How to lose business

Last year I decided to get back into the saddle. After much research I found a very interesting riding school to visit.

The horses were great, my teacher very understanding, as I hadn’t ridden for years, and I really enjoyed my weekly lesson. Even in the rain!

Then for a number of unrelated happenings, not planned at all, I had to miss three lessons on the trot.

During those weeks I never received a call, text or email from the stable, and never have since. I’ve not ridden since and sadly, at the moment, don’t think I will.

Bizarrely at the same time, as I missed the riding lessons, I discovered a Shetland pony farm.

As the farm, in Stoke D’Abernon, was close to my home I decided to pay them a visit. My reason being that as Bonzo is a Shetland pony, it might give me some wonderful ideas for my next Bonzo and Her Grace children’s book.

The layout of the farm is dazzling, the owner very welcoming, she introduced me to her lovely staff and, of course, about 20 beautiful Shetland ponies. They were so cute and fun.

When I finally left, I said that it would be great to keep in touch, and gave the owner a copy of Bonzo and Her Grace and my business card. In return she gave me a copy of her children’s horse book.

I left thinking that the farm was very special and that, sometime in the future, I’d love to visit again.

Since my visit I have received lots of emails and one, just last week, started with a lovely video of Shetlands playing and notes about what they had been doing over the winter. I wanted to go and see them.

As it turned out, my wife and I took our 3 year old grandson to see them, and he loved the Shetland ponies. This time as we left, I said that we would see them again soon, and gave the owner two copies of my latest Bonzo and Her Grace book.

So, how can all of this help you?

Well that’s easy. What sort of relationship do you have with your clients and prospective customers?

As, if it’s like the first stable you will be losing business, but if it’s like the Shetland pony farm, you like be gaining business. Exactly where does your customer relationship sit?

Say it with real meaning!

I was taught to ride at 21, by a Mr. Quinn, at the Park Lane Stables. After a few rides he asked me ‘Do you want to be taught how to ride, or, do you want to be taught how to ride?’

He had asked me the same question, but twice. I have to say that the second time he asked, it was with more energy and enthusiasm, so I went for that one.

And it made Mr. Quinn pleased. He explained that there nothing wrong with riding the first way, but that the second way meant that I really wanted to be able to really ride; not just hack.

The following weeks were tough! I came off on 12 rides consecutively. There were two reasons: one, that I was learning fast and, two, the more I improved, the better horse I was given to ride.

Of course it could have been that I was just a bad rider, but from ride 13 I’ve rarely come off again!

When the autumn arrives, and the bad weather, the number of riders really drops off; mainly those that just go out for a nice comfortable hack, don’t like cold, wet rides. And, that is perfectly fine, but the horses still need to be exercised. So they are often led out in a string.

Well, one morning Mr. Quinn offered me a deal. I could ride every day if I liked, as long as I still took my one paid-for lesson.

I jumped at the chance and was soon riding every day. I loved it.

We now jump a lot of years forward. Park Lane Stables was still a stables I thought of, and I loved seeing their horses on the roads, and being ridden in Bushy Park.

Park Lane Stables

Then, one day I heard, they were going to lose their stable and Park Lane Stables might come to an end. I would have hated that.

They needed to raise a million pounds and did everything they could. Not that I could do much, but I shared their Facebook news and popped into see them, and donated some of my Bonzo and Her Grace books, to help raise money. Plus, of course, I told lots of people about what they were hoping to do.

It took a long time, and some incredible support, but finally they made it, and now the stable is safe for life.

Now, what might this have to do with your business?

Well, if Mr. Quinn, and the Park Lane Stable, had not said all things with a real meaning, then they probably wouldn’t exist today.

So, does everything you and your staff say, have a real meaning? As if it does your success will be far greater than if it doesn’t.

I was Kicked!

A few months ago, I talked about my son promoting his comic book with Kickstarter. Well he had success and over 200 people now have a copy of the comic. And, it’s good.

In my blog I talked about doing things differently in our current situation; not getting bitter but getting better.

I’ve written for many years and really enjoy doing so, mainly stories for children, about ponies and horses, and due to my son’s success with Kickstarter, I am now giving it a go myself.

You see, due to the effect of the current state of affairs, I’ve had time to write fully and find a great artist to paint the drawings I needed.

So, now I have a possible book being promoted with Kickstarter. I have to say it’s exciting, but also scary. What if I fail?

If you have a moment, love ponies and horses, are interested in a possible Christmas present, or are willing to help me, please do have a look at my book and help me succeed.

Here it is:

Thank you