My ex asked me the other day how we were faring in the face of the “mini-Depression.” It’s a small business, he figured, and we don’t exactly offer what most people consider a necessary commodity. And the bleak economy is affecting almost everyone at some level. I told him the truth: we’re growing steadily, retaining students, and continuing to invest in the business. Yep, I’m definitely paying more for gas and groceries, but so far the effects of the pinch on most folks’ pocketbooks aren’t translating into a loss of students.
But his question got me thinking. I know I cringed when I paid for my kids’ activities this fall, not because those prices had gone up, but because the price of so many other things has gone up, and I feel less and less like we can afford “extras.” So, why have so many parents (and other adults) continued or begun paying for Kuk Sool classes this fall? What are we doing right?
The first thing that occurred to me is that once you see and experience what we do, you know we offer good value. No one can do this on his own — there’s no Kuk Sool for Dummies book available at Half-Price Books. Kuk Sool Won™ is an incredibly comprehensive system of martial arts, and it takes consistent lessons with highly qualified instructors to learn.
Another possible reason is that Kuk Sool Won™ of St. Paul offers a lot more than just some of the best lessons in martial arts. Physically, we can challenge and support anyone becoming more fit, better balanced, more flexible. Mentally, we give students plenty to chew on, memorizing techniques and forms, and working to understand how the heck to convince your body to jump, spin, AND kick. We teach and model concepts like perseverance, compassion, and patience. We nurture and support introspection and mindfulness with regular meditation “workouts” and seminars.
I hope there’s more. I hope we effect positive change in every student. I hope the relationships that form between students make a warm and welcoming environment. I hope that some of the blood, sweat, and tears that we shed for each and every student really makes a difference. Those are the reasons I do this, so I hope they affect our bottom line. What about you? Are you a martial arts school owner? Are you feeling the pinch in student loss or lack of retention? Are you the parent of a martial artist? Why do you keep paying for those lessons? Are you an adult student, watching your grocery bills climb, yet still shelling out the tuition fees? We usually know why we lose a student — sometimes they let us know loud and clear! But it’s rare to hear why students stay. Especially in the face of a “mini-Depression.”