Low Cost Marketing for Your Business

Morgan horseman Pete Jaeger of Chapel Hill, NC, e-mailed me about a recent Profitable Horseman newsletter and got to clicking the keys about a variety of subjects. His comments below about good phone manners and being easy to talk to are excellent.  He kindly agreed to allow me to share.

"There is one thing to be said for folks who do answer the phone by giving their name first! I was always taught to do this – especially in business relationships! 

Even if you "think" the person you are greeting knows your name I feel it is always "nice" to greet by extending your hand and saying your name – It’s one thing to be at a convention with name tags but many times folks who are not in business suit and in a different venue – all of a sudden I forget their name… 

When I organize an event the first thing on my list are "Name Tags: – a $2.99 expenditure at Staples solves a lot of embarrassing moments and (I think) encourages conversation between relatively unknowns – those who have never met or just met briefly once before…"

If you know Pete, you’ll agree that his friendly personality makes him easy to remember and probably one of the few who doesn’t need a name tag.

Horse For Sale DVD’s

I spent some time viewing horse for sale videos on line the other day.

Just like the movie title, there was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good were in focus with a steady camera.  Good lighting, usually outdoors, and walk, trot, canter both directions.  Good equitation riders up.

The Bad were filmed inside poorly lit indoor arenas (or was that a cave?) had Grandma doing the voice over or contained plenty of wind noise on the audio.

The Ugly opened with blasting rock and roll or country music themes, had heavy handed riders and filmed with cameras featuring dust covered lenses.  Oh yeah, after four minutes there was another six left to play.

Ugh.  Selling horses with digital marketing is the future. 

What do you like to see in a for sale video to help you make a decision about the next step?

Recession Effects on the Horse Industry

You probably have had your fill of reading and hearing news of recessionary effects on the economy.  And may be like me, you wonder what it means to the horse business.

Putting some thought into it, recession effects on the horse industry mean:

  • Even more depressed prices for "average" horses
  • Softer prices for exceptional horses
  • Casual horse owners with boarded horses and stretched budgets will sell their horses
  • Serious horse owners with boarded horses and stretched budgets will find a way to keep their horses
  • Boarding Lesson Training operations that compete with price only, will fail
  • Boarding Lesson Training operations offering value at a fair price will survive due to the nature of their clientele
  • Some horse owners will come to the conclusion that horses are for the rich, only.
  • Some horse owners will come to the conclusion that all sports are expensive and if horses are in their blood, they’ll find a way to include them in their lives.

What’s your take on less dollars to spend in the industry?

A  consulting client in the machine shop business told me today that a new (used) forklift he recently purchased was due for a paint job with a brush and a gallon of "John Deere yellow" tractor paint at the end of the week.

He joked about his passion for keeping tools and machines clean and painted, a condition he refers to as "auction ready".  When his former employers put paint on machines, the workforce always assumed it was because the business was failing and would be auctioned off soon.

Not the case with my client, but a good practice for all businesses including horse businesses.  The cost of a gallon of paint and a few hours labor is no more than it costs to:

  1. Keep tack clean and repaired
  2. Trim horse muzzles and ears and pull manes and tails
  3. Bathe horses  and maintain "show ready"

While you aren’t planning to have an auction in a few weeks either, being auction or show ready all of the time keeps up a good first impression, improves employee morale and attitude and makes your business and horses more valuable.

Spring cleaning is a good four season practice.