3 minute read
When I launched my equine bodywork business 7 years ago I had no formal business education training. I was 20 years old and desperate to follow my passion.
Needless to say, there were lots of hard learning lessons along the way, and I seemed to learn more from failures than success.
Here's 5 things I wish I would have known before getting started.
DON’T EXPECT FRIENDS TO BE CLIENTS.
When I launched my business, I thought every one of my horse friends would use my services. After all, I had a great offering, was passionate and they already knew me. It seemed like a total win.
The truth is, it isn't fair to put that expectation on your friends. As a professional, it's your job to get out there and market your services. Don't assume your friends will automatically book and do the hard work for you (and then be hurt if they don't).
This can be a hard one, but let your friends remain your friends. If they don't want to use your services, it isn't a statement of your worth. And if they do, then it's a total bonus.
Pro tip: Learn how to attract dream clients you love working with EquiPro’s Heart Centered Branding course.
CLIENT BOUNDARIES ARE NECESSARY.
I know these can be scary to set, but they keep you from doing things you don't want to and becoming overwhelmed & resentful.
Client boundaries can include specific working days and times, specific payment methods, detailed rules around working conditions (ex. must have concrete floors - yep, you can actually require that!), late charges, no show fees, saying no to additional requests - any boundaries you want to set for your business.
Your clients will actually appreciate clear boundaries because they know what your expectation is instead of having to guess and hope for the best. It really is a win-win for everyone.
Pro tip: Clearly set client boundaries & expectations in EquiPro’s easy fill-in Policy & Consent form template.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY.
Prevent no-shows by sending appointment reminders & confirmations.
Send emails of policy changes, price increases, sales - anything important you'd like them to know. Provide clear, written session reports for them to refer back to. Send receipts for payments made.
There are so many reasons to communicate with clients. What area can you add or improve communication in your business?
Pro tip: Use EquiPro to send amazing session reports & have peace of mind knowing appointment reminders are taken care of.
YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW OR OFFER EVERYTHING.
In any industry, specialists are the most revered. Think specialty doctors - they're making big bucks and have a huge waiting list... because they are a master of a specific thing.
Yet, in the horse world there is an odd pressure to offer every modality and know everything about everything - nutrition, hooves, saddle fit, muscles, skeletons, organs, nervous system, teeth, etc.
While these topics are all incredibly important, take the pressure off yourself and know you don't need to know everything and you don't need to offer everything. (Also, it isn't possible and you'll be stuck in an endless cycle of FOMO)
What's your specialty? That's your superpower. Put the blinders on, focus on the 1-3 offerings and watch your momentum & growth.
Pro tip: Easily showcase your specialty offerings by adding them to your EquiPro Items & Services library.
TRACK CLIENT INFORMATION.
Oh, what I would have given to know this. Every time I ran a sale or had a policy change, I had no way to contact clients because I didn't track emails. At the end of the year when I wanted to mail Christmas cards I had no addresses to send them to. I had no idea how many clients I had, or a clear list of the barns I served.
Seriously, track the info. You'll never regret having it and be so thankful when you need it.
Pro tip: View clear clients, horses & barns lists and track as much information & details as you'd like.
Starting a new business isn’t easy, but thankfully there are so many resources out there to help you get started. If you’re looking for a software system to help you get organized and save time, then check out THIS software designed exclusively for equine practitioners like you.