Processing payment cards and bank debits is a common requirement for most membership based businesses, such as martial arts schools, fitness / MMA / cross-fit gyms and yoga studios. Being able to charge members on a regular schedule for memberships and create on-demand charges for selling products is how those businesses generate revenue.
Despite being so important for such businesses, payment processing is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of it, and particularly how payment processing fees are calculated.
Since launching in 2016, one of our major selling points has been the ease-of-use and simplicity of our user interface. User feedback has always been very positive in that regard and we’re looking to build and improve and on that.
In the four years since we originally designed the look and feel of our software. Many new features and whole sections of the software have been added, adding additional complexity and pushing the limits of what our original user interface was designed for.
…without selling out, watering down, or becoming a McDojo
Effectively marketing your school doesn’t mean you have to sell out like a McDojo or burn through tons of capital you don’t have.
Unfortunately, dojo owners tend to shy away from professional marketing techniques because they perceive them to be shady, dishonest, and manipulative.
This was true in decades past, but the marketing world has changed for the better, and the best marketing practices available now can explode your business without hurting your conscience or polluting your reputation.
Can curriculums and lesson plans be too structured?
The question might seem absurd. In the old days, instructors would teach random techniques without rhyme or reason, making it difficult to learn a system and dramatically slowing progress toward mastery. So when structured curriculums came along, martial arts instruction was revolutionized and learners unquestionably benefited.
But with structure comes another danger. Jia Yi Chow, et al. (2016) pose an interesting question to martial arts instructors:
As instructors, we want our students to show up consistently, try their best, and put the work in.
But there’s the problem:
Students sign up for classes and then drop like flies.
With student attrition rates so high, how do you motivate students to stay and put the work in?
During my time studying Teaching and Learning in graduate school, I discovered that a concept known as motivation is one of the biggest factors in learning. Moreover, intrinsic motivation is the most lasting and meaningful type of motivation for learning.
Charisma and character aside, most people will say a good instructor is very detail-oriented or is a detailed communicator or doesn’t let you get away with poor form. Students appreciate the high standards, and instructors pride themselves.
And, after all, detailed instruction intuitively feels like high-value instruction…
But what if that’s just an illusion?
What if our ideas about good instruction are based less in the reality of how humans learn and more in a bias toward traditional teaching strategies?
When building your gym’s marketing, there’s a basic conflict for every gym owner. On one hand, they opened a gym or martial arts school because they love the sport and art they train in, and would like to make it as accessible as possible to people in their community. On the other hand, they are now running a business with their livelihood on the line.
From a business perspective, gym owners are worried about their bottom line. From the sports-fan and instructor perspective (which not every gym owner is), the goal is to provide the best experience and value to gym members.
As someone who moved a lot and likes to travel, I find myself searching for gyms in new places quite often. My first contact with a gym is typically through their website, and thus I’ve already seen a lot of variety in gym website design. Granted, it’s mostly BJJ schools websites, as that is the sport I train (with a few MMA gyms thrown in the mix).
A story recently broke out about National Fitness Financial non-payment to gym owners. National Fitness is a gym management software, not unlike our own, but one big difference is that they handle billing and collections directly, as it would appear from the article.
I cannot comment on the exact situation at National Fitness as they haven’t released a formal response yet, however it brings up a point that we often discuss with our customers – how we handle billing on behalf of gyms using our system.