A life with horses

One of my favorite projects this year has been working with fellow entrepreneur, equestrian lifestyle blogger, journalist, mom, and friend Jeanette Aretz. She has built up an incredibly loyal group of followers of blog as well as her Facebook and Instagram account by writing about a wide variety of equestrian topics in her “straight to the point with a touch of humor” kind of style.

One of the biggest questions that always pops up when working with riders as well as bloggers is how to actually start making a little bit of money out of all the hard work that has been put into creating a blog and community online.

In the case of A life with horses, Jeanette had already offered an equestrian lifestyle advent calendar last year, but this year wanted to step it up a notch and make sure that everyone that enjoys her blog would also be able to purchase her very personal and picture-perfect product.

We worked together on a tailor-made Go-to-Market strategy specifically suiting her style, audience, and resources and … so far so good!

GET YOUR ADVENT CALENDER HERE

 

Want to know more about how to turn your equestrian lifestyle social media platforms into a source of revenue?

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You only get what you measure

Measure

How often have you had the question: how’s the business doing? Your answer, of course, will be: “doing great, thanks”… but how do you know what ‘great’ is? Do you measure your performance backed by solid data or gut feeling?

When I was still working in a large multinational corporate environment, one of my senior managers would go on and on about how “you only get what you measure”, and although we didn’t always want to hear it, we knew he was right. Now I also see that this does not only ring true for large-scale corporations reporting back to their investors, but also for small businesses.

Here are some business situations in which gathering solid business data and measuring success accordingly could be of real importance to your (small) business:

Getting that start-up cash investment

What’s your launch plan vs buying plan: buying in bulk or staggered? How much is your warehousing facility going to cost? What’s your revenue projection: when are you planning to break even / turn a profit? What % are you willing to part with for the support of potential investors? What will you projected marketing investment be as a % of turnover? Yeah, I know, all very “dragons den” but nonetheless extremely important data in order to secure that much-needed injection of start-up cash.

Best sellers vs Non movers

Which items are your top sellers vs non movers and what are you going to do about it? Shuffle your online shop around to increase visibility? Run a promotion on the items that are selling the least or if they are really just gathering dust in the warehouse and cramping your online style then simply scrap from sales and start afresh with the new collection? You will only know this if you keep a close eye on your sales data and do a regular 80/20 assessment of your stock

Sales are down 40% vs YA…. ehhh why?

Well done!!! In order to know sales are down 40%, you’ll already be tracking your sales data in the first place… but now the big question is WHY? Do you have your marketing activities and investment tracked vs Year Ago (YA) as well as your sales? Do you know the size, value, and volume of your current offering vs YA? Ahhh maybe it was the huge 20% OFF on all items promotion or that shared stand at Badminton Horse Trials that boosted the sales last year? Make sure you plan for either the same level or increased visibility, promotional activity and offering to ensure a smooth growth of your business.

Choosing the right promotional support

This one offers 2 sides to the data measuring story. First, in order to know which type of support, visibility, and promotion works best for your business, you’ll have to measure the previous activity’s performance in the first place. This way you will know if that social media influencer or the facebook add brought you a better return on investment. Second, in order to make any kind of activity succesful, you’ll need to know who you want to reach and where: the better you know your potential target group, the better you can select who sees and interacts with your promotion, the better your return on investment will be.

There are many more examples of how measuring and using data can help your business run at its full potential. Here at The Stylish Equestrian Consulting we have a genuine love for a good excel sheet session and a bit of number crunching, so if this thought is a bit daunting to you or you have no idea where to find this kind of data and you’d like to focus on the creative part of designing your new collection, then feel free to get in touch for business coaching and support.

 

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Spring cleaning for Equestrian business owners

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Springtime is always a good time to do a thorough sort and clean. Not only for your tack room at the barn or your wardrobe but also for your business.

Often us entrepreneurs find ourselves bogged down by all the little things that need to get done to keep the business up and running, so every once in a while it’s really good to do some spring cleaning of your everyday activities.

Take a little time to sort through all the elements and activities required to your business and make an assessment if they fit in either one of below categories:

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URGENT – IMPORTANT

Do it now type of activities, like answering suppliers/clients or sending over approval of your final designs to get them done in time for production.

NOT URGENT – IMPORTANT

Things you can plan for and still have ample time to work on i.e. your annual marketing plan, an upcoming event/tradefair, photoshoot planning or updating your e-commerce platform.

URGENT – NOT IMPORTANT

Things that have really got to be done, but that are maybe not necessarily leveraging your key strengths as an entrepreneur: can someone do your weekly bill paying for you? Maybe someone would love to help you pack your orders? Can you get some help sorting out your warehouse in a more logical way?

NOT URGENT – NOT IMPORTANT

The ultimate spring cleaning category: do you really have to spend an hour google searching a new font for an Instagram post? Is that part of your website adding any value or just bogging it down? Have a good think, and if it’s neither urgent nor important then simply don’t do it!

In an ideal world most of our working time would be spent in the NOT URGENT – IMPORTANT category, but most of the time we find ourselves in neverending URGENT – IMPORTANT mode. A little spring cleaning can help you declutter your activities, focus on what really drives your business and have more time to work on the fun stuff.

Need help with your spring cleaning?

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On barn time

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Us equestrians are very familiar with the concept of ‘barn time‘: that unique phenomenon in which time seems to magically disappear when at the barn. We have all heard ourselves say: I’ll be home at 9 and find yourself still rolling up polo wraps at 10 o’clock, knowing very well that your start-up admin for the day is waiting for you or you are now running frightfully late for that important business appointment (breeches to the office anyone?).

Now, why do we always run into this magical web of ‘barn time‘? Is it procrastination (putting off the things we know need to be done… but don’t necessarily like to do) or is it simply because when we enjoy what we do we seem to lose track of time while doing so.

Still, we then all know that sinking feeling when arriving back at home or the office and realizing there’s not enough time left to get done what needs to be done that day.

Here are a few tips and tricks to manage that inevitable ‘barn time‘ effect a little bit better and still get things done:

BE REALISTIC

How long does it really take to prep a horse, ride and take care of all the other daily barn things, while still feeling like you’re not rushing around and you can focus on your training plan for the day? Time yourself for a week and lock down the average time you will need in your agenda as a fixed appointment with yourself (including travel time!). This way you can’t double book yourself, will have plenty of time to take care of your four-legged friend and still be back in time to join that important conference call.

PLAN BACKWARDS

How long does it really take to write that business plan, get the design in for a new collection or train for that upcoming competition? Once you know your deadline, start planning backward with all the steps that need to be taken to achieve the set goal: realize you need more time? Either postpone the deadline or prioritize the really important milestones that need to be done and delay other projects. Especially if you are an equestrian and are juggling work family and friends, you are at some point going to have to make some difficult choices on what you can really squeeze into your 24h day.

GET THE NASTY DONE FIRST

Set ‘barn time’ as reward time: get the things done that might otherwise get pushed to tomorrow and then enjoy your time at the barn (however long it might take…)

 

Need some help to prioritize what’s really important for your equestrian (start-up) business?

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