I was recently elected to a director position with the Niagara County Farm Bureau. Having attended only one board meeting to get familiar with the work of the group, I attended a regional meeting attended by about 50 other Farm Bureau members who reviewed a sixty page document of Farm Bureau resolutions or positions on agricultural policy.
My head was spinning with the scope of the work of the group state wide and nationally. As a lobbying group, Farm Bureau makes its voice heard statewide and nationally. If you have the opportunity to serve on a committee for Farm Bureau, Horse Council or a similar group, DO IT. The industry needs your help.
In my newsletter today, I wrote about using three ring binders as a simple but effective tool for keeping important information. When I attended my first board meeting, I was presented with a three ring binder filled with important information. It was complete with tabbed dividers already labeled for me. I was impressed. If you read my newsletter, you’ll know why. If you aren’t subscribed to my free weekly electronic newsletter about the horse business click here and scroll down to the sign up box.
The last session of a workshop series for professional horsemen sponsored by the Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club and the Genesee Valley Breeders Association was last night. A group of 17 were a thoughtful audience genuinely interested in improving the profitability of their businesses.
We covered the 8 Strategies of the Profitable Horseman program during the series and I heard first hand how some had put what we talked about into immediate action for results. They raised boarding rates that were long overdue for increases, revived lesson programs, improved signage and shared ideas for handling problem clients, managing help and selling horses without off farm trial periods.
While I know the material presented was very helpful to the audience members, the opportunity to talk to others in the horse business in a comfortable environment was equally valuable.
Feeling isolated is common when you run your own business. While you can share some information with employees and perhaps a spouse or partner, it’s never quite the same as discussing with a group who share your highs and lows.
While a strong business foundation is helpful, it can never replace encouragement and support from those who are like minded.
My friend Craig is my go to source for small engine repair problems. He tells me I make it too difficult when troubleshooting my small engine repairs. "It’s one of three problems, always", he tells me.
And he’s right. The problem is always related to one of these three simple things. If I run down his list of three, I can always solve my problem.
Spark, fuel and air are the three items that usually need to be considered when troubleshooting a business, too.
Spark is the equivalent of leadership. Is the owner a leader sparking, inspiring and giving the business and employees direction?
Fuel makes the business go. Are there proper resources: tools, machinery, horses and working capital?
Air is the life of the business. Are the employees providing the right kind of "oxygen" and energy for business success? Can they and are they able to sustain the business with their actions and talents?
For a part time wrench spinner and troubleshooter, Craig has some professional ideas.
You can count on this in most business negotiations:
It’s cut in stone that nothing is cut in stone except D.O.B and D.O.D. on a grave marker.
Everything else is written in crayon, pencil and erasable ink.
When negotiating price, terms, delivery, color, size, warranty and guarantees, there is always room for give and take.
As negotiators in North America, we are conditioned to make assumptions so frequently that we accept inflexibility as the norm and negotiating, dickering, bargaining and haggling as something that is distasteful and lacking class.
As a seller and a business person, keep in mind the buyer may think all of your prices, especially horses, are etched in stone.