Fact: . All the marketing on the planet, and the greatest sales presentations won't help you if your classes are lame.
Some will disagree, but I think having an instructor who can teach a phenomenal class is probably the single most important thing you can do for your school. Before you say, "well what about marketing, you wouldn't have any students!" Yes marketing helps get the word out about how great your program and classes are, but lets be realistic- your classes are your product. If you had to put a white belt in charge of either marketing or teaching, which one would be more disastrous? If you completely stopped all marketing for a few months you would notice, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Let a white belt teach all your classes for just a few weeks and see how that goes for your business. Now that's not to say that some white belts aren't natural teachers or you have to be highly skilled to teach a great class, and I am certainly not saying you shouldn't market; I'm just making a point that teaching great classes is very important to your bottom line. Classes are your content - its what keeps them coming back.
Have you ever had a bad teacher in school and you ended up dropping the class or making bad grades? My 4th grade teacher Mrs. Green made me hate Science for years. In those early years I could have invented the flying car or something - you never know. An instructor with poor teaching skills is detrimental to your program and to your students progression.
So how do you tell if you or your staff are doing a good job teaching? The obvious indicator is watching your dropout and enrollment rates. But, as a manager you must "inspect what you expect". Evaluate your staff frequently and give them feedback. If it is just you teaching, film one of your classes and go back and watch it from your client's perspective. Think about why they came to class and what they are looking for. Put yourself in their shoes, or put yourself in the parent's shoes watching from the lobby. Second, get feedback from your students. Simple email surveys or a handout survey that they fill out once a month asking them what they like about your classes and where improvement is needed. Keeping the surveys anonymous can provide better feedback.
What defines a "great" martial arts class? A class where the students leaving smiling, sweating, sore, and wanting more. A great class will build skill, and increase retention. Remember, nobody cares about your rank, how many medals and trophies you have won, or how you are undefeated in MMA. People want to come to phenomenal classes that provide the benefits they are looking for and classes that they look forward to going to again!
Jeremy Molley is the owner of endlessmartialartsdrills.com. For more free drills, videos, and tips become a facebook fan.