MA Business Success 71: How to Use Technology in Your Dojo

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Phil: Hey, welcome to another amazing podcast, giving you great, sound advice on how you can build your business and take it to the next level. My name is Phil Britten.

Graham: Graham McDonnell, as always.

Phil: And this is the Martial Art Business Success Podcast, or vlog if you're watching it on video as well. So today we wanna crack a topic for you as well, because as we move into technology and new ways of doing things, we gotta stay with the trend, we can't be left behind. So today's topic is how to use technology in the dojo.

Graham: Jeez. Now, I know that many, many, many years ago, martial arts, for me as an instructor, was just from my head to the class, that was it. There was no structure there. Then it evolved to a piece of paper, sort of written notes. Jeez, evolution. The very first iPad was the one I'd written on, okay? Then, next was a photocopy of a curriculum that we made and then so on. So, bring you to today, all of our instructors will run their classes off of iPads. That is, they are able to use those devices in a class to help them to know what's happening, where it's heading, what's going on, and it is the norm. People are starting to see technology. You look at it years ago and you have someone with an iPhone or something in class and you think they're just playing games. Now, we know that they're actually doing the work that's required, which is very interesting. But that's only one component to having tech in your studio, your dojo, your school. So what sort of stuff do we use, and then let's share how we can help them to embrace it.

Phil: Good work. And I just want to throw it out to you. If we say something that you don't know about, ask us. If we don't say something and you're using it, let us know, because you know, we don't know everything and we're definitely not up with all the technology. But we are trying to be ahead of the game, we are trying to bring it into the dojo as well. So I'm gonna run off some things, and if I miss some things, Graham, chip in and...

Graham: For sure.

Phil: So we've got, you know, the Martial Arts TV, so we're hooking up TV monitors that are streamed from online. Now, the content, that stream, the TV is all picked from YouTube. It's like this hard drive that gets fed all this information from your newsletters, from your website and it automatically uploads all your information onto your TV, giving your students up-to-date information that's relevant to them and their current environment. So Martial Arts TV, we've got the iPads to run all the student management software, bar code scanners and all that sort of stuff, checking with your iPad, you got that stuff going on. We've got the online student portal, which helps the students train online as well as in class.

Now, you know, there's also pros and cons with all of this. Definitely not replacing the in-class stuff, but it's definitely a tool and it helps with retention and learning the skills as well.

Graham: It's pretty much like an add-value for us. I know that I have been in a dug, and Phil, you've had the same challenge, where a parent, if you teach patterns, katas, forms, whatever you like to call it, in your school or there's a skill that somebody needs to know or they've been away for the holidays, how do you help them catch up, how do you make sure that they don't miss out on that. And that's why we've had this online training book, which is a great resource where when someone goes, "Do you have the kata video?" Well, go and check it out online, you get full access. So it's really helping as a support tool to when someone's away, they've been sick, all the rest. So it's a great place, never will take away from us, but it's certainly a place where we are, you know, encouraging our students to use it as a library, especially when they're a bit challenged or their parents are a bit challenged with a skill that they're learning.

Phil: Yep, so going off that from memory again, we just got some, like...rather than just student online stuff, we've got all our managers and KPI's and all the systems and procedures all online as well. So it becomes this sort of holding cell of pretty much all your IP, you know, it's a hard drive full of stuff. So the guys, instructors or whatever, go, "Jeez, what was that technique?" They can type it in, and boom, it comes up. "What was that form procedure?" Boom, it comes up.

Graham: Just from a multi-school perspective, it helped us to keep brand integrity and systems airtight from where we are. When you talk about cloning yourself, what we basically did, we took everything that's from myself and Phil's head, within reason, and made it to a standard we expect, so that instead of "I train Phil, Phil trains George, George trains..." and da-da-da-da, then suddenly I go and check right down the line, and what I originally taught is completely different. None of the Chinese whispers comes into it. So it's a great way to keep systems airtight. But if you do make any changes, it also changes across the board. So running multiple schools, if that's you or you're looking to down the track, it's a great way to really help maintain that brand integrity, which is what you're looking for.

Phil: Absolutely. What else have we got? We got QR scanners and codes, so...

Graham: We've got an app, so we've got a TIMA app, things like that. So again guys, if you wanna go check it out, it's got all that sort of content. Just go on to... Jeez, I think it's iTunes or...where do they get it at?

Phil: iTunes, you can get it on iTunes or Android you can go online at WHU[SP] Martial Arts.

