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Interview with Robby Beard

Posted: August 4th, 2014

Robby, tell us a little bit about your progression from Martial Artist to School Owner.

I opened up USA Karate in 1996.  Prior to that I was a martial artist since the 80’s and trained at a school with an instructor that became my mentor.  I progressed from a student to an instructor position, and ran his school for 5 years prior to opening up my own school.  I was lucky that my instructor was not only a great martial artist, but was also very business savvy so I learned a lot during the time I was running his dojo.  I began attending seminars and worked with different people that were more ahead of the game then I was as far as running a business and marketing a martial arts school, and that also contributed to my confidence level to push me to open my own martial arts school.

When I opened my school I thought I knew everything there was to know because I had been running a school for 5 years.  So when I opened USA Karate, I just sat back and did what I always did in the past.  I quickly learned that getting a brand new school off the ground was an entirely different beast.  For starters, when you start a school from zero, you have absolutely no momentum.  One of the things about having a big established school, one that has 200-300 students is that you can have momentum.  Even currently with my current situation having 6 locations, my main location always outperforms all the rest of them, and we are all doing the same marketing, because the main one has momentum.

Anyway I opened up my school in 1996 and I suffered, and im drowning and nothing is happening.   We built the school up to about a 100 students, but at the time with my rent, utilities and all the other bills that go along with it I was really seeing no profit.  At the time I was training a lot of police officers and they convinced me to become a police officer.  I started that about a year and half after I opened my school , I went to the Police Academy and became a full time police officer.  I was trying to be a full time police officer and running a karate school at the same time, and I was overworked and miserable, and I was  not making money doing either.  I had to make a decision and quit one of the two.  Having been in the martial arts industry for as long as I had been, I was constantly confronted with people telling me “I can t believe you quit the business”, “ I can t believe your school wasn’t successful”.   This was a chapter of my life I was not ready to close yet, so I decided to give it one last shot and fully dedicate myself to the Karate school . So i decided to give it another shot under the guidance of a Consultant.

What was your experience like working with a Coach?

This time I made a decision that ended up being fundamental to my success:  I decided to work with a mentor, a coach / consultant, and to completely follow his instructions.

no matter how stupid it sounded, or different from the way I was used to doing things.  So that’s what I did, got a consultant, got a coach. And off we went.

Within 12 months things were already progressing along ina  positive way  I had quit the police department, bought a new car.  A year later my school grew from a 130 students to 180, eventually to 200, to 250, and grew all the way to 600 members, and that’s when I started to expand and go into multiple locations.

Anyway what I learned is  1) that what marketing worked then no longer works now.  2) You have to have a coach.  Everybody, I dotn care if you are Michael Jordan or tiger woods, the best MMA fighter in the world , everybody has and needs a coach.  So we take this concept of new marketing ideas and new strategies making sure that our team of consultants and coaches and everyone who is involved is moving in the same direction.

Any words of advice to school owners thinking of expandign to multiple locations?

Now when having multiple locations , the key to that after you get your marketing and your sales strategies down, is definitely staff development, learning how to hire the right staff, how to pay your staff, how to motivate your staff. There is so much that goes along with the ability to have a great a staff.  With our industry most people that open martial arts schools most of them that do that, they get their black belt and think “Hey I want to share my knowledge” and then they open up a school and have a hard time switching From martial arts instructor to OWNER.  Once I learned to switch from an instructor to an owner, that’s when I really saw big progress.  What is the job of an OWNER, its to hire staff, is to plan and make sure that the business is moving in the right direction financially and any other goals you set forth. And that’s kind of what happened, we opened up another location, opened up another 2. Really the only reason I open up any locations to this day is to give my staff somewhere to grow. That is the only reason I recommend anyone opening a second location is for staff development. If you don’t have someone that is trained up and ready to run it, do NOT open a second location.  Don’t get into a situation where you have 2-3 schools and now you have to personally run 2-3 locations.

