You're so different

What’s your USP? If you’re like most equestrian business owners your answer is most likely ‘Huh?’ As the galloping housewife has pointed out in her previous ramblings and been oh-so-guilty of in the past, most of us in the industry kind of fell into their line of business. Or more likely woke up broke and desperate and decided to start charging for the work that we’ve been doing. Now that we’re here we wouldn’t change it for the world, if only we could thrive, or at least keep the wolf from the door.

If you’re one of those people that really, truly loves what you’re doing and can’t possibly imagine doing anything else, there is a way to start to make money without changing everything. It involves a bit of marketing and a bit of finding your ideal customer and a bit of a look at what you do that brings you the most joy. That’s where your USP comes into play. Your Unique Selling Point.

What is it about your particular business that means that it will appeal to a certain customer base over your competitors’. (the galloping housewife uses the term competitor loosely, as she believes that the way forward is to think of everyone else as allies – it’s the industry as a whole that needs to grow, and when it does, everyone will benefit.) So – back to you – what’s so special about you and your business? Don’t worry about being the best. Dressage training already has Carl Hester, farriery has Haydn Price, photography has Libby Law. There will always be someone in your niche that is better than you. Instead look at what makes you different.

Are you particularly good with nervous riders? Do you like introducing young horses to cross country? Does your embroidery business offer a bespoke design service? Are you a groom who is amazing at turnout? Do you have accommodation and facilities that lend themselves to live in courses? Are you a transport company that is familiar with travel to specific continental destinations? Whatever your quirks are, whatever your way of presenting your information is, wherever your strengths lie, make that an integral part of your business.

There are a million people out there that say ‘I’m a dressage coach’. Instead say ‘I’m a dressage coach that runs supportive clinics for those that are new to the discipline – I’ll teach you all you need to know to get involved and have fun doing it’.

It’s called finding your niche. But go beyond that. Find your niche and then find the ways that you deliver a service or a product in a way that is specific to you. As the international business mentor and coach, Marie Forleo says ‘the world needs that special gift that only you have’. You don’t have to be the expert. Someone out there needs exactly what you do, in the way that only you can do it.


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