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Author Topic: Starting a business  (Read 7510 times)

Bonz

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Starting a business
« on: September 25, 2012, 08:13:53 PM »

It's been a while since I've posted anything; Life issues and such. But now I have an opportunity to start a business. Along with that I have a lot of questions, a few I thought you all may be able to help with.

First, Do you have a recommendation on whom to contact for liability insurance?

Second, any examples of waivers you have students sign.

Third, I need to purchase mats that are portable/folding since I'll be sharing the facility with a "Jazzersize" group. Any recommendations on thickness and brand?

Those are just a few of the things I have to consider. Any help you all can give would be great. I'll have more questions as time goes on.

Thanks!
Bonz
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 08:38:48 AM »

First off...is this like a..."generic martial arts" business?

Bonz

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 10:25:35 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by "generic", but my idea is to set up the curriculum along the line of your CQC matterial (of course giving all credit where due  :)  ). I want to incorporate my Hapkido & JKD training as well. So, I'm thinking of 10 levels with each level dealing with an aspect of  grabs, kicks, Takedown, invading hands as well as situation awareness. I want to include some weapons training, but I'm weak myself on that top since I don't consider what I learned in Hapkido training very practical.

What I really want to do is teach the concepts and tactics that give the best chance of surviving an attack, knowing that not everything works all the time. I enjoyed my Hapkido training, but I don't think the "system" is the best way to train to survive a genuine attack.

It looks like I may be able to start with some kids (12 -16 years old), so I'm taloring the program for that age group. I'm leaning towards not having gis or belt progression. Rather, I'm thinking comfortable pants and t-shirts where the color would reflect the students level.

I just know that the training I had with you in Rhoad Island was the best I've gone through and wish to be able to pass that on.

In a practical way, this article is about a young man that I coached at the high school in soccer. I now wish I would have had a gym where I could have coached him in being more aware of a situation like this.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/09/larry-johnson-maryland-inmate-escapes-custody-and-stabs-two-79511.html

Alen is donig well as of today, but still having to go through some physcial theraphy.
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 11:53:37 AM »

Okay...
You can get insurance by joining up with one of these national martial arts groups. Others here may have specific advice on that. I have no insurance, but I have no regular school. If someone sues me? They get nothing because I have near to nothing.

Which leads me to the disclaimer. Mine is unique to traveling road show and I suggest getting a good one form someone here or that you know.

It is hard to teach hand, stick, knife, gun combatives to kids, but some have danced around the delicate subjects and try. But have a multitude of courses/subjects and rent space to Zumba and...and guitar lessons and...and, and anything to pay the bills.

I "ran" a multi-subject, school from 1989 to 1998, but am not an expert on the particular problems modern folks have these days. maybe others here will help with ideas.

Hock

grlaun

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 10:09:07 AM »

Most martial artists spend most of their time planning their curriculum but do little to promote their businesses.  If you are part of say, the Premier Martial Arts organization or NAPMA or or the like, they will help direct your business, but at a cost.  It works for some.  The benefits are that you have a support network and a business guideline.  Very important in this environment.  I find they have some very good strategies to get to students in the door and good ad ideas.  You still have to do the leg work.  If you are self motivated and have business savvy, then this won't be a problem. 

The key is retention, retention, retention.  You have to keep your students will getting others in the door. 

Carefully choose your options as things can get expensive quick.  It is important to determine what you want.  You usually get what you pay for in the business world and you MUST research and choose reliable people.  Another difficult job.   If you go cheap, expect trouble. 

Make sure you have a budget and a clear cut goal and business plan.  The MA business is an ugly cut throat world and there are those looking to take advantage of the next kid with a dream so they can take his money, pride and dreams.  Choose carefully and good luck.
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whitewolf

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 10:27:08 AM »

Ill add my 2 cents- ;D-As proste  here be  careful out there choosing Insurance, place to train and also if you are using any assistants insure they are competent to teach the teenagers-i would recommend that a background check be run if possible if you do  not  know them.In todays
society that could be a death trap for you.
Where are you  located ?
Whitewolf (i am in Clarksville Tn)
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Bonz

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 09:05:24 AM »

Thanks for all the good advice guys. I'm located in Western Maryland, Garrett County. The big problem right now is the start up costs; The "Jazzersize" facility has a hard floor. I really am set with most of the equipment, but the price of portable floor matting is quiet high.

I'm hoping to find some used mats from the local schools that have been closed due to budget cuts.

Again, thanks for the input!
Bonz
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 11:00:27 AM »

I taught about 8 years on a wooden floor. I actually prefer it, but then look at me, scheduling my next operation.

