What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence (BI) is the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.
How can it help me as a firearms instructor?
It can allow you to find out what you are doing well and what you need to improve upon. It can also help you keep track of your equipment and budgeting.
What information should I try to collect?
Consider the following data points and how you would go about collecting them.
- How did my students find out about my class?
- Did any equipment break during this weekend’s Tactical Taint Stabbing 201 course?
- What skills did each student confirm during the Beating for Morale Improvement course?
- What skills did each student find that they need to improve upon during Tactical Beard Grooming course?
- What firearm did each student bring with them to each class you have held?
- Are my students all rocking Trijicon RMRs on their handguns?
- How many rounds of Simmunitions do I have left after this weekend’s Grundle Gunshots Course?
- How many medical items did I sell after your Tactical Medicine Class?
- Did any students throw up in the FIST Helmet?
- How many times has Greg Ellifritz had to demonstrate the application of a neck tourniquet during class?
- How much did your plane ticket cost?
- How much did your hotel cost?
- How many students above my minimum did I have?
- How much time between the initial class announcement and the class date was there?
- What gun forums was my class advertised on?
- Where were class fliers posted?
- What was the split between my course host and me?
- What guns broke in class?
- How many injuries have I had to deal with over the course of my career?
How do I collect and sort this information?
Web Forms can save an instructor the frustration of having to carry around pens and paper by enabling students to fill in course reviews by way of their smart phones.
The toughest thing about Web Forms is not the form development, but getting students to fill them out in the first place. I would recommend either a reward discount or a promotional gift (bumper stickers) to really give students an incentive to send feedback.
Developing a Web Form and Getting Started
I strongly recommend Google Forms for both ease of use and price (free). Google Forms can save within the application itself or export to a spreadsheet.
Be sure to share the form publicly when you are done developing it so that all of your customers can fill it out.
Here is a model Course AAR form for reference and inspiration.
Here is a model instructor self-evaluation form for reference and inspiration.
Try to have as many questions have simple Yes/No options for answers.
In terms of evaluating past courses, keep a tally of things like:
- Did you get burned by the host or lose money on a particular course date?
- Did you have any injuries during class?
- Did any students guns break during class?
- Did any particular pieces of equipment fail on a student?
- Did you have to eject any students from the class?
- Would I go back to that venue any time soon?
It is best to start small and then start to look for patterns of business activity throughout the course of your training career.
You’d be surprised at how small adjustments based on the information can have big results!