Starting a horse business, as a hobby or full-time, can be as much fun as it is hard work.
Part of the appeal of starting a business is getting to build up a name and a brand. All of your efforts will be poured into your new brand, so you’ve got to make sure that it’s something you love and are proud of.
Branding is all about being recognisable and having a good reputation. So as you build your new brand, continually ask yourself these two questions:
– Will people remember my business?
– Will people feel positively about my business?
Recognition and positivity means returning customers and a thriving business.
Let’s look at the 5 steps it takes to build a great horse business brand.
1. Visual branding.
Often, when people think ‘branding’ they think of a company’s logo. It’s an important way to make your business recognisable.
A good brand does the following things:
– Means something to the customer.
A logo needs to ‘click’ with a customer – it needs to make sense. A customer should know what industry you’re in when they look at your logo.
– Means something to the business owner.
Sometimes a logo means something special to the business owner that isn’t obvious to consumers. The Apple logo, for example, represents the story of Isaac Newton discovering gravity. It has a connection for employees. Your own logo should have a special meaning to you that reminds you why you do what you do.
– Looks good.
This is an obvious one! You want people to feel positively when they see your logo. Make it look nice.
– Is easy to recognise.
Clients need to be able to distinguish between your logo and the logo of competitors. You can’t use a standard horse image. A good test is the ‘squint test’. If you can still recognise your logo when squinting, you’re doing it right!
Here are some really great examples of horse-related logos.
Websites are absolutely necessary. Even if you find a client face-to-face, they’ll use the internet as a reference for your business. Need to find a number? Check out your website. Need to know when you’re available? Check out your website.
A website needs to include these things (and they need to be clearly visible) :
When people look you up, they want to know how much you charge. Even if you can’t give an exact figure, you need to offer an estimate. When they call, you can clarify further.
– Your location.
It’s also worth registering your business with Google My Business.
– Your contact details.
3. Word of mouth.
Horse communities are usually very tight-knit. That means word-of-mouth is really important and will help you get loyal customers.
Generating good word of mouth comes down to going the extra mile. Make sure that everyone who engages with you (clients, suppliers, peers), feels great about having met you and interacted with you. Be generous and kind.
4. Build your reputation.
Your value as a business comes down to your reputation. A brand is a reminder of that reputation. If you have any awards or qualifications, if you’ve achieved any milestones, that can be a great start for building your brand. People want to know they’re getting quality.
This also means that everything you do affects your reputation. Make sure that you protect it well.
This is a really important part of branding that a lot of people overlook.
After an interaction with a client, it’s a good idea to leave them with something special and nice. If you’ve taken a student through a course, give them a framed certificate, for example. Anything you can leave behind that reminds people of your business will be worth the investment.
Imagine you’ve spent a year studying with a horse riding instructor and have decided to take a year off riding. When you get home, some hand-made muffins are left for you with a note thanking you for being such a great student. When you return to riding in a year, you’ll remember those muffins.
They’re some of the important basics to branding. Invest in your brand; it is the value of your entire business. Love it, and make it loved.
8 Of The Most Beautiful, Decadent Homes Ever Built
This enormous home is right in Mumbai and it cost well over 1 billion dollars to build.
The home is owned by the fifth most wealthy person on the planet. The interior looks like a hotel – decked out with the most expensive decor imaginable.
2. Fleur De Lys, Beverly Hills.
This ludicrously expensive home in California sold for over $100 million. Mariah Carey was interested in buying the property.
Despite it’s traditionalist French design, the building was only constructed in 2002 – it’s just made to look historical.
3. Dar al-Hajar, Yemen.
This amazing rock-cut residence was built for then-leader of Yemen in the 1930s as a summer retreat.
The amazing building is not a tourist attraction, offering amazing views.
4. Largest Wooden Home in the world, Russia.
This enormous wooden home was never intended to be so huge or unusual. Built by a Russian gangster, the building got larger as the home-owners ambitions increased.
It was eventually extensively damaged by fire while the owner was in prison.
5. 1009 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
In a city where closet-sized apartments go for millions, this huge building seems almost unfair.
Worth $80 million, the cavernous interiors are grand but plain.
6. Fallingwater House, Pennsylvania.
Perhaps the most famous house ever built in America, this originally cost $155,000 (it was built in 1964).
Since then, it has become a landmark and a public museum. It’s essentially priceless. Many of the architects other buildings sell for around the $1 million mark, but this would likely sell for more than $100 million.
7. Beach House, The Dominican Republic.
This luxurious, expansive house has an enormous shallow pool (it’s not trick photography – it’s huge).
It can be rented for $5,000 a day.
8. Church Home, The Netherlands.
With a breath-taking exterior and interior, this amazing conversion creates a very memorable home in the Netherlands.
Honourable mention: A Louis Vitton House.
This not-so-glamorous house seems to be the work of someone with a passion for fashion and some spare time (and paint) on their hands.
Not exactly luxury, but it’s trying.
Download: Custom-designed home buildings.
What Your Horse’s Sweat Patterns Mean
It can be hard to know if your saddle has been fitted well – your horse can’t tell you when something’s wrong, so you have to keep an eye out for some key indicators.
One way to do this is to look at the sweat and dirt marks left on your horse’s saddle pad.
By looking at these signs, you can get a sense of your saddle’s fit and what needs to be adjusted.
The two key concepts.
These are the most valuable things to remember when looking at sweat patterns:
- Sweat and dirt marks should be symmetrical.
Symmetry means that the saddle is sitting evenly on your horse. Sometimes non-symmetrical marks don’t indicate a bad fit and sometimes a problematic fit can still result in symmetry.
But as a general rule of thumb, this is a great one to go by.
- The centre line of you saddle pad (the gullet) should be dry.
Under no circumstances do you want the saddle to be rubbing or touching the spine of your horse.
How to interpret sweat and dirt patches.
Larger amounts of dirt and more darkness generally suggest that more rubbing is occurring in this area.
Ideally, rubbing is minimal and is spread out evenly.
Dirt at the front of the saddle pad means that the saddle is too wide and is being pushed forward.
Dirt at the back of the saddle pad could mean that the saddle is the wrong shape, or that the rider is sitting too far back in the saddle.
Diagonal dark patches indicate the points at which the saddle is swinging and rubbing. Diagonal points usually mean that the saddle will need to be custom adjusted to your horse.
Heaving rubbing on one side means the saddle is leaning to the opposite. In the diagram above, the saddle is leaning to the right.
This can also be caused by the way the horse is ridden, or the length of your stirrups.
Sweat and dirt patches are a rough guide. The most important step to getting a comfortable saddle fit is being attentive to your horse; their mood, their sensitivity and any tension in their muscles. Contact a saddle fitter if you suspect you aren’t able to get your saddle to fit nicely.
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