You can always buy a used roll up mat or two for those sissies (just kidding) who need mats.

Hock

Bonz

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 11:25:33 AM »

Hey, I like the idea. I can promote the business as the fight training that will make a man out of ya, bruises and all!
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Kentbob

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 06:46:43 PM »

Always look on Craigslist for used gear.

Kent
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SileyEric

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 09:43:53 AM »

Bonz,

For insurance, I and a number of other school owners I use go to West Point Insurance.  www.westpointinsurance.com.  The reason we use them is that we teach weapons and higher contact curriculums - MMA, Krav Maga, etc.  They cover everything.  The thing you'll find is that insurance is very expensive to get started, and they want the premium up-front in a lump sum for this type of thing.  In 2.5 years, I haven't had a claim, with about 250 active members.

If the facility you are renting doesn't ask to see a certificate of insurance, you might want to start with forming your own LLC corporation or "S" Corp and getting insurance after you are cash flow positive.  Forming a corporation will keep you from being personally liable in many instances.  I'm not giving you legal advice, but if you want to shell out $1000 or more before you even get started, this is what you are looking at.

For mats, rolling them up and putting them down is going to be a problem, if you do it every time before you train.  Plus, they might move around on a floor that isn't carpeted.  Swain Dollamur mats roll out, and I use them in my front training room. (I have them down permanently)

All of the good mats are expensive, but last a long time if you take care of them.  (Swain - both the old-style 1X2 meter and dollamur, and Zebra)  The 1X2 meter mats just aren't tenable for moving in and out.  Consider starting without mats, or having a mat just for working on throws or takedowns, if you do them.  Check eBay, as there is always an MMA school that is closing and selling equipment.  I've gotten all of my mats used.  Zebra also has close-outs on mats that were used just once for grappling competitions.

12-16 year olds is a tough market.  90%+ of my marketing for kids is geared for 5-12 year olds.  Just over 50% of my members are adults, so I'm not a "kids" place only.  I train 12-13 year olds with the kids, and 14-16 with adults.  If you are not training the kids in gi's you're really going to have to educate your buyer - MOM.  Moms understand the personal development taught by martial arts when we show her, but most don't want their kids training at an MMA or RBSD place.  Once kids hit 12, they are generally locked into "their" activities.  I have maybe 8 13-16 year olds out of 250.  I do this for a living, and I think I'd starve if I focused on this demographic, just as I struggled spending too much time on competitive MMA - 18-24 year olds with no money, no ability to meet reasonable commitments, just looking forward to next fight/weekend, etc.  I do better with 3-4 year olds than either of these other age groups.

I can forward you some standard language for a waiver, if you message me with your e-mail.  I'd highly recommend doing a MA Business Bootcamp through someone like Premier to open your eyes a bit.  The martial arts part has been easy for me (Except teaching average 25 classes per week), the business part has been hard.  You can do these camps for a flat fee, keeping in mind that people will want you to sign up for consulting, licensing, etc.

Most importantly - Good Luck...try not to lose the love for what you do when you start having to spend more time on the business side of things.
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 10:36:07 AM »

...and be wary of these MA business associations, as..they suck the life blood out of over 70% or 80% of anyone who has joined them. Most of the info and advice they give you, you can get for free from somewhere else.

"We're here to help.....sign here...and we will anxiously be awaiting your first of many monthly checks (oh, don't make us sue you!). I know a school owner who had to close two schools, file bankruptcy and move to another state to escape one of these friendly/helpful MA business associations contracts.

Hock
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 10:37:45 AM by Hock »
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SileyEric

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 03:40:02 PM »

It can be a bit overwhelming at first...although with less overhead, less so...

I think that MAIA has some basic memberships available for about $50 per month that include sales and marketing ideas.  Having sound, repeatable, professional marketing is very important for a commercial school...as is...(wince)...SALES.  I had a tough time even finding a reasonable, 1 page agreement for training services.

Also, beware the billing companies and their consultants. One of my mentors overheard a VP at the largest MA billing company chuckling at the bar at an industry event, because school owners and professional instructors are such mental midgets that they are willing to pay twice the rate for collecting membership fees as the fitness industry - for the same service, mind you.  The perception is that we aren't very good with money.

