have 100 students, you will lose 10 each month. At this point, your enrollments equal your drop-outs, and you will stay at about 100 students.

When your school is growing, eventually the number of students you gain will equal the number of students you lose, and you reach a point of equilibrium where your student population will remain steady.

A Formula to Calculate Martial Arts Business Success

There is a very simple formula to calculate exactly how many students you can have based on your key business factors:

n = e / d

What are they and how do you determine these values?

1. “n” = how many students you have right now, hopefully, you already know this number.

2. “e” = the number of new students you gained over the past 12 months divided by 12 or simply your average number of monthly enrollments.

3. “d” = your drop-out rate which is calculated by taking “e” and dividing by “n” (e/n).

An Example to Illustrate

Imagine you are a studio that enrolls 15 students each month, and your drop-out rate is 8 percent. Let’s do the math:

n = 15 / 0.08

n = 187.5

This means that if nothing changes, your school will build to around 188 students and then will cease growing beyond that point.

Using the Numbers to Grow Your Business

What is more important is how you can use this to grow your school further. For example, what if you improved your enrollments to 18 students each month?

n = 18 / 0.08

n = 225

Simply by increasing your monthly enrollments by three, you have set yourself up to become a 225-student school. Now what if you took steps to keep your students happier and in your school longer to decrease your drop-out rate to 7 percent?

n = 18 / 0.07

n = 257

Now you will have become a 257-student school through a few very small tweaks to your business metrics.

The point is that by making little improvements, you can propel growth tremendously. Try applying this formula to your studio. See what sort of effect improving either of the variables will have. You will be surprised at what a big difference they make.

Take steps specifically to improve those variables in your school. Everything that you do should be focused on either increasing the number of monthly enrollments or preventing current students from dropping out.

There are many fantastic ideas in the Member Solutions article library that you should consult. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at sifu@wushucentral.com.

About the author: Sifu David Chang and his wife Elizabeth Chang are the owners of Wushu Central Martial Arts Academy with two locations in California. Sifu Chang is a former Wushu style forms national champion and Elizabeth is the brains behind the business. Each location enrolls an average of 25 students each month with a drop-out rate of 5 percent.

Success in Your Business: Creating a Sense of Belonging & Purpose

I am a big advocate of encouraging others to get creative with their ideas. In fact, about a year ago, I opened Fitness Compound, which offers a variety of fitness classes, programs, and training options including Zumba, cardio, Pilates, spinning, baseball, climbing, and basketball. Since then, I’ve added Mixed Martial Arts for kids, Zumba Tone, and Krav Maga to the mix.

Even though I’m offering services beyond traditional martial arts, I’m still creating the very same sense of community, purpose, and goal-driven environment as all other fitness-related businesses.

It’s critically important for your members (and prospective members) to get a sense of belonging and have a purpose when being a part of your gym or school. People want to be a part of something and feel good about themselves. Therefore, all your enrollment and retention efforts should include ways to fulfill those primary needs.

For instance, don’t shy away from holding free events. Many think that when they hold an event, they should charge a fee. They think their objective should be to make a certain amount of money on ticket sales. This shouldn’t be your main objective at all.

Your main objective when holding most events should be to create a sense of community and commonality to build rapport with your prospects. Hold a fundraiser for a worthy cause or a special springtime or summertime event to fuel business activity and to bring families and friends together. You will, in turn, build a business that people will want to be a part of and a contact list of prospects.

To strengthen retention, keep your members focused on achieving a goal. For instance, we hold a special internal campaign during the summer called 12 weeks of Summer, 36 Workouts. Anyone can sign up for the campaign. If they reach the goal of checking in at the gym for 36 workouts during the summer (three workouts a week), they get a T-shirt that says “I stayed in shape all summer at <Place of Business>.” You wouldn’t believe how this motivates members to stick to their fitness goals and get to the gym.

Remember the integral wishes of each and every human being: the need to belong and the need to feel good. When you keep these two intrinsic human needs in mind, and better yet, fulfill them through your business services, you’re well on your way to optimal success.

How have you created a sense of belonging and member community within your business? Share below.

