Before your students step on the mats to compete, I’ll bet you’ve told them “play your game.” It’s a idiom we use to mean, “play to your strengths”, “do what you are good at”, “make your opponent work in the positions where you are your strongest”. As coaches, we know that puts our students in the best possible position to win. Like so many lessons we get from jiu jitsu, it is sound advice not only in sport but also in business and in life. It’s too bad we don’t heed our own advice, sometimes.
As academy owners, we try to do too many things, and it often results in us not doing any of them particularly well. Marketer, coach, athlete, salesperson, graphic designer, videographer, instructor, learner, motivator, analyst, accountant, counselor …. where does it end?
At Dirty Gi Marketing, we believe that in order to win in business, just like in jiu jitsu competition, you need to be playing your game. That is, as an academy owner, you should be doing the things you are good at. Doing the things that caused you to open a school in the first place. This almost never has anything to do with marketing, accounting, design, or sales. And by trying to do all of those things, you are in effect sending yourself out onto the competition mats NOT playing your game. It doesn’t put you in the best position to win.
Your strengths are probably what got you a gym. Maybe it was your passion for training, competition, teaching, or coaching. Maybe it was the opportunity to change lives that you saw during your years as a student and athlete – before you opened your school. Maybe jiu jitsu changed your life along the way.
So you opened a school, and now spend your time behind a computer screen trying to figure out how to craft Facebook ads that convert. Or how to engage people on social media. Or what your website should look like & do. Or how to respond to negative reviews. It’s crazy. Maybe you don’t really know what you should do, so you do nothing — or you spend your precious time trying to learn how and what to do.
All of this instead of doing what you should be doing: training, coaching, learning, teaching, building relationships with your students, fostering a culture at your academy, and engaging your community in the sport. Building champions – on the mats and in life.
The difference in winning or losing on the mats is often determined by whether or not you were able to “play your game”. And the same is true in business. Find credible businesses to help you in areas that are not part of your game. It will maximize your likelihood for success. No one good is going to be free, but consider it an investment – just like mat time is an investment in getting good at jiu jitsu. That investment will result in returns that you simply cannot get yourself. As an added bonus, you will also get:
- Knowledge & Expertise – If given the opportunity, I’ll bet you and your students would jump at the chance to learn the berimbolo from the Rafael Mendes, Mikey Musumeci, or the Miyao brothers. And you know how to do a berimbolo – probably pretty damn well. But there’s a good chance that there are little details you didn’t even know that you’d pick up from one of those berimbolo experts. The thing is — you can’t know what you don’t know. There are probably details you are missing that you aren’t even aware of. Those details could be the difference in a 75% success rate and a 90% success rate. The exact same thing is true about getting expertise in business. Experts will know the little details that you didn’t even imagine you didn’t know. They may well be the difference between having a 75% conversion rate and a 90% conversion rate which could translate into dozens or even hundred(s) of students.
- Outside Insight – Getting a new training partner, training with another team, or having someone coach you from the sidelines is extremely valuable, even to the most advanced of jiu jitsu athletes. You get a different style to influence your training and preparation. New “blood” to challenge you. You get an outside perspective that brings new insights and helps elevate your performance. Partnering with the right company will bring the same sort of things to your business – new blood, new thinking, and valuable insights.
- Time – Even if you could figure out exactly how to do all of the things you should be doing, you simply can’t be as efficient as an expert. And – it takes time to do. By finding the right people to help you in areas that are critical to your business, you get back valuable time that you can redeploy to other things – things you are really good at, and things that really matter for your business (and likely your mental health).
I hope this encouraged you to go “play your game” because it’s time to change lives.