Let's get real

The galloping housewife started off last week with some home truths about the fact that so many businesses in the equestrian world lose money and she’s not ready to back off just yet. She told you there’d be tears…

But don’t get too depressed, because just like you, the galloping housewife has looked down the barrel of a failing business, drowning in bills, struggling to pay staff, keep the power on, the kids fed and a roof over her head. It’s just that the first step to recovery is acceptance. Kind of like any other addiction, you’ve got to know you’ve got a problem before you can make steps to change it. And there may yet be confessions to make and forgiveness to seek.

If you could wave a magic wand and improve your business overnight, what would that look like? And don’t say win the lottery, because that’s not going to solve anything – your business will still fail, just more spectacularly.

Would it be more customers? Better paying clients? More efficient processes? Or would you be quite happy with your current cashflow if only you didn’t have to work 100 hours a week to maintain it. (The galloping housewife has definitely been there and it wasn’t a pretty sight!)

As she intimated in the previous blog, the decision to go into an equestrian based venture was not well thought out. Unlike just about everywhere else in the commercial world where prospective business people write plans and proposals and test the market and trial on avatars (really, it’s a thing…) we horsey people just decide that we are good at something and want to do it and people should just pay us, right?!? I certainly didn’t do any sort of proper profit and loss calculations and any spreadsheets I did end up writing were rudimentary at best and only written when I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t even afford beans on toast for dinner.

I know of one very high profile team who used to go to a show knowing they simply had to win something in order to use the prize money to put diesel in the lorry for the trip home. While desperation can be a remarkable motivator, it’s not a nice way to live and soon enough you get to the point where you realise that it’s not sustainable. The question then becomes do you stay the same but improve systems, do you pivot your business model or do you quit and start over. The good news is that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. With some changes you can go on and progress. In the case of the team I mentioned above, they pivoted their core business, developed a side hustle and are now one of the best known and most prolific teams in the world. Yes, the world.

Yet there’s still no escaping the first step. Ask yourself – do I make a profit? Because if you don’t, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

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