Learning to find a balance and gain confidence in a difficult industry is something that we all could use support in no matter how long you have been in the business. Just as important, as we grow and become seasoned equine professionals, continuing to support each other is vital in helping the industry stay strong and healthy.
Some of the issues many new business owners go through are:
- Trying to get potential boarders
- Many changes in the early years
- The ever-changing weather (It will affect you and your boarders more than you think)
- Trainers at your barn (Trainers can be an asset or ruin your barn and business!) Find the right trainers to work out of your barn
- Having a multi-discipline barn ( I never knew it could be so complicated)
- Barn amenities and trying to please everyone
- When things get broken who pays?
- Herd management and the client (Many times the boarder will not understand what is going on in the herd)
- Challenges of outdoor board (we thought this part of the job would be easy but it has its own set of challenges)
- Boundaries between the barn owner and the boarder
- It's a working farm (the chores still need to get done)
- Asking a boarder to leave (probably one of the hardest parts of the job)
- Not ready for all the special requests (I never knew there would be so many special requests when we opened our doors)
Horse barn management is so much more than feeding horses and cleaning stalls. That is the easy part!
Running your own barn will have its good days and bad days but the good days should out number the bad days. I was on Facebook the other day and someone wrote "It's not worth it anymore" and they were talking about boarding horses. They were struggling with the clients and having all sorts of problems and really didn't know how to make it run better. I can truly say I have never felt that way but I have had some very bad days dealing with the struggles of managing a farm and the clients. You will not find a more honest book on what it really takes to run a business and I will share with you the tools to make positive changes to your barn and move forward. I know all barns work a little differently but the core of all boarding barns is the same. We are there to take care of these beautiful horses and service is a big part of the business.
Learning to become a business owner takes time and it doesn't happen automatically the day you open your barn for business. It is a process that takes time and even a little pain and heartache along the way. It truly is a wonderful job but until you accept your new position as CEO at your barn and all that goes with it and run it like a business, you will have the same struggles I went through in our early years. I look at my job so much differently now and I enjoy it so much more. I still clean stalls five days a week and feed horses and I still love talking with our boarders. I am just more equipped now to handle situations as they come up with clients and I have learned not to take it so personal anymore. If you are struggling at your barn and you have forgotten why you started your business to begin with then when all your boarders are gone and the barn is closed for the evening, take a walk down your barn aisle and listen to the horses munching quietly on hay. You will find it there.
If you are new to my blog then welcome! I have in the last year written two books that I believe will encourage and give you the tools to run your horse business with confidence. My first book, "What it really takes to start and run a horse business" will take you into my families life of how we started our boarding business and all the mistakes we made along the way and what we did to correct the mistakes we made. My second book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover." is all about the barn owner/manager/client relationship and how to resolve the issues that happen when running your horse business. There isn't another book on the market like this one and it will truly change how you run your business and give you the confidence to make those tough decisions that happen everyday. Remember, the horses will always be the easiest part!
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,