About the author: Chuck Heacock is the owner of the Fitness Compound, a training facility that provides unparalleled fitness activities including Martial Arts classes, special boot camps, personal training, baseball, basketball, spinning, Zumba, cardio and more. Chuck is also a sought-after fitness industry consultant.

5 Errors to Avoid: Employee Discipline

Two boys practicing karate in front of a children's martial arts class

Greater focus, improved self-control, and increased self-discipline are only a few of the lasting benefits that a practitioner or trainee realizes from their study of any martial art.

As a business owner, your challenge is to translate the discipline you impart in your teaching to your employees to ensure the smooth operation of your business. How you impart these lessons to your employees may go far in determining the success of your business.

This article identifies some common communication errors and also provides suggestions on how to improve communications with your employees and impart the same lessons that you are providing to your students.

Error #1: Discipline as Punishment

Discipline pertains to improving employee performance by assisting the employee (at least at first) to learn so they can perform more effectively. One prevalent error is treating discipline as punishment. The threat of additional sanctions will not correct or eliminate unwanted behavior. Instead, it usually has the opposite effect.

Negative sanctions generally succeed only in limited instances where certain factors are present. Thus, just as your students learn discipline, so too should employee discipline be viewed as an opportunity for the employee to learn what needs to be done to bring their behavior up to the standards you demand. Discipline must have teeth, even in a learning sense. But it can’t only be teeth.

Error #2: Discipline as An I vs. You Confrontation

While martial arts may, in some circumstances, involve confrontation, employee discipline should not. Discipline should not be viewed as something done to an employee, but rather as something done with an employee. Effective discipline requires you and your employee work together to solve a problem. The result of this combined effort is an employee who feels respected, who is involved in the process, and who feels more a part of the team. Remember, discipline needs to be a team process.

Error #3: Too Late

While you are certainly not seeking out employee problems, there is a fine line between looking for trouble and being too slow to recognize or to respond to an emerging issue. Delay dealing with a problem and the unwanted behavior will continue or escalate, making it that much harder for you to deal with it in the future. It is critical that you promptly note inappropriate behavior and communicate that fact with the employee as soon as possible. This communication does not have to be lengthy, particularly if the event is minor, but putting it off until tomorrow never resolves the problem.

Error #4: A Non-Progressive Approach

Progressive discipline starts with the least possible use of power and disciplinary action. Over time, it involves stronger actions if the situation continues. Delay disciplinary action, as related in #3 above, and the situation may become so severe that only the harshest sanctions are available. Applying harsh initial discipline will usually not resolve the problem with the employee and may result in a backlash by other employees. Start with the least forceful action as early as possible, unless the offense warrants the severe action.

Error #5: Missing Root Causes

It is your business, and it is understandable that you may want to lay down the law to a problem employee. In some cases, a problem employee may require this kind of approach. However, in many situations, negative or even positive discipline may have little effect on behavior simply because it does not address the root causes of the problem. It leaves the employee on their own to figure out a solution.

There are many reasons that an employee’s behavior may be problematic (some of which may actually be due to the fact that the employee is a problem). Without knowing the root causes underlying a performance problem, it will be difficult to work with an employee to improve their behavior and performance.

I am not advocating one approach over another, nor am I advocating in favor of any particular approach. However, from both a legal and a practical standpoint, it makes no sense to take actions that are doomed to fail. Therefore, when you meet with your employees to discuss or correct behavior issues, remember that in a successful meeting you should:

1) Listen and have empathy with the employee’s situation.
2) Refocus the employee to the original problem, and ask them to come up with a solution.
3) Offer assistance, including setting up another meeting to discuss the employee’s progress.

About the author: Andrew S. Kasmen, Esq. is General Counsel and HR Director for Member Solutions.

Disclaimer: Member Solutions is not an attorney and does not provide legal advice. Further, the information provided in this article is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. It is being offered as a general information service to Member Solutions’ clients. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your particular situation.

8 Keys to Effective Business Partnerships

Partnering is a critical element of nearly all businesses. We partner with employees and investors, in addition to actual business partners or co-owners. Effective partnering is evident in any successful organization that requires multiple human beings to achieve its objectives.

