Tiger Rock Academy started in Lincoln in October of 1994 as a part time martial arts club downtown. The Academy has since grown to four locations in Lincoln, two in Omaha, one in Firth, and one in Pensacola, Florida. Tiger Rock focuses on developing healthy lifestyles, positive values and a safer community. They accomplish this through the teaching of TaeKwonDo, Kisado Fitness classes, Jiu-Jitsu, Yoga, Personal Safety seminars and corporate wellness programs. Adults and children experience the benefits of their programs through lessons taught daily at their Academies and also through seminars they teach in schools, businesses and organizations around our community.

What was the founder’s inspiration for starting this company?
Jeff Dousharm, a 6th Degree Master in TaeKwonDo, started the company while completing his degree in Engineering. Realizing that the rewards and impact he could have on his community through teaching, he made a professional transition from engineering to entrepreneurship and put down roots here in Lincoln.

What do you think makes you different from other companies similar to yours?
Tiger Rock Academy is similar to many small businesses in that we face the daily struggles of adapting to an ever changing economy, community and market. However, we differ from other companies in that, even during difficult times, we have added additional services, created scholarship programs and created more job opportunities for our community. Part of this strength and growth comes from the fact that a few years ago, our entire organization converted to become a franchise. This provides a great deal of additional support, resources and quality control for our people. We make a difference in our community…one child, one adult, one student at a time. This impact has a ripple effect that spreads to others and allows us to impact as many people as possible. Our staff isn’t here to punch a clock or “do their time” to get a paycheck. They are here to accomplish the mission of our Academy, and they are here to lead. Each staff member is incredibly passionate about helping others lead healthy lifestyles.

What has been your most unique/different client or project?
Several years ago we formalized our Wellness Program at Tiger Rock Academy. There are a great number of benefits for wellness programs that are done right. From employee retention to reduced health care costs and improved overall performance, wellness programs make a big difference for companies and their people. The one factor we found that holds things back was price. Too often when companies look at their budget and money is tight, they cut benefits and
programs like this because they do not or cannot attribute the financial ROI (even though statistics show a minimum of 6:1 ROI on wellness programs done right). So we fixed this. We stopped charging for our wellness programs. We do this as a service to our community and to businesses that are truly helping their people. We provide a great number of seminars, training, lunch and learns, and discounted programs so more people can participate and learn about
sustainable lifestyles. This has been a huge project and attracted national attention through the clients we now serve.

What are your strategies for growth?
Currently we are focused on four major opportunities for growth. First, we are working with more companies and organizations to provide Wellness Programs for their staff. Second, we have put together an internship program providing more job opportunities and training for college level students to enter our profession. Third, we have expanded and looking to add new locations. Finally, we are providing Personal Safety Seminars for businesses, organizations and
groups in order to teach liability conscious use of force and self-defense techniques for the workplace, for the home and for everyday life. These seminars give us the opportunity to serve many who do not have the time to take advantage of our regular lessons but could benefit from a customized seminar for their group.

What was the biggest turning point in your business?
The biggest turning point in our business was when I went from micromanaging everything myself to entrusting others to take on the responsibilities of leadership and the tasks of servicing our customers. This, in essence, allowed me to work more “on” my business rather than “in” my business. By training and developing others, I am able to have far greater impact and reach than if I was to try and do everything on my own. This is what led to the expansion of Tiger Rock Academy to where it is today. I am very lucky to have fantastic staff and instructors who are committed to making things happen!

What is one goal for your business that you have yet to accomplish?
We’d like to be able to do more grant based work where we can reach individuals who do not have access to our programs. As mentioned above one
of the challenges we face is the economy, but we also believe that our programs are not just for middle and upper class “traditional” families etc. We want all
people with the right attitude to have access to our programs and not be deniedon any basis. Our staff currently volunteers countless hours doing seminars and
presentations. However, with rising costs of insurance, gas and various expenses, we are trying to work on grants to help underwrite the minimum costs of providing these kinds of services so we can reach out to even more of our community. We have scholarship programs in place now, but we know we can always do more!

For more information go to their website at http://tigerrockmartialarts.com/