Planning for Success

Planning for Success

Planning for Success

Planning for success is at the heart of any business. The old adage “Make your plan then work your plan” is the best advise anyone can get. You can plan for success rather than to plan to fail. By working your plan, you will be able to determine when good times will occur and when bad times hit. Every business has its high’s and low’s. Planning and anticipating them will put you ahead of the game. Instead of wondering why something worked, you actually planned for it to work.

Just being a good instructor is not enough. To be successful, you must be able to be creative and promote your business in a unique and interesting manner. Being an instructor is boring by itself – have some fun with it!

Planning is the cornerstone of business and must be done before you ever start holding classes. Planning is essential in every phase of your business. Many of these phases will require a section of their own to cover them sufficiently. Times when business is slow are the perfect times to get back to planning for the rest of the year. This will help you spot trends in your business life cycle.

Establish Goals

Prepare a graph that includes the year to year growth of the volume of business you anticipate over the next five years. If you have already been teaching, then take the pass and current years and add them to your graph. Add the net profits from each month to the graph. This will help you spot trends in the business.

Sales and volume are important, but they should not be your only goals. Keep in mind “image is everything”. If you are teaching classes with older guns that experience stoppages, you might want to include replacing those guns with newer ones.

Based on your graph, you should now be able to lay out your projected sales for the next five years along with the goals you would like to accomplish. Don’t forget to add anticipated costs as well, such as those newer guns we mentioned earlier.

Preparing your budget will take time, so be sure to allocate your time accordingly. If you’re at a loss of what to consider, go back to your “Budget Worksheet” from your NRA Basic Instructor Training lesson plan. You will also want to consider additional personnel as your business grows, range fees, delegation matters, and include your personal goals.

No two instructors are the same. Nor are any two-training academies the same. Remember to be unique with your approach to training and classes. If you are at a loss for new ideas, attend courses from other instructors. Your success will be better as a result of your planning.

Meeting your Goals

Now that you have a plan, the next step is meeting your goals. This is where the business and planning process will always be changing. Some ideas you thought were brilliant may not have turned out as expected. Other ideas you thought were too simple will have exceeded your expectations. While keeping an eye on volume and sales, also remember other areas of your business must be in the forefront of your mind. For example:


Promotion is probably the first item on your radar. Advertising will also be equally important. Both of these items will be constantly reviewed throughout the year and will likely change as results are analyzed.


Quality of teaching is essential for continued growth.  You must always strive for better training techniques. The more you relate new subject matter to something the student can understand, the better. Your fees should be in line with the quality of training you provide. If you are training better than others, you will certainly prosper. We’ll discuss how to rank yourself against your competition a little later.


Service is a huge priority. If customers call you and receive an answering machine, you’ve already lost them. If they leave a message and you don’t return their call within a reasonable time (2-3 hours); you have lost them forever . If they are considering purchasing from you and you don’t answer their questions promptly, they will go somewhere else. Firearm training is an extremely personal service. Students expect and should receive personal service anytime they interact with your company.

Give customers Quality and Service, and they will be yours for life.


Integrity must be in-tact at all times. Your business should have a code of ethics that you follow without exception. Integrity is reflected in everything you do – quality, prices, and promises. It means your business is honest and trustworthy; you are providing value for the services your clients receive.


You must be able to create a desire for your training. Desire comes in many forms. It could be a free (introductory) training session, a value-added bonus, or a reward for future discounts for training. As with service, every interaction with your company will either have a positive or negative impact on the desire to do business with your company.

Sales Training

Better sales are a result of good training. Just because the customer wants to attend a conceal carry class does not mean they do not need a basic shooting class. In this instance, educating the customer about the benefits of your basic pistol course would help them be a more responsible conceal carry citizen. A formal sales training regimen should be taught and followed by everyone in the organization. Every interaction should lead to the next sale.

Giving to the Community

Community involvement cannot not be ignored. You live in a community for a reason – why not try to make it a better place to live? The Chamber of Commerce, service organizations, food for the poor are all great examples of giving back to your community. By being actively involved you will meet with high-level community members who will help you succeed. You will establish connections that will help open doors that may otherwise remain closed.

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