by Doug Emerson
You probably hear a lot about systems in conversations. Often in reference to money making systems like: internet marketing , horse betting , stock investment and multi level marketing. Usually complicated, these types of systems have a degree of success directly in proportion to the business owner’s effort to understand and follow the system.
But, not all systems are complicated. In your home, you might have a system for doing the dishes, or folding laundry or feeding the dog. You have them because they simplify your life by helping you doing things efficiently without reinventing the process each time.
I had lunch recently with Mike, the owner of a roofing company and Frank, a retired roofer and estimator. We talked about their experience with systems and the crews that work for them. While the business of roofing and the business of horses are very dissimilar, they have common ground as far as the need to accomplish a lot of physical work during the day. There are no cubicle jobs in either business.
Both businesses involve material handling. For example, roofers tear off worn out roofing materials and install new roofing. Horse businesses remove manure and bedding and replace with fresh bedding. Both businesses involve physical labor, hand tools and machinery. Both businesses employ experienced and inexperienced help.
Mike and Frank agree that without a system for work, productivity falls and profit falls even quicker. A foreman who leads a crew with a system and expectations for time requirements, is essential for company profitability. When crews know the way to do a job and the time allotted for completion, they perform.
Well, duh, that’s just common sense you may think.
Common sense yes, common practice? NO.
You know what I mean if you have visited horse businesses where the help operates behind schedule, doesn’t have the right equipment and tools and thinks that any motion, including backward, indicates work is being done. You may have this problem at your own business.
I’d like you to consider the importance of systems in your horse business. Written systems add stability for the day-to-day operations of a business as well as encourage efficiency. Some things that we consider routine and expect everyone to know may still need to have an established system.
As an example, let’s take a look at a simple system for water buckets in stalls. My system includes checking water levels four times daily and refilling if under half full. The system demands emptying the buckets and refilling whenever they become contaminated with bedding or unwanted hay droppings. Buckets are to be scrubbed with a special “water bucket only” brush once a week to remove accumulated residue.
Even though you know all of these things are part of good horse health care, your employees and helpers may not. A written system helps eliminate confusion and smooth out the day.
Examples of other parts of your business that will benefit from having a written system are:
- Stall cleaning and manure handling
- Daily feeding times and procedures
- Welcoming new customers
- Collecting payments from customers: Cash, check and credit cards
- Answering the telephone and taking telephone messages and relaying to the proper recipient
- Arranging and filing horse registrations and health papers
- Reimbursing employees for expenses
- Preparing for travel to a horse show
- Dealing with sick or injured horses
- Checking, changing, removing and storing coolers, sheets and blankets
My point is that every part of your horse business that can be made into a system and placed in writing will be one less opportunity for confusion or opportunity for someone to say those dreaded words, “you never told me that.”
Invest the time into making systems for your horse business. The benefit of having simple, smooth and synchronized systems is happier employees, less stress for you and more profit.
Doug Emerson helps professional horsemen struggling with the business half of the horse business. Find more articles about the horse business like this one at www.ProfitableHorseman.com