Last night Lizzy McMillan from EquestrianProfessional.com hosted a webinar called Rethinking The Horse Business 2010 – Succeeding In A Changed World. I would say that I agree with everything she presented, and that it’s well worth your time to seek out this webinar for a listen.
What’s great about the information in the webinar is that McMillan can back up opinions with data; Equestrian Professional did a survey of about 400 equestrian pros, on various aspects of running equine businesses today, everything from profitability to how your services have changed and what’s bringing in the revenue today. Having that kind of information is crucial to developing a sound marketing program, and keeping your existing clients as well as reaching out to new ones; it’s also helpful to learn from the experiences of other equine businesses.
As for the equine economy, back in late 2008 I wrote an article titled Stock Horse Economics for The Equine Chronicle. While this was at the height of the recession, the news wasn’t all bad then, and it’s not all bad now.
A changing world and changing economy requires that we make adjustments, and at that time the leaders in all the major stock horse associations (AQHA, APHA, ApHC) shared how their groups were retooling to move into the future. Many things are in our favor today, such as the declining cost of marketing tools via the Internet, and the wider audiences gained through equestrian programming televised on the Internet, and both public and cable television; McMillan pointed out that many equine events today are actually exceeding their prior attendance and participation numbers. We can’t expect to operate as we did in the 1990s and early 2000s, but there are many, many opportunities today for the savvy horse business professional.
In terms of greater opportunities for expanded media coverage due to the declining costs of technology, McMillan mentioned how a TV show that once cost $100k could now be produced for $5k, and pointed out the expanded equine sport programming on HRTV.com (Horse Racing Television), which was launched earlier this year, as an example of more widespread media coverage of equestrian sport.
In May 2010, just prior to the HRTV launch of expanded equestrian programming, I spoke with Jim Bates, HRTV’s executive vice president and general manager; his answers show insights into how an established equine business like HRTV.com can identify new opportunities and new revenue streams.
I believe the Rethinking The Horse Business 2010 webinar will be archived at the Equestrian Professional site, possibly free access for a while and certainly accessible to members. I recommend that every horse professional serious about moving into the future successfully give it a listen.