Monthly Archives: May 2014

Selling Silently With Pictures

Lindsay Palmer, a professional photographer, http://www.lindsaypalmer.ca/, strung still pics of her son together to create this 5 minute video of him for a few hours at his Montessori school.  If you watch it, you’ll agree with me it is a powerful marketing message with NO WORDS.

You’re not running a Montessori school, but you’re in the teaching business as well as the horse business. Do you know someone who can help you create a short movie of still shots to tell a compelling story about your boarding, lesson, summer camp or training business?

Are You Struggling With Customer Problems or Problem Customers?

From today’s Profitable Horseman newsletter in case you didn’t see it….

There is no denying it. You can’t be in business without having customer problems surface routinely. And as a business owner, problem solving is what you’re paid to do all day. You’ve heard these problems before:

“My horse looks thin. Are you feeding him enough? Can you help?”

“She has no respect for other riders’ space when riding in the arena. Can you help?

“He is always using my lead line and never returning it, can you help?

Some days you feel like a substitute parent for your adult customers to help solve their problems. Granted, frequently the solutions are simple for you, but not so for the customer. They don’t have your thousands of hours of experience and are seeking your help as a professional. Most of the time, they’re grateful for your help and advice and put that information to work for them as a lasting solution.

And then there are those customers with problems who don’t want your help. Problems like: horses that lead like they are still weanlings, horses that won’t load in a trailer or peacefully getting along with other customers at your farm. I call these problem customers-not customer problems. They are problem customers because of their attitudes. You most likely observed long ago, no matter how good your approach is, you can’t help someone who does not want to be helped.

And with this attitude, the problem customer becomes your problem. There are two solutions:

1.       Ignore it and it will go away. This will work, but only after your good customers have gone away.

2.       Have a discussion with the customer about the problem and how it affects others at your place of business and you as the owner. Offer your professional solutions on how to fix the problem.

If your solution is acceptable to the customer, proceed with solving the problem.

If your solution is not acceptable, give notice you wish them well with their next instructor, trainer or boarding barn owner without feeling guilty about it. You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.

What’s Your Top Priority?

It’s Monday morning and I’m sorting out a new work week with new responsibilities and the hangover list of last week’s to do’s.  It’s moments like this I wish I was a little less ambitious. And if I was, maybe the list from last week would only have one item left on it.

But, ambition is a wonderful thing. It’s what fuels business owners like you and me. So the challenge is controlling the ambition by keeping it prioritized. Prioritization isn’t as easy as it would seem. That’s because, often, everything is a priority.

Reducing priorities gets easy once your top priority becomes narrowing down your priorities to two or three for the day. Yes, I know there are things you must do, but that is the routine stuff. I’m talking about the priorities like getting a competitive insurance quote, working on the new marketing program or calling people in your network about the horse you have for sale.  Pick two or three priorities for the day and leave the rest on the to-do list and spare yourself the guilt and potential of an anxiety attack.

If you capture the things you need to do on a list, you’ve got control and you can relax. They’ll get done, delegated or dropped as you prioritize. I’ve found a helpful tool for capturing the things you need to do. It’s called evernote. You can find it here http://evernote.com/  You’ll like the price, too. FREE. And as the site says, it helps you remember everything.

How To Change Public Perception In Two Minutes

Yesterday’s Kentucky Derby win by California Chrome could be the start of an image and brand makeover the thoroughbred racing industry desperately needs. The stereotype blue-blood oil portrait image of a Kentucky Derby winner owner was temporarily repainted on May 3rd with the likenesses of anybody’s neighbors-just plain folks.

In the land of capitalism, where the daily reminder of the imbalance of wealth can be frequently defeating, a win by the common man and his horse from a humble origin reignites smoldering dreams in a way no other two minutes of sports can.

Dreams, work, persistence yield lifetime achievement.

Now, there is a story theme most people want to hear and need to hear. As the hype and promotion of the return of a long absent triple crown winner build in the next two weeks, the TB racing industry can reconnect with the world with a story about devoted and persistent trainers like Art Sherman, dreamers like California Chrome’s owners and the excitement and inspiration the story characters provide for you and me.

Opportunities for brand makeovers like this come along as infrequently as triple crown winners. I’m hoping the racing industry catches this ride.