Most people get in a situation where they say “hey I have one school , im making $5000 a month.  If I open another school, ill make $10,000!”. That is just NOT how it works.  Somebody will get sick, you are sick, something happens, the quality is not there… it just does not work.  There are other factors like where are you opening in conjunction with your present location.  Most people think “im going to cover the city” and they open a location on the North, West, South side of the city and they think “I have the city covered” thinking that’s the way to do it.  Well its really part of your marketing plan and how its setup.  Each location “feeds” the other location and depending on where you are but you want your locations to be no more then 5-10 miles away from your other locations and demographics.  If your locations are spread out and you need to take one ad out, then it means you need to take an ad city wide which can get really expensive, and you really would need to have school all over the city.  Using my method, an ad will overlap into your second school area so you can cover two areas for the price of one if you do it right.

How do you advertise your schools?

-At any point I have an average of 10 different promotions going on.  Your marketing has to be a 360 operation. You have your ad cards, your VIP contests, your doorhangers, your flyers.  You need to have 10 things going on!  Lead boxes, referrals.  The methods you use are something youll discuss with your consultant but its important you have a heavy print marketing campaign in place.

And is that how you found Printing Dojo ?

It’s interesting, that is exacty how I got  involved with Printing Dojo.  Nowadays seems like there is a printing company on every corner, but back then there were very few places to get printing for martial arts, and in order to be able to get the materials you had to be a part of that association.  So unless you were a member of a particular association, you had no access to the materials, which to be perfectly honest were always of very inferior quality.  I was in need to order a marketing piece I had seen on a website and was told I could not get it due to the fact that it was reserved to that associations members.  I had two options:  give up on the marketing piece altogether, or find a graphic designer with enough skills to produce the design.  Then I’d have to find somewhere to print it , I called my local Kinkos and the price of design and printing just seemed like maybe the whole thing was not worth the hassle.  After all, I had a martial arts school to run, I couldn’t spend my week researching graphic designers.

The timing really rather incredible, but I received within 24 hours of this a postcard in the mail advertising pricing that was literally half of the printed piece I was told I could not buy.  And the graphic design quality of this card, well compared to the marketing materials I had been using, looked like it came from the future.  Within minutes of getting receiving the card, I was on the phone calling this company to find out if they could create this promo piece for me.  I explained that I needed a flyer for a martial arts company, and started chatting with guy that answered the phone.  He told me his name was Indro, and I learned that he had been in the design and printing business since the mid 90’s, but the part that really seemed unreal was that he told me he was creating a website for printing products specifically targeted at martial arts schools. Turns out I was not the only martial arts school looking for work he produced, and he was developing a website to be able to direct his martial arts clients to directly.

Within a few months, we had tweaked his concepts to reflect my marketing strategies, I invited him to come exhibit at the Maia Supershow and we developed Printing Dojo to truly be the FIRST of ITS KIND Martial arts specific printing company.  But to me the cool part of this story is that Printing Dojo came out of a necessity , not just an idea for a business.  Indro was trying to streamline his design production realizing that martial artists are not marketing guys and needed direction for their promotional materials, and me, well I needed flyers, lots of them!

Nowadays, we are seeing a couple of other printers popping up seeing the potential to make money on an ever growing industry, and it seems we have “inspired” a few companies with Printing Dojo to slap some designs online with very (very!) similar design concepts and ordering forms.  But what to this day sets us apart, is that our products are TESTED in our own schools at USA Karate.  By the time a promotional item hits our website, we have already used it for a few months in our own school and the reason we can brag about the product’s value, is because we know first hand.

So the products on Printing Dojo and the website system are exactly what you use to promote it USA Karate?

I am a school owner, and the fact I use these products is because I KNOW they work.  The reason we do websites with Website Dojo, is not because we are bored of Printing;  Its because my website is a huge source of leads and students for me! And before we ever marketed any websites, we already had a tested product that we knew was revolutionary.  This is what I think really sets us apart.

So to recap, in order to fully make your school grow, you need to do lots of careful planning, and make sure that all aspects of your marketing are in place.  You probably want to avoid designing your own materials, or learning how to design websites, and spend more time on the mat, in your Dojo doing what needs to be done to run your school.  Your school MUST project an image of successs, so its very important that all your marketing materials and online presence are of superior quality.

If you have any questions on any of the topics discussed, or if you are ready to take your own school to the next level, drop me an email to

Martial Arts Printing & Back To School Marketing

Posted: August 4th, 2014

Dear Printing Dojo Clients,

Mr. Robby Beard here. The back to school season marks the official start of our Martial Arts season. With that in mind, we want to ensure that our marketing strategy is already kicked into high gear when the season begins by flooding the market with our advertising products. You’ll want to concentrate on signing up new students, but you’ll also want to work on upgrading and updating existing members that you signed up last year so you can make sure that all of their contracts are renewed. It’s important that you have all your bases covered;

• Make sure you have on hand all the marketing materials you will need;
• Prepare to get the word out amongst your community and all of its schools.
• Plan events to allow your students to invite their friends to your schools.

