Studies show that 20% of your activities will determine 80% of your results. Each day, as we plan our activities, we must ask ourselves, “What of the 20% would bring the highest results at this time of day?” Use this to block off your day for effectiveness.

Use weekends and Fridays to accomplish the other 80% of things that have to be done but don’t really have a forward moving effect on your goals. These are the mundane tasks that you cannot delegate such as bill paying or dealing with printers.

You are the president of Your School, Inc. You are responsible for every aspect of your business. Your income is a direct reflection of how well you’re running your school. If you’re in business you have to ask, “what is the purpose of my business? Is it to make a profit?

In the martial arts that’s part of the equation but seldom the purpose for going into this business. In our studies of schools around the country, we have found that schools that were highly focused sales of enrollments and renewals backed up by a great classroom structure and curriculum were far an away the most successful for the long term. Your job is to attract and retain a student. Attracting and retaining students is what you do. The more students you attract and retain, the more successful you will be. The fewer students you attract and retain, the bigger chance you have to fail.

The key is to spend 80% of your time attracting students and 20% of your time retaining them during the “off class hours.” Conversely, during class time, spend 80% of your time retaining students and 20% on attracting new ones. The point is that your primary daytime activity is to find ways to create new students. Your afternoon and evening activity is to find ways to create keep the students you have.

When classes start, we have to focus on student service and student progress, which leads to retaining the students we have. You will spend less time on attracting new students in the evening. That will be delegated to your program director whose job it is to teach intros, set appointments and follow up on last week’s appointments. It’s critical that 80% of his time is spent on attracting new students. It is this rule or lack of adherence to this rule that has killed many schools. You must stay focused on what counts. At any given moment, you have to ask yourself, “where is my next sale coming from?” Where is the next enrollment? Where is the next renewal?

This is not to imply that we are out just to close sales but, that is the lifeblood of our future. If you don’t create new students, you die. If you don’t renew students, you die. There are no substitutes.

How important is teaching great classes? Critical! But it has no importance in an empty school. For you to be a successful school we have to always be focused on where the next enrollment or renewal is coming from. If what you are doing right now doesn’t lead to one of those two, then stop doing it. Everything else just supports those two essential aspects of your school – Attracting and retaining students.

Written by John Graden
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