Monday Morning Perspective

I watched a little Professional Bull Riding over the weekend on TV.
Just thinking about bull riding as an occupation and what it takes to "go to work" every time you get on the bull’s back in the chute.

Sure makes climbing into a desk chair on Monday morning a lot more appealing.

I’d much rather be tied to a phone and a keyboard that tied to a bull’s girth.

Even Motel 6 Leaves the light on

I hear stories from stable owners about boarders using too much lighting, thus higher electric costs. Especially in the indoor riding arena. This leads to "crack downs" on lighting use.

I hear from boarders who want to be able to ride at night because that is the only time they can get to the barn and one of the reasons for boarding where there is an "indoor".

(10) 400 watt metal halide arena lights burn 4000 watts or 4 kilowatt hours of juice every hour.

A kilowatt hour costs as little as a dime or less in some areas and about $.18 per hour where I live in New York State land of high utility costs mainly due to obsessive taxation.

So, 4 kilowatt hours at $ .18 each = $ .72 per hour of burn time on the high side and $ .40 per hour on the lower side.

Is it worth getting your customers agitated over a little light for their recreational pleasure?

Even discount Motel 6 leaves the light on for you.

Fired Up Customers

We bed our horses with wood shavings delivered in bulk truckloads. My wife called for a load to be delivered and was told that it would be a few days. She called again after a week to see how long it might be before a load could be delivered to the farm. “Not sure” was the answer. Three days later the load came and was dumped into the corner of our indoor arena. The driver handed the invoice, which was folded in half, to my wife in the barn. The driver said quietly, “We had a little price increase.”

“Little” amounted to 28% more than the last load. My wife called the bedding business about the increase and was promptly told, “ Save your bitchin’ and your fire for Dad.”

Taken aback, a call back from the owner was requested.

The price increase will be addressed and dismissed if he ever calls back, but bad treatment and poor customer service is never forgotten.

Three opportunities to mention the “little” price increase were ignored. The Titantic had a “little leak”, too, I suppose. I can live with price increases; I can’t live with clueless business owners. Granted, the daughter’s telephone manners are atrocious, but the problem starts at the top-Dad.

Poor manners and bad customer service not only results in the loss of a customer, the story gets told over and over in the community that customers of that business need to save their bitchin’ and their fire for Dad’s deaf ears.

Steps to Success in the Horse Business

One part of the path to success in your horse business is the creation of a vision for your business–big and better ideas committed to paper. But, writing it all down doesn’t work without an action plan to follow through.

"Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must up step up the stairs."–Vaclav Havel

When you are in a hole…

"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging"–Will Rogers

Easy for you to say, Will, and easy for viewers looking down into the hole to comment.

But, if you are in the hole, an apparent prisoner of gravity with earthen walls surrounding you and the sky as your roof, digging still looks like the only option.

More lessons, more boarders, more horses for training are what some professional horsemen constantly dig for.

What if they looked for ways to do more with the students, boarders and horses in for training they already have and increase the revenue per stall, per person or per horse instead of always looking for more heads at discounted rates?

Eat Like Your Horse

Professional horsemen are always adjusting the nutritional value of the feed program for their horses and their clients’ horses. Top performance is achieved best through good nutrition.

And who doesn’t know that Captain Obvious?

Most everybody knows that, but how come so many horsemen choose to ignore eating a nutritious, balanced diet to achieve top performance themselves?

Share a handful of Cinnamon Apple Granola with your best four legged friend at snack time today.

Finding Blaze

Billy_and_blaze My aunt and uncle gave me this book when I was 10 years old.  I spent a lot of time re-reading it and imagining what it would be like to have a horse of my own. 

Three years later, I found out.

Never underestimate the power of intention. It has delivered more results than you can remember.

Are Your Horse DVD’s S.A.S?

I was helping with the making of a DVD as a promotional piece for a stallion this past weekend. We were discussing the optimum length of the piece after editing.

The consensus was to keep it S.A.S. : Short And Sweet. Too many homemade horse videos roll on like the home movie festival from hell. Cute comments, corny music, bad camera operation and poor cut ins and cut outs can ruin the positive promotional effects of a DVD. The DVD can turn negative if done poorly with the biggest problem being length.

There is much to be learned from working with horses and even more to be learned from working with children. Speaking of learning from children, quite a role reversal for most of us, Malcom Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point" makes a point about the attention spans of children watching television. Sesame Street TV segments that go over four minutes in length lose viewer attention. Three minutes is ideal.

Children don’t pay attention to long TV segments. Now I’ll grant you that adults have better potential and ability to focus when they choose to do so, but it’s harder than ever for adults to focus also.

Consider the clutter problem of daily commercial messages: the average American is exposed to 254 different commercial messages every day. Radio, TV, Print, Internet.

If you are lucky enough to get a prospect to look at your promotional DVD, enhance your chances for a sale by keeping it short and sweet. Leave the full length film making job for professionals.

Horse Business Planning for 2007

Running your horse business can be overwhelming with choices.  What for you to do in your business each day, what to have employees do, deciding the most important things to do at the moment, are all choices for the equine business owner. 

It seems at times that you can be a slave to your own business creation.  And feeling indentured to your work isn’t one of the reasons you are self employed.

Stephen Covey wrote this in "The Eighth Habit", " Only the disciplined are truly free.  The undisciplined are slaves to moody appetites and passions."

A steady discipline of sticking to the important three things on your daily to do list will yield great results this week.  Give it a try.