WHAT did you say?! Word of Mouth Opinions in the Horse World

If you buy horse products, board your horse at a stable, go to shows, or take lessons or clinics then you form a positive or negative opinion or association with that service or product.  
You probably tell your friends or family, or other riding contacts, about your experience with that particular equestrian service or product.
Likewise, you might ask other riders their experience with a particular type of trailer, the footing at certain shows, or a farrier that they could recommend to you.  Based on that recommendation you may choose to NOT attend a show, buy a particular saddle, or use a certain veterinarian; you respond by withholding both your time and your money from something that has negative feedback.

This is the basics of all relationships- it is valuable to help each other, inform yourself, and to improve the horse industry and community.  This is also the basics of marketing and sales.  Companies want you to share your positive experience with your friends because a trusted referral is something dollars cannot buy.  
There are laws that govern how your business can request feedback and what it can do with the feedback (such as disclosure laws, laws regarding the use of personal contact information, and more).  These laws are important and will be discussed how they relate to the equine world on the blog in the future, but for now, consider the role that your feedback plays in the horse world, as well as how helpful it is to you when you have customers, clients, or friends give you their honest thoughts (when requested of course! I don't particularly love unrequested feedback from the sidelines when I'm posting without stirrups).

Three common types of feedback in the horse business world
Customer to Customer: your experience with a horse product or service or event, and what you tell your friend about that experience

Customer to Business: responding to surveys or on the phone with customer service (an experience in itself!) to let the business know your positive or negative reaction to the business' products or services

Business to Business: rather than viewing other businesses as competitors, other business owners can be collaborators in your horse business.  Whether a business is at the same point as yours, ahead or just behind you, there is value in providing feedback to each other.

Where do you most frequently find yourself in these feedback relationships?  Which are most frustrating, or pleasing, to you? (I love highly-personal customer service as a customer with a horse business, like the tack store Farmhouse Tack.)
What have you chosen NOT to spend money on because of negative feedback? (i.e., a certain clinician who you were told is condescending or a saddle pad that falls apart after one wash?)

The past two months I have hosted an exclusive horse business group composed of a hand-selected group of equestrian entrepreneurs and others in the horse business.  The members are both horse product businesses as well as service providers, such as trainers and coaches.  We have collaborated in the group to provide each other with feedback, touching on all three types of feedback mentioned above.

The Online Horse Business community is a very special place, where people can get help and support, learn new things, build relationships, and grow sales - a safe, encouraging, professionally constructive space for all involved. 

If being part of a horse business feedback group is something that you're interested in, and you have not yet subscribed to the Ribbons and Red Tape mailing list by requesting the free Start Your Horse Business checklist, I wanted to give you an opportunity to put your name on the waiting list.  The doors are currently closed to new members, but will be re-opening again soon.

This horse business feedback  group is for you if you work for a horse business or own an equestrian entrepreneurial venture and you are interested in growing your horse audience and sales.   And if this doesn't sound like something for you, no pressure at all.

I also wanted to let you know that one of our current horse business group members is the Equestrian Health Coach.  Kimball Wilson, a certified health coach and rider has opened the doors to her 21 day healthy eating cleanse for equestrians, beginning on May 5.  If you are struggling to maintain your New Year Resolution to get fit and healthy, or if you want to get your health on track for a demanding summer show schedule, I encourage you to sign-up! I am always shocked at how much attention riders give to feeding their horses the right nutrition, but then riders will feast on sugary store-bought muffins and soda all weekend at a show.  Check out the program and see if it could be the right fit for you or someone you know.  But hurry, you only have until this coming Monday to sign-up before the doors close!

Note: I do not receive a commission if you sign-up for the Equestrian Health Coach program, I just want to help spread the word about a great online horse business!