The following is provided through a partnership between STRIDER and the USEA. As part of our commitment to diversity, enabling access, and building capacity throughout the industry we are pleased to provide this content to benefit the sport of eventing.
Running a business isn’t easy. Pepper in the equine factor and things get a whole lot more complicated. Whether you operate a training facility, run a sales barn, or offer lessons to eventing enthusiasts at any level, explore these best practices for ideas to ramp up your revenue this season.
Make Information Accessible
The quickest way to grow your business is to make it easy for potential customers to learn about what you offer. Because research shows that about 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a key accelerator for equestrian businesses.
Ramping up your online findability can happen in a number of ways such as cross-promotion- how many times your business name appears on other websites, but one quick fix is to update your website with important keywords. Whether your business offers cross country schooling, horse boarding or eventing training, be sure to use those phrases in various places throughout your site’s content to help more potential customers find what they are searching for.
Another important factor in information accessibility is reducing friction points that folks may bump into as they transition from potential customers to paying clients. Use your website to proactively answer the first five questions people usually ask when they reach out to inquire about your business. A common area of friction with potential customers is that they have to personally reach out via phone or email to ask for pricing. You can dramatically improve the process when you publish a rate chart that clearly outlines details of key services offered and what you charge for them.
Make it Easy for People to Pay You
Scaling your business and your revenue can require some investment in new techniques. Introduce digital payment methods to capture revenue securely and quickly. Chasing down clients for payments can take a toll on your business revenue and your overall well-being. The easier you make it for clients to pay you, the more likely they are to pay in full, on time.
It takes anywhere from five to fifteen minutes per check to process paper payments. Just think of the time you’ll save when folks can click-to-pay for board, training, lessons, and other services.
It’s important to consider what types of digital payment tools are appropriate for your business and remember that one IRS inquiry will cost significantly more than processing and transaction fees. Many accounting professionals familiar with equine businesses recommend selecting one or two methods of accepting funds digitally, as it saves a ton of time come tax season. While there are a number of options to choose from, it’s important to research the tools and weigh factors you deem important to your business.
Stay in Touch
To boost participation in your upcoming Combined Test, a clinic you’re hosting with a member of the US Olympic Eventing Team, or simply to grow your training and lesson program, it is critical to remind people that your business exists. The best ways to do this are to grow an email list/ maintain a newsletter and post regularly to your business social media accounts.
Programs such as Mailchimp, iContact, and ConstantContact all offer free plans with customizable templates to help you easily connect with your existing clients and potential customers.
If penning newsletters and crafting social media posts sounds worse than your least favorite barn chore, see if you can enlist the help of a savvy student or member of your barn family. Consider also asking that person to regularly share your business page posts about sales horses, upcoming activities, or community events to regional groups on Facebook. These small steps over time will help you boost your business revenue enough to add a marketing professional to your team!
Leverage Alternative Revenue Streams
Identify ways in which you might be able to add additional revenue streams to your business model that do not require you to be physically present. If your primary source of business revenue is horse sales or training, you might be able to rent out your riding arena to haul-ins a few hours a week. Similarly, if your facility boasts a cross country course you can offer schooling passes.
Of course, you’ll want to check in with your insurance company before expanding your business offerings. Be sure also to explore efficient ways of handling bookings and payment. If your additional business revenue stream requires 6-7 hours a week of scheduling via text and hunting down check payments, it might not be worth it. Thankfully, there are a number of cost-efficient solutions that are user-friendly for you and your clients.
Value Your Time
Your time matters. Yes, really: your time matters.
Chances are your clients send you links of videos of horses they’re potentially interested in purchasing, over text, in the evening, when you’re trying to relax after a long day in the barn. While watching a few four to five-minute videos of sales horses can seem innocuous, that time can add up quickly. Consider coming up with a consulting fee for services of that nature. Remember, you are being asked to provide your feedback because you are an expert in your field. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time, it is valuable.
STRIDER is the leading entry platform across disciplines for the equestrian industry.
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If a horse doesn’t have a proven eventing record, those interested in finding their next eventing partner must use other criteria to evaluate a horse’s potential in the sport. Understanding and appraising a horse’s conformation can be a way to look into a crystal ball for that horse’s future suitability for eventing.
Communication is defined as the imparting or exchanging of information or news. Life with event horses often requires a great deal of information to be exchanged. From basic care to facility announcements, lesson schedules, competition plans, coordination of appointments with veterinarians, farriers, and body work professionals, there’s no shortage of information flying around.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) continues to monitor the outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in California. Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that there are three counties—San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside—where confirmed or suspected cases of VS have been identified.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and United States Eventing Association (USEA) are pleased to announce the dates and location of the 2023 USEF/USEA Eventing Developing Horse National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.
The Championships, which will include a CCI2*-S for 6-year-olds and a CCI3*-S for 7-year-olds, will take place at the Stable View Oktoberfest Horse Trials in Aiken, South Carolina, from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023.