Politics in The Martial Arts Business

A question I got recently…

“Mike, how come you don’t write for the industry magazines anymore or go to any of the Martial Arts Industry conventions?”

Well, where to begin. From late 2005 to the summer of 2007 I wrote a column for a certain professional magazine in our industry. The running title was “The Martial Art of Selling.” It focused on all the aspects of enrolling students without using any pressure. But it was “canned” when new ownership took over the publication. The funny thing was losing that column actually had the opposite effect. Meaning, I ended up discovering more creative ways to reach out to martial arts business owners and help them with my information. So what about the other “Currently Living,” Martial Arts Business trade magazine?

I did have a full featured article published in it in late 2008. Then, they paid me for another one that never ran. I also was responsible for helping my friend, Brett, have his own full length article published. But since then, nothing. Why?

Politics and lack of effort on my part.

When it comes to the politics lets just say there’s a certain industry player who really does not care for me. So this person, I’m guessing, was able to “black list” me. How? Let’s just say when there’s money on the line – it is easier to get people to agree to stupid things.

But the more current reason I now keep a somewhat “low profile” in the martial arts business community is mainly due to not wanting to play the nasty political game. Wanta know how funny it is?..

There’s a certain software company in the industry that had me do a webinar for them. The webinar went great. Everyone loved it. I was complimented as I often am whenever I’m a guest speaker. They booked another webinar with me. Then, as the days led up to webinar number two, they abruptly canceled. Why? Politics of course. But here’s the kicker. Later that year my webinar was in the running to be voted best of the year. Why? Because it was one of the most well attended of the year. So how about that? I give them a hit webinar and they cancel the next one.

Obviously their clients felt I had great info to share. But they don’t care about their clients they only care about… you guessed it “political bullshit.” Are you starting to see why I keep a low profile?

Years ago when I started my Martial Arts Business System program I made a prediction. I predicted the landscape of martial arts business and marketing information providers would fragment. I also predicted the bigger billing services would get bigger. I also figured the big billing companies would also provide more “information” to school owners. The last prediction – was to assume the presence of only one “official” trade association. All others would shrink or die.

Many of my predictions were “dead on balls accurate.”

But get back to the fragmentation and proliferation of “Martial Arts Business Marketing” information providers. There has been a ton come and go over the years. Most get into it thinking it will be easy. It’s not easy. Over the last four years running the Martial Arts Business System I have seen many of them enter and exit. The exceptions are the ones who have stayed the course are committed to more than a fast buck.

With all that said there is one organization I have contributed to over the years. It stated back in 2007 when I was a guest on one of their tele-seminars. My most recent appearance was as a guest on one of their webinars just this week. So why have they not banished my like all the others? (LOL)

Simple, no politics. The relationship is based on the solid premise of “Value for Value.” Value for value is the glue that holds any business relationship together. I am so proud that of all the relationships that have come and gone over the years – this one remains in tact. Why? Because this is classy organization. They care more about their clients than they do politics.

OK, so you must know who I’m talking about? Member Solutions. Their specialty is full service billing. In nutshell full service billing means you don’t chase bad credit cards and bounced checks. They do. You focus on your school.

Anyway… Last Topic

In the world of internet marketing “Joint Ventures” are common. Heck, in the world of big business joint ventures are common too. Just think about Oprah’s TV station. It’s a JV with Discovery Networks.

Sadly, most small martial arts business marketing information providers don’t get it when it comes to joint ventures.


Scarcity Mentality Really.

A JV works because 99% of the time I do something a little different than you. You do some things different than me. You have value you can give my clients and prospects in some way. I have the same thing. Then, we hook up and help each other grow. But most of these guys don’t get it. They are happy to have me endorse them, but hesitant to do the same for me. I guess they think I will “take” their clients or members. They may happen on occasion, but usually the trade off and the added benefit of exposure outweighs the risk most of the time.

My business actually has so many services that chances are pretty slim someone else offers what I offer. Because of that, I’m glad to help them if they can help me too. But most don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong, some have great intentions and actually talk about “wanting” to partner up, but most of the time they just can’t get it together.

So now you know why I keep a low profile. I just keep doing my thing. Business is great. I’ve also been super busy helping a ton of diverse business. Just this week I helped a client get up and running with “Mobile Adwords” and revamped his Facebook ads. He had been spending a ton of cash each month with another “firm” and was seeing no results.

There are no politics here. We’re here to help as long as their school owners that want some education. We’re happy to help school owners who know their website is not generating leads.

As you go through the industry publications and search the web for help with your school just keep a heads up for the red tape that can trip you. Get with an organization that believes in value for value!