Charlie Vinch: Streamlining Business Operations with Budo Martial Arts Studio

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Charlie Vinch is the owner of Budo Martial Arts Studio in Ewing, New Jersey.

Budo Martial Arts Studio offers martial arts classes for children and adults that are designed to benefit the clients and teach them valuable information.

These classes are meant to help develop coordination, develop physical fitness, and teach self-defense.

Their vision is to teach children and adults alike discipline and confidence and help prepare them for possible real-world scenarios.

Learn more about how Budo Martial Arts Studio can help you gain confidence by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. All right, Charlie Vinch, you are the owner of Budo Martial Arts Studio. Charlie, where are you in the country?

We are located in New Jersey.

And how does that how does the martial arts market there do you have much competition?

We do but we do offer an amazing service and amazing, amazing product. So I don't believe that our competition is Really our quote unquote competition,

and they're not so amazing, I guess.

Alright, cool.

So now you transition to starting your own studio because you you're a martial arts instructor and you had the audacity to start your own studio what led to that?

What led to it was me wanting to create the lifestyle of a martial arts instructor slash entrepreneur. And I know this was something that I always wanted to do in my life, and I didn't know what exactly was going to be but upon studying martial arts at the age of 14, I could totally see myself doing that.

Now, she finally pulled the trigger. So tell me about the process then for going you know, when you're working as an instructor for somebody else, and then kind of starting your own your own studio, what was the hardest part

the hardest part is making That dive into going, Okay, I'm working for somebody else right now. And then, you know, next year and next week, I'm going to take responsibility for paying myself and my business is going to have to support me. Yeah, that was the hardest transition, knowing that going from working from somebody else to working for myself.

Yes. How did you get your first clients?

So one of the things that I did when I was teaching martial arts at another studio, and personally was I was building my base through through that so people getting to know me what I do. And then from there, it was an easy transition into my my space.

Yeah, but like, how did you find people like, what did you do? Did you were you networking, were you going to schools? Like how did you how did people discover you? Like clients customers,

it was solely on word of mouth and social media. So I would post all the time. About Me training these individuals one on one and then other people would message me or other people would come into the gym and say, Hey, I saw you training, you know this other person. Can you train me? Can you train my kid? Can you train my family? And then before you know, I had so many people that wanted to train with me one on one that I said, this is a good time for me to open up my own place.

Yeah, you, you've done pretty well, like your Facebook's doing pretty well. And you've got a lot of reviews. I would imagine that's like, like, you're pretty conscience conscious of that of getting reviews. Is the five recommendations on a page if you're relatively new, I mean, you've you opened four years ago, so 65 recommendations with these written reviews. That's pretty good. And so do you. Do you ask for that, or is that what's what's going on there?

Yeah, so all of the reviews are organic in this sense of, you know, after classes or you know, when I train someone, I'll say, Hey, did you have a good time? And if you did have a good time, please leave us a review on Google. I would greatly appreciate it. And yeah, he's more than willing to do that. And sometimes I do seminars for people. And they're like, hey, how can I review? or How can I thank you? Yeah, yeah, you can write me a review on Google. I'd appreciate that.

Yeah, well, good. Well, I mean, that's good for me that people are looking for. So how do when when, when you have a new customer, the first coming in because word of mouth, but what are you do? Is there some other things that you do to facilitate word of mouth? We do referral contest. We also do b2b, which will tell

me more about referral contests. Sure, sure. So one of the things that we do for referral contest is there's nothing better than having somebody who's currently enjoying your services, to then recommend somebody else. That's even better than Facebook marketing, everybody. On this Facebook marketing, I went to market my Facebook and that's how I'm going to get more people. Nothing is more strong than somebody saying to another person, hey, I go to this place. I love it, I think you would like it to and the money or the price, you know, kind of just incentivize that, you know, even when we don't have our referral contest. People still refer people all the time. But one of the things that we do is on a monthly basis, say, this month, if you refer somebody to our studio, and they sign up, you'll get 10 tickets towards our raffle and our

raffle is $100 amazon gift card.

