#16, Taylor Hayden, Blackstone Shooting Sports

Taylor Hayden started and runs Blackstone Shooting Sports, a shooting range and firearms retailer in Charlotte.  In this interview he talks about leaving a great corporate job to go out on his own.  He learned a lot through bumps and bruises along the way and shares a lot of wisdom gained along the way.


Time: 5:15-9:48

-Taylor’s lessons learned and challenges from Blackstone 

-Taylor’s quote, “When running a company on paper thin margins, if you don’t

run it well you aren’t staying in business.”

-Taylor’s background as an attorney

-Taylor cites his father’s passing as his inspiration for Blackstone


Time: 13:00-17:59

-Taylor explains how Blackstone came to be

-Target customers: “People who want to have an amazing experience.”

-Niche: “We’re here to deliver amazing moments that make you smile.”

Time: 21:35-24:23

-Taylor on revenue growth (adding new customers vs. selling more to existing customers)

-Blackstone’s niche: Being able to build your own customized AR 

Time: 30:30-35:55

-Taylor addresses how revenue is diversified across the company into 4 primary categories:

1. Merchandise

2. Membership

3. Entertainment

4. Random other things

“Revenue is vanity and cash is king.”

-GMROI (Gross Margin Return on Investment)

-Do you show everyone in the company your revenue and profits?

Time: 37:15-37:29

-Book reference ‘The Great Game of Business’

-Link: https://www.greatgame.com/

“If you don’t give people information, they are just going to make up information.”

Time: 47:25

-John references Ben Simon from Windsor Jewelers and their discussion on advertising 

when Ben was on the show.

Time: 50:38-54:08

-Taylor explains where the Blackstone name came from and how it was his wife’s idea

-References William Blackstone

-Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blackstone

-Blackstone URL reference: https://www.blackstoneshooting.com/

-Taylor announces launch of their new eCommerce components within the website

-Linke: https://www.blackstoneshooting.com/shop

Time: 59:14-1:01:59

-Taylor talks about opening another location

-John references when the point came that he needed metrics during Levvel’s growth

-Taylor quotes, “Big focus for us now is financial management with solid documented processes.”

Time: 1:05:14-1:08:09

-Taylor’s explanation on their consultative selling approach: Taylor’s team is trained to

find out what the customer likes in order to sell them the right gun

-John’s background with guns and shooting ranges

-Taylor’s viewpoint on why Blackstone is successful 

-Taylor’s question alot of businesses should ask themselves, “Do you pursue solely the

path that is the most profitable or the path that you’re the best at? Or do you find a way

to marry the two, like we are.”

Time: 1:10:40

-References awesome Blackstone Firearm Instructor: Don Bryant

Time: 1:24:41-1:27:37

-Taylor provides insights in his investment strategy 

-John references his, Austin Rosenfeld and Greg Brown’s viewpoint on selecting the

right investments:  “You bet on the jockey.”