Teams of all types require a few elements of effective partnering to be successful. Marriage and personal relationships require a focus on partnering and attention to these same elements.

The topic has been researched and published extensively in both the academic and popular press. Two titles that I really enjoy and lean on are Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of Team” and Wagner/Muller’s “The Power of 2.” These and other writings focus on several critical elements of successful partnerships.

As you review the following list, reflect on your current business partnerships and employee relationships.

1) Commitment to a Common Mission – Successful organizations rally around a common, clearly articulated goal and vision. Team members must understand, believe and live it. This must be more than just lip service. When people say they are committed, but then take actions or make comments privately that conflict or undermine the mission, it is incredibly damaging.

2) Unselfishness – The power of cooperation is well known to all of us. Two plus two can certainly equal well more than four when true cooperation exists. Of course, the opposite is even more truthful. One self-interested member of a partnership or team will poison the group and generate lingering animosity that will pervade the team and limit success, at best.

3) Complimentary Capabilities – A football team’s offense could not function with two centers trying to hike the ball and also would not work without blocking, running, receiving and quarterback play. A partnership is no different. Do not go into business with someone that has your same capabilities and weaknesses. Partners must seriously consider the individual skills, talents, and limitations of each and then deploy each partner in a disciplined way that ensures all contribute their capabilities to the team. Trying to create a role or accept sub par performance from a partner because you want them as a partner will lead to failure.

4) Ongoing Communication – Open, honest and frequent communication is an absolute requirement for success. Without it, team members can end up in silos, mired in the details of their function, rather than staying focused on contributing to the broader objectives.

5) Acceptance of Differences – Put a few humans together, and you will likely find something in each of them that can annoy another on some level. People have different quirks and habits that need to be accepted and forgiven as long as they do not deter the team from its mission. Effective partners accept human quirks and differences for the better of the organization.

6) Forgiveness – We all make mistakes. If we don’t we are not trying hard enough. We enjoy skiing in my family, and I often say to my kids: “If you are not falling, you are not trying hard enough.” We must forgive our partners and ourselves and create an organizational culture that encourages risk-taking and new ideas by openly forgiving when they don’t work out.

7) Fairness – When people are treated fairly, they remain motivated and will often achieve beyond expectations. The opposite will result in demotivation, animosity, and lack of commitment. The compelling need to ensure that one’s own personal situation is fair will be present in discussions, decisions, and serve a significant distraction to the individual, thereby severely limiting the potential of the partnership.

8) Trust – Business partnerships require trust that is built upon mutual respect, honesty, and demonstrated integrity. Without this, all is lost.

I have been very fortunate and am incredibly thankful to have great partners at Member Solutions. Together, we have enjoyed strong business growth and been fortunate to also develop deep family friendships. We have grown professionally, personally, and financially by working hard to remain focused on these critical partnership success drivers. It is not always easy, and we often have to remind ourselves to be disciplined and work hard on these core principles and the values that are behind them.

All the work and time is well worth it and offers rewards beyond business success.

About the author: Steve Pinado is CEO of Member Solutions, a leading provider of solutions to martial arts businesses. Before finding a home at Member Solutions, Steve held executive roles at several Fortune 500 companies after earning his MBA at Dartmouth. He can be reached at spinado@membersolutions.com or by phone at 888.277.4409.

How to Overcome Obstacles to Achieve Your Goals

Whether you’re striving to reach a high-growth target or achieve any meaningful objective for your Martial Arts school or Fitness business, you’re bound to be faced with obstacles along the way that will put your success at risk. The attitude you have and the actions you take during these critical moments will ultimately determine your success or failure.

The good news is that if you have a goal — or even one that is provided to you — many experts believe you are already half way to achieving success. You will certainly never achieve the goals you never set, so at a minimum, you are ahead of the game if you have established your goals.

Before we tackle how to overcome obstacles, there’s one more critical item to address in addition to setting a goal: that is giving you a deadline for when you want to achieve it. Without a timeframe, you are allowing yourself unlimited and acceptable delays to hinder achieving the success you want as soon as possible. Once you have a meaningful and measurable goal and a date to achieve it, I can assure you that Mr. Murphy will see to it that you have your fair share of obstacles to overcome!!

