9 Horse Business Resolutions for the New Year
By Kathy Smith, Publisher, Canadian Horse Journal
With the start of the new year, many of us are thinking about setting goals and making changes for the coming year. As a horse industry business owner, you may have some major resolutions in mind for the year ahead. Perhaps you need to invest in technology to improve efficiency, develop and market a new product or service, or improve your social media marketing.
While personal resolutions are typically made on the spur of the moment – and mostly forgotten about by February – business changes should be based on reflection and analysis, careful and thorough planning, and an implementation strategy that maximizes the chances of success. Yet while regular planning is essential if you want a vital, growing business, it can quickly slip down the priority list as more urgent demands take over. As you plan improvements for the coming year, remember to take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished over the past year and celebrate your successes in addition to remembering your missteps and lessons learned.
So as a new year’s arrival fills you with inspiration and resolve, there’s no time like the present to decide what your “big picture” should look like in the future and to start setting the stage for the growth and change your horse business will benefit from.
“The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
What will your New Year’s Resolutions be? Here’s a list to use as a starting point to help you plant the seeds for future success:
#1 – Make Business Planning a Priority All Year Long.
Rather than just once or twice a year, set aside time to plan, review, and adjust priorities for your business. Dust off your business or marketing plan and get it updated, then fine-tune it and your business goals on a regular basis, such as every week. Small adjustments done frequently will help to keep your business aimed at your target goals.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” - Mark Twain, Author
#2 – Be Realistic.
Make your goals achievable and reachable.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” – Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company Founder
#3 – Learn Something New.
Add to your skills and knowledge regularly. From books and courses to webinars and seminars, it’s never been easier to access specific, relevant information to help you develop and improve your business.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” - Socrates, Greek Philosopher
#4 – Try Something New.
Don’t be afraid of change, embrace new ideas, new technology, and new ways of doing things.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” - Tony Robbins, Motivational Speaker
#5 – Tap Your Resources.
By talking things over with people who can help you stand back and look at your business objectively, you could produce some interesting results. When you involve others in the planning process, they’ll be more supportive of and excited about the coming changes.
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” - George S. Patton, U.S. General
#6 – Market Your Business Consistently and Regularly.
A day without marketing your business is like driving a car with your foot off the gas pedal. Marketing should always be a priority – it drives your business forward by attracting new customers and reminding current customers of the value they receive.
“For a business not to advertise is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does.” – Stuartt H. Britt, US advertising consultant
#7 – Make Customer Service a Priority.
Listen to your customers; their feedback, whether good or bad, is invaluable. Good old fashioned customer service can make or break your relationship with both present and future clients.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” - Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
#8 – Look Ahead.
Are things changing in your business environment? Is your business well positioned for the future? Learn all you can about the market you serve, not just where it is now, but there it’s going… and get there first.
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzy, Hockey Star
#9 – Exercise.
Even a little regular exercise will increase your energy, improve your focus, improve your sleep, reduce stress, and of course, improve your overall health. As a business owner, these are all things you need. Too busy? The busiest people I know find time for regular exercise. As long as you are physically able to exercise, if you have the will, you’ll find a way.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy