If your farm or stable is full of happy, contented customers, you might not think you need to read this article, but you eventually will lose a customer and need to find another. If you have some empty stalls or paddocks that you want to fill with the right clients, then you definitely need to read this article.
We have talked a lot about customers because it is important. We know that All Customers Aren’t Created Equal, we’ve offered tips on Finding New Customers for Your Facility, and we’ve talked about Managing Client Expectations among other topics.
In this article we’ll talk about defining your target market. Those are the people who will fit nicely into the facility you have and the people who are there.
If you are a boarding farm for Thoroughbreds, then you probably don’t want to target dressage riders to fill up empty stalls. Those are two different types of facilities requiring vastly different management expertise to be successful.
But if your market is dressage riders, you can further “define” your market to ensure that any new clients fit in well.
If all of your current boarders are 50 year old women who occasionally show, but are at the barn every day to spend time with their horses and each other, then bringing in some teen dressage riders might not be the best mix of personalities and priorities in the barn. Or if you have the 50 set and bring in a younger three-day event rider (yep there’s dressage interest in there, but also jumping and more speed work), it might not be a good fit for the older clients, or the new one.
While you don’t want to discriminate because of age, sex, race or gender, you have a responsibility to your long-time boarders to make your facility as welcoming and trouble-free as possible.
So when you are defining your target market, keep in mind that just “dressage riders” isn’t a clear enough definition of your ideal client. That’s true for any discipline. That’s not to say cross-disciplines can’t co-exist successfully, but that needs to be defined by you as your target so there is no misunderstanding with your clients.