Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
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on Sunday, 08 September 2013
in Penniless Philanthropy

Transform Your Horse Business

Kims photoI’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Cardeccia, a Licensed Professional counselor who has been involved with horses for over 30 years. She has operated her counseling practice since 2001, following 10 years as an elementary physical education teacher. She combines her professional skills with her passion for horses in order to help individuals surpass the mental and emotional blocks that continue to limit their experience of life. Kim’s unique style of compassionate guidance emphasizes communication and safety (both physical and emotional) in her work with people and horses. She combines her training and expertise into holistic methods to help clients heal their mind and body connection. This affords individuals the ability to tap into their inner strength, enabling them to better direct their lives and reach their goals.

Kim is the Penniless Philanthropy partner chosen in July 2013. She is very passionate about the work that she is doing and is looking for the tools and techniques of converting her offerings into a business that will support her. She developed a couple workshops and identified who her target audience is prior to our work. Her situation is not unlike so many others in the horse industry that struggle to get beyond break-even (or perhaps even losing money) to positive and supporting revenue generation. Kim and I would both like to share part of the process with you as she works to transform her business.

Early on, my discussions with Kim have centered on a few key concepts:

  1. Consider a paradigm shift from being a service provider focused on horses and personal transformation to being a business owner. This is a big shift because it requires giving a nod of the head to the fact that if you don’t embrace and engage with solid business skills, you won’t reach your stated goal. You will need these skills throughout your business lifespan. If you aren’t willing to make this shift, then it would be wise to get a partner who brings business skills with them, or to take your services and offer under someone else’s roof.

  2. Who REALLY is your target audience? How much do you really know about them? As an equipreneur, you must keep adding to what you know about your target audience. This allows you to effectively develop new products and services that will meet their needs. It also allows you to craft your marketing message in a way that will reach them and be heard by them.

  3. Do you know what your sales funnel is? Have you packaged your offerings in a way that makes it easy for your prospects to try and then buy, and then buy again, and then buy again, and then….you get the idea.

  4. Fail forward fast. I love this quote because it really is all about where success comes from. What it means is that though we’d all love be successful instantaneously, that’s not usually how it happens. Usually there are setbacks, roadblocks, failures, ooopses, and side tracks all along the way. Failure has such a negative connotation in our society and yet, success is so often born of failure. Don’t wallow. Figure out what went wrong and fix it and try again. I compare this to riding a jumping course – if you knock a rail down, don’t look backwards at what just happened. You know what happened to the jump, and you probably have a pretty good idea what caused it. You need to be focused on the next jump, and working to fix it by the time you get there.

  5. To that end, set goals and benchmarks. Then measure your key performance indicators as you go. This information can provide a solid guide for you to spot problems before they get too big to solve.

To date, Kim has developed her 5 year vision, laid out her starting financial data, and taken a look at her marketing initiatives as part of this project. Through this process she has been able to identify key elements that need more work in order to get her to her goals. Working with an objective coach/consultant really helps us all to move past our own boundaries that we set for ourselves.

When we get a little further along, I’ll ask Kim to be a guest blogger to share her perspective of what it’s like to go through this process. Her insights and discoveries will be informative – and you may recognize your own situation in her perspective. When you run your own business, it can be easy to feel alone, or like an outlier, or like everyone else must have had an easier time getting where they are. It’s always good to hear that you are not alone and that others are working equally hard to establish and grow their entity too.

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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”

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