How To Be Taken Seriously As A Martial Art School Owner

Silly karate manI know, that’s a pretty ambiguous title, and it covers a lot of ground in the business of running a martial art school. However, I’ve found that it’s something a lot of my clients overlook, and it ends up being trouble for them in the long run.

Being taken seriously in the martial arts is something most serious martial artists take for granted; you train hard, dedicate yourself to your art and its practice, and people figure out pretty quickly that you are a force to be reckoned with.

However, being taken seriously as a business person; well, that’s a whole different animal. And the thing is, when others don’t take you seriously as a serious business person, it will absolutely hurt your business, especially when you’re first starting out.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve recently had three clients who had their businesses impacted negatively at least in part from not being taken seriously. And, it’s something that’s so easy to fix, I wanted to share with you how to avoid running into the same issues.

Why You Need To Be Taken Seriously As A Martial Art School Owner

Here’s the thing; if you aren’t being taken seriously in your business, it can cause you all sorts of problems:

  • Early on, it can keep you from even being able to lease a commercial space –
  • Later, when you open your doors, it can keep you from getting paid what you’re worth by your clients –
  • And, once you are established, it can keep people from referring business to you, because people tend to only refer their friends and acquaintances to businesses and services that they know are “the best” –

I’m going to give you a prime example of when this most often comes into play for martial arts instructors who are launching schools – and that’s when they meet a property manager or leasing agent for the first time. Look, you may not realize this, but property managers and leasing agents don’t see martial arts schools as being stable businesses to which they can lease their properties.

In fact, my experience has led me to believe that, on the whole, they mostly see us as hobbyists who are not very serious or savvy about doing business. And, that image problem can extend to people in other industries and service areas as well, including banking and finance, real estate, and professional services.

That’s why you need to do everything in your power to be seen as a serious business person. So, I’m going to go over three ways to do that in this article.

How to Be Taken Seriously as a Martial Art School Owner

As I said, there are three things you need to do to be taken seriously as a business person. Doing these three things will make a world of difference in your level of success as a school owner.

And, not doing them will definitely hinder your ability to succeed by winnowing down the number of opportunities that are presented to you, the number of people who are willing to do business with you, and the quality of the clients you attract.

Rule #1 for Being Taken Seriously as a Business Person: Act Professional

Your demeanor in and out of business situations tells others a lot about how serious you are about your business. So, when you are interfacing with potential business contacts, partners, colleagues, or customers, always conduct yourself with the utmost care and seriousness.

This involves many things. It means avoiding course humor and language, only speaking in a way that edifies others, and using language to frame things in a positive light at all times. It also means respecting others, not wasting their time, and having a keen interest in their needs.

You can manifest this in your interactions by spending more time asking questions and listening, and by taking an active role in helping others achieve their goals. By doing so, you’ll be demonstrating that you are serious about serving others, and this sends the message that you currently are or will soon become a person of influence.

Influence is everything in business. So, pay attention to how you conduct yourself in your interactions with potential business contacts and clients, in order to increase your circle of influence and stature among those people.

Rule #2 for Being Taken Seriously as a Business Person: Dress Professionally

If you are going to an important meeting, or meeting with an important business contact for the first time, it’s better to overdress than to be under-dressed. I’d much rather be the best-dressed person in a room or meeting, than the sole person who looks like they missed the memo on the dress code.

So, be spit-polished whenever possible. Wear a nice shirt, put on a sport coat, or wear a suit and a tie if you have one. Dress to impress, even if it means being inconvenienced by having to change twice or three times in a day. It’s a small price to pay for impressing a potentially important business contact.

Rule #3 for Being Taken Seriously as a Business Person: Be Prepared

Never, ever, ever go into a meeting without being prepared. Do your homework. Find out all you can about the person you are meeting with, and know the answers to the questions they are most likely to ask, before they ask them of you.

Also, take the time to learn a little bit about the people you are meeting. If you don’t have the luxury of doing this beforehand, start the meeting with small talk and ask them about themselves. Find something to compliment them about, and then use that to find out something about their interests and likes.

And, know the facts about your business and industry. If you’re approaching a potential location where you’d like to teach, find out about the customers and clients of that location or organization, and know what benefits your programs will bring to them. Research potential competitors for a location or other opportunity, and know what strategic advantages you have over them. Again, do your homework.

Being Taking Seriously Sometimes Requires Changing Who You Are

You younger people who are thinking about going into business in this industry, please pay attention to this. The worst thing you can do for your business is to give the impression that you are immature, because immaturity is seen as a liability in business. So, you need to get serious about being taken seriously now, before you start your business venture.

That could mean a lot things. It might be as simple as cleaning up your social media profiles to remove potentially embarrassing posts and pictures. It could mean changing the way you dress and speak. It could even mean choosing new friends.

Yes, this might be a lot to ask, but you also have to ask yourself if you’re willing to make the sacrifices necessary for success. I know, sacrifice is not a sexy word these days. But, it’s something that’s unavoidable if you’re going to make it in business.

The Bottom Line On Being Taken Seriously

The bottom line is this:

  • Look professional, act professional, think like a professional, and people will accept you as a professional.

Questions? Comments? Insights?

If you have any questions, comments, or insights about today’s topic, please post them below.

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