Leadership in the Industry

A friend recently expressed concern in the lack of business acumen within the firearms industry. I can’t say that I disagree simply because there’s a lot of guys in the industry just like me.

Now you’re asking what exactly I mean about that…as your adrenaline levels rise. I get it but hear me out. The firearms industry is full of gun guys (of one level or another). Very few, if any, have real business experience much less business degrees.  No, for the most part they just love range time and think it will get them by in the business world. Does this mean that they shouldn’t be business owners? Far from it.

I’ve worked for my share of shops, both big box and mom and pop. There’s a reason the big box guys not only stay in business but add new stores every year. It’s because they’re run by a network of intelligent business majors. How do they get by? They hire gun guys for $8-$10 per hour to sell guns. Why? Because that’s all they’re worth according to the bottom line.

But let’s leave those guys out of the conversation. They already have it worked out. Let’s concentrate on the little guys.

One thing a small shop can have going for it is a good accountant. Such was the case at my favorite small shop. They kept afloat because the accountant didn’t let them do too many stupid things. When he left….the shop died an agonizing death.

One rarity is true leadership. The big box guys take what they get because they don’t want to pay a  good manager so they get by with mediocre leaders. When it comes to the mom and pop gun stores poor leadership is like a cancer eating away at what could be a really great shop. You get plenty of “here’s your check but don’t cash it until Monday,” or “here’s half your check. I’ll have the rest by Tuesday.” Good employees won’t put up with that very long. They have families to take care of and family comes first. You mess with a man’s ability to pay the bills or put food on his table and you’ll lose a great sales or service employee.

The firearms industry needs a leadership revolution. Will you be a businessman that leads the fight?

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