Are you looking to start a horse business this year?
Do you know which legal form to choose for your new company?
I understand how frustrating all this can be!
Lawyers explain the different options, without taking the business decision for you. Commonly, they’ll let you decide based on your own business judgment and what suits your situation.
If you are like most entrepreneurs, this will make things even worse and will make you even more confused.
It’s totally fine, don’t panic!
Follow the following steps and you will have a clearer picture of what needs to be done.
First, write down why you want to start a business?
What’s your vision and mission of your business? How would you like it to be, have, do and look like?
Then check the different legal structures to see what most aligned with your purposes.
There isn’t a perfect business structure.
Each business form has its pros and cons. Make sure that you understand the differences and most importantly, how it will impact your business, especially from tax and liability perspectives.
A golden rule would be to start small and keep it simple.
The business structure role is not to impress anybody or make you shine.
Some positions or titles like a (CEO or Chairman) look or sound tempting. Don’t fall into this ego trap. Just stick to what limit your risks, minimize your taxes and makes your life easier.
Here are the steps, that will give you more clarity on what’s legally required and what you need to think about when you start a new business (which varies from one country to another but the main fundamental principles stay the same).
You would need to talk to a corporate lawyer, a tax auditor or CPA who is licensed in the jurisdiction where you want to start and operate a new business.
This article is not intended, construed or interpreted as legal or financial advice to any particular person or case. It is just for general information purposes.
Generally speaking, a limited liability company is a legal form most commonly recommended to entrepreneurs starting micro or small businesses.
A micro business would typically have less than 10 employees and a small business would have between 10 and 50 employees.
Company laws in different countries usually distinguish between two broad types of business forms – partnerships and corporations.
Without going into much detail, you need to understand one thing in this perspective: that in most jurisdictions, incorporating a partnership may not limit your liability, especially if you’re the general partner or in other words – the partner who is managing the company.
Unlimited liability in this context means that all your money will be at risk to cover your partnership debt although some laws would give a limited partner option, for the partners who are not engaged in managing their companies.
Accordingly, it is not very recommended, in my view, to chose this type of legal form for your startup.
Why? Because you need to limit your liability.
Limited liability companies and joint stock corporations, both in most jurisdictions, limit your liability to the money you invested in shares or stocks. Which means your personal property or money (your home, car, money in your bank) is not at risk.
Assuming you are not in the venture capital or private equity business or have any plans to list your business on the stock exchange in the near future, you have a partner or two, capital to startup with that’s not in excess of USD 100K, most probably a limited liability company would be your best choice or popular option.
It’s recommended to invest surplus money that you don’t need to cover your day to day living expenses, rent, and bills.
It’s important to have a business plan, SWOT analysis, STEP, and a business model to start off with.
You need to research what those acronyms stand for and figure them out.
If you don’t know these acronyms, it would be better to find some templates to make your life easier.
In most cases, a limited liability company’s capital requirement ranges from USD 5K to 50K depending on the jurisdiction in question. Typically around USD 20K.
Usually, a joint stock corporation capital requirement will start from USD 100K. However, some jurisdictions allow partial payment of about 25% to be paid upfront. The remaining may be paid in installments later in subsequent years.
Obviously, you’ll need to cover the minimum capital requirement or partial payment. Your capital should be moderate and adequate to your activity or similar businesses in your niche or vertical. Not too much or too little. Typically, you need at least what will cover your expenses (for the first six months to one year).
It is normal for you to encounter more expenses than revenue in the first year. If all is set up correctly and you put in the hard work, you may or may not see a gradual shift in the opposite direction in the following years, until you reach a breakeven milestone. This is when your revenue covers your expenses. Anything in excess of that point is profit.
As concerns profits, you’ll either distribute them, so they become dividends, or you can reinvest them in your business as retained earnings for the following years.
There are normally rules for distributions, which in some cases oblige you to build legal reserves, typically up to half your company’s capital.
It is common practice that you retain your earnings for the first few years to grow your business and build reserves. Some countries that prioritize prudence over transparency in their accounting standards, like Switzerland for example, may allow you to have latent or hidden reserves. Other countries won’t.
Accordingly, it’s very important to have a business plan with a budget or estimated costs for the coming years. Sometimes, it’s not easy to figure out those numbers precisely, but it’s important to have an estimate.
Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.
Think of your planning documents as living documents that you will always need to adjust, tweak, and tune going forward. Like a musician who adjusts his guitar chords over and over again before every gig.
You’ll need to do that for every business, project, service or product.
Master plans are not just important to build your strategies and tactics, but you will also need metrics to measure them against. You can pivot and take corrective actions whenever necessary in your business development journey.
In most cases, you’ll need partners, delegates, and outsourced collaborators.
Some jurisdictions allow one-man show businesses and others don’t.
In all cases, it takes two to tango, I suppose. You can’t reach that far on your own. You’ll need a team. Teamwork and networking are essentials for the success of any business.
Having at least a partner is good for brainstorming, support, and to hold each other accountable for what needs to be done.
Any successful business, project, service or product needs good teamwork behind it. Those teammates need not necessarily partners owning shares in your business, but it’s essential to have somebody you can rely on.
Doing everything yourself is not something I would recommend. To scale your business, you would need to focus on only doing what you are good at. Delegate, automate or outsource the rest. The internet offers a great opportunity for that. Check sites like Upwork, for example.
You can even leverage the difference in labor costs, and get better value for money, by outsourcing to overseas skilled labor countries like India, China, the Philippines, and Egypt.
Arbitrage can also be done, given the fluctuation of exchange rates so you can benefit from major and sudden drops in exchange rates against the US Dollar like what happened in South Africa and Egypt in recent history.
Don’t marry for money. Your partner is here to stay, at least for a few years.
Have partners who you like to spend time with. Those who share your vision. Those who you enjoy working and chatting with. Like-minded, yet diversified and multi-talented.
