tweaks ideas

Tweaks, Ideas, and Shenanigans: A Month in the Life of Don Alley

In All, Business by Don AlleyLeave a Comment

Ever wonder what we’re up to, and what’s happening in our companies behind the scenes? I thought it would be fun to look back through my journal over the last 30 days and make a list of the new ideas we’re working on in February 2020. 

I hope you enjoy!

MAMvee’s (It’s the working title 😂). Martial Arts Motivational Videos. I’m really excited about this idea because I regularly ask myself, “How can I add more value to my students?” I feel like this was an answer to the question. My plan is to record quick 30-60 second motivational videos for kids, and for those parents that want them, text them on Sunday night so parents can share them with their kids on Monday morning, right before school. I’ll start with our current students, figure out the bugs, and then release this as a free content service to anyone anywhere… in preparation for making the national move that’s coming 😏. We adults have our heroes, business leaders and mentors that make a difference in our lives. I want Super Kicks Karate to be a resource for kids.

Lucky You Media VIPing. The biggest way that we market for our karate schools is finding events where mommies and daddies are hanging out, setting up a vendor table, and scheduling appointments for the free trial. This month, I trained a team member on doing the exact same thing for our ad agency, Lucky You Media. She’ll be going to karate tournaments and finding business owners there who are looking for coaching, lead generation, and a stronger social media presence. 

Other Team Members Doing Upgrades. This may sound small and insignificant and you may be thinking, “I can’t believe you’re just now figuring this out”, but for the entirety of my career, I’ve been under the delusion that only the chief instructor should do upgrade memberships. The problem is, what happens when I’m sick? Or when—what’s usually the case—we have too many beginners and I can’t get to everyone on time? Enter a revolutionary idea: train the rest of the crew to do upgrades. And it worked perfectly. Mr. Turner enrolled his first Leadership Program membership on the first try, just by following the system I laid out. Good stuff. This will change everything for us. 

Sales Team That ISN’T Instructors. As we continue to grow, I have found a hole in our systems that we’ve never encountered. When we bring prospects into our school for the first lesson, we have always had a program director or another instructor teach the intro, take them through the sales process, and enroll them. And as long as they are trained on the scripts and sales process, we close 50% of our intros, and life is great. Now that we have so many students enrolling and STAYING long-term, we have a ton of people on the practice mat, and to take one or two of our main instructors off the floor and do the enrollment process seems like a bit of a disservice. So, I’m training a completely new group of team members that will be able to run our intros, feed us new members, and all along the way, keep my instructors focused on teaching and providing a great experience to our paying members and their families. I’m stoked.

Random thank you notes. I was listening to a podcast with Jesse Itzler, and he talked about the power of the hand-written thank-you note. We do these all the time, after every single intro, presentation, enrollment, upgrade, etc. But I had the idea to take it to the next level: every day, we look back and ask, “Who can I reach out to?” Maybe we had a conversation with the principle of a school. Maybe the person in charge at the mall reached out about something regarding the kiosk and it’s been a while (read: never) since she has received a “thank you” from us. The question: Who can I show love and gratitude to today that would build relationships that would serve us and them in the future? The solution: Write a handwritten thank you note, letting them know how much you appreciate them. Next level idea: Keep a list of these people, and on a quarterly basis, look at them and see if it’s time to reconnect with another note or call or text. Relationships are everything.

I fell in love with my mom. Of course, I’ve always loved my mom, but our relationship has been rocky at times, and the past several months have been wonderful. The difference? I made it a point to call her once per week. And now, I am finding myself wanting to talk to her more, text her randomly, and be a better human being to her, more engaged. More present. And more caring. And it had bled over into our businesses, where I’ve been reminding our team members to be humans first. Love people. Be authentic. Be present. Have empathy. Ya know… all the good things. 

tweaks

Messenger business card. I get tired of people asking me for a business card, and not knowing what to give them. Do you want my cell? My email? A guest pass? Which company? Who are you and what do you want? Solution: I’ve created a business card through Messenger that will allow people to interact with my Don Alley bot, and give them all kinds of info, dripped out strategically, covering all the bases. They will get what they need, be entertained in the process, and be introduced to what I can do for them with my ad agency. Slick. 

Deal Flow. Another reason this month was awesome was being invited for lunch and pitched to be a partner in a new business. The catalyst? My videos. I’m not at liberty to share the company’s name, but he has been a fan of my marketing and videos over the last few years, saw the last one where I’m skiing half-naked in the snow, and decided he wanted my energy infused in his brand. It’s been a goal of mine for a while to build my businesses by jumping in as an equity partner, and this may be my first taste. Booyah. 

Great vs. Not Now. I had tons more ideas this month, and I kept writing them down, wondering when I’d have the time to get to them, and wondering if they were even valid because it seemed as though it wasn’t the right time. And then I shouted it out loud: A GREAT IDEA DOESN’T MAKE IT A NOW IDEA, DON! And all of a sudden, I stopped judging myself for not being able to complete them all and realized that they are still great ideas. Just not “now” ideas. This was huge for me and gave me the freedom to allow my creativity to flow and not try to restrict it just based on my lack of ability to do everything right now.

There you have it, February at a glance. Will all these things work? Probably! And possibly. And maybe not. It could be a major flop. But that isn’t the point. Nothing is guaranteed. Welcome to entrepreneurship, where you wake up excited about your ideas, work insane amounts of hours to implement them, and trust in your gut that you’re doing the right thing.

My belief is, as long as your main ambition is to serve a need in the marketplace and build value in the lives of the humans that you contact, you can’t truly “fail.”

Happy March everyone!

Don Alley
Don Alley is an artist and entrepreneur. He is known as the karate guy, the preschool guy, or the video guy. He runs Super Kicks Karate as the chief instructor in Ashburn, Center Stage Preschool, and Lucky You Media. He is also the co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families across the country.

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