Start Your Horse Business With A "Spin Up"
You Have A Concept
You already have some kind of concept for a horse business or would not be at this site. Some of you may already say : I already know what I want. I want a horse boarding business with a 60-stalls and to give lessons on 250 acres. Great! Can you write that check today and get going? Probably not. So how are you going to achieve this dream? What is your business plan to achieve this goal? Win the lottery?
Like most of you, I already had a concept in mind when I began work on my business plan. For me, it involved Land, Stables, and Facilities that would support a horse boarding business. Whether your dream is giving riding lessons, operating a boarding business, breeding business, or starting a cutting horse ranch, there are many common elements.
The Failure of Most Business Plans
I knew that I would need a good Business Plan to start a horse business because I was not going to inherit an equestrian center and could not count on winning the lottery. So, I began in earnest to develop my plan.
I have looked at different types of Business Plan Software to develop my plan. I will you know further along the one I selected. For a number of months this Business Plan was researched and tweaked. The numbers and calculations were run and re-run. In the end, my plan failed. Either I would be far too much in debt or could not raise that amount of money in any event.
As most people would do, I began scaling back my plan. I reduced the size of my concept. I found some numbers that seemed to work, but only produced a minimal amount of income and not nearly as much as I would need to make a living in the horse business. I now suspect that many people have re-scaled their plans and are operating in a struggling fashion that is not quite the dream they once had. Maybe somewhat cynically, I now see many articles on the horse business that describe the business as a “ hobby ”. I am not talking here about IRS Regulations relating to “hobby farms”. I am talking about a business that does not return money and is purely a costly hobby in the non-IRS sense of the word. Having a hobby is one thing, but it should not mean a horse business that does not permit you to earn a living.
Once I came to the conclusion that my plan was not working, I began to analyze it again. I also learned why many people do not complete their business plan. While the guides and software programs provide manymany of us already begin to see that this plan is headed for failure and will not work. At this stage, a lot of us put the books, notebooks, and business plans aside and keep our plans for a horse business as a fond dream but no longer see it as an achievable goal. To be fair, the guide books would tell us that the plan “worked” in that it showed us we could not achieve this goal and suggested we move on to a different business.
I thought back also on my education. I had graduated with a major in Economics (with honors) and added a Law Degree to that. Yet this training was not helping me to produce a plan that worked. I reconsidered this plan for a while and finally decided that the only way to make it work was to expand the business beyond my original plan and add additional income streams to it. In doing so, I found some earlier break-even points and ways to make the plan more feasible in a general sense. However, I needed even more money to expand the plan--so I was going backwards.
I could not find a way through the maze to a successful plan. I began to just continue to collect information and makes notes on my concept, but with no real solution to the spreadsheets on my computer screen that showed I would be operating in the red. Was there no way I could operate in the horse industry and make a living. I even looked at some general information about the horse industry in the United States.
helpful approaches and suggest the next step in the plan,
Is There Enough Money In The Horse Business For Me?
The Horse Business in the United States is enormous and there is a place in it for everyone to start a business. How large is it? Consider this: In 2008-2009, the U.S. Government reports that the Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industry produced products (that is, films and music products) worth $102 Billion Dollars. The American Horse Council reported (in the 2004 Study) that the Horse Industry was responsible for $141 Billion dollars!
You should at least keep yourself somewhat familiar with the American Horse
Council and its activities. It is the leading national horse voice for horse owners
and businesses. Nearly 200 national horse organizations including state horse
councils, national horse associations, and leading horse industry businesses make
up its membership along with private individuals. With headquarters in
Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council will keep you posted on
legislation affecting many aspects of the horse business from economic studies
taxes, laws affecting lands, trails, and wild horses, and projects affecting
horse health matters.
What else has the American Horse Council Economic Impact Study found:
--There are over 9.2 million horses in the U.S.
--The Horse Industry has nearly 2 million horse owners and produces 1.9 million horse related jobs
--70% of these owners live in towns with populations under 50,000
A key point to me was that the horse industry is one of the remaining, independent business sectors in the country. It is made up of thousands of individually owned business and not dominated by a handful of corporations or franchises. It is not a cookie-cutter business it is widely distributed across the U.S.--there are opportunities for horse-lovers everywhere.
What kind of businesses do you find in the horse industry? You probably already know this--but think about it. This is important for it is part of your overall plan to start a horse business. Look and consider:
Horse Boarding, Breeding, Training and Sales
Horse Events and Horse Shows
Horse Equipment, Tack and Supplies
Horse Hay, Grains and Feed
Horse Clothing (for Horses and for Humans)
Horse Care, Grooming, and Shoeing
Equine Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians
Horse Media, Television, Radio, Magazines and even Websites
Horse Trailers and Transportation
Horse Jewelry, Art and Prints
…this list goes on and on.
The next key point? All these businesses are flowing along hand-in-hand. These are market-driven businesses that all work together through basic supply-and-demand. Each exists to ultimately provide a product or service in the horse industry. You just need to find a niche and fit in.