Since you – the founders – are going to be managing your businesses, as most startups do, then try to have the right mix of people who have diversified knowledge, skills, capabilities, and experience.
It’s strongly recommended to have a large spectrum of interdisciplinary skills and diversity in the workplace.
Hiring or outsourcing to disabled, marginalized and disadvantaged people, who have the required skills, knowledge and professional attitude is to be encouraged. The social aspects and philanthropic impact of your business is something that you should seriously consider.
Environmental and social awareness are both very important these days. Sustainability is something you need to consider, of course, and having partners and collaborators who have that level of awareness is necessary.
You definitely also need to consider a good corporate lawyer and the legal auditor or tax accountant for your accounting and taxes. You do not need to retain them on a continuous basis, but at least have their opinion or services at the start of your journey to ensure you walk on the right foot, you know your rights, obligations, and how to manage your legal issues and accounting books.
Virtual assistants are nowadays available online too.
Name: You will need to choose a name for your business. You will need to search a database to check if it is free to take or if it’s already used by another business. It’s good practice also to check it as a domain name too, and even better to search it as a trademark as well. To make sure that you can later protect it as a domain name (if you plan to have a website) and trade or service mark if you are selling a branded product or service that needs to be trademarked.
AoI: You need to prepare your Articles of Incorporation, which in some jurisdictions is referred to as Articles of Organizations. In other jurisdictions, there are also by-laws or statutes. Whatever the title may be, it is more or less the same thing. It is the contract that forms your business and its bible or constitutional document. It typically includes: names of the partners and managers, the objective of the company, its legal address, the amount of capital, number and value of shares, fiscal year, general meetings, tax auditor’s name, accounting books to hold…etc
EIN or UID: It is your Employer Identification or Business Number, in some other jurisdictions they call it Commercial Registration Number, or Unified Number. It is a unique number to identify your business. It’s like your business ID when dealing with governmental agencies or third parties.
Taxes: You will need to register with income and sales tax authorities in most jurisdictions, except if you are in a free zone or tax-free area, where such registration is not required. Normally you get a tax card or number for your tax registration. In some countries, you are not required to register for sales tax unless you reach a certain turnover threshold.
Bank A/C: Businesses need a separate bank account so that the partners can deposit their shares of capital, and later it operates as a business account to make and receive payments. Partners need to designate who’s eligible to sign to transact on its bank accounts. Only those eligible designees will be entitled to transact at the bank on behalf of the business.
Social and labor authorities: In most jurisdictions, you will need to register your business as an employer at the social insurance services or labor office. With some exceptions, you might only be required to do that if you have employees or a minimum number of workers.
Finally, I am wishing you the best of luck and success in whatever journey you chose to take.
Just remember to move forward seeking progress rather than perfection. It’s those small steps you consistently take every day or week that build up and help you eventually achieve your goals.
The next logical step after you start your business is to start marketing and selling your equestrian products and services as soon as possible.
Check this article if you want to know how to market your business:
Time flies so enjoy every moment of your equestrian and business journey.
Choose joy, smile and stay positive!
To learn more about equestrian business and management, check those books on Amazon:
As a corporate lawyer and certified horse professional, I manage EquiJuri, an equestrian sports agency that helps horse riders develop their careers and set up and run their equestrian businesses. We offer our magic circle clients legal, marketing and management consultancy to grow their businesses and online presence.
Contact me now to see how we can work together.
Looking for the best Christmas gift ideas for a dear horse lover?
You’re not alone – I hear you!
Every Christmas, thousands of people try to think up original gift ideas for their loved ones.
It isn’t always an easy task for those who are not into horses or equestrian sports.
You also don’t want to be drawn back to the same old jumpers for your brother, slippers for your father, or a pair of socks for your partner.
Anyways, the best presents don’t always fit underneath the Christmas tree!
Let’s think out of the box for a second this year, especially that not every horse present is pleasant.
Christmas gifts can also be shitty!
Yes, what you saw is real horseshit!
That’s the exact gift-wrapped horse manure Christmas box that, believe it or not, Trump’s Treasury Secretary of State in the United States of America, Mr. Steve Mnuchin received at home on Christmas Eve last year (2017) in order to protest a tax plan.
Americans, their President Mr. Trump and his secretaries are just funny! Aren’t they?
No other current presidents can give us this much fun and laughter, I guess.
A Los Angeles psychologist called Robert Strong has admitted “gifting” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with a box of manure in what he says is a protest over the Trump administration’s tax bill.
Mr. Strong shared photos on Facebook of the card that he said accompanied the deliveries and reads: “Mrs. Mnuchin & Trump, We’re returning the ‘gift’ of the Christmas tax bill. It’s bullshit. Warmest wishes, the American People. PS – Kiss Donald Trump for me.”
That was the bad new!
If this story hasn’t inspired you to think out of the box and you’re still looking for original ideas – keep reading.
Because the good news is: we’ve already researched what’s out there to save you precious time & money.
Finding the perfect present for horse lovers this Christmas should be no problem with the great selection of gifts that we made available for you online.
Here are the best horse Christmas gifts ideas you can buy online from the comfort of your couch to treat your loved ones!
We’ll focus on gifts for ladies, not just for the traditional cliche “ladies first”, but because they represent the majority of over 66% of the riding population, and also because of a recent sports injuries research showing that horse riding is the riskiest sport for girls.
Girls courageously take an enormous amount of risk to pursue their deep passion for horseback riding!
The research analyzed admissions to accident and emergency (A&E) at two Oxfordshire hospitals over a three-year period. They found children and adolescents aged between 1 and 19 years old accounted for almost half (47.4%) of those injured during recreational activities.
Riding was found to be in the top three riskiest sports for girls in this age group, along with trampolining and netball. The only activity to cause more injuries to girls than riding was trampolining, with 213 cases admitted, compared to 142 (8%) for horse sports.
