Writing Your 2024 Equestrian Business Plan
This article was originally written in September 2022 and was updated in July 2023.
Running your own equestrian business is hard work! Alongside running Purple Horse Planners, I also own and run my equine marketing agency, Purple Horse Marketing. Juggling all of the monthly tasks - invoicing, client work, restocking, etc - alongside driving the businesses forwards is a challenge.
However, having a business plan (and a business planner) is essential to the sustainable, long-term growth of both of my businesses. It has also helped me to maintain a reasonable work-life balance.
Business planning and strategy is an ongoing task, but it is essential in my view. This step-by-step guide takes you through each stage of creating your 2024 equestrian business plan.
Step 1: Buy a Business Planner
A business planner is a worthwhile investment for any business owner, especially busy small business owners! A business planner provides a structured guide that you can use to set yourself goals, make plans and manage your tasks and time.
I started developing my business planner in 2021 as a tool to help me create a vision, set goals and make a plan that could be adjusted throughout the year. Staying motivated and focused was also a big part of my motivation for the planner.
I am super excited to bring you the 2024 Business Planner by Purple Horse Planners, which you can pre-order from 1st September 2023.
Step 2: Review Your 2023
Before planning the year ahead, take time to reflect on this year. Although it’s only September, you will have a good idea of how the year is going. Think about what things have gone well and where there is room for improvement. Consider whether there is anything you would have liked to have achieved in 2023 but that hasn’t quite worked out, and think about why that might be.
Taking your successes and your learnings into 2024 will help you to move forward and build on that positivity.
Step 3: Set Out Your 2024 Vision
The next step is to set out your vision for 2024. Think about what you want to achieve next year and make a few notes. It doesn’t have to be set in stone at this point - it’s just there to help you organise your thoughts. It may help to organise your vision by where you’d like to be in 12 months, 3 years and 5 years.
New for 2024, I have added a double page spread, which you can use to create a vision board. Alternatively, you can create a digital board or use a good old fashioned cork board!
Step 4: Set Your 2024 Goals
Setting goals is easier once you have your vision. This is because your goals are going to actually mean something, in that achieving your goals will enable you to make your vision a reality.
My Business Planner provides enough space for you to set one major goal for the year, two smaller goals and one personal goal. This will help you maintain balance between business development and self development, and encourages you to make the time to work on your personal ambitions and interests.
How to Set SMART Goals for Your Equine Business
Your goals need to be SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Below is a brief guide on how to make sure your goals are SMART:
Specific: Think about the who, what, where, when and why of your goal. Avoid something general like “I want to be rich” or “I want to be better at riding”.
Measurable: You need to be able to definitively measure whether you have achieved your goal or not. Measurable goals include those relating to profit or turnover, sales, enquiries, etc. You could also measure success with a simple yes/no. For example, if your goal is to compete at Novice level dressage by the end of the year, it’s something you with either do or not do.
Attainable: Your goals need to be realistic. Whilst we are all for pushing ourselves, don’t set yourself goals that are clearly impossible. This is a fast-track way to losing motivation!
Relevant: Your goals must be relevant to yourself or your business. There’s no point setting yourself a goal to compete in a BE100 if you’re not interested in eventing. When it comes to your business, think carefully about whether the goals you set will actually move your business forward.
Time-Bound: Finally, set yourself a deadline. Our Business Planner does this for you by allocating space for yearly and quarterly goals.
Step 5: Set Your Quarterly Goals
This task should be relatively simple, provided you have set SMART yearly goals for 2024. Simply break your yearly goals down into four stages, with each of these stages becoming a mini-goal to achieve by the end of each quarter.
How you choose to break your yearly goals down depends on the goal and your business. It may not be realistic to just split an annual profit goal into four equal chunks. Consider how your business operates in each quarter and set SMART quarterly goals accordingly.
Step 6: Set Out a Monthly Plan
This bit is a little more complicated. Now that you have your goals, think about what needs to happen in order for you to achieve them. You need to be careful to not overload yourself here, as it’s really tempting to start planning loads of projects before realising you’ve created far too much work for yourself.
I’d recommend using a notebook and pen to jot down your plan before putting it into your Business Planner. This will give you plenty of space to think and clear away anything that’s not relevant.
Your monthly plan will be super specific and individual to your business. It should consist mainly of the things you need to do to achieve your goals, rather than just the day-to-day things you actually do for a living. Of course, you need to ensure you make enough time to do both!
My Top Tips for Writing Your Monthly Plan
Draft it, redraft it, and redraft it again before committing to anything in your business planner.
Focus on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals, and nothing else. Your goals are there to keep you focused and avoid distraction.
Don’t overload yourself. I’d probably look to work on one project each quarter that covers all of your business goals, and another project to cover your personal goal
Work backwards from the end of the year. This can help you fit everything in.
Leave space for extra things you may want or need to squeeze in later on. This also allows you to move things about if you have a setback or get unexpectedly busy.
The 2024 Business Planner by Purple Horse Planners
If you want to make the most of 2024 with a focused, ambitious but achievable plan, order yourself a copy of the 2024 Business Planner by Purple Horse Planners.
I started working on this planner way back in the autumn of 2021 because I needed to be focused, organised and motivated to grow my businesses in 2022.
It worked so well that I updated the planner and launched it for the first time for 2023. This year, it's been updated yet again and will be available to pre-order for 2024.
The Business Planner helps you set out your vision, goals and plan for the year ahead, and there is also plenty of space to plan each month, week and day. I have also included sections for monthly reviews, so you can check in and help yourself stay on track to hit your goals.
The 2024 Business Planner by Purple Horse Planners is available on pre-order for £34.99 from 1st-29th September. Pre-order your copy and get in the zone for 2024.