Attitude is the single most important component to overcoming obstacles because your attitude shapes your actions. I find it helpful to focus on the reason the obstacle exists in the first place: you’re trying to achieve a meaningful, worthwhile goal. Controlling your attitude is not easy to do, especially when the pressure is on. “When I changed my attitude, I changed the way I thought about my business. Doing this not only transformed my company but it changed my life,” says Mike Parrella, Member Solutions Advisory Team Member, and CEO of iLoveKickboxing.com and Full Contact Online Marketing.

Another helpful tip to help shape attitude is to be aware of the vocabulary you use and what words mean to you personally. Obstacles are often referred to as “problems,” which for many people has a more negative connotation. Some people like to refer to obstacles as “challenges” which creates a mindset that it can be overcome using wit. If you feel that “problems” are solvable, go with that. Ask yourself what vocabulary puts you in the best mindset.

The worst attitude you can have is one fueled by fear as this can lead to inaction. We naturally fear the consequences of our actions; and when obstacles arise, no action can have even greater ramifications to your success. If no action is a viable solution, then recognize that “no action” is an actionable decision.

As I’ve stressed, you”ll find that taking the right actions to overcome obstacles will be far easier with the right attitude, and this includes where you focus your attention. Focus on the goal, not the obstacle. If your goal is to grow your Martial Arts school by 50 students by the end of 2012, focus and plan on that end goal. Be prepared for obstacles but don’t let them derail you.

The specific actions you take are largely dependent on the challenge facing you, but here is what I find helpful when obstacles arise:

  1. Identify the obstacle and verbalize why it is in your way. Sometimes this exercise identifies non-priority obstacles that can be put aside because they have little or no impact on achieving your goal by your deadline.
  2. Your mind likes questions, so ask yourself if there is a way to avoid the obstacle. Can you circumvent it by taking a different course of action but still stay on the path towards your goal.
  3. If not, ask yourself what are other options available to you to overcome the obstacle and write them down. This exercise replicates self-brainstorming. One idea can lead to another, which just might be your solution.
  4. Get help! Others can sometimes see solutions not so obvious to us.
  5. If you are still stuck, you may need to focus on an alternative route towards your goal. Let’s cycle back to attitude. Did you fail or did you learn a way that didn’t work and now you are smarter? Keep trying.

Joe Galea is the President of Member Solutions. Galea, one of Member Solutions’ founders, has been counseling Martial Arts school owners for over 20 years, and spends part of every day speaking with clients and industry leaders.

4 Events That Drive Community Involvement & New Member Enrollment

Group of young adults at picnic outdoor event in city park with skyline

It doesn’t matter what kind of martial arts studio or fitness business you run. The goal is the same: to grow in both size and reputation Networking within your community is a great way to attract new members and build your business. Community involvement is key in creating a positive image.

One of the easiest ways to reach out to your community is to find out where your members are involved within the community. Maybe they are a member of a Parent Teacher Association or part of a local business networking organization. Having the right contacts makes it a lot easier to get your foot in the door.

Participating in events also is extremely effective in getting the word out about your business.

Here are four events that I recommend.

School Seminars

Membership businesses that provide programs and services for children can greatly benefit from hosting seminars at local schools. Primarily done through a Parent Teacher Organization/Parent Teacher Association (PTO/PTA) or school administrations, the seminars you provide could cover a range of topics from bullying prevention to nutrition.

As a starting point, you could contact the PTO/PTA to offer your services with teaching an in-school seminar or an afterschool program for four to eight weeks once a week. our martial arts academy did this. We connected with our local PTO and ran a six-week martial arts afterschool program.

The PTO collected $60 per student for those who enrolled in the afterschool program. We had over 30 students attend, many of whom became members of our school. The PTO promoted the program by handing out our information to each and every one of their 400+ students.

By hosting seminars like this, you show your community your commitment and involvement and open the door for prospective new members. It’s also a great way to advertise your business with little to no cost.