The research revealed a clear gender divide in the popularity of equestrianism, with the number of riding accidents involving girls vastly exceeding their male counterparts at 92% of admissions.
The most common age for girls to injure themselves riding was 13.
Statistics on the nature of injury showed that girls aged 5 to 9 had a high percentage of fractures from riding, accounting for 11 out of 16 recorded injuries in this age group (68.8%).
The research found fractures were the overall most common cause of A&E attendances for sports injuries, totaling a quarter of all admissions.
In trauma data on 324 accidents that led to hospital admissions, horse riding was cited in 16 incidents, which involved females 87.5% of the time.
Riding was also the most likely cause of sports-related head injury in girls (12%) according to Horse & Hound.
Despite acknowledging parents efforts to encourage children to participate in sports to avoid obesity and be healthy, however, this data raises a red flag and whistle blow a serious need to raise awareness on injury prevention, safe and secure equestrian sports and installations.
I mentioned this here so you pay attention to safety and security when buying tack and clothes for your loved ones or even when choosing a riding school or instructor for your beloved daughters or partners.
Without any further ado, here are your some ideas for the horse lover in your life this Christmas…
Finely crafted from faux fur for warmth and comfort.
Boasting a soft and fluffy feel, it’s the easy way to add a hint of feminine glamour and luxury to girls wardrobes.
A quality leather belt perfect for wearing with breeches or jeans.
The two crystal Sniffle bit details at the front are perfectly balanced to give an elegant horsey style.
Designed with ample storage, this holdall is an ideal choice as a travel companion for any horsey woman on the move.
The ladies Unicorn Scarf is cosy and perfect for keeping snug and warm during the colder months.
The Unicorn Scarf comes in different colors.
Since you can’t really wrap up a horse, wrap up your loved one’s horse picture in a frame. Find or take a nice photograph of him or her, or even hire a professional photographer to do so.
Here is a daughter Personalised full-color unicorn wooden frame suitable for Christmas and make a great memorable present.
It can be personalized with the name of the sender and recipient.
An exclusive equestrian design, the work in the detail of the horse bit on this slender solid British sterling 925 silver bracelet is an example of true craftsmanship.
Lauria Garelli Moena Ladies Horse Riding Fur Trim Country Walking Winter Jacket.
Perfect riding jacket to add to your wardrobe for those colder days.
Built in elasticated wind stopper to prevent against those cold winds.
Treat your loved ones to a special watch from Longines’ Equestrian Collection, which was developed as a tribute to the brand’s involvement in equestrian sports.
Longines blends passion with innovation in the Conquest watch, dedicated to showjumping. With the Conquest analog wristwatch, you can measure showjumping results taking the FEI Regulations into consideration.
Check EquiTraveler to help you find the most suitable ticket to offer your loved one an unforgettable experience of watching a world-class event where showjumping & dressage horses and riders perform live.
The best experience to have on the list in my view is to witness the finest international equestrian athletes and horses, gathered to compete at Geneva’s 58th Edition, CHI De Geneve that will take place on December the 6th to the 9th, 2018 at Palexpo Geneva.
Contact EquiTraveler now to help you buy your tickets, travel and hotel accommodation to give your loved one a unique special gift to truly remember!
These are just a few examples of special horsey Christmas gifts ideas to offer your loved ones.
No matter which idea you choose, be sure to have the video camera or cell phone on hand to record the joy!
If you don’t find what you`re looking for?
And want more Christmas gift options and inspirations…
Don’t worry – But harry!
season great discounts.
We bring you our best pick of the most common Christmas themed gifts we found at Amazon, the largest and most trusted online retailer in the world.
Enjoy shopping and choosing from more than 90 Christmas variety of gifts from the comfort of your couch.
Check it out here to make them love you this Christmas!
Don’t wait until too late – when the discounted stock and special offers are gone.
Go get it NOW!
As a corporate lawyer and certified horse professional, I manage E-Corporate Lawyer (“ECL”), EquiTraveler and EquiJuri an equestrian sports agency that helps horse owners with a passion for riding develop their careers, start, manage and protect their equestrian businesses.
We offer our clients legal, marketing, and management consultancy to grow their investments, businesses and online presence.
Do you wish to grow your equestrian business?
Are all the tasks your equestrian business requires is overwhelming?
Do you wear so many hats that need your personal attention, riding, training, horse care, transport, suppliers, online presence, sales, management, grooms, vets, feed, footing, tractors, stables, and everything else that comes with it?
Don’t worry, you are not alone! I hear you.
In this step by step article, I will guide you through a 7-step marketing plan. If you apply it to your equestrian business, you’ll solve your most important problem: increasing sales and profits.
If you are like most professional riders and equestrian business owners, you either have time or money. If you have enough of one, you won’t have the other.
A good first step to overcome the overwhelm, clutter, and multitasking, is to choose one of those two categories and see yourself in it.
If you have enough money, your problem is easy to fix. All you need to learn is how to effectively delegate and outsource, follow up and hold your team accountable. Bear with me and I will show you how.
If you don’t have money, it means you should have more time. That, I can help you organize, prioritize, and get the most out of it. Also, bear with me and I will show you how.
If you don’t have either time or money, I seriously think we need to chat about it at your earliest convenience. Please feel free to contact me for a free 25-minute consultation to put a plan in place and put an end to your struggles. I, Click here now.
Michael Gerber describes in his book, the E-Myth Revisited, “You need to wear three hats only: the ‘technician’, the ‘entrepreneur’, and the ‘manager’.” This holds true in running an equestrian business as much as it applies to all other businesses.
Follow the steps I will show you here, apply them, and you will get the most important result you wish for – skyrocketing your profits without paying an extra penny.
The steps are as follows. Once you answer the questions, you will have more clarity and will, therefore, be able to plan your business better:
1st: What’s Your Business Purpose?