I do my own billing, and there are hosted solutions for $50 per month that includes member tracking, e-mail blasts, billing, everything.  I use Rainmaker, but there are others.  Doing my own billing takes more time, but is more than worth it.
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Bonz

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 06:42:07 AM »

All this is great information, thanks! I'm still looking for mats (my son is keeping an eye on Craig's list since I live in a rural area). Right now it looks like I'll be starting by teaching a basic, two evening women's' self defense class - basic aware, avoid, attack stuff. From there I think I'll be able to develop a base to start teaching a regular class. I does look like that class is going to be more in the 5 - 12 year old range so I'm having to work on that "curriculum".

The business side I think I'm okay on - I have a friend that is a lawyer that will set up my business for me and knows how to take care of the book work/billing as well.

Thanks again for all the input, you all have been a great help.
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 07:52:24 AM »

On the business side is also....selling...selling...selling

Keith Miller

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 01:12:13 PM »

My advice would be,

Don't do it. At least not until the economy improves.
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Kentbob

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 10:27:00 PM »

My advice would be,

Don't do it. At least not until the economy improves.

Yeah, timing is critical, and right now the timing is not good.  If the defense budget cuts go through, I estimate we are going to lose 1.5 million more jobs.  Things are going to get a lot worse in my opinion, economically and socially, before they get better. Start a small practice group, work 'em over and build 'em up, and wait for the right time to launch a business.

Kent
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SileyEric

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 11:50:21 PM »

I started mine in April 2010, opened the doors on June 5, 2010. I think the economy was worse then than now. The martial arts industry is not capital intensive, but is extremely labor intensive...and spending about $100 per month for lessons is still within reach of many families and individuals.

I left for work at 9am, and got home at 9:45pm...and it feels different when it is a real job with goals and overhead, rather than just training.

Never wait for the right time, when the herd moves. Create something compelling, grow it, make good decisions...teach the good stuff and out-work the other guys.
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vitality

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2012, 07:55:46 PM »

Hello everybody,

I too am starting my own business which will be a Self Defense training facility and one for security guards in my state to get permits.

My questions is on getting service agreements,  to clients, payment agreements and all other documents that i will need to "CYA"
can anybody tell me how to get such forms
does anybody use forms for these services or a service that they can refer?

thanks
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Hock

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2012, 08:09:06 PM »

I would send you mine, but mine is written especially for me and the seminar business.

vitality

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2012, 02:28:13 AM »

Hello, does anybody have a good resource for contracts of service, payment contract and a god waiver? I have searched on the web, but was not sure if there is a trusted web site for such forms.

thanks
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Canuk

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2012, 06:00:45 AM »

A general wavier should be fine, nothing will save your ass if you are negligent so don't look for one that will. Along with the wavier you will want them to fill out a health questionnaire. I use PAR Q and you. Google PAR Q and the template comes right up
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arnold

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 04:50:47 AM »

Now with Obama re-elected, I wouldn't start a pay toilet concession at a chile eating contest!
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grlaun

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2012, 10:40:35 AM »

Arnold said it!
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Kentbob

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2012, 01:06:44 PM »

Yeah, I have no faith in any kind of economic resurgence, especially as the deficit continues to grow at an exponential rate, and budget cuts are coming in the Department of Defense.

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arnold

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2012, 08:04:39 AM »

And once those military/defense cuts take place, all of the supporting infrastructure goes into the tank along with it.
Actually I hope we go off the cliff, with the Big O at the wheel!
And Hilary in the back seat. Biden would be there but he couldn't figure out how to get in the car!
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I leave you idiots alone for 5 minutes and I come back and you're all dancing around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots
you're all a bunch of slack jawed faggots around here, this stuff will make you a sexual tyrannosaurus, just like me!

Kentbob

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2012, 10:30:36 AM »

And once those military/defense cuts take place, all of the supporting infrastructure goes into the tank along with it.

My thoughts exactly.  The thing is, it's really unavoidable.  We can't afford to NOT cut defense spending, the thing is, the scumbags in charge won't cut ALL spending, EVERYWHERE.  Just a little here, and a little there.  It would actually make things a little better, if they did.  In past campaigns people have talked about a course correction to set our country back on track.  Well, a massive crash from driving off the cliff seems to be the only way we're going to get back on track.
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arnold

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Re: Starting a business
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2012, 06:20:04 AM »

Look around. Businesses are not hiring as they have no idea what the idiots in charge are going to do. Obama care on the horizon is going tohit so many small businesses that they are going to put their people on part time so they don't have to cover them with insurance, forcing them to go on Obama Care. This is going to be a cluster fuck....
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I leave you idiots alone for 5 minutes and I come back and you're all dancing around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots
you're all a bunch of slack jawed faggots around here, this stuff will make you a sexual tyrannosaurus, just like me!
 

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