8 things everyone should know about running their own business

November 14, 2019
A main focus of the Jack Dodd Foundation is to provide young riders with information that can help them prepare for anything that may come their way in the equestrian sport. We decided to interview a few independent riders, who run their own businesses, to get together a list of key things everyone should know about running their own business  

1. Get a good accountant

It is not only important to have a good accountant, but it is also essential to have one that has worked with equestrian clients before! The equestrian business has many unique aspects to it, and you need someone who knows these things and will always guide you correctly.

Pro Tip: Talk to people with experience and ask them for advice on all accounting matters so that you are prepared to work well with your accountants.

2. Prepare for hidden costs

We are all aware of how expensive the sport can be. Dealing with everything from vet bills to broken equipment can have a heavy toll on your expenses. Something as simple as wheelbarrows can come close to 500 EUR each! No matter how good you are with your monthly expenses, it is inevitable to encounter unexpected costs.

Pro Tip:  You should always set 20% of your monthly budget to hidden costs. It sounds like a big number, but one trip to the clinic, or one broken tire, and you are quickly up there!

3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

When it comes to owners and horses, a good idea is to try to diversify. The business has a high risk because we are dealing with live animals, but also a possible high return. The best way to minimise the risk is to diversify  as much as possible.

Pro Tip: Try to find a trustworthy person who will invest and split the risk with you – two people are stronger than one, and it is easier to take the loss in case it would happen.

4. Create an inner circle

Search for friends and experts to make up your inner circle. It is always important to have a few trustworthy people to turn to for advice. Of course, you have to trust your instinct and do things your way. But having that close network of people will always be beneficial when in doubt!  

Pro Tip: Ask questions whenever you have an opportunity to. The more knowledge you can gain, the better prepared you will be when things come your way!  

5. Social media is your friend

Some riders are for social media and some still haven’t embraced the digital era. However, everyone agrees that social media is very important to set your name, image, and brand in the industry.

Pro Tip: Use social media to expand your reach. You never know what opportunities can come  from it!

6. There are more bad days than good days

It’s not always roses and rainbows and butterflies, and unfortunately it is part of the business to have bad days. However, you can change your mindset and learn a lot from the downs. Taking advantage of those moments to grow is what will set you apart from the rest.

Pro Tip: If you stay in your comfort zone, you will stay small. Pushing your business out of your comfort zone will present challenges, but these challenges will only help you grow!

7. Set short term, midterm, and long term goals

A good strategy is to set realistic short term goals, followed by more ambitious midterm goals, and by mixing those together, you can reach your bigger long term goals. Never stop dreaming your biggest goals because that’s what keeps you working hard every day, but always use short term goals that are realistic to help you get there!

Pro Tip: We tend to want things to go smooth and fast, but everything must go step by step. Trust the timing of your life, don’t lose sight of your long term goals, but have patience to take it day by day.

8. Think long term

When you buy a horse, sell a horse, enter the arena, or do any type of business, think long term. When you think short term with horses, owners, or clients, it might feel like a good move in the moment, but you will suffer in the long run. Credibility and reputation are both key to helping your business survive, and the only way to build them up properly, is by thinking long term.

Pro Tip: Keep everything official from day one! It is easy to run into problems in the cash department when you have a young business. When you think long term and keep everything official, you can focus on having good numbers in your books in case you need to  ask for help from a bank.

Special thanks to all the riders who contributed to this article!

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