2nd: What’s your mindset?
3rd: How to put a master strategy?
4th: How to put your marketing plan together?
5th: How to Systemize your sales?
6th: How to automate your sales process?
7th: How to plan your advertising and PR effectively?
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
Failing to plan is planning to fail. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but it holds very true in this context. I can help you reach any goal you have. But first, you have to have a goal.
If you don’t have a target, how would you know if you’ve succeeded or failed? If you hit or missed it?
The best horse in the world will not take you where you want to go if you don’t know where you want to go?
A recent study at Harvard University has shown that almost two-thirds of the people who achieved their life goals, have all written them down beforehand.
It is not just important to have a goal, it’s just as important to write it down. To have it in front of you. To be specific about it.
When thinking about your equestrian business goal, take a step forward, and ask yourself, “What’s the purpose of my life? What do I stand for? Why am I here on this planet?
Remember, there’s only one YOU. The world needs those special gifts and talents only you have. Nothing on earth is haphazard. You came here for a reason, and you need to find it out!
It is helpful to think of things like, “What I enjoy doing? What I spend most of my time doing? What would I do if money did not exist? What am I good at? What do I like to talk about? What do I spend money or time on? What do people tell me I am good at? What I’ve been paid to do? What can I hold a Ted Talk about if I have to do it right now? If I have a magic stick, what would I ask for?
If you get stuck answering these question, it can be even more helpful to ask yourself, “What is it that I don’t like? What I hate? What don’t I like doing or spend time or money on? Just reverse all the questions in the preceding paragraph to eliminate as many things you don’t like as possible.
Think of other ways to figure out what you want if this is not helpful. But don’t skip it. Don’t expect a perfect answer from the first time you try. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Those are difficult questions that will take time to figure out. Allow yourself to go at the speed of your own engine. Don’t seek perfection, just seek progress. Just put the first brick in the wall. Just have a first draft of maybe, the nine things you want out of life. Revisit this draft and tweak it, two to three times until you find your priorities.
Once you’ve done that, think about your business as a way to reach your goals. Take a step back of your daily operations and ask yourself, “What would I like this business to do in the world?” How would you like your business to change the world if you have all the necessary means?
What’s an ideal world for you? How would you like to impact the equestrian lifestyle? The horses, the riders, the ecosystem at large. This is your dream, your long-term business vision.
Once you get that, move to your WHY? Why you want that? What emotion will it bring with it?
Your vision should be positive, dreamy, inspiring, empowering and challenging. Align it as much as you can with the life purpose that you’ve written down before. Now, make sure you write both your life purpose and business vision down. Then write down your WHY.
Paint, doodle or draw them on a board if you like, add pictures. Take a moment to imagine it, embrace it, allow it, set an intention to bring it to life, pray for it and throw it in the universe.
My personal life purpose, which took me some time to figure out is, “to improve the horses’ world, by improving the lives of people around them”. You can save yourself some precious time by following through here, and be doing what’s required.
From now on, you will stop dreaming for a while and start building an action plan.
You’ll work it backward, meaning, ask yourself how you will achieve that goal?
Think of it as if you are traveling to a horse show. To reach your destination to Longines Champions Tour in Zurich, for example, you first need to pack your bags and get out of your building (1), go to the airport (2), check in and board the plane (3), check out at the airport in Zurich (4), and get transport to the horse show address (5). Sounds quite straightforward, doesn’t it?.
Each of these steps above is a milestone you need to reach in order to reach your final destination. Think of it as playing a video game. There are certain stages that you have to successfully complete in order to finish the game.
You further need to think about how much time, effort, resources or money you need to commit every day to reach your goals? You should be able to block this time on your calendar and commit these resources to reach your destination.
It is simple, but not easy, meaning, there will be obstacles or challenges along the way, for sure. These are very important and you need to write those too down. Think of how you will overcome them and figure out three ways that would possibly overcome each of those obstacles.
Making money is not easy. If it was, there would have been richer than poor people in the world. It is not the case apparently. For people to pay you money, you need to offer them value, or at least a perceived value, that will make or save them either time or money. And here are some insights on how to do just that.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
Your mindset is how you perceive yourself, others and the world around you. It influences your attitude, discipline and the story you are telling yourself or your personal self-image. It is your belief system, or more precisely, your limiting beliefs. No one or thing can hold you down, except yourself – your own brain.
Your only limits are those you are putting on yourself. Your brain is designed to protect you rather than to set you free to reach your goals. Don’t fall into this mind trap if you want to achieve challenging goals that are out of your comfort zone. If it doesn’t make you fearful – it’s probably not challenging or compelling enough!
When it comes to business, it is your money story. It is a story because your mindset about money is very much related to your history with money or money story – what your parents told you about it, what you’ve learned about it, and more importantly, how you deal with it.
Let’s put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. What are your limiting beliefs? And what caused them. We need to re-engineer your brain, so it doesn’t stand between you and your goals. You need to take those obstacles down or jump them carefully, like a horse in a show jumping course. Obstacles will either make the horse jump carefully, kick them down, or refuse and stop.
How the horse reacts will determine if it wins or loses. Same with you. You either figure your limiting beliefs out, overcome them and win, or, let them stop you and lose. There’s nothing in between. If you are not the winner, you’ve lost your battle.
People you will meet in life are either winners, making results and making their lives, or those who complain, blame and whine. This is particularly true in the equestrian society. There are those who are winners, and those who blame their loss on the horse, the footing, the spectators, their grooms, their parents or even go as far as blaming their uncles!
If you’re still reading, congratulations, pat yourself. You are a winner who wants to change your current state of life. You don’t take no for an answer. And that’s why you’ll one day achieve your dream, no matter what it takes. You know why? Because you want it hard enough and you’ll challenge yourself to figure it out.
