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.
A well-constructed jump chute enables a horse to naturally find the correct striding and answer jumping questions while decreasing the chances of a runout. Best practices for eventing businesses do exactly the same for their customers. Truly! The basic principles of a jump chute offer a great deal of information for businesses in the eventing world. Streamlined business practices that enable a smooth customer experience go a long way in terms of scalability and reduced hassle in much the same way that a well- set-up jump chute can provide a great jumping foundation for a young horse.
Employing some best practices for your eventing business can save you a ton of time and reduce stress for all involved. Whether you offer lessons; boarding, training, haul-in schooling, schooling shows, consider how your customer’s experience can be set-up to function a bit like a jump chute to streamline your business processes.
1. Set-up for Success:
Figure out what steps someone has to take in order to become a client of yours, whatever your offering is. Then, identify which steps are “sticky” in this process, and consider some options to streamline.
For example: If you are a trainer offering lessons at your facility, you’ll want to have pricing clearly listed somewhere that potential clients can locate it. That might be your website, or a business Facebook page. Wherever that information is posted, be sure to also outline how an interested person can get a lesson set-up with you. Be specific with how you’d like the communication to occur.
If you list your phone number but prefer texting- be sure to note that! Maybe you just want someone to click through your availability on a scheduling site, be sure to note that, too. All of these details can help manage your customer’s experience and your own sanity.
2. Say “Bye” to Back-And-Forth Scheduling:
Find a scheduling solution that fits the needs of your business. Scheduling one on one lessons can be streamlined through a tool like Calendly or TimeCenter. Both can integrate with your calendar and your client’s calendar, enable you to update your availability, and handle automatically sent confirmation emails. There are tons of options that have more robust features as well, such as Acuity and Square- and some that can also integrate payments so you’re not waiting around for checks.
Back-and-forth texting to coordinate schedules can be hugely time-consuming for both you and your clients. Not to mention how likely we all are to get distracted during one of these conversations that often have many moving parts. Take time to research a solution that fits your needs, and try it out with a smaller “inner circle” of clients first to see what works for everyone.
3. Streamline Paperwork
Whether it’s a one-off lesson, paid cross country schooling pass or a combined test entry, chances are you need quite a few things from whoever is signing up. Horse and rider details, a negative coggins, release waiver signature, and payment are commonly collected.
Consider how you might be able to efficiently collect all of these things through one or two tools, as opposed to five or six. You’ll be shocked at how much time you’ll save worrying about what is where and who owes you.
Many platforms that enable you to create your own website have form builders available, and some of these enable document upload and payment processing as add-ons, too! Google forms are an option for some, while others rely on entry platforms such as STRIDER, ShowConnect, Event Entries, or even some that aren’t specifically designed for equestrian activities. There are so many factors to take into account when selecting what might work for your customers and your business, but a process that reduces rider hassle and your paperwork pile up is well-worth investing in!
As a horse moves through a jump chute, he or she is able to find striding between fences to build confidence and strength when answering jumping questions. In a similar vein, the more that you as a business owner or manager can set your clients up for success in terms of smooth communication and clear pathways, the more your business can grow.
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