Having experienced the frenzied activity of Brexit, a period where it was easy to feel unbalanced. You probably witnessed your associates and humanity at large reacting in surprising ways!
Pre Brexit I wrote this piece exploring what leaving the EU may do to the equestrian industry. In today’s blog I will not be giving any more attention or energy to the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’. This is because to drive our equestrian businesses forward, we need to focus on ourselves, the present moment and keep abreast of the facts as they unfold.
Key rural cabinet members
A new PM in Theresa May has taken a stand behind the country’s decision for Brexit. And until we find out whether she will face a democratic vote in an early election. She will be making the immediate decisions with her new cabinet. Andrea Leadsom and George Eustice are the key cabinet ministers who will impact the future of Rural Business.
Will you stand still or take action when it’s safe?
The successful entrepreneurs will see Brexit as an opportunity in wolf’s clothing. Whilst the rest will sheepishly hide away until the wolf retreats. Who would you rather be in business?
It’s good to know that if you do take action, you’re in great company.
“I’ve heard there’s going to be a recession. I’ve decided not to participate.”
As we are in this period of economic uncertainty, it’s going to be even more important to be creative. So keeping your ear to the ground by networking will be vital. I’ve just spent the morning at a CLA (Country Land and Business Association) event, where Tom Harlow who lobbies the government on rural business spoke. His message was clear. Nothing has changed yet, and the process will be slow. It’s looking like negotiations to leave the EU will start in Oct 2017 and it will take 2 years to negotiate new terms.
The CLA have produced a series of briefings outlining new opportunities for the rural economy in post-Brexit Britain. Find out more here.
I believe rural business should be focused on preparing themselves, so they can be bold to take action as the landscape shifts. Whether that is looking internally at your team or your own mindset – improve what you do have control of. Yourself!
4 Opportunities right now for the horse industry to capitalise on:
Horse businesses who can impact rural tourism, apprenticeships and provide activities that access to the countryside can look into the existing EU funding. This is through the LEADER programme.
Although decisions are deferred until the new administration is in place. They will decide how much is available to spend and how quickly. So take this time to get your application in before this opportunity passes
With the strength of the Dollar ($) and Euro (€) against the Pound (£). There is a great opportunity to capitalise on the tourist market. Tourist will come to the UK to take advantage of the exchange rate. As well as UK residents being more likely to holiday in the UK or spend more on existing leisure activities. So it’s a win-win for riding schools. If they take action.
Try creating packages and foster opportunities with the local tourism office. Those near a city, could partner with a transport firm to provide shuttles to your centre. Or in a rural setting make sure you are on the tip of the tongue of the local hotels, B&Bs and holiday lets in your area.
Do you have some spare land to cater for the growing trend in Glamping? This can be a huge revenue boost. And provide you with a captive audience for your work. Whether you are a trainer, coach or alternative practitioner. Many of my clients are promoting retreats for horse owners, or drawing in a new type of customer who wants a slice of rural and equestrian life.
Make sure your customers are happy. I often hear people worrying that luxuries like leisure time are the first to feel the pinch. But if your customers simply can’t live without you then you won’t suffer their cuts. What do you do in your business to foster a community environment? Do things that make your customers feel good about themselves, find out what they want and do it. It could be yoga classes or organised hacks at a livery yard.
These political and cultural shifts have been predicted, and it’s now upon us. We are seeing people ditching the rat race to follow dreams. Often in the rural economies as they become more connected to what they really want from life. You know it’s a growing trend when you get a call from a TV production company sourcing people to feature in a documentary. As I did a few month back. These people chasing their dreams are connected with “soft power” a higher consciousness.
So what does this mean in a business context?
Running a business with soft power, allows us to be guided by our intuition. We can tune into our own strengths. It also gives us the emotional intelligence to nurture and communicate with staff and customers in a way that brings positive results.
Equestrian businesses are often set up to fund a personal lifestyle. The danger is that this is not enough or could be seen as one-sided. Customers are very sophisticated and don’t want to feel like an inconvenience, that you profit from. When a business is not combined with the will to help others, share in your passion. It will become evident in your business.
If a business is out of sync with this, it could manifest as bad customer service within a riding school environment. Or the integrity of a producer being questioned, if they poorly match horse and rider for monetary gain.
As a consultant and coach to the equestrian sector, I am fuelled by helping equestrian centres survive for the next generation. I also want to help them shift their model to the needs of the modern customer so equestrian stays relevant.
Don’t be scared to play big!
Do you have an idea inside of you to grow your business? Maybe you get thwarted, by a little story in your heads that says, “but who am I to…?” or “But this is just how the horse world is” (because someone told you that once, right?) or “I’m not ready/expert enough/educated enough to … lead the charge.” then I would love to hear your ideas and show you how your thoughts can become reality by taking action today.