Everything is “figureaoutable”. Figureaoutable, yes it is a new word. The mother of a mentor of mine invented it, and I am using it ever since. If that was true 30 years back, it is so true today. Why? Because the internet makes things just so much easier to figure out. Today you can google anything and figure it out. In no historical time has access to information been as simple as it is today. You just need to access it from its correct source.
Most world-class universities, research centers, professionals, artists and scientists have websites and blogs. You have no excuse not to figure out anything you want. You can learn anything and have the information at your fingertips, using youtube and other free online platforms.
Use all these free tools in your favor. Learn what you need to learn. Harness your skills and improve your discipline, behavior and attitude and I promise you can reach any goal, any goal you want. The sky’s your limit.
Now, write down all your limiting beliefs. If this doesn’t come easy to you, just think of all the bullshit you are telling yourself. Things like, “I am not good enough. I don’t have time. I didn’t learn that at school. I’m not talented enough….etc.” Sound familiar?
The most relevant to your business success is your money story. Write it down. Especially all the limiting beliefs related to it. All the scarcity surrounding it. Did it flow in abundance to your life? Do you like it enough to have enough of it?
You need to be aware that when it comes to business, it is all decisions about money. Most of the people in the world have the same psychology when it comes to money. When they need to take a decision, they feel one of two things. Either fear or greed. How do I know that? I studied stocks, and money markets for many years, and I can tell you that the equestrian market is no different.
Simply put, when greed is activated, people buy, demand increases, trust is built and prices go up. When fear is activated, people sell, supply goes up, mistrust is built and prices go down. This, in turn, creates a market level belief or disbelief, which translates in financial terms in bull or bear markets or economically speaking: inflation and deflation.
This would help you when you are writing your money story, to know if you were bullish or bearish when you took certain historical financial decisions in your life. It is also useful to understand the cyclic nature of the equestrian market. So you can be selling when the market is buying, and be buying when the market is selling. Buy low, sell high. Go with the flow. In other words, don’t sail against the wind.
So, don’t let those limiting beliefs and emotions stop you from reaching your goals. Just be aware of them and gently let them not get to you. Embrace them, accept them, and smartly use them in your favor as your fuel, motivation, and inspiration.
Don’t worry about having negative thoughts and emotions. We all do. We are not responsible for having them. We are only responsible for what we are doing about them. How we react to them.
Be aware of your negative thoughts. Step back, whenever those thoughts come to your mind, and tell yourself, in a loving and caring way, “I am aware of those, but will not let them trick me. I am unstoppable. I am here for a reason and will not settle until I reach my goal.” then keep going forward towards your dreams.
Writing down will help you get any negativity out of your system. It will detox, heal and purify your mind and soul. So let writing be your best friend from now on. If you don’t feel it now, you will get it later.
Just keep writing your thoughts, emotions, vision, action plans and goal.
In order to improve, you need data. Without writing, you’ll have no accurate data.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
After writing down your life purpose, your big why, business vision, milestones, limiting beliefs, and resources, you’re ready to commit to following your dreams. It is now time to put a strategic master plan.
We refer to it as a master plan because here is where all your business plans will fall within. Your marketing, operation, development, management plans….etc…
The most important thing here is to keep it simple, and as specific as possible.
As mentioned before, you need to learn to search for things. Get written search results and store them in a way you can retrieve them as soon as you need the information. Start your first exercise by finding out what are SWOT and STEP analyses.
Make a SWOT and STEP analysis for your business.
Remember those milestones you wrote down before? Those are your goals. Your mission. Break each one of them down to several smaller tasks.
Those goals should be SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
The next step is to put the strategy and tactics to achieve those goals into the best quality, least time and cost. This is your master plan that will include all your plans.
Figure out what are the moral principles you stand for in your business and your KPIs. Write all this down.
You need to find your juice. The juice is the intersection of two circles. The first circle is what you decided you want to do after going through the above, and the second circle is what the market is willing to invest money and time on.
So basically you want to test the market. You need to check if people want what you offer or not. You can know that by researching what your target clients buy online, surveys, talking with your target client, and intelligently investigating what your competitors are selling the most. Write posts, articles and guest blog on platforms like Medium, or test a minimum viable product (I will explain this later in this guide). This will give you an indication if there is a demand on what you plan to offer or not.
If you find potential demand, it is a good indication to keep going. If not, you need to tweak your offer and try again and again, until you find what your potential clients are willing to invest time or money on.
The marketing plan will be the focus of the next chapters. It is the most important aspect of your business, in my view. This is what I like to help you the most with. If you successfully solved your marketing and sales problems, the rest will be easier for you to discover.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
Your marketing and sales plans and their execution are the lifeblood of your business. You should give them the utmost priority. They are your source of income. Income is what makes your profits after deducting your cost. With profits, you can grow your business, earn the trust of your creditors, shareholders, partners, suppliers, vendors, contractors, clients and employees.
To make profits, you need to make sales. To make sales, you have to offer perceived value to your clients. Value means you solve their problems in a way unique as compared to your competitors, and save them time, money or both.
To do that, you need first to identify your client. By “identify” I don’t mean just to know who he is. I mean knowing him, his needs, wants and aspirations better than he knows himself. Remember, serving a client means you solve his problems, fulfill his needs or wants, or achieve his goals.
You must nail it. Know everything about your clients, their age, birthdays, sex, names, nicknames, emails, addresses, preferences, hobbies, problems, needs, wants, aspirations, income, spending patterns, what they read, eat, which associations they are members of, how they spend their time, their jobs, where they invest time and money, what they like and dislike …etc…. In short, know them better than they know themselves. It is never enough. Always aim to know your clients more. It’s an ongoing process that you have to revisit it regularly.
The next step is to find a problem you can solve, in a way that would save your clients time or money. Your solution should be unique to your competitors. By saving time, I don’t mean you sell cheaper than your competitors, but rather to offer better value for money. Never compete on price. Reducing your price will probably lead to price wars that will eventually make you lose. This is a lose-lose game.