National Night Out

Many towns have events planned throughout the year that bring the community together and allows businesses to sponsor, co-host or become involved. Search your town’s website calendar, email city council members, or acquire your town or neighboring town’s newsletter.

Becoming a sponsor and a vendor at these events is great for publicity—and it gives you the opportunity to get involved with the event itself, perhaps by running a booth and a demonstration.

During this event, you can give out prizes, t-shirts, or water bottles that have a sticker with your information and logo on them. This is a great way for individuals to remember your days after the event. During the event, you also can have an email sign-up list where you can raffle off free weeks or months of membership allowing you to have direct contact with individuals who are interested in your programs and services.

Charity Drives

Charity drives are one of the best ways to show your commitment and support of your community. These can consist of toy drives, food drives, and relief drives. Most towns have an event coordinator. Sometimes the easiest way is calling the township and asking for them to provide that information.

With the charity drives, we encourage our students to donate and participate, but more importantly, we make our school a local drop-off zone for the community to drop off the supplies. Once approved by the town, the town itself will help promote your location as a drop-off zone which in turn can help bring prospective new members to the door while helping the community at the same time.


Another way to get involved with the community is to host a picnic. This event brings everyone closer and enables you to connect with community members. Have it at a local park and keep it open to the public. Invite local police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and other community support groups and their families.

During this picnic, you can raffle off different prizes such as college scholarships, monthly memberships, or T-shirts. These picnics show your community your commitment and support. They give you the opportunity to introduce your business to people that were otherwise not aware of your programs and services.

Taking part in events that drive community involvement along with effective networking is a great way to create a positive representation of your business—and it can lead to new member enrollments and more member referrals.

I hope you can use some of these ideas as a way to connect with your community.

About the author: Peter Trikilas is the Owner and Chief Instructor at Master Peter’s Academy of Martial Arts in Dayton, New Jersey. Peter began martial arts training at the age of four and has dedicated his life to the betterment of his students and the martial arts.

The Dos and Don’ts of Business Ethics

"Ethics" written in tile letters on wooden desk
Merriam-Webster defines ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation.” In laymen’s terms, ethics are about doing the right thing when you know nobody is watching.

Ethics need to be high on the list of desirable traits demonstrated by your staff.

While all the staff employed at your business should demonstrate ethical behavior, it is most critical for your front-desk and finance personnel. These employees must be trustworthy and held accountable to the high standards that you set for them.

Your front-desk and finance employees have access to your business management software—which contains your members’ names, social security numbers, addresses, signatures, and credit card numbers. In making an unethical choice, they could cause significant damage to a member’s financial situation that also damages your reputation and business.

An ethics-based workplace all starts with you. As an owner or manager, your staff looks up to you as the mentor. Your behavior is what will be repeated by all. But it’s not just your personal conduct that’s important. You need to instill an ethical environment in your workplace. Here are suggested dos and don’ts.

Meeting with Fitness Team Good business ethics

The Dos of Business Ethics:

  • Have staff meetings on a regular basis. Talk about desirable behavior and give examples of unethical behavior. Allow the staff to discuss hypothetical situations in which they must make an ethical choice.
  • Have an open-door policy and seriously consider all comments and complaints from the staff.
  • Mentor your staff on accepting responsibility and not deflecting blame.
  • Make sure there are adequate checks and balances within your finance department.
  • Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all staff members.
  • Treat your staff in the same ethical way that you expect them to treat your members.
  • Trust your member’s personal information with Member Solutions. We have been certified as a Level One Service Provider under the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Level One is the highest ranking and carries the most stringent requirements. We set high ethical standards for our employees.
Donts of Business Ethics - Boss Talking to Staff

The Don’ts of Business Ethics:

  • Put undue pressure on the staff. They may bend under the pressure and turn toward unethical behavior to get the results you are demanding.
  • Have a culture of fear or silence.
  • Allow anyone to “pass the buck” or deflect blame for things that are within his or her responsibility.

Displaying ethical behavior will bring your business to new levels. Your staff will be proud to work in such an environment and such pride will be reflected on your members. The respect that your staff has for each other and for the members will be contagious and you will see careers and lives flourish.