We opened our boarding facility years ago and all of a sudden I dealing with different viewpoints on everything from hay and grain to medications and lameness. The weather was a huge issue all the time with people because we live in Wisconsin where we get tons of rain and extremely cold temperatures in the winter. On top of it I had some very strong personalities boarding at our barn and they were very happy to tell me how things should be done. It was truly an eye opener into the business world of horses and boarders.
Knowing when your business is out of balance is the key. It is normal to expect tough days but if you have quite a few more tough days than good days then your business is probably not balanced. Sometimes all we need to do is ask for advice or get a few opinions and those little changes can make a huge difference. Most of the time (at least it was for myself) I needed to change how I was running the barn as the barn owner and manager. It had to come from within me and it took a few years for me to learn to become the business owner I needed to be to make decisions with confidence. Be prepared to make mistakes because it happens to everyone and then move on. Don't hang on to the mistake, just learn from it and move forward.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't reflect on how I ran the barn years ago and how I run it now. I still have issues I need to find a solution for and many of the problems that I have dealt with in the past come back from time to time but now I see them on the horizon and I am ready to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. You will always have one or two clients that will keep you on your toes with many things and they will watch everything you do at your barn. You will always have one or two difficult horses. It is part of running a horse business but once you go through a few difficult horses and a few difficult boarders, you will settle in and realize that it is all okay and you survived a tough situation and your confidence as a barn owner and leader will climb upwards.
The only way to become a confident barn owner is through trials, experience and time. Take each as they come and after you have made many decisions, experienced good days and bad days and spent many hours out in the barn in many situations, move forward and learn from each experience. Your life will transform before your eyes and you won't even know it is happening. One day you will wake up, go out in the barn and realize that many of the problems you used to have are no longer an issue. That is when you know you have become the confident barn owner and manager that you need to be to run a successful horse business.
Remember, if you don't take control and run your barn with confidence then someone else will take over and that is when you will have much bigger problems. Being the barn owner means you will not be popular at times and at times everyone will love you. Being the barn owner means you can make positive changes to your barn for the betterment of the barn and at times you might have to say "No." It is all part of it but it can be a wonderful experience if you learn to be confident in your decisions and eventually your clients will learn to trust that you are putting their horses first. That is when you know you are successful in your business.
Surround yourself with positive people who have been in the business longer than you and whom you trust to give sound advice. One small change can be one big positive in your barn.
One last note - surround yourself with positive people who have been in the business longer than you and whom you trust to give sound advice. Ultimately you will make your own choices on how you will run your barn but it helps to know you are not alone and one small change can be one big positive in your barn.
I wish you the very best in your horse business,