Graham: Yeah, TIMA app. It's got everything on there, guys, for you to have a look, just to see it yourself what we use as a complementary tool. It's definitely just one of those things that when you give somebody a business card, for example, and this is a great use of it...when somebody goes, "Hey, by the way, Phil, I'm doing martial arts at this venue. Here's a business card," or, "Hey man, I'm doing martial arts at this great event. I've got an app, I'll share this app with you," and you can check out the videos, the time tables and all the really cool stuff, what do you reckon's gonna be a bit better? So it definitely is a sexy business card. Yes, it's our app, but it's definitely one of those things that again positions you as slightly more professional than potentially someone who runs their business or school in a different location or with just a hobby shop sort of mentality.

Phil: The QR codes are really cool, and all sort of new technology...I mean, it sort of is, but how you use it might be new, because we can scan our QR code and bring up an actual technique that we're teaching. It could be that you're doing a raffle, or a game, or a prize draw with it as well. You can have a yellow belt, orange belt QR code. So you'll scan it, your requirements come up. So there's so many different ways on how to use the technology as well. We're actually developing ways of doing our software so students can just check in on their phone as well. So there's some really cool things coming, there are some amazing things happening now. So, Graham, I think we've got virtual reality, as well, coming, you know, like 3D and motion...

Graham: 3D motion capture, all that sort of stuff. Again, it's newer in this space. And we say this a lot, "We are innovating this space, martial arts space." And it's nothing new that we're delivering, it's the delivery method. And what you've gotta appreciate is, for you guys listening and shaking your head, going, "There's not a chance I can do that," well, unfortunately in about five years' time, if you don't stay ahead of it, you're gonna be obsolete. And I'm not saying your system of martial arts is gonna be obsolete, but the way the young people engage in your product in the systems will be obsolete.

So gone are the days of your whole paper trail and reading through a whole manual, for example. We have an induction process that we do for new staff. We'll give them an online login. They will get a chance to go into an area where they're doing stuff, for example, a brand-new reception staff that will do all their training online, and then the live sit-down. Instead of being 10 hours' worth of training, it's only about an hour because they've already done most of their training at home themselves. That's the way that we innovated this space, so we've actually then embraced technology because young people are learning. And don't get me wrong, they're gonna be the guys who are going to be our new staff members coming down the track as well.

Phil: Absolutely. So, Graham, just to finish up on this, if I was a business owner and I wasn't really using any technology, what would be the first thing that you would wanna try and do?

Graham: To begin, personally, for me, I'd start thinking about understanding some of the videos to your social media sort of stuff, so that's sometimes helping you to track your class. It's a pretty easy one with them going through. There's some pretty simple stuff I know that are out there. You know, just embracing and asking the questions. "What do I want for my school that is going to enrich my students, my staff, and not create a nightmare?" There's nothing worse than starting something and then dropping it six months later, because it's lost momentum. So don't try and do everything, just try and think what do I want to have technology do for me?" And we use it, going back to that induction, we cut down on staff hours it took to train, and we're able to replicate that training over a greater length of time, plus also a greater number of people.

So for us, we embrace technology to help with cutting down cost and keeping brand integrity and consistency. So for you, the question's gonna be, whatever it is that you so choose, is it going to help you to improve the quality of the student you have, help with your staffing, help the way your brand is presented, and at the end of the day, getting a better result for everybody in your company.

Phil: Yeah, I think if I was going to start again, and it probably is exactly how we did start, is the first thing that I would get online is all your back end stuff, how you run your business, all your system procedures, lesson plans. Now, it's gonna be a bit of work and it might take you 12 months, but then from then on how you go and you change something or implement something, so much easier. It's how you're gonna systematize your school, it's how you're going to get out of the engine room. That's a long-term thing. So that would be my first suggestion. If you're a school with no technology, I would definitely look at working on your back end procedures and how you get that all online and easily accessible, so that's what I'd do.

Graham: Look, guys, there's tons of... If you've got any questions for us, please help us. We help plenty of people in this sort of space embrace what's coming, and as Phil said, just give you the right thing to tackle first and the next and next and next and next.

Phil: All right, gang, well, that was a great podcast. I enjoyed doing that. It was only a short shot one. If you've got technology that you're using that we didn't mention, let us know. If we've said something and you're like, "What the hell is that?" and "I like the sound of it," let us know at [email protected] Make sure you share the podcast, watch the videos, get it out there. We wanna help you guys build your business and get the massive results that you desire. So have a fantastic week, and we'll see you next time.

Graham: Take care.

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