People ask us all the time, “How do I grow my firearms classes business?” At the heart of that question – the real question people want to ask – is “How do I make more money doing what I love to do?” Well, the answer is simple: Teach more students.
Remember the old adage “Time is money?” It sounds so salesman like. I have news for you – you are a salesman. You have to start running your business like a business, not a charity. Your unique skillset is worth something in the marketplace. Whether you are an individual instructor, a group or range, you are selling one thing and one thing only. You are selling you. You are selling your worth, your knowledge, your experience and your time.
In order to run a successful business, there are a few things you must do.
- You must have a constant flow of new business; without it you die. In a perfect world, new students would refer others to you, and then those new students would refer even more people to you, and it would repeat time and time again. Since that’s not reality, maximize your time by creating new business. If you maximize your time acquiring new business, your world will quickly become easier. People think it is really hard to be successful, yet I disagree. It’s easy to be successful; it’s hard to be a failure. It is easy to have a constant flow of business; it is hard to not have a constant flow of new business. Change your attitude and your world will change.
- You must provide a quality service at a competitive price. Spend time on your curriculum, and continuously search for ways to improve on the product you are selling. Be the trainer who is always a student. The more you learn, the more relevant you are – students will notice this. This brings up another favorite adage: “Build it and they will come.”
- You must make it easy for people to do business with you. People are fickle. The harder it is for them to contact you, find your classes, and register for courses, the more likely a student will move on to another instructor whose process is easier to complete. You must have an online presence for your firearms classes and active social media accounts so students can easily learn about what you offer and pay for classes when it’s convenient for them.
Prioritize your activities into what is profitable and what is not. Remember what we touched on earlier – “time is money.”
How to maximize your time
How many instructors – including yourself – spend countless hours on the following?
- Returning phone calls to prospective students.
- Returning emails about class details such as what to bring, where it is and when it’s held.
- Sending e-mail reminders or making phone calls to ensure students will show.
- Creating rosters, processing payments and designing certificates.
- Capturing student data for future campaigns and marketing efforts.
If you don’t perform these activities in a consistent, prompt and efficient manner, you will not maximize your potential, and you risk losing students.
One of the biggest tasks that can hurt instructors if not done efficiently is processing payments. If you don’t process payments at the time the student commits, then you may fall into the struggling instructor group that reserves the range for 12 signups and only 4 actually show. This is when your business turns into a charity. If you don’t take the payments prior to class, you’ll still have to pay the range for a full roster, and you’ll lose not only money, but also the trust of the range owners. After that, they might no be interested in having you back.
Think about how you process payments for your firearms classes. Is there a better way you can be doing it? Should you create a refund policy? Some instructors are afraid of adding one, but when students know up front what they’re signing up for, they’re less likely to give you a hard time and complain later on.
How to maximize your revenue
Let’s go back to maximizing your revenue. You maximize your profits by concentrating your time in acquiring new students. There are so many ways to do this that we will save these activities for a future blog post. Here are just a few tips to get you thinking:
- Send out a monthly newsletter. This is simple to set up and can be sent by e-mail. You need to be in front of people all the time. An easy way to grow your mailing list is by the traditional “fishbowl” sitting in a restaurant or range you frequent. Encourage people to drop their business card in the bowl as raffle for a free class. Then, add their contact information to your newsletter recipient list.
- Join local groups with active and large memberships. Networking in your community is the key. But don’t fake it. Join groups that deal with something that interests you. Be the go-to person in your industry so you’re the person people think of first.
- Create mutual relationships with a local shooting range. Offer to drive students to their facilities in exchange for discounted pricing on range rental. Offer to create a coupon for your students to use in the range or gun store. When used, these coupons increase the revenue of the facility you are using and, if negotiated properly, will reduce your expenses and increase your profitability.
The list of ideas for growing your business is endless. Nothing happens unless you make it happen.
If you need help automating your business, find out how ShootingClasses.com can help. By making your administrative management more efficient, you’ll create more time for you to be growing instead of dying.