Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter
Aug 16, 2008 
Your Profits Will Be Up- When You Get Down to the Nitty-Gritty 
Say "Nitty-Gritty" out loud. 
You hear two simple but powerful rhyming words that create an instant picture in your mind of getting down to the basics.  When you see or hear nitty-gritty, no further explanation is needed.  The message conveys as effectively as "help" or "fire".
Getting down to the nitty-gritty is standard operating procedure for horsemen.  Horses caked with mud, 23 stalls ready to be mucked and 800 bales of hay on wagons waiting to  be unloaded are the standard nitty-gritty. 
We take a deep breath, lace up boots and roll up sleeves and get to it. The nitty-gritty work that screams like a siren for attention and can't be delayed.  It's physical, it's often dirty and usually involves sweat.  This is the fundamental nitty-gritty of the horse business.
But, there is another type of nitty-gritty work in business.  It's the  analytical nitty-gritty.  This work doesn't scream for attention, it whispers.  The need for analytical nitty-gritty doesn't appear as a blinking billboard demanding action like a tractor stuck in the mud, it shows up as late payments, extra borrowing and business owner frustration.   This analytical nitty-gritty strains your brain not your back.
Analytical nitty-gritty is the fact gathering, number crunching and tactical work of your business.  It helps you know financially:
  1. Where you've been
  2. Where you are now
  3. Where you are headed

The analytical nitty-gritty work you do with your business answers basic and important questions like:

  •  How much does each scoop of feed cost?
  • How many marketing steps do I take each month for advertising, phone calls to clients and prospects, lesson demos, horses I have for sale?
  • How long does it take to feed each horse, groom, turn out, change blankets, clean stalls and bed, fill water buckets?
  • How many lessons are given each week by horse and by instructor?
  • How much actual profit is there in my trucking fee after accounting for labor, fuel, maintenance, insurance and vehicle depreciation?
You get the idea.  This is not the type of work that most people enjoy.  It requires concentration and the trail to the answers is not always well marked.  You have to do some searching and once you find the trail, branches will smack you in the face.  But that's why it's called the nitty-gritty; you dig in and get the job done.  It's no different than building a brick wall.  It gets built brick by brick, not all at once.  The nitty-gritty of placing bricks and mortar in the right pattern day after day in all types of weather builds a strong wall.
If you know you must get 800 bales of hay under shelter before it rains and spoils,

then you also know you must identify, analyze and improve the numbers of your business before it dissolves.
Others Have Said 
"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals."  --   Jim Rohn 
 "Learn the fundamentals of the game and stick to them. Band-Aid remedies never last" 
-- Jack Nicklaus
 "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"   -  Lao Tzu

Back At The Barn

bridles 2
 When you think nitty-gritty, it also brings to mind the Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band of sixties and seventies fame.
On a rare night out, Betsey and I made our way through a crowd of about twenty thousand people (crammed into an outside concert area that comfortably holds ten thousand) to listen to another seventies band, REO Speedwagon perform in our hometown of Lockport, NY.
Many years have passed since REO was rocking the charts, but the band members still love what they do and gave their fans a show to remember.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is still touring, too.  Maybe they'll be in town for a show next summer!
Speaking of: Rising feed and transportation costs, Budget Sensitive Clients, Falling Horse Values...
Is the horse industry in trouble? 


audienceI'll tackle these Hot topics as a Speaker for your next conference or meeting 

Call or e-mail me about possibilities for your event.
Call me (716) 434-5371.
I talk with professional horsemen from all over each week about their businesses.  Some I can help right away, some aren't quite ready and I refer some to others better suited to help them.
Phone or e-mail me to discuss your situation and the possibilities.  The only thing that holds you from success is you.
Until next time,

Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
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