After you find a solution, it is time to prototype a product. By this, I mean to make a minimum viable product (MVP) that you can market.
Now let’s move to the 4 Ps of Marketing:
The 4 Ps are the product/service, packaging, price and promotion. I will not get into more details about this as it is discussed extensively on the internet. It would be a good exercise that you research it and store it on your system. Make sure you file your research in a way that will make it easy for you to retrieve it when you need it. This is crucial.
The major take away here is to understand that your product or service is not your offer or package. You need to put your product or service in the right offer or package, offer it the right client, at the right place, in the right time at the right price. You can figure all this out by researching your market using intelligence competitive tools like BuzzSumo, Ispionage, SEMrush in order to understand what your prospects search for, what the language they use, what pictures they see, what videos they watch, what books and magazines they read, tools they use and where they hang out.
You need to talk to them joining the same discussion they have in their heads, by meeting them where they are to tell them what they want and sell them what they need.
If you are still in the process of designing a product or service, or you already have one, it’s very important to go through this exercise. Imagining a typical day in your client’s life journey is very helpful. It is good practice to even name your client, so you can picture him/her as a friend of yours that you are serving. My client’s name is Jane, for example.
Most of the people I’ve done this exercise with find it hard to narrow down their ideal client or get specific about the one product or service they offer. It is ok to have several client segments, but when you do this exercise, start with one, only one client and one product or service. After you have successfully reached your targets, you can add new services and products.
The problem I see over and over again is that clients try to sell everything to everybody. If you try to reach everybody, you reach nobody. Chase one rabbit at a time.
To give you an example: My target client is a female show jumping rider, who is between 29 to 39 years old, having an equestrian business in the EU (particularly UK, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Holland), or serving clients in EU and wishing to grow their online presence. In their previous jobs, they typically earned from 8K to 15K per month and spend about 1.5K month on their horse riding activity. After starting up their equestrian business, they typically have 1 to 10 employees, making revenue from 100K to 10 M a year, starting up or being in business from 1 to 10 years, having a list of contacts from 100 to 100K, having a marketing budget from 1k to 10k. Their main problem is to turn their passion for horses into a profession or business, get more clients, referrals, online presence, effective systems to solve business problems, to have a leading position in their equestrian niche. They are typically single, have a deep passion for horses, love nature, sports and outdoor activity. In their free time, they like to travel, go out with friends to music events and parties.
It goes without saying that you need to specialize in a narrow niche and have a specific market segment to serve. By niche, I mean a sub-sector in the equestrian market, be it a riding discipline, a product line for horses, riders or stables, a professional service such as photography, training, or course designing, for example. Market segment means a subgroup of clients in that niche market, who commonly share the same interests, problems or wants, like for example female amateur riders from the age of 15 to 25.
At the end of this section, you should be able to craft a sales elevator pitch that specifies who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and how it makes them feel. Example: My equestrian sports agency helps show jumping professionals enjoy their game by overcoming their business growth challenges.
It is called an elevator pitch, so that you can explain it, in one sentence, to someone you meet in an elevator for 30 seconds. Hopefully, you get lucky with the likes of Bill Gates or some other incredible business person, who can get excited about your business and support its growth.
By now, you should be able to have a complete business model canvas. Try using Canvanizer, so you can make one online for free.
Are you scared to lose opportunities or clients when you narrow down your niche? I hear you. Everyone feels that way, but don’t worry about that. You will see that when you face 10 doors and you decide to open only one and eliminate the other nine, this one door will lead you to 20 other opportunities. You will know why this is so important especially when you write marketing copy. I will explain this in detail later on. Just bear with me and keep reading.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
Systemizing your marketing and automating your sales process is incredibly important to your business growth. Start this process by imagining your client’s journey in your business while buying a product or service. Write it down. Break it down into small steps.
Have all the steps written down in an organized way. Write templates, checklists, to do lists, urgent lists. Make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t have more than 3 to 5 tasks per day. Prioritize and start by working on what matters the most.
Remember the 20-80 rule: 20% of what you do brings 80% of the results. This is what you need to make sure you block time on your calendar for without any interruptions.
Use a timer to plan sessions of 25 minutes work with 5-minute breaks, and 50 minutes of work with 10 minutes of rest to make you more efficient at working on your most important and urgent matters.
Think of yourself as a doctor when it comes to important tasks. Doctors urn their work or tasks into patients’ appointments. Do that too, with your priority list.
After that, write down what you do to serve that client in every step. Your workflow and process. Break it down into smaller steps and write it down. Make sure every step can be done easily by a beginner once you’ve explained it to him in not more than 25 min.
A perfect journey or cycle would start with the client noticing your business, service or product. This can be by word of mouth, organically or through the listing of an ad in mainstream, internet website or social media, for example.
Normally, your client would like to buy from you because he knows, likes and trusts you, your product or service, and your company. This is probably driven by the emotion and perceived value of the experience he will get from buying your product or service.
Your client will buy your product when your offer solves his problem, tells him what he wants and gives him what he needs, or wants to achieve, in a way that makes him feel secure, self-fulfilled, in or up to date, comfortable, meets his budget or he may simply sympathize with you, your product or company.
So, if you succeeded in grabbing his attention, raise his interest, elicit his desire, and finally inspire him to buy your product, then you have done a good job. Some people think that is good enough, but it is not. Why? Because this system needs to be systemized and automated.
The very common problem most of my clients face when they approach their marketing is that they think they need to get more clients at the door. Their real challenge, however, is to systemize their sales so that when new potential clients come, they can close a sale automatically and in that way, they can make more sales and grow their business.
This systemization will make all clients have a consistent experience and process when they buy the same product you sell. It will help them expect what they will get in advance. Not just that, this process should promote the sale of other products to your existing clients and motivate them to refer other people they know.
