Six Keys to Getting What You Want in Business

The Entrepreneurial Operating System can help you get a grip on your business.

Six Keys to Getting What You Want in Business

Even the most successful range owner sometimes finds that running a range, taking care of retail sales and doing all the paperwork necessary for ATF compliance is challenging. You might be working longer hours than you expected and getting less return on your investment of time and money than you would like.

Ross Gibbs, CEO of HEI Traction, can show you how to get a grip on your business. On Monday, July 12, at the 2021 NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo, he covered the topic as part of his keynote speaker working session, “Get a Grip on Your Business: Six Keys to Getting What You Want From an Entrepreneurial Company.”

Ross has worked in a number of industries. At one time he was in the mortgage finance business, which he left to become a consultant. Then he and his wife also invested in, grew and sold a fitness business in Minneapolis. At the same time, on the side, he was an NCAA hockey referee for 17 years.

After Ross sold his fitness business and was considering what to do next, a colleague of his introduced him to the Entrepreneurial Operating System. As he studied it, he saw it as a business where he could impact others in a positive way. Being a certified EOS Implementer has allowed him to help business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses.

“I’m passionate about helping other business owners not make the same mistakes I did,” he said. “This is an amazing operating system that is so simple that the average entrepreneur can grasp it and immediately walk out and start using the tools.”

Ross said that the chance of success goes way up when an entrepreneur has three things.

“One is to have a peer group, so you don’t feel alone in the world,” he said. “One is to have a coach or a mentor who can make you a better person and a better leader. And you need to have some sort of operating system that can help you run a better business.” Ross said EOS provides that third thing that companies need to be successful.

“I want to be the third leg on that stool,” he said. “I want a business owner to be able to walk out of our EOS session and be able to run a better business and get more out of their business.”

Ross said that most entrepreneurs — which certainly includes range owners and retailers — regularly grapple with one or more of the following challenges:

  1. Lack of control over time, the market or the company;
  2. People who don’t listen, understand or follow through;
  3. Lack of profit;
  4. Growth that is OK, but that won’t quite break through to the next level;
  5. Remedies and quick fixes for problems that don’t really fix the problem.

Ross is passionate about teaching others the skills that he needed most when he was running his businesses. Range owners and firearms retailers are good at things related to the gun industry, Ross said, such as understanding product lines and dealing with ATF compliance issues. Sometimes, however, they struggle with vision, people, data or accountability.

“You need to get a grip on your business,” he said. “Sometimes a business can get a grip on us, but I want the retailer or range operator to be in control of the business and get more out of it.”

Ross said EOS was designed to be a good fit for small but growing businesses. It’s designed for busy entrepreneurs and is made up of simple concepts and practical tools that can be applied quickly and easily. EOS doesn’t treat symptoms; it gets to the root of the problem by strengthening the “whole body” or the six key components of the business: vision, people, data, issues, process and traction.

“Vision is about getting all your leadership on the same page about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there,” Ross said. “Traction helps you and your leadership team achieve every part of your vision, so you gain accountability and discipline.” EOS also helps leadership teams become healthy, functional and cohesive.

“As goes your leadership team, so goes the rest of the organization,” Ross said. “You can get to the point that everyone is crystal clear about where you’re going, you’re getting more done and you’re advancing into a healthy, functional cohesive team.”

Ross said EOS is designed to solve issues once and for all, by helping leadership teams focus on the causes of issues, not just surface symptoms. EOS also provides an easy-to-use framework for defining what’s important, who owns it and exactly what success looks like. As you implement EOS in your business, Ross said, the things that are overwhelming you will start to fall into place.

“Many of those things are symptoms of a root problem,” he said. “EOS is a mechanism of disciplines and tools that will help you make better decisions and act more quickly. It will help you hire better and solve problems better and put the right people in the right seats.”

Range operators and retailers who have implemented EOS have found it very helpful in improving their businesses. Jared Sloane, Operations Director for Shoot Smart at three locations in Texas, said it took some effort to implement, but he was pleased with the outcome.

“It’s hard to implement and maintain, and it requires a lot of work,” he said. “It really helped to have an implementer work with us on it. That said, EOS has helped us work on our plan. It helped us identify our core values and helped us coalesce around the vision for our business. And for a young team, it’s very helpful to add structure and provide a step-by-step process.” It also helps build a high level of functionality and trust, he said.

At Maxon Shooter’s Supply and Indoor Range in Des Plains, Illinois, owner Dan Eldridge discovered EOS when he was considering purchasing an existing shop and range at another location. The seller made a comment that the facility was a good fit because Dan had an existing system that he could drop into the new store and have it work.

“It was obvious to me that what we had was a really good team that did their jobs well, but we really didn’t have a system that we could pick up and drop into place,” he said. After talking with other store owners who had faced a similar problem, Dan found EOS.

“We’ve been using it six-plus years now,” he said. “What is has done for us — especially in the context of the pandemic and social unrest and supply shortages — has been a two-way test. We’ve been tested on how to operate safely and profitably in this environment. And our EOS tools have really been put to the test by those stresses.”

When you operate a business, Dan said, it’s easy to have your head down dealing with the mundane but necessary tasks that the business requires. The EOS system takes companies beyond those mundane tasks.

“By having weekly leadership team meetings, quarterly staff meetings and an annual planning meeting, we are forced into the discipline of working on the business and understanding where we want this business to be,” he said. “That way we are on track with each quarter, and each quarter that we are on track for our one-year picture, at one year we are on track for our three-year picture, and on out.”

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