Stable owners, can you answer the question: “Where is your business going?”
If not, it’s time to take a step back and think about the future of your barn.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the day-to-day routine, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don't have an immediate answer. But it’s important to take time to reflect on the goals you have for your business, what has been achieved and where you would like your business to be in the future.
Failing to look ahead can lead to stagnation and that frequently leads to a decline in business. This decline can be gradual, but sometimes it is abrupt, said Barbara Lindberg, the equine business management director of Cazenovia College.
Now is the perfect time to think about what you want your equine business to achieve! Writing a business plan is one place to start in the new year.
“Although it is ideal to write a business plan before starting a business, you can create a business plan even if you are already running your business,” said Kimberly LaComba, PhD, an assistant professor of equine business management at the University of Findlay. “Having a plan helps us to set goals, which allows a business to be more successful by working purposefully toward those goals."
If you already have a business plan, go back and look at your business plan. Are you are operating according to what you put down in your plan? Are you exceeding it? Not meeting it?
“Perhaps it needs a rewrite. Perhaps your business needs to pivot. Maybe you thought you would be doing a lot more training, but actually found you were teaching more lessons,” Lindberg said.
Take the time to rework your business plan according to what is going on in your business, and create a strategic plan to accomplish the goals you set in your business plan. There is a difference between a business plan and strategic plan. A business plan defines the business and includes financial statements. A strategic plan how you will accomplish the goals defined in your business plan.
The Small Business Administration (sba.gov) offers countless free resources that you can use to create a business plan and a strategic plan.
Part of answering the question “where your business is going?” includes evaluating services that are outside your mission or aren’t profitable. Offering fewer services, but selecting those that are most profitable, can turn out to be more profitable over the long run. Simplifying what you are offering in your equine business can help you be more profitable and feel less strained.
Some other articles on StableManagement.com that might help: