Monthly Archives: September 2006

Thinking in Pictures

Advising my clients to create a three year vision for their horse businesses is one of the first things I recommend when I start. Usually, I suggest creating a narrative of one page of bullet points up to thousands of words of prose to help the process of getting clear about what your business game plan looks like. The process of committing on paper is very powerful.

I heard Dr. Temple Grandin speak recently about how she, as a person who is autistic, thinks in pictures instead of language. She describes her thinking process as being similar to Google Images. Vivid pictures and images appear as related links in the thought process. Dr. Grandin has done much research in the way animals, having no formal language of words, also think in pictures and make associations of emotions with pictures. Fear, especially, is linked to seeing images of past fear related events.

Fortunately, my awareness of other ways to create a three year vision has been heightened. Thinking in pictures for me may never be the value it is to others, but if it is how you think best, take advantage of it.

Your three year vision for your business could be a mind map or story board as an alternative to a formal written document. The purpose of your three vision is to create a personal reference. It’s not for the benefit of others; it’s your very own tool to reach your goals.

Use pictures and graphics to create your own vision and please remind linear, narrow thinking, language centered people like me, that we need to get the Big Picture in our thinking.

Riding Lessons-Life Lessons

Some days, the life of a riding instructor is consumed with providing life lessons, too. The nervous, stressed, angry or melancholy riding student is not geared for an easy lesson. Rider, horse and instructor are destined for a rough time when the student brings mental baggage to the lesson.

Counselor is not in the job description, but asking the question, "What has you on edge today" might help the student unload some tension so that she can concentrate on you and the horse.

Things are never as bad as they seem once it’s talked about.

In the horse business, you need big shoulders physically and mentally.

Professional Horsemen

Cha I flew home Sunday after spending a few days in Colorado seeing an existing client, a new client and presenting two talks for convention attendees of the Certified Horsemanship Association’s International Convention at Colorado State University. 

It’s always a pleasure to hang out with motivated professional horsemen who seek to build their businesses.   For many, attending the convention involves traveling thousands of miles, leaving their businesses in the charge of others and spending precious time and money to help build their knowledge.  Run by volunteers, this organization sets strong standards for the members and attracts true professionals.

The joy of presenting to such an attentive and knowledgeable audience made the rigors of air travel a small nuisance. 

Keep your axe sharp by attending a meeting or convention with dedicated professionals soon.  You will prosper from you efforts.

Take A Day Off and Get Paid for it.

Good horse trainers build in days off for a horse in its individual training program. Sometimes it is a complete day of rest, other times it is a trail ride or something fun other than drilling with more ring work.

They understand the importance of letting the horse’s mind and body rest.

But, the ironic twist for some professional horsemen is that they never schedule a day off to let their minds and bodies take a break.

If you are in this category, would you do yourself and everyone in contact with you a huge favor?

Take some time off.

When you do, another ironic twist happens. You will be more productive, make more money and be more fun to be around.

I dare you to test this concept.

Personal Brands for Horse Business People

How strong is your Internet presence for you and your horse business?  If you type your name in Google and  press Search, what comes up?

  1. Your name in horse show results from 2003.
  2. Your name along with 500 others in the 10-K run last summer.
  3. Your name, not in reference to you, but in reference to people you share your name with.

If you can’t find you, how will others find you?

Get noticed; begin to identify your brand.

Stuffing 10 Pounds in A Five Pound Can

I’m working on polishing two session talks I’ll be delivering to the Certified Horsemanship Association’s International conference at the end of the week.  The soothing theme simplicity keeps replaying on one side of my brain and the hard rock of more material is jammin on the other side.

It takes a lot of hard work to design delivery of content that is simple enough to understand but still has value in about an hour’s time. 

But isn’t that what it’s all about.  Say more in fewer words.  Who said, " I could have made this speech a lot shorter if I had more time to work on it."

Say it simply in your horse business dealings.

Provocative Learning for Horses and People

Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users makes a point about being provocative in your business.

"The secret is to be more provocative and interesting than anything else in their environment."

She uses an analogy for horse training from Pat Parelli’s Savvy Conference she attended to apply to general business.   As a professional horseman, are you being provocative in your training for both horses and people?

Spend some time thinking about how you can be more provocative in your horse business.

Then put your ideas in action!Horseteam65x49

Blinders are for horses, not horse business owners.

Charge What You Are Worth

I suggested to a business owner a few months ago that he raise his rates. He was at market or below with pricing. Today he told me that he’d raised his rates, gotten new clients and had not lost old clients at the new rate.

Does it get any easier?

If you are at market or below, raise your rates. How will you ever know if you are worth more?

Yes, I know it appears to be a risky thing to do.

If you own your own business, since when did a little risk become
an obstacle?

Generational Balancing Act

I spent some time yesterday working with a client on a possible expansion plan for his business. It involved the owner bringing his father in to work for him. Dad would be taking orders from son.

Quite a role reversal for the two of them and an interesting study in differences of opinion and willingness to change and listen.

After some serious talk and some levity, I’m not sure that any of us knew whether the expansion would happen with Dad working for son.

I walked away encouraged but cautious about the ability of both father and son to keep work from getting in the way of their relationship.

In the horse business and every other business, family members have to work harder than ever to keep the balance of tradition and innovation on the right side of the tipping point.

Of course they don’t know. That’s why they pay you.

Customers and clients are so tough to deal with some days aren’t they?   

Empty_class_room_3 Don’t they know anything about horses?

Maybe yes and maybe no.  Depends on the day.

That’s a wonderful thing, the fact they don’t know everything if you keep it in the following perspective:

If they did know everything, they wouldn’t be willing to pay you to help them with riding lessons or training or showing.

Their ignorance is your bliss.