In Business with Leigh-Ann Morris and Summit Martial Arts
October 21, 2020
To mark Small Business Week, Librarianship.ca is profiling members of the Canadian library and information community who have founded or own their own businesses.
Who are you and what do you do?
Leigh-Ann Morris, MLIS, owner of Summit Martial Arts
What products or services do you offer?
Tae Kwon Do classes for age 4 and up – Beginner to Advance Black Belt training
Women’s Self Defence
What is unique about your business?
We are the only Moo Duk Kwan style of Tae Kwon Do in Western Canada. We are the same style that Chuck Norris practices. We started with very humble beginnings, in a community centre with no mats, no equipment, just our martial arts and grew to a full commercial school.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
Summit definition: the highest attainable level of achievement.
We thought about what it takes for a person to reach their full potential and wanted to use a word/image that reflects back to our geographic location. The mountain was the perfect symbol of reaching your peak, living in the West and the eternal climb to the top. We thought Summit was the perfect name and the mountain was the perfect symbol to embody our vision.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
Most of the day-to-day processes, web design/maintenance, social media, bookkeeping, schedule, registrations, web inquiries, and parent correspondence is done from home. I handle all the business-end of things. In the evenings, I attend the school in person to manage student flow and our check-in process.
Things look much different with COVID restrictions, it has changed our day-to-day process completely, including COVID pre-screening and check-ins.
What motivates you?
Halfway through our seventh year, it is the relationships that we have developed with our students and their families that motivates me. We have watched our students grow up from little kids to teenagers! We have stood beside them through their martial arts journey and life’s up and downs. It is really a special and beautiful thing. So, with that in mind, every day I’m thinking of how to improve our student experience, how can we be better, how can we serve our families. They are truly our family too.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
The 5 Tenets of Tae Kwon Do are:
- Self Control
- Indomitable Spirit.
These all ring true for a successful entrepreneur. Patience, thinking outside the box, never giving up. It’s tough, the first few years are an exercise in success and failure. Figuring out what works for you and cultivating a unique environment is a labour of love that requires tenacity and perseverance. You cannot have success without failure. Learning from your mistakes and remaining humble are key ingredients. OK, that was more than 3 but hard to sum up.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There have been a few that would rank top four:
- When a female student asked to write a paper on me as a woman who inspires her.
- I always feel like our students success is our success. Every tournament and belt test, I feel like a proud mom of all our students.
- Being named 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary – voted on by the public.
- When we made page 1 on Google without using outside SEO help. :)
If your business were a book, song or famous artwork, what would it be and why?
Song: Eye of the Tiger
It is easy to lose sight of what you are doing in the beginning. When you are trying to gain traction, build your business, attract customers/students, you can be swayed by someone else’s vision. It is really important to stay your course, believe in your service/product, have a clear vision of who you are and what you want to accomplish. We all fall down sometimes. Success is definitely not a linear path, there are ups and downs along the way. It’s how you deal with those that determines your path. Never lose sight of who you are as a business in the process – eye of the tiger! Stay focused! Never give up when things get tough!
What business-related book has inspired you the most?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
What is an interesting and fun tidbit about your business?
We are one of the only sports where parents and kids can train together in the same class. Usually kids join first, then mom/dad join later. It is always fun to watch kids react to outranking their parents.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?
On a beach in Hawaii, soaking up the sun!