Finally, let’s get back to that overall impact of $141 Billion dollars in the 2004 Study by the American Horse Council. I don’t have that natural talent for music, singing, playing musical instruments, performing, or the artistic inclinations demanded in the film industry. Yet, the horse industry is larger than the music or film industry! We know how wealthy the more successful people in those businesses are. If I am in a larger business, why can’t I find my piece of that pie?
American Horse Council
Starting Your Horse Business With A New Approach
Face it: When you start a business plan that contains the words land, horses, barns, and fences, you already need a calculator and have entered the money world. This is where most of us get stumped. How can we get there and make a living.
Let’s get back to your plan for a 60-stall horse boarding facility. If you owned that facility now and if you operated it, you would add additional streams of income to it? Of course you would. You would begin thinking about ways to make your business more profitable.
What might you do? Let’s consider some examples:
--Maybe add-on a side business selling used tack?
--Offer to transport horses to vets and shows for a fee?
--create a riding program with good lesson plans?
--sell pre-owned horse trailers you have re-conditioned?
--put on your own horse show?
You can probably come up with a number of ideas. You know and I know that the list is endless. There are many services and amenities you could add to your business to produce extra-income and improve your income stream. That is where my light bulb went off. The Business Plan books we read and the Business Plan software will lead in ways to increase our income streams in precisely the manner we learned in college: “Spin-Off” Businesses.
Why look at it this way? I guess mainly because that is the way we have been taught. Many college classes tell us that our business that makes and sells widgets might have some spin-off businesses. Or, that once we are open for business and producing and selling widgets, we might offer some different products or services. Why teach us this? It disappoints us. We can’t raise enough money to open the widget factory in the first place (hats off to Bill Gates in his garage).
Why don’t we approach it differently--completely differently. Instead of looking for spin-off businesses later, why don’t we look at those businesses NOW. Why don’t we look at businesses we can SPIN-UP into a greater business.
“SPIN-UP” AND Get Started
--You currently work in an insurance agency. When you dream about a horse business down the road, you know you will want liability insurance. You already have contacts in the insurance industry. Can you get licensed? Talk to your employer? Are there equine insurance companies that you could work for as an insurance agent? If you sold med-pay policies for injuries sustained while riding, could you offer this service down the road in your own business? Are there fire, wind and flood insurance policies
that cover barns? Is there special insurance available for transporting horses? Can you sell these policies to existing horse businesses now? If you learn about this now, can you use this knowledge later?
And now the important question: If you started this equine insurance specialty business, could you fold it in later and SPIN UP this business into part of your 60-stall boarding stable? Of course. One of your add-ons is already going and producing income and would be a great product offering at the time you contract with a boarder.
--You have seen some of those fancy vending machines at work. You think they would be nice at the barn when that urge hits you. What can you vend? Energy drinks? Soups? Horse treats? Water? If you placed these machines in ten barns you know about. It would cost the barn owner nothing, offer a service, and you would have a ten-location vending route to service on week-ends. Can you SPIN UP this income stream into your 60-stall barn? Of course.
--You have just cleaned your horse trailer. It looks good and your you wish the aluminum was bright and shiny again. You look into aluminum polishes---they are everywhere for airplanes. You go to the airport and find the local detailer and learn how he polishes aluminum on an airplane and restores it. Next, you work on your trailer until it is gleaming. Can you detail other horse trailers? Yes. Can you SPIN UP this business later at your 60-stall barn and detail the trailers for your boarders? Yes. Can you use this ability and knowledge when you decide to sell pre-owned horse trailers as a side business? Yes.
--While you dream of your 60-stall boarding barn, you still shop online for equine jewelry and other equine themed products. Can you open your on-line horse jewelry store and maybe expand its product line? Is this an opening to that tack store you might add? Can this be a business you can SPIN UP into your 60-stall boarding business? Of course it is.
It All Complements and Fits In
Why is looking at your horse business this way important. Because it puts you on the road to your dream and you are IN THE HORSE BUSINESS NOW. It gives you an attainable goal; it produces money; and, you can always SPIN UP this business into a larger goal. It fits and complements what you want to do down the road.
And, be open to what happens next because something will happen. You may just find that your path to your goal opens even more doors and provides even more opportunities. What we are doing with this site is growing ideas and resources that help people achieve their dreams.
I want to get your mind excited about the opportunities that await you. I want you to startby thinking of achievable goals now and constantly figure out how this ties into your dream goal. I want you to see that each step brings you closer and moves you further down the road. I want all this to happen for you in a way that keeps you connected to the horses and the horse industry, for that is where your joy is found. This is what it means to love your job, you see how it gets you to your dream.
How is this site designed from here out? It is a resource for starting your horse business. It will answer important questions that you will be asking. Where do I get more knowledge? Where do I find out what I need to know to start a horse business? What are my major resources? How can I make use of the skills and abilities I have to get started in the horse business? Who can help me? What tools do I need?