Somnath Sikdar is a 6th Dan Black Belt and the Owner of The Dragon Gym, which is a small chain of martial arts schools in Southeast Pennsylvania. The business Somnath now owns is where he began his martial arts career as a six year old.
He holds degrees Science and Electrical Engineering, with minors in Systems Science and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, which proves you can have brains and brawn.
Today we discuss:
- Parkinson’s Law and why exercise comes first
- Business thinking behind setting up a second location
- Initial exposure to the mastermind process
- What’s a perfect business look like
- Working on the business builds clarity
- The importance of knowing your ideal customer
- Why Your business has got to run without you
- In Top Form podcast
- Your mind has an infinite ability to take in information
- You can’t put an old head on young shoulders
Exercise must come first
Your health must come first, it must be a priority, so you can be the best version of yourself, not just for you, but also for your family, business and team.
Somnath was able to obtain degrees from university, while at the same time maintaining his high level of martial arts expertise.
Parkinson’s Law – Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion.
Successful people always keep themselves busy and that’s exactly what Somnath did. Many of his university friends had so much free time; they never got around to studying.
Business thinking behind expanding his business
When a business becomes mature it also becomes saturated; meaning there’s nowhere else for it to go. You can try and fit more it, but it’s not viable.
Everyone has ambition and a desire for more money, but at a much deeper level Somnath left engineering and got more into martial arts because he was driven by the idea of having impact, significance, and influence on other people’s lives.
He felt he was benefiting society by having a second (and third) location. This gave him greater reach.
Using the mastermind process to learn more about business
His initial exposure into masterminding was not about learning more about martial arts, it was learning what it really means to be a better business owner, a better marketer, and how to run a business effectively.
Masterminding taught him that if he wanted a successful business he needed to get himself off the mat.
What’s a perfect business look like?
When Somnath decided to open a second location he asked himself some very smart questions. If we had the ability to build a gym from scratch – what would it look like, in all ways?
What is the layout? What colours will we use? What’s the décor and what will the program offering be? What mistakes have we made in the past and how can we eliminate these?
His original location was 10000 square feet and it had seven different programs, (adults, children, kettle bell, etc), however his new location is only 2000 square feet and has just one program (children’s program), therefore only requiring two staff, and more importantly it runs without the owners being there.
By getting off the mat it gave Somnath time to work on the business – therefore clarity to focus on how good the next location can be and by learning and perfecting the second location, the original location is now being modified.
Subleasing to a synergistic businesses
If you have spare space at your current location sublease it to a business that compliments what you’re doing, not only does it generate revenue, it can add value to your business.
Dragon Gym subleases to a Physiotherapist; because members get injured, and by having a Physiotherapist onsite it gets members back training faster.
Why did you specialise your second location?
At the original Dragon Gym location Somnath had 7 programs and by looking at the numbers he identified 60% of their income came from their children’s program, therefore it made sense to focus the new location on this one program.
This is why you need to know who your best customer is, your Avatar.
With their kids program it could be broken down even further into niches: 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, 10-13 year olds. By separating them they can easily serve their individual needs better. (Awesome tip)
Mastermind – The Discovery Group
The mastermind group is about teaching other martial arts gym owners how to be profitable and not just being busy.
We get into business because it’s something we love and we want to make money, but at what cost? That’s the important question. Your business has got to run without you, otherwise you just have a job and the only difference is you’re working for yourself.
The power of the mastermind process
Other business people can see what you cannot; this is the power of connecting with a mastermind group. It’s easy to look at someone else’s business and see what they’re doing wrong and visa versa.
Also, when you look at someone else’s business it helps you reflect on your own business afterwards.
Somnath Sikdar teams up with Dave Frees & Alex Frees to produce a weekly podcast, about science, strategies, tactics, and truth to achieve a better life, more profitable business and robust health.
There’s a lot of value in learning from other professions and industries. Of course there’s value within your own industry, however they look at the problems the same way (Group think)
Exposing yourself to things outside of your comfort zone will cause a fight or flight response, but this creates mental growth.
Every time you reread a book you’ll learn something new. The interesting part is the book has not changed; it’s you that has changed. This applies to podcasts, meetings with people etc. As you grow, so does your ability to take in information.
The mind has an infinite capacity to learn
When Somnath was 18 he thought he was awesome and couldn’t be any better at martial arts. Then each year, as he got better and better he realised the more he learnt the less he actually knew.
This applies to all areas of life and business. The longer you stay in a profession, the better you get.
Your business today will look completely different in 12-months time and if it’s the same you have real problems. Your business cannot outgrow your own personal growth.
You can’t put an old head on young shoulders
We want to convey our knowledge to younger people, and you’d think technology would makes things easier, but you can’t pass on wisdom.
Monday Morning Tip
Whether it’s getting a coach, a mentor or joining a mastermind group, it’s important to find and associate with people that are more advanced than you in some way. It’s important to actively nurture those relationships.
Many people are waiting for the teacher to find them, but you have to find the teacher and if someone is teaching you, you should be teaching someone else. You need to find your student as this creates balance.
If you're enjoying this podcast series please gives it a review on iTunes or in your favourite podcast platform. Also if you want to download a chapter from my new book, It's No Secret There's Money in Small Business please visit my website www.tysonfranklin.com