There are more than enough equestrian businesses that have great concepts and ideas, but are lacking in many areas. Maybe those areas are funds, branding, marketing, online presence, physical presence, or even just lack of business knowledge. Equestrian businesses can vary tremendously in terms of the venture, so we have formulated a generalized 5-step guide to creating your own successful equestrian business.
Step 1 – Find a Profit Motive
The biggest mistake we see people make in equestrian businesses is diving into the marketplace for “love of the sport” instead of having a profit motive. This may come off to many as a shock, but this is standard business practice in the outside world. We are all for the idea of “doing what you love”, but if you want to do what you love and you don’t care about the money, then don’t start a business, keep your love for the sport what it is: a hobby. If you can’t find a reasonable way that you are actually going to make money in your equestrian business, then you will be viewed by the IRS as a Tax Shelter. If the IRS decides to audit your records and finds that you have no viable way of actually earning a profit through your business, then your business will be considered a hobby, and this is where things get REAL ugly. You could owe thousands in back taxes from deduction adjustments, as well as penalties and interest. If the amount of losses are too large, you could be facing jail time. Find a profit motive, and save yourself the trouble.
Step 2 – Come Up With a Business Plan
As scary as this sounds, many equestrian businesses do not fulfill this step properly. Devising a business plan is the most important step, because this step will calculate if your business will succeed or fail. Coming up with a business plan does not need to be extremely formal with cover sheets and endless paragraphs of statistics (unless you are applying for a major loan). This business plan is designed for you to analyze the costs and revenue associated with your business idea. This can be done on a simple microsoft excel spreadsheet. Obviously, in order to fill this spreadsheet out correctly you are going to need to research things such as: all fixed costs involved, all variable costs involved, the size and location of the market, strength of competitors, and market availability. Once you have come up with these numbers, you will be able to accurately see how much money your business can make against the costs on a per week, per month, per year basis. Because most people tend to under-estimate their costs, and overestimate their sales, the research is what is going to pay off here. It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to a similar business and ask them some of these questions.
Step 3 – Get Feedback
Why is this step important? Because your business idea might sound really cool to you, but it may be a horrible idea in the eyes of others. If other people don’t believe in your idea, then your market is already decreasing, and you haven’t even started yet! Before you blow through thousands of dollars and waste countless hours working on your idea, you should get some feedback from different groups of people. During this stage you may find that there are other issues or problems you may face that you didn’t even think about! If you want to be “mysterious” with your idea, then just ask generalized questions without going too deep into exactly what it is you are doing. Remember, that once you start your business you will need to sell your products or services to these people, so they are a great starting point for feedback on a business idea.
Step 4 – Be Different
The #1 reason businesses fail in the United States is that they cannot separate from their competitors enough to cut through the market. No matter what the business idea is, you have to be different in some way. You need to have a different look, feel, or something of the sort. If you’re just like everybody else who is doing what you do, then why would they want to buy from you? As a customer, if you can’t give me at least 3 reasons why your company is better than your competition, then I’m not going to buy from you. period. You need to be different in terms of branding, marketing, and quality. Give your customers many reasons why you’re better than the next. This will not only help you beat your competitors, but will also help you work towards making your product or service that much better.
Step 6 – Market, Market, Market
Once you have your business set up and you’re all ready to get selling then you will need to make friends with your greatest asset: the supreme power of marketing. Marketing is the single, most-powerful weapon you can add to your arsenal, hands down. You could have the greatest product in the world, but without proper marketing you WILL fail, and your competitors will be laughing all the way to the bank. Marketing is like a very strategic game of chess, except the winner takes the money, the customers, the loyalty, the recognition, and the respect, while the loser goes home with an empty bank account and $50,000 worth of inventory they can’t sell. Marketing is a very dangerous tool in the business world, and it is what drives multi-billion dollar companies to higher grounds. No matter how big or how small your company is, you’ll always grow with proper marketing. When I refer to “proper marketing”, I do not mean posting spammy Facebook posts, twitter auto-messages, and paying some company to send 10,000,000 emails advertising your products to a list of people who don’t care. I’m talking about marketing that produces REAL results. Marketing that tells the right story to the right people at the right time. Marketing that lets people know that this is what they need, and this is what they want.
With the correct implementation of these 5 steps, your equestrian business will be on its way to success!
If you’re looking for help, check out our Equestrian Marketing Services.