Synopsis: Let us strip back the business we are involved in. Essentially, we are in the business of developing confidence. Martial arts are a tremendously powerful vehicle for developing confidence in young children, parents understand this as do many school tutors up and down the country. In this post, I’ll show you how to utilise ‘anti-bullying’ week to cultivate growth in your classes.
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Recently I posted an article advising on scheduling beginners courses for maximum marketable exposure thus exploiting certain times and aspects of the year in the most economically efficient manner possible.
I suggested the pros and cons for separate times of the year when comparing the response and uptake of the classes you are advertising. Largely dependent and based around seasons, I recommended implementing a strategy that taps into periods universally associated with renewal and starting afresh (January and September (academic calendar)) whilst steering clear of marketing classes close to or on dates such as Bank Holiday’s, during peak summer and Halloween (save this date for reinforcing your brand at a later date).
One very specific time of the year that I have found brilliant for aligning my classes with and thus gaining both maximum exposure for the service I have to offer and generating the greatest response from this exposure is the national [annual] ‘anti-bullying’ week here in the UK.
Since 2004, the UK has annually used the third week in November to raise awareness of bullying in children and young people with an objective of highlighting means to prevent and respond to bullying within schools, since 2007 I have scheduled one marketing strategy solely designed to capitalise on this whole week.
Originally working alongside my local School Sports Partnership, I now repeat the same initiative annually within schools that I have built working relationships with, fostering the element of cross-party trust and alignment. Indeed, one year I managed to schedule 10 (ten) different anti-bullying workshops (essentially extra convenient exclusive beginners courses) at locations across just one week. The result of this particular example brought in 305 potential juniors (5-9 year olds) to specially arranged sessions supported and hosted by local schools, 27 of the children went on to continue my classes (just under 10 percent of the initial pool), which produced revenue of £810.00 in the first month from those 27 children.
As an aside to this, 5 parents also joined my classes and are still active on my mats today – I’d call that a pretty successful advertising campaign, which cost me absolutely nothing in financial terms!
Why national Anti-Bullying Week?
Let us strip back the business we are involved in. Essentially we are in the business of developing confidence. Martial arts are a tremendously powerful vehicle for developing confidence in young children, parents understand this as do many school tutors up and down the country, indeed, you would be hard pressed to find a single school in your area that does not observe the third week in November as ‘anti-bullying week‘. So as someone involved in developing confidence at a time where confidence in oneself is promoted and celebrated, it stands to reason that the time is right – as an expert service provider – to get in touch and fill a gap in the schools curriculum with the promise of a
free professionally run, dynamic, relevant and informative session specifically designed to engage young students in an hour long workshop setting.
If you are new to this idea, your local School Sports Partnership will be your best and most intelligent starting point. Agencies such as SSP’s are responsible for organising, funding, delivering and safeguarding school sports. In terms of school sports activity your local SSP is the all seeing, all hearing quango that you need to know, understand and seek to work with (initially and ongoing).
Your local School Sports Partnership will have a list of schools they liaise with regularly and will know schools in your area that would best suit your initiative, either because of a lack of any specific sports curriculum or they may believe that a rural school comprised of a majority female teaching staff may respond better to your idea.
Contact your SSP and discuss your plan, explain how you think it would provide value to the school or a number of schools and how any potential exit strategy could be mutually beneficial. School Sports Partnerships are so much more concerned with initiatives if they provide longevity and can be sustained thus providing extra value to attendees. If you have a clear exit strategy following your initial visit that can demonstrate and achieve several key goals I guarantee you will be successful and will grow your kids classes.
As brilliant as SSP’s are in guiding your initiative and providing resources to further your endeavor, if you have existing relationships with schools in your area (maybe your children attend said school or you know teaching staff) and you have the confidence to contact them yourself then do so. Nevertheless, ensure you have a clear understanding of what you are offering, what the outcome of the session will be and what value your visit will provide to the school and its children.
Teachers are very keen on providing as diverse a curriculum as possible for their students – for one it eases their workload immensely but relevance is key and providing you are suitably safeguarded to work with their students, your subject matter is valid and engaging you will be welcomed with open arms.
Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Ensure you do yourself justice and plan what you are going to deliver; this is no ordinary class. Do not instruct a ‘normal’ class ask yourself what relevance drilling has to ‘anti-bullying week’ (the reason you secured a spot) and whilst simplicity is the key, think laterally about your content. You will undoubtedly have a number of teachers in the setting alongside you, any class material needs to be delivered in a manner the teachers can understand and relate to – it needs to also engage them. They will evaluate you as a coach as well as your material and note how you engage and react to the children in the setting, how easy the children understand and implement the material and how smoothly the session runs.
You must empower the children through learning (ultimately selling your service via their parents) and recruit the teachers to your way of thinking (ultimately selling your service via the school curriculum), both will sell you further if you can achieve this. This is your chance to shine – advertise your expertise. The hard work of booking the class has been overcome and now your job is to subconsciously convince both the children (to join your classes) and the school staff (to support and promote your excellent work).
Here are a few key points for you to understand to the maximum:
- Always plan the theme of your class – contingency and fluidity indicates professionalism.
- Confirm the amount of time you have to deliver – over-running implies incompetency.
- Confirm the age of any group, ensure your material is appropriate – endorses suitability.
- Confirm the use of equipment – providing your own validates convenience.
- Ensure adequate time to setup prior to the session – punctuality and planning breeds conviction.
- Be polite, ensure your equipment and attire is clean and safe – risk management and safeguarding promotes trust.
- Always return to the original message – provide reinforcement for your booking (& potential return).
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‘5 Essential Elements to Grow Your Kids Classes’
If growing your kids’ classes is your goal then your exit strategy is key.
Why else have you arranged a free workshop for a specific audience you have spent all week preparing for?
This part of the ‘deal’ should be at the forefront of your planning since day-one – the outcome for all your hard work.
Your exit plan will be one of two possible strategies:
- Advertising a suitable existing kids class for your new attendees to join.
- Utilise your visit to kick-start a brand new program within your ‘partner’ school.
If you have adopted and implemented the seven key points above when delivering your class you should now be in a much better situation to sell your classes outside of the school setting through the tutors (who will support and promote your work) using advertising materials such as flyers, business cards and maybe emails sent out on behalf of the school office via any ParentMail system. However, let’s look at how we can establish a brand new class with a new ‘partner’ school based on the work we have started through our ‘anti-bullying week’ workshops.
Implementing A Brand New Program
If we use a regular lower school as an example, the ‘academic’ day commences around 09:00, children begin to arrive from as early as 08:00 and their school day ends anywhere between 15:00-16:00 depending on the structure of the respective schools timetable.
Between the hours of 08:00 and 09:00 at the start of the school day and also 15:00 and 16:00 at the end of the day, every single school across the UK has ‘redundant’ space and time at their location, space and time that you can fill with your service. ‘Extended Care’ is the term used to describe the provision set aside for parents that require additional needs and or childcare during these times and individuals are employed to run clubs and activities that fill these time slots before and after the school day, whilst I must stress that should never accept a role as ‘cheap childcare’, why don’t you utilise these times to deliver your excellent service?
Those of you that enrolled as part of our ‘Exclusive Membership’ prior to launching our main website will by now have received your ‘cheat sheets’ and templates for contacting and implementing a successful ‘anti-bullying’ week strategy. How are you progressing?
Over the next scheduled articles I will address the Minimum Operating Standards (MOS) that all coaches should consider if you are to successfully implement a similar strategy and ultimately grow your kids classes utilising the next most viable time of year, January.