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Is Bigger Always Better?

combat business blog Feb 01, 2022

**Is Bigger Always Better?... Introducing the "Lifestyle Academy"

A few years ago I was eating lunch with my husband in a Jimmy John’s sub shop when I saw a sign on the wall with the story of a Mexican fisherman. The fisherman lived a quiet life relaxing in the sun, catching fish with his friends, & enjoying time with his wife. He had enough.

One day, a successful business man from the U.S. came down and saw his little business. He explained to the fisherman how he could grow his business, expand his operation, develop a fleet, commercialize, go corporate and make a ton of money. The fisherman listened.. Then asked, “After all of that work and all of that financial success.. What would I do?” To which the businessman replied, “You’d have enough to live a quiet life relaxing in the sun, catching fish with your friends, & enjoying time with your wife.”

We are conditioned to think that ‘bigger is always better.’ But this idea falls short for the average small business/martial arts business owner.

The never ending pursuit of ‘growth for the sake of growth’ doesn’t take into consideration the fact that expenses in a brick & mortar business do not grow at the same rate as your gross income. Income typically grows in a relatively steady incline. But if you tracked your expenses in a chart, you would see that expenses tend to grow in ‘steps.’ After long stretches that remain relatively stagnant, expenses take a huge leap, then remain the same again on this new plane.

As your martial arts business grows, you’ll start to run into ‘walls,’ (literal and figurative) as your membership fills up and you start to outgrow your space. At some point, In order to continue growing your gym, you will need to invest in a larger space, more staff, more equipment, & you’ll incur more operating costs. As long as your growth is based on a solid business model, your gross income will continue to grow and you ultimately cover those new costs and increase profitability.

But there is a point in every academy where growth begins to slow as it reaches its ‘ceiling.’ At that point, you have some decisions to make.. Do you want to keep growing? You’ve broken through all of the walls.. Do you want to bust through the ceiling too? Is it time to change the business plan? Expand, grow again? Open multiple locations?

If your goal is to grow & never stop expanding, Combat Business Coach, Alan Belcher has the perfect model for opening and running multiple successful locations. He grows his systems and staff first, then splits and expands when his team is ready. The model works.. And works WELL.. but it’s not the goal for every owner. And it’s time to finally put a NAME to the other goal.

“The Lifestyle Academy.”

When you decided to open your martial arts academy, you probably had a vision of yourself living that lifestyle that spurred you to take the entrepreneurial plunge. What was it?

You didn’t open your gym because it was the easy route.. (Any small business owner will tell you that getting a paycheck from someone else is easier..) So, what did your picture look like? What were you doing everyday? Were you happy? How were you doing financially? Did you have ‘enough?’

(Give me the benefit of the doubt if you’re thinking these questions are a little soft.. I hear you..) But these questions have practical applications that will help you form the backbone of your business plan & vision statement.

Running a “Lifestyle Academy” means that you’ve busted through all of the walls. You’ve created a well oiled machine that both affords you and allows you to live the lifestyle that you want. You’ve identified the ceiling, examined the variables, and decided to keep the machine within it.

For most small business owners, owning a ‘lifestyle gym’ is a more accurate description of their ultimate goal. (But they didn’t have a name for it until now..)  ;)

So what are the components? Here are THREE questions to help you determine the right course for your ‘Lifestyle Academy.’

First, are you profitable? Are you putting money away for both your business savings and your personal savings? What does your profit & loss sheet look like? Are you operating in the profitability ‘sweet spot?’

Second, is your gym healthy? Have you broken through all of the ‘walls?’ Or are there unexplored pockets of growth that still need to be developed? Have you streamlined your programs to offer the things you do best that also have the best return on investment? Is your model ‘long term sustainable?’

Third, do you like your life? Do YOU get to control how you spend your days? Or… Is your business successful, but you’re running in circles doing things that you hate?.. Are you answering phone calls and emails? Are you responsible for putting out every ‘fire’ and resolving every crisis? Is this the day to day life that you want for the next 10-15-20 years?

Your Combat Business coaches are ACTUAL martial arts business owners. Each of us have answered these questions and we’re all in different stages of our own plans. In the comments below, please let us know which one of these questions challenges you the most. We can help you establish an effective plan to address the beginning, middle, and long term strategy for your business, that finally affords you the ‘Lifestyle’ that you want.