Do you call your martial arts service a school, a club, an academy, a children’s development centre?
Do you want to be classed as ‘School’? Do you feel that schools are a good ‘yard stick’ for measuring what you do? I know we market to the parents to get the children through the door but are the children going to be enthusiastic to leave school (somewhere they have to be) through the day and then go to school on an evening too (to take part in an option/fun activity)?
Do you think schools are doing a great job at providing students with the skills they need to do well in life? How well are they equipping children with the real world skills they need to provide for themselves financially, to build great relationships, to make great life changing decisions, to develop healthy habits, to be confident and happy?
If you do want to call yourself a school, do you and the other ’teachers’ have a degree and specific training to teach? Are you teaching from an evidence based curriculum that has been developed by your peers over the years? Are you part of a professional body that sets high standard and holds you to account if you don’t meet them?
Do you call yourself a club? If you are a place that people come to exercise and leave and you have very little in the way of a community, are you really a club? According to the Cambridge English Dictionary a club is “an organization of people with a common purpose or interest, who meet regularly and take part in shared activities”. Do you have a documented vision / mission for your club that lists the shared objectives and goals?
If you call yourself a ‘Child development centre’, you better have a little more in terms of education than a black belt in a martial art. Just because you go to the dentist frequently, it does not make you a dentist. Likewise, getting a black belt in a martial art shows that you have reached a specific level in your practice but does not necessarily make you an expert at coaching / developing children. just calling yourself a ‘Early Years Practitioner’ does not make you one.
If i write ‘potato’ on a label and stick it on a carrot, does it make it a potato? If I told you I was 6 foot tall, you would call me a liar if you knew me (I am a 5 foot 7 hobbit by the way). Calling yourself a school or child development centre does not change what you are or improve the service you provide. I don’t want to discourage you from calling your business something you aspire to, but commit to investing the time, money and hard work to meet the requirements for that sector.
If the label you give yourself and the way you operate are incongruent, your members will lose trust in you and your service. If you want to be known, liked and trusted in your community, you need to make sure you and your service is ‘as advertised’. This means that the way you market yourself is in line with your level of education, experience, qualifications and knowledge. I am behind anyone that wants to help raise our profile as an industry but this is not achieved by calling ourselves professionals, we actually need to be professional too.