Dress for Success

My mentor, Art, used to say, "dress like a deck hand, get treated like a deck hand."

His point was look a little sharper than average, you will be noticed and get better results. Even though his business was contracting, his advice holds for the horse business.

Art meant that it pays to wear a pressed collared shirt, a sport coat when appropriate, riding boots, britches or suitable cowboy boots and hats. Having a presence other than a barn worker will help your business.

It’s true you never get a second chance to make a first impression in business. Look the part of success. You’ll feel more successful and your business will prosper.

Sticking Your Neck Out

The horse business is just like all other small businesses.  The Pareto 80/20 principle applies.  20% of those in business earn 80% of the profits.

How come?

They stick their necks out.

Being innovative, different and taking risk are the common traits of successful business people.  I’m talking about that 20% group.

Doing the same old stuff as everybody else gives you the same old results as everybody else.  In the horse business, that usually means working long hours, stress over money and unhappiness in a business you thought you’d love.

So take a little more risk, keep your eyes on the next fence and Don’t Look Back.

In the FishBowl

Sometimes, when your business routine becomes steady and predictable, you can lose clear sight of what is happening around you, become focused on your micro environment and lose contact with the ocean of opportunity around you.

When you get to feeling trapped in your own fishbowl, get a view from the outside looking in, a fresh perspective or help from a professional problem solver like me.

Owning your own business is about moving to bigger spaces not being limited to a small bowl forever.

Do you take plastic?

If you want to make it easy to sell riding lessons, boarding, horse appraisals, training or that used saddle, you’d better have MasterCard and Visa available for your customers.

It makes it soooo much easier for the customer than writing a check or forking over cash. After all, that is real money.

When you hand over cash as a customer from your purse or wallet, you have less cash.

When you write a check, you have less checks and a deduct from you balance.

When you use plastic, not only do you get your card back, you get a product or service. No apparent pain, all gain.

Well, not until the next statement comes in the mail.

Look into getting set up to accept charge cards in your horse business if you don’t already.

Picking the Right Handle


The path to profitability in your horse business involves choice.  The daily choice you are faced with is choosing to remain in your comfort zone or choosing to take risk.

Choosing the comfort zone means picking up the pitchfork by the handle and cleaning stalls, feeding and sweeping and doing the things in your business that are productive but don’t have anything to do with increasing your income potential.  They’re safe and predictable and you are secure with them.


Picking up the telephone by the handle and talking with customers, prospects and your network involves risk.  Sometimes it is uncomfortable and offers the potential for rejection and problems.   

The rest of the time, your use of the telephone as a tool to grow your business pays off in new opportunity and big dollars.

Are your choosong the right tool handle to hold each day?

Big Ass Fan Marketing, The rest of the story.

  A few weeks ago I posted the following in my other blog, Made You Look:


Big Ass Fans

As summer approaches, I’m a fan of fans not big asses. (neither four or two legged varieties)

The branding of Big Ass Fans is a terrific example of creativity with a (yawn) boring product.  Fans are fans except for Big Ass fans.  The website has some appropriate flash to get the fan point across.

In the agricultural industry, when you need to move some air you need to moooove some air.  No need to buy a wimpy city fan, you need a Big Ass fan to create a hurricane of air.

You’ve got to love what this company has done creating raving fans for their fans. Have a look at the site.

The rest of the story follows.  Within 24 hours, Big Ass Fans had discovered my blog post, contacted me to thank me for the mention and got my mailing address to send me a prize of Big Ass Fan swag.

My new Big Ass Fan logo shirt looks great on me and I’m wearing the temporary Big
Ass logo tattoo. (that’s branding!)

Now, that is how to keep the buzz spinning about fans!

Kudos and thanks to Public Relations Specialist Heather Henley.

The meter is running

If you pay your help by the hour, keep in mind that your true cost per hour includes: your employer contribution to FICA, disability inurance, state and federal unemployment insurance and workers compensation insurance. If you aren’t in the States, I’m sure your government has its fair share of taxes and deducts to calculate.

So, if you’re paying $ 10.00 per hour, you may have to add as much as 20% to allow for the additional cost of help.

$10.00/hour, in this case, means $ 12.00 per hour.

The meter (electric meter, too) always runs at higher rate than we’d like to think!

Big Fat Geek Calendar

Here in North America, the horse business is in overdrive. Something happening every moment.

If you don’t know what’s up next, you probably don’t have a Big Fat Geek Wall Calendar.  It is a must to keep everyone in your barn and business in syAt_a_glance_12nch with what’s going on in your business.

Get a big calendar and let everyone know the events for the year.  Post it for all to see.


Toot Your Own Horn

There is nothing wrong with shameless self promotion. You should be proud to tell the world what you do well in your horse business.

If you don’t,

who will?

Write your riff and be able to blast it out whenever you meet someone new or have the chance to tell others what you do.

Leading the Team

Horse business owners often don’t cherish their roles as leaders of the team.  One more responsibility on the road to success is assembling and maintaining a support team of help for your business.

One of the best methods of becoming a better leader is simply to decide that you will do it.  Your horses expect you tLong_faceo be the leader; your employees do also.

There is no reason to have a long face over your responsibility as a leader.  Your decision to be a professional horseman puts you in the leadership group automatically.

Employees thrive on good leadership and appreciation for work done.

In fact, employees have rated appreciation for their work number one over wages( number 5) on surveys of what they want for over fifty years.

It isn’t always about the money!

You already know praise goes a long way with your horses; praise is important to your employees and the important people in your life.

Catch an employee doing something right today and say well done!