Brownells – Frank Talk About Guns March 2010

Brownells – Frank Talk About Guns March 2010

Frank Brownell
Frank Brownell
Des Moines, Iowa – -( It is time to for a break from the daily grind and take a look at where you and your business is heading. Ask yourself, what are your plans for taking your company into the “short term” – the next year or so?

Then into the “long term” – the next 5 years. As you read the paragraphs that follow, think about how your actions and your words line up with these plans. The language of success or the lack of this language either moves you toward your goals or away from them.

These are most assuredly times of great economic uncertainty, and many organizations and individuals are retrenching into “safer waters”. A problem is, when everyone does this, as it seems many are right now, individual standards are lowered and ethical lines are crossed. We start to fulfill the doom and gloom prophecies we tell ourselves when we’re thinking about “what might happen”. So if you are determined to retrench to safer territories, let me give you the three top things that are guaranteed to kill a great company . . . maybe your company.

  1. “We’re good enough”. Being “good enough” keeps innovation at a minimum. It keeps expectations low for both yourself and your customers; it keeps you around the average level. “Good enough” allows you to hide in a flock of companies. It makes you just like everyone else. So the only thing you can do in a “good enough” marketplace is lower your price to try to recover or gain market share. You’re now really looking just like everybody else. If you’re looking just like everybody else, and acting just like everybody else, all you have you can do is loosen your standards of performance. Be willing to accept less profit, less innovation, less risk, less growth, less customer service or support. This is the number one way to kill a great company.
  2. “We’re going to save our way to profitability or we’re going to save our way out of debt.” Second best way to kill a great company is to start slashing people and services. You’ll start finding yourselves in this self-destructive cycle when you try to hold high standards but do it with fewer people. This may work for a bit, but what you soon find is your standards start to lower again; just don’t have enough staff or time devoted to keeping them at the old level. Your services become average, staff-people get tired and overworked and under-appreciated. And, because you’re providing less, your customers start to expect less from you. If you do not want to kill this great company or family you have, try flipping the situation around to a more balanced approach with a reasonably reduced list of expenditures, but still sufficient to continue the great service that brought in and kept the customers you have.
  3. “We’ve always done it this way.” This is the subtle killer. Complacency. As the world rushes by “you’re not moving”. You’re holding fast. This method guarantees that when you do open your eyes, you’re going to be behind. So if you want to destroy the great company just do what you have always done; “change nothing”. OR you could realize the world of today is much different than it was even a month ago. You always have a greater capacity to give, create and change. Regardless of the economic conditions, change is imperative. It is the lynch pin that ties the old way of doing it to the way you’re doing it now. Change requires careful analysis and understanding of where you are and where you want to take your company. It demands constant attention too – finding a better way of doing business, a better way of communication or a better way of involving yourself, or working on the relationships which matter. Trying to stay complacent by not changing is a losing battle . . . a company losing battle.

So, what to do?
The Challenge is to understand where you are now, and decide which path to use to go forward. Obviously, “Good enough”, “Saving your way” and “We’ve always done it this way” are the paths to destruction.

The path out is: Take time to better understand your particular local market and their needs and desires, then change your store’s direction or focus – or just sharpen up that focus. Look at the overall changes in the bigger/macro market, and bring to your store the things you see out there that have potential. Like feeding the tactical accessory lust of your customers. Or teaching concealed carry classes or hunter safety classes. Carrying personal protection guns and gear. Working with the local cops and deputies to become “their” store for “duty stuff”, coffee and donuts, technical info and support. Look at “alternative” markets – paint ball or air soft, archery.

The final word – Don’t give up. Don’t take down the shop sign. Get a cup of coffee, a legal pad, a sharp pencil and draw a line down the middle of the top sheet on the pad. On the left side write down the changes – one per line – you’ve always dreamed of making, all the things that will make the business grow and prosper, all the things you learned while studying what you could do as outlined in the paragraph above. Study this list. A lot! Then, on the right side of the dividing line, copy over those items that make sense, you can figure out a way to afford, that will give you the most bang for the buck spent. Then, my friend, get to work and make it happen! Because by now you really are getting an understanding of your business and how to make it work, to survive and to grow.

Brownells 4Th Annual Gunsmith Career Fair
We are quickly approaching the 4th Annual Gunsmith Career Fair to be held April 23rd & 24th at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, Des Moines, Iowa

Seminars range from advancing your career in the gunsmithing profession to starting or expanding a gunsmithing business.

Some topics include:

  • Time = Money, the Cold, Hard Facts
  • Financing your Business
  • Increasing your Revenue through Engraving
  • Gunsmithing for a Large Format Retailer
  • Strength Development for Gunsmiths

Tom Shay, from Profit Plus, will share three dozen tips of merchandising and the essential components of a business plan. Representatives of Firearms Technology Branch of the BATF will be presenting two different seminars and on hand to answer questions. View the full seminar schedule at

If you’d like you would like to be one of the “displayers”, larger companies or smaller shops looking to hire gunsmiths or just wanting to exhibit at this the event, please contact: Jamie Reed, direct phone #641-623-8070 [email protected] or Stacy Peckham, #641-623-5401 [email protected]

Finally, a note from Jim Shepherd’s The Outdoor Wire.

Jim’s my favorite “what the heck is going on” source. Friday – today – “both The Outdoor and Shooting Wires will feature our report on the attitudes of our readers across the United States to a simple question: “Has the Obama gun sales bubble burst?”

“The responses have been revealing, provocative and insightful. Working on the report, I can say without contradiction that it is not only our longest feature – ever – it is some of our best work at letting you know the firearms industry and gun enthusiasts are alive, alert and prepared to battle to protect their Second Amendment rights. There are insights and opportunities that will make you think…..don’t miss it.” I’m quoting Jim from The Outdoor Wire of Thursday, March 25th.

Take some advice from the old guy around these parts. Look up Jim’s article, and be darned sure you sign-up for and subscribe-to The Outdoor Wire. I’m more faithful in my reading of it that I am of always getting the first cup of coffee of the day down before I get my socks on. It’s that good and that important to you and me to keep up with what is going on both in front of and behind of “the screen” the popular press throws up between us and the facts in our industry.

Brownells is the world’s largest supplier of firearm parts, gunsmithing tools, reloading equipment and accessories. Stocking more than 30,000 items, the company supplies armorers, gunsmiths, and shooters worldwide. All of their products are backed by a 100% satisfaction, unconditional, lifetime guarantee. For more information, or to place an order, call 800-741-0015 or visit