Karate Thoughts Blog

Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1700+ Posts... and Counting

Getting More Students

This is a story.

An aging Karate instructor -- a master at that -- called his senior students together to discuss a grave problem. "Our enrollment is declining," he reported. "I have called you together to discuss what we can do. I have also asked a business consultant to sit in our meeting."

Various suggestions were made by the senior instructors but the consensus was that having fewer students was actually better in that more time could be spent with each student. Quality was preferable to quantity.

The instructor looked disappointed and asked the business consultant for his opinion.

"Well, I have observed your dojo for several weeks. You have an excellent product. Your Karate is top rate. In fact, that is the problem. Your standards are too high and you are too tough on students. That is why so many students quit after only a few weeks."

"So what are you saying?" asked the instructor?

"Cut your standards in half and you will double your enrollment and your retention rate."

The seniors erupted in outrage! It got so bad that the instructor had to ask them to leave the room. Finally he was alone with the business consultant.

"Let me get this right. We cut our standards in half and we double our enrollment?"


"What if we cut our standards by 90%?" asked the instructor.

"Why then your enrollment will increase tenfold and hardly any students will quit before they earn their black belt, which you could offer after just 6 months of training, for a hefty fee, of course."

"But what about the seniors? They would never go for this."

"Fire them all. Expel them from the dojo and promote lower black belts to higher ranks. They will be happy and won't know any better. Of course, you can charge them hefty fees too."

"Let me get this straight," said the instructor, "the more I lower my standards the more successful I will be?"

"Exactly right. And you can charge higher tuition and belt fees too. People like to feel like they are improving. You will be helping them to do that."

So what do you think that the instructor did?

This is just a story, thank goodness! What would you do in this situation?

Many years ago, one of my good friends was encouraged by other instructors to increase his tuition. He promptly cut his tuition in half!


Charles C. Goodin