If you bring somebody in for a tour, you get one ticket. If you bring somebody in and they sign up for a trial, you get three tickets.

We think about it from like, how much advertising $100 can buy you it's it's not a lot. You know, but you think of that hundred dollar amazon gift card. How much goodwill That that's created plus, listen, you know, you're not giving the hundred dollars to some social media or media fat cat, you know you're giving it to your own clients. So it's creating excitement and Well listen, you know, one thing that I learned is and I you know, I talked about Mark shaffers work all the time, marketing rebellion, but consumers consumer behavior has changed considerably over the past 510 years. And you're absolutely right advertising is it we don't trust advertising, but we do appreciate the you know, the advice of our friends and family, like we do want to know what other people think. And so I think you're super, super smart to allocate marketing resources into a, you know, an audience that's already satisfied with With your service so that that's really, really great. How often do you run a raffle? We do a referral contest every single month. Wow. Nice. And is it always him? Or do you change it up?

We change it up some months. It's a personal session with me. Some months it's a gift card to a local restaurant. So we're, you know, supporting a local place. Sometimes it's-it's on sometimes it's Target gift card. Sometimes it's cold, hard cash.

Yeah. And which one seems to be the most successful, by the way,

the Amazon gift card folks like Amazon. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, look, you've got 86 votes on Facebook, you've got 67 Google reviews. Both are a perfect five star. I would imagine if you got a one star review, you'd probably go knock on that person's door.

For sure

Any other things that you do to make sure that you have a really good reputation, because again, you know, the person who's listening to us, I want you to take some notes from what Charlie's doing, because this really, really matters today. No matter what kind of business you are, you need to be very mindful of your reviews, your reviews matter more than, you know, increasing your paid ad spend by another, you know, hundred thousand dollar 100 or $1,000 monthly, people look for and they read the reviews. And what they want to find is, is there someone who left a review that's like me, and if it worked for them, and their kids had a positive experience, my kids will probably have a positive experience. I mean, they'll go so far, Charlie is to look at photos and try to find a photo that looks like them. And It's it's just a weird thing, but it really, really matters. So where do you go from here? Like, how are you going to continue to? I mean, obviously you take, you know, your customer reputation very, very seriously, what other things do you have planned? Because you have a very, you have a very successful martial arts studio, you got a lot of customers and you've had a kind of a, I'll be honest, kind of a meteoric rise compared to a lot of other martial art studios. And by the way, CrossFit studios can take note of this, you know, other local gyms can take anyone who's offering like dance classes, like all this stuff, man, especially if you're marketing to and I would imagine most people bring in kids in their moms, right?

Sure. Yeah, that's parents. Yeah.

Yep. Yep. So but any other things that you that you have planned that you're going to do to continue to grow your business? And I have another question, but go ahead and answer that.

So our next step is to reach a student base of 250. That is, that's my next goal is just to keep packing the place that we have currently right now. Yeah, it's not to expand to another place as of anytime soon. Or, you know, that I believe, you know, if we hit 250 really fast, then you know, maybe, but our goal is to, to build to 50, where we're at.

And speaking of which you had mentioned, you know, expanding into another place you and I had talked previously about what you do operationally to keep things running smooth and go ahead and explain how you run your business because again, I think that there's some lessons here that anybody who's working directly with consumers can can really take note of this.

We document everything in a manual or in a Procedures Manual or a piece of paper or whatever. It is and every person who has a duty at Budo Martial Arts knows exactly what to do hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, quarterly, whatever it is, without questioning, wait, should I be doing this? Should I not? Should I not be doing this? They know exactly what they have to do. And if we have to go back and tweak it a little bit we do. But that is our base of what people are doing. So they're not walking around

