There is a business affliction that sneaks up and infects many business owners. I call it The Slump. Its symptoms include: complacency, overconfidence and false beliefs. It’s the precursor of a failing business.
Almost every business experiences the slump at some point, but never early in the life of a business when enthusiasm is high, money is scarce and income is uncertain.
Slumpage occurs when business owners have a steadier stream of customers producing reliable cash flow, a good team for getting the work done and general stability with business expenses. Slumpers reach a point of acceptance of the status quo and while it isn’t perfect, they rationalize this is as good as it gets.
Until the barn gets quarantined with strangles, hay prices suddenly triple or a horrific accident sidelines a key employee, slumpers are confident their businesses will remain profitable forever. They live in a blissful state not believing a widely accepted principle stating businesses are always either growing or shrinking. There is no such thing as stable.
Challenging the status quo for your business on a regular basis will prevent the slump. One of the best ways to challenge status quo and think deeper and wider about your business is continuing your education. Lifelong learners have proven the value of ongoing self education. Many licensed professions mandate continuing education as a condition for license renewals.
Your continuing education might include areas within the horse industry and outside as well. Courses like: negotiating, bookkeeping, Excel, wordpress, videography, body language, business law, teaching, brainstorming, public speaking and writing are examples of continuing education that will keep your mind sharp and creative.
Lectures, classes, seminars and workshops offer two benefits for you. The obvious benefit is arming you with useful knowledge to apply to the day to day operation of your business. The second, and perhaps greater benefit, is interaction with other students and discovering new solutions to old problems. Surprisingly, your new solution may come from someone outside of the horse industry.
Dr. Karl Weick, a professor of organizational behavior and psychology, made this observation: “Creative ideas come from putting new things in old combinations and old things in new combinations.”
Steven Johnson, author of “Where Good Ideas Come From”, makes a point about a wide pool of minds that can come up with and share good ideas. He writes, “It’s not that the network itself is smart; it’s that the individuals get smarter because they’re connected to the network.”
Continuing education pushes you out of your comfort zone, challenges false beliefs, provides the stimulus for renewed enthusiasm in your work and higher profit. It’s the vaccine for the slump.
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated”– Oscar Wilde
Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman | 7444 Chestnut Ridge | Lockport | NY | 14094
The Northwest Horse Source is an independently owned and operated print and online magazine for horse owners and enthusiasts of all breeds and disciplines in the Pacific Northwest. Our contemporary editorial columns are predominantly written by experts in the region, covering the care, training, keeping and enjoyment of horses, with an eye to the specific concerns in our region.