When my kids were little, I was very much anti-gun. NO GUNS IN THE HOUSE was my rule. I wasn’t fanatical about it I did buy my kids squirt gun, and while I never bought a “play gun” my boys made guns out of everything they could, mostly Legos. I started to relax, because Legos never killed anyone, and I realized boys just play this way. I would not have freaked out if they ate their pop tarts into the shape of a gun, or if they pointed their gun-shaped fingers at someone. I realized they were not going to hurt anyone.
After every school shooting, I didn’t like the call for strict gun control. The shooter is never a sane person. And with the gun violence in Chicago, the call is only for more laws for gun shop owners in Chicago, but really nothing about the criminals. So why take the guns out of American’s hands when they have a constitutional right to bear arms? Even though I didn’t own a gun, I didn’t like the idea that if or when I wanted a gun someone may eventually tell me I couldn’t have one. So I got one.
I completed the conceal carry class and am awaiting my permit. I have spent quite a bit of time recently at the gun range practicing. With my ear protection on, and waiting my turn, I had some “quiet” time to think about what I was doing, and had some thoughts about the lessons I have learned and how they pertain to business.
Safety First – If I was going to buy a gun, I needed to know how to handle it safely. I don't want to be a headline. “Suburban Housewife Kills Self Looking Into the Barrel of a Loaded Handgun.” I was really scared picking it up the first time. It was heavier than I thought it would be. But I was taught how to hold it, finger always off the trigger unless you are going to shoot it. Always point it down range. And I wouldn’t even think of looking in the barrel of my gun unless the magazine was out, the slide was locked open, and I could see there wasn’t a bullet in there.
Safety First – If you are going to own a small business or a franchise. Get some training. Take some marketing classes, a HR class, an accounting and management class… etc. so you understand how owning a business works. It’s not just producing the product or service you think it is. Always be looking down the road to your long term goal. Hire a coach who has done what you want to do, and get the help you need to be successful.
Training – The fear I had at the beginning has developed into a healthy respect for how powerful my firearm is. It’s not a toy, even though firing at targets is a lot of fun. I would never have picked up a hand gun without being properly trained on how to use it. I learned how to hold it, aim it, fire it, disassemble it and how to safely clean it. I learned when an appropriate time to fire it is, and when not too. I learned where I can carry it legally, and where I can’t. As a responsible gun owner it is my duty to be trained before I ever think about using it or carrying it with me.
Training – It is your duty as a business owner to not only know how to run your business, but to make sure your employees are well trained before you turn them loose on your customers. Can they resolve a customer complaint without your permission? I highly recommend you empower them to do that. Do they know how to close the business at night? Do they know how to treat your customers? Your employees are your least expensive and most expensive form of marketing your business. A great customer service experience can increase your sales and your customer retention. A poor customer service experience, can cost you your business.
Focus – I may not be the fastest shot, but I am pretty accurate. I take my time to line up my shot with the sights on my gun. I hold steady, and I don’t forget to breathe, and I can usually put 10 shots in about a 5 inch radius.
Focus – In business, you need to have your eye on the prize, and have a plan to get there. You need to keep a watchful eye on your marketing. Set a goal for each marketing campaign and follow through. Is it to bring in more customers? Is it to up your customer average? Is it to thank your customers for supporting you? Make sure you know the focus of your marketing campaign before you start. It’s the focus you put on your marketing that will get you the “prize” you’re after.
Practice Makes Permanent – Practice doesn’t always make perfect. If you develop bad habits while you are at the gun range and you practice those bad habits, chances are eventually someone is going to get hurt or killed. Always, look to improve your practice.
Practice Makes Permanent – In your marketing, you will have things that work, and things that don’t work. Don’t be afraid to repeat the things that are working even when it seems way too easy. The important lesson here is to always be marketing. Feel free to change it up and try new things. Just keep at it. Even if marketing isn’t your favorite job, it is your most important one. Keep practicing. The streets are full of empty store fronts, closed because the owners didn’t make marketing a permanent part of their investment.
Competition Is Always A Good Thing – My competitiveness has come out on the firing range, except no one knows it except me. The guy standing in the next lane doesn’t know that I am watching his shots and comparing myself too him. He moves his target to seven yards, I move mine to seven yards and I focus on shooting better than him and those around me. If he moves his to 10 yards, I move mine to 10 yards, and so on.
Competition Is Always A Good Thing – I believe it’s always a good thing to know what your competition is doing. Don’t be afraid to take a marketing campaign your competition is running, tweak it, make it your own and make it better. The way I look at it is if your competition didn’t want you to steal their great marketing idea, they wouldn’t have put it out to the public. <wink>
Did I leave any lessons out? Please feel free to share them in the comments section.