guessing. Doing

right. How about how about stuff like shutting down for the night and cleaning up that documented? Yep. How about when a kid gets hurt? Is that documented? Yeah. So and here's the thing, like if we go back to Michael Gerber emails, and I know you've been a part of some really powerful business owner networks, and you and I actually met through his business mastery. Yes. Tony Robbins GM. Yes. Um, and so you learn a lot when you never work with other successful business owners. And you would manage that, you know, just documenting everything and it in a single manual is a way to do it. Now listen if you so if you're a business owner like me and your virtual business owner and your employees are all virtual your clients are virtual, then build a like a wiki, you know, build a wiki pedia type repository of all your documents, I mean, even worst case scenario, you just start a Google Docs folder and just put all your documents there, you could do that. In general, I would imagine being a physical location, you probably print this stuff out and put it in a manual of some sort, but you make sure that everybody has access to this information. Do you? Do you also expand that into like training or what did you how do you implement that as into like part of your onboarding when you onboard a new employee

So yes, everything is documented for each position. And then what we do to answer that question is we do what's called quarterly reviews. Where when I onboard a, let's say, an instructor, they have to go through our instructors training course, which is close to 16 weeks, they have a physical and then they have a written part, they have to pass both parts. Once they pass both parts, they know what they have to do per class to keep, you know, XYZ up. And then quarterly, I'll go in and I'll say, Okay, this is our quarterly review. I will now review you on the things that are listed on this paper that they know about. And then if they have the average of 80, or plus they pass if it's not a zero plus I showed them what they should be doing. If they meet that, then we need to move on.

What would you say to another business on road push back on this and say courage, Charlie, I just don't- I don't have time to document all this stuff. I'm too busy.

If you don't have time to document something that we really gives the person that's working for you a sense of not knowing what they're doing. So when they do something wrong, you know, as a business owner before documenting things, I used to say, Oh, well, you know, you didn't do this right? You didn't do that, right? And you can't hold people accountable if they don't know exactly what they should be doing.

And so I mean, if you've got confusion, operationally, I'm you're wasting money, you're wasting time, you're gonna have higher turnover, you're gonna have lower employee satisfaction. You know, in terms of leadership, this stuff all matters, and I guess, you know, to the person to the business owner, that is, you know, they're already at the level where, you know, it would be for them personally, to do this. It would be kind of a hardship, you're going to have to hire a really, really great operations manager. And that's their job is to make sure that everything is running smoothly. That's honestly that's that's one of the first positions that I feel Because the number one job of a business owner is to grow their business so you know you have to be doing Charlie things like you know coming up with incentives and working with your client base and growing organically like that. And you know what's really great is that you know, you've got everything documented now so now that it's documented just doesn't take as much of your personal time and so that can really you know, that can can really be a huge time saver. And then you can had I'm just looking at young you can head next door I thought I saw a five guys right down the road from you guys. Or maybe Yeah. Or Wow, yeah, you could you could go go take a break and let your operations manual do the supervising for you. So Well, great. Well, Charlie Vinch, you know, people listen, his conversation you go to Budo martial arts studio and Bhutto is bu do martial arts studio. You got a great website. You know, it's it's really interesting, you know, some studio owners thrive. Some studio owners are just banging their head against the wall, they can't figure it out. Go and and look and see, go to Charlie's website, you can see exactly what he's doing is doing it right. You know, go back and re listen to this interview for clues on. You know what Charlie's learned, Charlie. Another thing too is clearly you've invested into your personal development, your personal growth. I mean, if you're going to business mastery, that's an investment. It's not cheap to go to business mastery.

That's correct. And I'm looking at this as my business as a long game. Yep. Not a short game. This is a marathon for me. This is not a sprint. I'm here to stay. And I'm here to dominate. So I don't mind making that investment. Because I know it's going to pay me tenfold in the long run.

Nice. Charlie Vinch, you're the founder and CEO of Budo Martial Arts studio in New Jersey. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks so much for having me. Thanks for listening to the thoughtful entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my slash guest that we've got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just a quick screenshot with your phone and texted to a friend or posted on the socials? A few do that tag us with the hashtag up my influence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform and you get crowned king or queen of that social media, what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans. Totally free. Now, can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now, please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. And while you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why tomorrow? That's right, seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing at up my Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.

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