Stories from other business owners like you, to share their inspirations, challenges and triumphs!
Meet Nancy Ellison-Murray from Reset Equine. I met Nancy first through a marketing call over the phone with her, and was so impressed, she is now a part of my “support team” to help me best care for my pony, Mojo. Here’s her story:
Where did the idea for your business come from, and when did it start being a business rather than a hobby for you?
For me it never really started as a hobby. It went from fascination across a wide variety of related topics to a state of all consuming passion, to “If I don’t dedicate myself to this for the rest of my life I’ll be unhealthily kidding myself and possibly certifiable by the time I’m 40!” My interest in the Equine never came from a disciple specific approach, or a strong interest to specifically be a dressage rider, event rider, showjumper, jockey etc but from a fascination in the way they moved, how they moved, and how they did what we asked of them. So the leap from pre-business stage really occurred early on in my life as I was preparing to work with horses as focal point of my career even as a child. The preparation although not of course financially beneficial as it rarely is at that stage, it was certainly in the fields that were most beneficial for me and my career aspirations.
What was your biggest challenge while still in start up mode?
Psychological! Fear of failure! This had been such a long term plan and project, with a deep intimate commitment for me so it really felt like make or break time. I had already had a ‘false start’ so to speak with an injury that took a 5 year recovery from the physical aspect of my work, so part of me had convinced myself that I was possibly not meant to do this? So that took an awful lot to overcome. Apart from that, anything was considered as possible as long as I considered it laterally and approached it logically. Most other things were just boxes to logically tick from a business perspective.
Keeping what I do relevant, and logically applicable to the individual client combination, so that includes relevant client communication and continued client engagement. All of which is pivotal to my personal continued education and skills development which is HUGELY impacted on my ability to keep physically and mentally (creatively) energized in my work.
What is the one thing that you wish you had done differently in the early stages of your business?
Created clear boundaries on how I provide my client service, defined how much is enough, and developed protocols and procedures for pivotal points of the business. I always discounted these things as being irrelevant as I was a “Flying Solo” but I now understand that being constantly in a creative/problem solving state responding to ‘business’ scenarios is exhausting emotionally and physically! (Particularly when coupling it with studying a Science degree…) So to enable myself the ability to auto pilot when the work allows for it, such as the ‘Management’ side of the business, by developing protocols and guidelines [systems- Anita] to provide answers for the most commonly occurring parts of the business, it allows me to follow a well practice model rather than intuitively come up with a new plan each time. This also is essential to provide a consistent service for your clients…consistently developed trust, and this is very important.
Where do you see your particular segment of the pet or equine industry heading in the future? (innovations, changes in philosophy, regulations, perceptions etc)
I feel that as professionals we are coming out of a curriculum based era, to a ready accessible self taught era. It’s the end of the “on mass information era”, and the start of the “applicable information era.” Consumers, and equine consumers are not unalike. The Equine community has seen a HUGE rise in the availability of information in the last 20 + years, but now its getting to the tipping point where it is almost too much. I think what the greater equine community is wanting now is understanding so that they can become more fluent in HOW to make the best training and management choices for their own equine athletes, or a clear concise comprehensive and applicable presentation of ‘solutions’ to the individual problem. People are getting tired and overwhelmed with information, so they are ultimately devaluing it, but at the same time the need for practical answers and solutions is huge. This is where service providers need to up the game on understanding, and push the boundaries on communication styles to succeed.
From a horse perspective, we are about to see HUGE changes in horse sports, and the definitions of welfare. This is going to change the formats, and fundamentals of many Equine performance scenarios. So, with the entirely different equine breed developments and relative physiology that comes with these changes, the horse has in effect ‘re written’ the rules on performance preparation and management, so the pressure will be on the trainer/rider to also re write the rules. With more pressure from the welfare and public profile aspect of these sports, will come an even greater need for the rider and trainer to finally uptake the knowledge that the Equine science community has been gather for the last 50+ years an utilize it to better manage welfare and therefore performance outcomes.
For example, we have had a clear change in the format of the 3 Day eventing a number of years ago from the long to the short format, and this has seen a big change in the breed types used with more expectation being placed on the Dressage and Showjumping phase, and breeding for this has occurred. We are now starting to see a change in the structure of the Cross country phase too, but has the fitness and management approach of training a horse for a short format accommodated the use of the current preferred breed types? In my opinion it hasn’t, this is partly to do with not enough understanding is available relating these two together. Approaching the training of a thoroughbred for a short format is very different to approaching training of a Warmblood for a short format. In many instances people are really only training warmbloods with a program preferred to a thoroughbred, minus the longer distance phase. This is not ideal at all.
Again, it comes down to the information being out there, but it isn’t in an easily digestible practically useful format.
What does “Success” look like for you?
A cohesive and energizing balance between work and lifestyle that flows. With no regrets, no hesitations, and NO guilt!
What is your biggest tip for other small business owners in the first few years of their own businesses?
Learn, assess, and reflect on every day and how you can do it better the next time it occurs. It’s rare that a situation is an individual occurrence, so aim to be even better prepared for the next time it happens, so you can approach it to the best of your professional capacity.
RESET Equine specializes in Equine Athlete management from a physical fitness perspective. This covers most prominently, disorders or limitations in movement from musculoskeletal and neuromuscular movement dysfunctions requiring therapeutics and further fitness development, as well as a entire relative approach to the complete management of the entire athlete, fitness, diet, routine etc, all of which work cohesively to support or adversely affect the welfare and potential of the equine athlete.
Nancy Ellison-Murray comes from a diverse background in the equine industry, having competed in and being involved in many diverse disciplines such as eventing, dressage, endurance, and thoroughbred racing, as well as event organization and officiating, instructing, Dressage judging, breeding and Welfare. Nancy is currently studying a Bachelor Degree in Equine Science, with plans furthering studies to Master in Equine Science at the completion of the degree. Nancy has a strong personal interest in the sport of Endurance riding, and time permitting is hoping to get back into this year, with plans to qualify her 9 year old gelding as an endurance horse in early 2016.