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I'm A Great Competitor! How Can I Be A Better Business Person?

Whether you’re an up and coming athlete making a name for yourself as a talented star in the making, or a recognisable name already successful on the circuit, bringing yourself, your career and your extended business (sales, coaching, livery) to the next level requires planning with a big dollop of marketing.

Business owners in the horse industry face one of two classic problems:

  1. They ignore the need for marketing altogether because they’ve managed, on a wing and a prayer, to eek out a living and can’t see the need to be more targeted and strategic; or

  2. They go the other route and get caught up in a range of day-to-day marketing activities (ie. on social media etc) without really understanding what value their business is getting from it.

In both scenarios the business is suffering and the potential for growth is limited.

If your livelihood comes from producing horses – competing them, training them, selling them - and you offer ancillary services such as coaching and livery - then you cannot ignore marketing as a way to give you the leverage and scope you need to take your business to the next level. I know from my travels and discussions that every single person I’ve spoken to says the same thing. How can I get more exposure for the horses I have for sale, how can I promote myself as a coach, how can I attract sponsors and owners?

All athletes, whether showjumpers, eventers, jockeys etc, need the same things to succeed – more horses to compete, more sponsors and supporters and more investment in their success. The next question is usually - so how do I accomplish that? It’s simple – learn to market yourself and be clever and strategic about it!

The one thing Irish people generally are not good at is self-promotion. I’ve found this is especially so for the truly talented who will often fade into the background, over shadowed by the ones who have a voice and who have discovered the power of using it. When you consider the biggest names in the industry ask yourself where would they be today if they left their success in the lap of the Gods? It’s no accident that these businesses have succeeded and are thriving. In all cases they have taken a proactive focused approach to running their business and as a consequence they are reaping the rewards of greater exposure, developing their brand and reputation, increasing their opportunities for sponsorship and bringing more people to their door to buy horses and become part of their extended team.

The same business and marketing principles apply whether you’re a small horse producing operation or a big commercial enterprise. It’s just a matter of scale but the same theories apply and the same outcomes are achievable for those astute enough to recognise the opportunities available.

A good marketing strategy is the essential foundation for any business. It will allow you to focus on ensuring that the time and money you spend on marketing actually adds value to your business and allows you to measure successes and failures giving you the opportunity redirect your focus accordingly.

If you want to take your business to the next level, broaden your horizons and develop a professional operation then you must market yourself properly. You’re not expected to know where or how to begin this process - that’s why I established Dark Horse. Let me help you to position yourself so you can take advantage of the endless opportunities out there. Get in touch and let’s begin your journey towards a better more successful future.

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