If Megan Smits, the executive director of Horses for Healing, Inc., in Bentonville, Arkansas, could offer stable owners and instructors one piece of business advice, it would be to invest in an accounting system. She uses Quickbooks, but there are multiple options available. Remember that cloud-based systems allow access to your files from anywhere.
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“A lot of people forget to invoice, and you’re missing the opportunity to collect the revenue you’re earning,” said the Level 3 English and Level 2 Western instructor, who is certified by Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). “You’re out there teaching and need to make sure you’re paid.”
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Through Quickbooks, Smits automates invoices and receive payments online. The system also allows for scheduling recurring lessons and reminding clients of the facility’s 24-hour cancellation policy.
In the current climate with the coronavirus pandemic and stay at home directives that are cutting into stables' revenues, Smits encourages instructors and barn owners to consider applying for the incentives offered by the Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov). The stimulus program is offering numerous loans and payroll assistance that will convert into non-repayable grants as long as stipulations are met.
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“As long as you maintain everyone (employees), you won’t have to repay the loans,” she said. “It might help barns keep stall cleaners and instructors.”
She also encouraged individuals to explore Economic Injury Disaster Loans. This disaster funding provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are experiencing temporary difficulties. The monies can be used to cover operating costs and are not limited to small businesses. This program has some specifications related to agriculture, but Smits believes the case can be made to include riding programs.
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It takes a little bit of effort to research accounting software options and the opportunities available through stimulus funding, but it’s worth the time to make sure you’re getting paid for the work you’re doing and benefitting from assistance that’s available.
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