Anyone who has stepped foot into a dojo knows that martial arts is more than just a physical activity – it is a one of a kind community. During the challenging times of COVID-19, it can feel like that treasured atmosphere of friends-turned-family is just out of reach.
While we obviously want to help you strengthen your martial arts school and guide you into becoming a better business owner, we know that martial arts is so much more than that. Here at Kicksite, we aim to create a space for discussion and connection among those in the martial arts community.
With that being said, we bring you (drum roll please) the second article in our ‘Kicksite Clients Tell All’ series! In this new series, we will be getting to know Kicksite’s very own clients – passionate school owners who will tell all about their unique stories, experiences, and advice. Whether that be about COVID or anything else your gym may face.
Today we are chatting with Grandmaster Sung Kim, a dedicated Kicksite customer and the owner of Master Kim’sTaekwondo Institute, located in Rochester, New York. Read ahead to check out our interview:
1. Let’s start with the elephant in the room – how has your business been affected by COVID-19?
“The main restriction that we saw was the mask wearing. From the business owner side and the customer side, deciding on if we have to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Since we decided that wearing a mask a must, we realized that that was going to be the new norm, [and] it got so much easier. We do have high safety standards, masks, sanitation, limited class sizes. I focused too much about the safety standards to the members that were fearful of coming back in. I am now not focusing on the students that aren’t ready for the in person class and [the] in person experience, instead I am focusing on the ones who want to be there and be in person. About ¾ of the population is ready for the in person class and those are the students you should target.”
2. How was your staff’s mindset when dealing with changes related to COVID-19?
“I had to force my positive mindset and energy to my staff. As a business owner, If I showed weakness or fear to my staff they would do the same, but if I showed readiness and great mindset, they will see that and reciprocate it. I created a task force called The Mitigation Team with my top staff members’ to create new programs and basically create a plan of attack in preparation. We created a 3 month plan from march into June, and we continued to adapt [and] create new procedures and my team stayed with me. I displayed solid leadership for them and I think that was big on having my team, staff, and students see and follow us.”
3. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a business owner during COVID-19?
“The biggest challenge is limited class sizes, we have 18 training spaces for 3 locations. Unless a student schedules 3 days in advance, they aren’t able to get into the class. We are continuing to look and adapt those schedules…We started to offer bo-staff training as an additional source of revenue, we had 120 people sign up and it sold out, we charged $39 and they got their staff and a 45 minute class. We now offer that as an additional class every month. We did the same thing with board breaking classes as additional classes. And the same thing with freestyle workshop classes for special flips and tricks, outside of regular taekwondo classes. We created all these new classes for our students who want to come back in and sign up for them.”
4. What special offers are you promoting?
“We implemented a referral program. During September we had an ‘ambassador program.’ They received a link and they are able to share that link that would offer someone a free week of Taekwondo, giving them an opportunity to try [it] out. Through that, we signed up 12 new students just in September. The students we want are just like the students we have in our school, therefore the referral program should bring in the type of students we want. When a student refers to a friend that speaks a lot to your school and your program. What the students got if they referred a friend to a regular program, they received a special ambassador uniform. It symbolizes that you are an ambassador of TKD, martial arts, and our school.”
- For October: We are going to allow them to wear costumes in classes and something like a game or game night on zoom for Halloween
- October is national bullying awareness month and we are going to do end of class mat chats for our students
- Breast cancer awareness month and anyone who donates a dollar will receive a pink stripe on their belt
- Black Friday sales are huge, doing both in person and virtual meetings for the Black Friday sales that is a massive revenue opportunity.”
5. Let’s talk social media. How has this played a role in your business strategy?
“We are very active on all of our social media, instagram, youtube, facebook, twitter…[it is] our way to communicate our brand to our customers and students. I recommend incorporating your personal page to your business page, 99% of my posts on my personal page [I] am tagging my business page. My personal page will directly impact my business page, detailed messages regarding my business are posts I like to make. You have to have good pictures, good images, use a stabilizer, crop a picture, you need to make it look professional and a great way to get your message out. You need to supplement your business with social media, and need to post every single day. Sometimes multiple posts per day on Facebook.”
6. Any final words?
“This is a temporary situation, we will get through this, and the schools that are working hard will come out of this better than the others.”
Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon our readers? If you’re interested in being interviewed for our newest ‘Kicksite Clients Tell All’ series, email us at Jackson@Kicksite.net. We’d love to hear from you!