Be patient as you do all of this. Remember: many of the relationships in your community take some time to build, especially getting permission to promote your events in schools; this might feel like it’s a tall order and you may find it tough to carry out from time to time, but it is worth it in the long run; the key is to not get frustrated and give up if you’re turned away the first time and be persistent with a plan in place.

Some Tips on Advertising Your Workshops by placing ad cards in local schools:

The process of getting print materials inside a school can be a challenge. We’ve found that your best bet to get schools to allow you to set up a table or booth on registration days is to create printed Ad Cards featuring attention-grabbing topics for workshops you’ll teach at your school.

These topics should relate to educational subjects such as:
•Bully Proof Seminars
•10 Ways to Show Your Teachers Respect
•3 Rules for Better Concentration
•Five Skills to Better Listening
•Stranger Danger

Introduce these workshops as a “Free Community Event” to which you want to offer free tickets. This is the ad card I’m currently using for my 6 USA KARATE schools in Memphis:

Never use terms like “Advertising” to the schools, and make sure that you and your staff look as professional as you can. Consider wearing a polo shirt with your logo embroided on it with “Community Education Partner” written underneath it.

During an average school registration day you’ll typically have around 50 to 200 signups, so it’a great promotion if you can pull it off. For a follow up, have a specific script in place to follow up with a phone call reminder to the parents. Ask them if the child will be bringing along friends so you can plan for enough pizza (you are ordering food for them, so they will mentally commit); mention an activity too and ask them to bring a camera (so they know to not just drop their kids off and will plan on being there to take photos); and mention last that you will run by them your martial arts program at end of workshop in case they might be interested in having the child join, this way parents can make a mental commitment to both attending and being pitched enrollment.

Below you will find some other products that we are currently offering on, remember:ALL OUR PRODUCTS are born out of necessity and tested in our 6 test schools; We know the products work because WE USE THEM!

That is why Printing Dojo is By the Martial Artist, For the Martial Artist.

Here are some must have products for this Back To School Season:

Printing Dojo Ad Cards:
The Martial Arts Industry most sought after Printing Product!

Ad cards are fundamental to create brand awareness in your community, advertise your programs and services, and bring in more students in your school. At any time in our communities we are circulating at least half a dozen different designs pushing different promotions. Back to School, Halloween, Valentines, these are great times to get the ad cards done because they produce immediate results; However I always get a kick out of the fact that we often get calls from special offers that appeared on ad cards we distributed 6 months ago!

Guys, the key is to always have materials out there promoting your schools. Ideally you want to generate leads and not even be sure where they came from! That is exactly what happens with my schools, we generate daily leads from our website, but the website traffic is not just generated by Google, but rather it starts with a flyer that gets picked up by a student or parent, gets brought home, makes the prospect look us up online, which generates the lead through our site. Make sure your website is a lead generator, and remember it all starts with ad cards and your print marketing!


Website Dojo: The Most Advanced Website System in the Martial Arts Industry

Our website system has been upgraded and now has even more lead capturing capabilies, with the most eye catching graphics that are truly unmatched. Check out the live Demo and Email Us or call us at 888-876-DOJO (3656) to find out how you can start the Back To School season with a professional lead capturing site for $250.

Only 5 Coaching spots available in the month of August!

I hope you are ready for the Back To School season, and that the tips I shared with you in this e-mail got your wheels spinning about steps to take in order to kickstart your marketing; Currently Back to School is the main event, but we are also coordinating a massive Teenage Ninja Turtle promotion with our local movie theatres, organizing “making friends” parties for our students to bring in their new school mates, and are having a huge Women Self Defense seminar this weekend that is sold out! I want to share with you my secrets and help you climb the success ladder.
Contact me directly for a free consultation, we are currently offering an introductory coaching month that is priced so low that you can’t afford to miss it.
Email Me at, and Happy Marketing!

Robby Beard
The DOJO Consultant
888-876-DOJO (3656)

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