Marketing studies show that it is much easier to upsell existing clients than to get new ones.
I will show you how to do that by giving you an online example that you can easily follow to increase your sales and profits. Its basic feature is free, so you can try it now to learn by doing and get a feel for how this works.
If you follow this step by step guide, you will most probably see a sales and profit increase this quarter. How does that sound? Excited? Let’s do this together now. You are doing a great job reaching so far already.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
If you are just starting up your equestrian business or want to grow your business, it doesn’t matter. The process is the same. Either start from the beginning or continue from where you are stuck. It is up to you if you prefer to do everything yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Just follow through and do it to achieve the results you need. Action speaks louder than words. The only mistake you can do is not doing anything. Successful business people learn by doing and keep improving.
Just remember something very important. You don’t have to know how to do it to get it done!
Do the high priority things that only you can and should do. Automate everything else. Delegate or outsource any tasks that you can’t automate. Eliminating distraction and clearing your clutter is key to focus on what moves the needle for your business.
Leverage your knowledge, skills, attitude, experience, connections, networks, results, tools and resources to multiply the effect of what’s working and bringing results. You need to do more of what works and don’t waste time on what doesn’t.
To start off with, you need to put an automated sales system in place so that when a client comes to your door, it is easy for them to buy your product and pay for it. You can do that by setting up a Paypal merchant account and a landing page on Leadpages.
Visit the Leadpages and Paypal websites and follow their step by step instructions to be able to set up your landing page and online payment. Check Pixlr to find pictures, Wistia if you need to edit pictures, and Renderforest if you need to create an explainer video.
Make sure you have a system in place to offer your clients a “wow” experience. Putting yourself in their shoes and taking the journey from start to finish would probably give you a good idea. It is also important to have some early adopters who try your services or product and give you feedback in a soft opening period, before you mass sell.
Make sure to handle your early adopter feedback and include a promotion for your clients when they buy new products or refer you to other people they know.
In order to be able to nurture your potential clients and give them a good experience, you need to build trust. You can’t do that except if you nurture them, by building a channel of communication where you provide them with content that interests them, in the style, frequency and form they like. This is called a ‘sales funnel’.
In order to build a communication plan with your potential or existing clients, you need to have a list of those clients. If you already have clients, it is easy to put their contacts in an excel list, with their names and emails, or other information as necessary for your business.
If you don’t have a list, it is time to build a list. You can build a list by offering people a free piece of content or some other gift, in exchange for their name and email address. This is called a bribe to subscribe or a freebie.
A ‘how to’ guide, tends to work well. When your clients read it and follow its steps, they can quickly make results, which builds trust between you and them. This is what I am trying to do with you here. Let me know your feedback about it and how it improved your marketing and sales this or the coming quarter.
Once they get your freebie, you need to consistently keep sending them valuable content that interests them, solves their problems, or helps them achieve their goals and realize their dreams. The frequency of how many times you want to get in content with your readers is up to you. A minimum is sending emails once per month and a maximum is daily. The best option is to know what your clients like and want and to make that your golden rule. You may segment your list according to clients’ preferences.
A free way to start building and growing your list is using MailChimp. A more professional way with more technical options is Infusionsoft, which I can help you set up, as I am one of their certified partners.
I’d like you to try building your list by making a marketing campaign using MailChimp (free) or Infusionsoft (paid) to design and publish the first campaign to build your list.
This campaign is very similar to this one you are in now. I made it this way so you can have a practical example to follow if you get stuck at any step along the way. So follow this campaign and the sequence of emails it entails to fully understand the process.
So, You will build a sequence of nine emails. The first is a freebie, such as a guide, cheat sheet, or report, for example..
The second and third emails are content that interests your audience or clients.
In the fourth email, in addition to your content, you will offer something you sell that interests your clients.he fifth, sixth and seventh emails, you will send them content that interests them.
The eighth email should have content in addition to an offer for something you sell, specifying that the offer is expiring the following day.
The ninth email will have useful content with your last call for your offer of the previous email.
From the day your prospect gets its freebie, each day following, you shall send an email for eight days as mentioned above.
Now let’s talk about those offers. It is good practice to start your sales funnel with a free offer, going to your cheapest offer, then building up to your core offer then offer your premium offer.
In my example: I offer a free guide with an optional free consultation of 25 min.
Then my cheapest, core and premium offer at E-Corporate Lawyers look like this:
As a marketing expert has put it, nowadays, it is harder than ever to sell a product to new clients, but easier than ever to sell him a second product, if he already buys the first.
Offering a free and first cheap product will give the client an idea about what you can offer, the quality of your service, and what results they can get with it. It is also your chance to make him know, like, and build trust with you, your product, and your company.
It makes it easier for your client to buy from you when you offer him two alternatives to choose from. It shifts the decision from “shall I buy or not” to “shall I buy this or that?” To give your clients those two options, you need to classify your client first.
If he is willing to invest money, you offer him your core and prime products. If he is willing to invest time, offer him your cheap and core products. Generally speaking, a cheap product is less than USD 100, whereas a core is about USD 500 and a prime is starting from a USD 1000 – 5000 and upward (the sky’s the limit to how much you can sell for).
When it comes to information or digital products, you can think about an ebook, online one-on-one consultations, group coaching, online shops and courses.
However, in some cases data shows that offering one core offer and giving your client two payment options drives more sales.
Now let’s talk about the last thing to start your rock and roll party.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
In order to get client traffic to the freebie you’re offering online, you need to either advertise to new clients or offer re-engaging promotions to your existing ones. You can do this through mainstream print advertising, which we will not cover here, or through online advertising.
Remarketing in online advertising is so important to make sure your adds reappear to those who did not get a chance to see your offers or buy your products. Lately, Facebook and Google have made it so much easier to set up your UTMs, analytics, tag manager accounts to be able to retarget your audience. That’s another subject that should be aware of and I will write about in another post.
