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I want to start my own Riding SWchool and Competition yard. I have extensive equestrian experience, so that side of it would be solid, but I have no idea where to start or what to do. I have researched my area, and believe that I could offer something different. I understand that I could either start from scratch (my preferred way) or buy an existing business, but where would a 26 yeard old, with no property or captial get that kind of lending?!
03-05-2005, 01:32 PM
This sounds like a good idea and having plenty of equestrian experience is an excellent start. 26 is a great age to start a business, but yes, it does mean that finance isn't going to be easy, especially as I imagine start up costs for your type of business could be pretty huge. Having said that, this doesn't mean you can't do it, and certainly I was exactly the same when I started up (big idea, but no money to do it), but I'm getting there.
I think maybe the best place to start is to work out how much you'd need to start up from scratch. Though buying a 'ready made' business gives one a flying start in some cases, I think the costs would be prohibitive, so I'd be inclined to just go it alone. So maybe starting with some costs would help, so you could look at whether you can you rent rather than buy premises, how much you need to spend on advertising, what the legal things you need to know are (e.g. health and safety), how many horses you need and what they'd cost, what equipment you need and again, the associated costs, etc. Once you've got some figures together and maybe got an outline business plan, I'd start with Business Link for some advice and go from there.
It might seem difficult to get the money together at this point, but the business plan will be useful anyway, as at least then you'll know realistically how much you need. Business Link will fund up to 50% of start up costs in some cases (though you need to turn over a certain amount in your 1st year to access that), and then there's bank loans, small grants from the Chamber of Commerce sometimes, and also the Princes Trust. If you own a property, sometimes extending your mortgage is a cheap way of borrowing, albeit one with risks if you can't keep up the payments.
So all in all, I'd say, don't be put off by the hurdles of finance, but try doing some calculations of what you need first, then look around at what help is out there. Does that help?
Start up costs would be huge, which is what put me off originally. I have emailed my business link person, so am waiting for them to get back to me. I don't own any property, so that would rule that out, but I hadn't thought about the possibility of renting a yard to start with. How would I go about writing a plan? I have no idea where to start! I would love the yard to become affiliated by the British Horse Society, so that I could run examinations and courses, but again, no idea how to start up. I'm a bit scared to start adding up the costs to be honest!
03-05-2005, 02:18 PM
Yes, I thought that might be the case, that the start up costs are of rather scary proportions, as I imagine once one adds up horse, equipment and year, one probably gets to £100k in no time! Realistically, you're going to struggle to raise that kind of cash, not because the idea isn't good (I think it is) but just because no-one likes lending that kind of cash to a new business (I know that from having tried to raise it myself).
I wonder if there's maybe another way of doing this though? Renting a yard could help, but something else that might be worth thinking of, as a half way house to having your own business, would be finding someone to be a 'sleeping' business partner, so that they invest, you run the business and they share the profits. An ideal sort of set up would be someone running their own equestrian centre who wants to retire but is willing to give part ownership to someone who will manage the business for them. Do you read equestrian magazines and if so do you ever see that kind of thing advertised? Another way of approaching this would be to talk to anyone looking to sell their business in this area to see if they'd be interested in a deal whereby you'd run it for them for profit and ownership share only (as opposed to a salary)?
That's great that you've been in touch with Business Link as they might be able to point you in the right direction on a business plan. The most helpful sources of business planning that I've found have been HSBC bank's datasheets for small businesses, and also a website called www.oliveblue.com which has a great template on it which you can just download/print and fill in. The content here, if you look at the Business Planning section is an excellent start too.
Hope that helps but do come back if you've any other queries,
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