A story about a man who was a brand…
Story about a Horse Business Owner
Many years ago I had a pony I kept in stables in suburbia. With only two horse stables near my home and I made my choice simply by choosing the only one with an open stall at the time. But over the years I came to learn more about both stables and what made one the clear favorite of most people.
Both stables sported an outside arena and a round pen of about equal size. Neither one was what anyone would call great looking but one was much newer than the other. The older stable was a pieced together structure with a rusted tin roof and had over twice as many stalls as the newer stable.
Both had medium size signs with neither sign carrying a logo, just plain block lettering with a phone number under the stable name. The oldest stable’s sign looked as aged and faded as the stable. I guess the stable names were both unremarkable as I cannot recall either. The stall fees were about the same, the older stable running a touch higher and both rented month to month.
If people choose on looks alone then the newer stable had the edge but it was not people’s favorite. The old worn and patched together stable had something special that the other stable didn’t – an owner named Jack. I don’t remember his last name and I bet most of his boarder clients wouldn’t because everyone called him by his first name as he invited us to.
Jack loved horses and people. He was always there in the morning and evening when the most people were caring for their horses. His face always carried a smile and he give everyone everyday a cheery ‘Hello and how are you doing’.
The other stable owner was only seen once a month when the stall rent was due and he wasn’t an overly pleasant person – all business and gone again.
If you were a little late in showing up to care for your horse you would find Jack hurrying over as soon as he saw you with,
“I was getting worried, if you didn’t show up I was going to go ahead and feed your horse for you.” And he would and he would make sure the water bucket was topped off too. If someone had a horse for sale he would make sure everyone knew about it and he would ask if they knew anyone that might be interested.
Jack wasn’t a carpenter but he was quick to make repairs and he would build wooden benches and sun awnings so people would linger awhile and visit with him and others. He made people feel welcome and give them the sense that they belonged to a community of like minded people that loved horses.
Although Jack’s stable had over twice the stalls as the newer and smaller stable it was rather rare to see an open stall. He would run a small ad in the newspaper just like the other stable but if a stall stayed open for more than a couple of weeks he would buy a horse for the stall.
Then he would let someone buy the horse on time if they agreed to keep the horse in his stables for a year. Jack wouldn’t just buy any horse. He told me that he always bought a horse that he would be proud to call his own and that he made sure it was safe for children to ride. His horses always sold quite fast as people trusted Jack’s judgment and knew he stood behind the horses he sold.
Jack was this stable’s BRAND. He was what made this stable stand out and why the stalls stayed full and his boarders happy.
From time to time he had a waiting list of people waiting for an opening in his stable. They didn’t pick his stable for the cheapest price (his wasn’t), they didn’t chose his stable for its looks but in spite of it. No, the reason people wanted to keep their horse in Jack’s stable was Jack.
He cared, he shared, he really loved people and horses and wasn’t afraid to show people he did. He knew every horse and person by name. He played by the golden rule of, ‘do onto others as you would have them do onto you.’
People like to buy from people they like and trust. From people that show a real interest in them. From people with a positive outlook and a willingness to do what is best for all concerned.
Most of the time your company doesn’t have to be the biggest, the best looking, or the latest thing on the block to be a success. It does have to show people that the person or people behind the business are willing and able to be of help to them.
Your logo is the just the tack on your business horse. But this horse has to be more than just nice to look at; it must convince people that it is going to give them a pleasant and safe ride.
* HOT TIP *
Improve yourself and you will improve your business.
Smile more, keep a positive outlook. Look and listen to people, really listen and hear them. What are they looking for? What do they really need? What would be the best for them? Now how can you show people that you do care and share?
P.S. One way to show clients you care about them is to send them a personal note from time to time. A hand written note is best but does take more time and money. If money is short, at least take the time to send them a FREE Horse Art eCard….