You have to be careful though and comply with the privacy, new data protection and GDPR regulations as amended. Be aware that the latest EU law is applicable to your business if you deal with EU citizens regardless of where you are located in the world. You can check E-Corporate Lawyers’ GDPR free ebook here to avoid any fines and legal risks here for free.
You can advertise online for free by publishing valuable content or you can spend a specified amount of money depending on your budget. Statistics show that Facebook and Google ads get the best results when it comes to paid advertising. You can follow the step by step guides on FB ads and Google ads to create these kinds of adverts. For the sake of this guide, I will explain how you can make indirect advertising that costs nothing.
The question is how to get people to come across your freebie. For this purpose, you can have several options:
You can have a pop-up window on your site,
You can write articles on platforms and blogs that have large audiences,
You can have an opt-in box on every page of your blog,
Or you can link to your opt-in landing page in our webinars, in your social media posting on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram …etc..
To have your own website or blog, I would suggest you go to either wordpress.org for free options or wordpress.com for paid options. You further need to buy a domain name from platforms like Hover.
When you build your own website or blog, you can do that yourself or hire professionals to do it for you. You can find those web design and development professionals on recruitment sites like Upwork or 99designs, for example.
If you build your own website, you need to give attention to SEO (search engine optimization). It would be best for you to research SEO online, as the algorithms changes often. As of March 2018, the latest studies show that ‘Facebook live’ is one of the good things to do to raise your visibility on Facebook.
Using relevant keywords and SEO plugins like ‘yoast’ will also boost your website position in Google organic search. You can use tools like ‘Buzzsumo’ and ‘Google analytics’ to know what works best for your online presence.
Using good quality pictures that help people understand your messages is also very important. Using high ranking keywords, statistics, graphs and numbers add spice to the recipe of your website. Have an interesting ‘about you’ page and a smaller bio.
When it comes to writing copy, write in the same informal way you speak. Imagine yourself speaking to a friend of yours in a casual chat. Commonly, people like articles that start with their pains, and are written in the language that they speak. They like closings that inspire and empower them to take action to get to the transformation they aspire to. Using intelligent headlines and subheads is also of paramount importance. Using small sentences and power words will improve your writings tremendously.
People like stories. Make sure you develop an interesting one. Most news agencies work on seven aspects for stories worth publishing: impact (significance of what you are sharing), proximity (local audience like local stories), timeliness (most recent stories), prominence (audience like stories about influencers, celebrities and sport legends), conflict (people love controversies), bizarre (unexpected, unusual and unorthodox) and human interest (entertaining and enlightening stories). This is what interests people the most. Make sure your story forms bits and pieces from these aspects.
Do some research in your area and find out how best to market your equestrian business. A recent study showed that 61.3% of clients know about an equestrian business through friends and acquaintances, 17.2% by word of mouth and passing by, 14.4% through the internet, 2.8% journals and magazines, and 2.8% other sources.
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
So far, we’ve covered the importance of having a purpose and knowing your big ‘WHY’. How that’s supposed to make you feel and your mindset. How to say goodbye to any limiting beliefs you have. And the importance of aligning all this with your business goals, master strategic plans, strategy, and tactics.
I’ve also talked about how to build your marketing strategy, systemize your sales and automate your process. Further, you’ve grasped how to advertise and PR effectively.
From all the above, you can conclude that your equestrian business has three main critical components: getting clients, working for them, and getting paid. You have to understand which steps fall into which of those three components and structure your business accordingly.
It’s very important to locate the bottlenecks. These are the blockages that happen in your business. Normally it is just one, like an accident in the middle of the road that blocks traffic. You have to figure out the one thing that blocks the flow of getting you the clients, serve them, and get paid for your services or product.
You have to fix this bottleneck. Working on anything other than your bottleneck will not solve the problem. Only fixing the bottleneck will fix the problem and indirectly help everything else to fall into the right place.
Ask yourself, “Where is it? Is it in getting clients, serving them or getting paid and referrals?” In most cases, it’s in having a systematic process to serve and get paid easily. So make sure this is fixed first before you try to get new clients to a broken system.
Make sure to systemize your workflow and automate your sales. It has to be easy for clients to pay. Your workflow and process, from a customer experience perspective, should be consistent. Your clients should get the same product and service at the same time at the same quality, going through the same process. This will inspire them to get the same experience every time.
Promote upselling and referrals. Don’t wait for your clients to do it. Don’t be shy. Ask for it. Make it easy for them to do it. Give them promotions. Seduce and inspire them.
If all the above is in place, you can now fix any blockage in getting clients to your door. At least now you know, when more of them come, they’ll have good service and experience. They’ll pay easily. They will buy more and refer you even more clients.
All this being said, I wish you the best of luck in your business and give you some final words of advice. Go work smartly not hardly. Do what you love. Love what you do. Don’t let anything or anyone put you down. Acknowledge your fears and use it as your fuel to face it. Ride it. Keep moving forward. Never aim for perfection. Seek progress. The only mistake you can make – is not doing anything. Take the first step. Work and develop.
Have a written purpose, goals, and plans. Have them as living documents. Go back to them, tweak them, adjust, tune and retune. Measure. Turn your bad days into good data. Pivot and take corrective actions as much as necessary.
Be the only one responsible for your success. Be the best at what you do. Feel it and act it. Turn bad habits into good ones. Always learn new things to develop your knowledge, skills and professional attitude.
Stay at the top of your game. The world needs the only one and special you!
Check these books to learn more about marketing:
As a corporate lawyer and certified horse professional, I manage E-Corporate Lawyer (“ECL”) and EquiJuri an equestrian sports agency that helps horse owners with a passion for riding develop their careers, start, manage and protect their equestrian businesses.
We offer our clients legal, marketing, and management consultancy to grow their investments, businesses and online presence.