January 2, 2015
For many of us teaching Krav Maga is our full-time profession. We need to make a profit, we need to make a living. If we do not then we must relegate our passion to a part time job or a hobby and find a "real job".
Indeed that would be a great loss to the community as we would be depriving them of life-saving skills.
To me Krav Maga is a matter of life and death.
How can I say this without sounding terribly arrogant?
Our Krav Maga is pure.
If we spend time, effort and money on a DVD but soon we realize that the techniques need to be changed, we drop the DVD. We take it out of circulation and we start anew. This is not a business decision, this is a life and death decision. We do not wait until we have "made a sufficient profit" on the DVD. If it is outdated, it goes to the Krav Maga museum.
Over the years many well meaning friends and students have tried to offer me a business plan, a way to make more money and work less hard. I always listen but have yet to find anything appealing.
For example; double the price of my seminars; perhaps half the "clients" will cancel me but the other half will pay my fee. So I earn the same amount of money but I work half the time. I know many instructors who do this.
But no. Why not? Because then half the people would be missing out on important Krav Maga training. Yes, I would be working less, but I would also be reaching less people.
So I will not do this. Again, this is not a business decision.
The sad part is sometimes our members will join other Krav Maga associations because of the business plans they offer. This is indeed sad.
I would have no objection if there were a Krav Maga marketing company that was unaffiliated with any particular style of martial art, but only offered business plans.
Sadly people will choose an organization with "admittedly bad techniques" but with a superior business plan.
These members will openly say, "I love the IKI techniques, but I have not been making enough money, so I must try something else, Krav Maga XYZ has approached me with what looks like a great business plan."
On one hand you cannot blame them, on the other hand yes you can.
It all depends on how you see yourself.
Are you selling ....you know what, I can't think of a good example. I wanted to say are you selling something where the issue of quality does not matter, but every example I thought of was inappropriate.
If you are selling cars you should want to sell a safe car.
If you are selling shoes you should want to sell a quality shoe with good support and a long life.
If you are selling computers you should want to sell a computer that will work efficiently.
No job should only be about money.
Yet look at the fast food chains! apparently most of them are only about making money with little or no regard for your health.
So how do you view yourself?
I view myself like a doctor. I have the same amount of training and we are both dealing with matters of life and death.
If you were/are a doctor, would you sell drugs, or suggest surgery that were harmful to your trusting patient? If the answer is yes, shame on you! Better give up your job and find another job.
It is the same with Krav Maga. How can you say, "This organization has admittedly old and weaker techniques but they have a great business plan."
Leave the business! You are not fit to be a Krav Maga instructor!!
Did you become a Krav Maga instructor only to make money?
Will you sacrifice your students' lives on the alter of the almighty dollar?
Yes, we need to make a living, we are not monks. But we need to find a way to balance that with the best Krav Maga we know.
Never compromise your integrity.
Never forget why you first began training in Krav Maga.
Never forget why you began studying medicine.
Perhaps you became a shoemaker because you truly wanted to provide people with comfortable quality shoes. But then you realized that if you downgraded to cheaper material you could increase your profits. And now your customers are walking around in shoes that will fall apart in 3 months rather than last for years.
Is this something to be proud of?
I recall our dear friend Harry Nemeth of blessed memory, a proud member of my fathers' congregation. He was an optometrist and I recall the "funny" posters in his office. "New incentive plan, attention all workers, Work hard or get fired!"
Yes, funny but true.
That is the basis of my business plan. Work hard, provide the best training, never compromise and you will make a living, an honest living, a living you can be proud of.
I will be happy to help any of our instructors with business ideas. We can network and share ideas, but we will never resort to gimmicks or cheap tactics.