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Mid-Eastern Farriers Association
by Jonathan Taylor

Spring is almost here, right? It has been a long, but busy, winter.
 
Cathy Ruggieri and I hauled Silver down to Randy Luikart’s shop last Friday (March 9). It was a good trip, and we’re hoping that a few changes Randy made will help Silver at least a little. Even though Silver was over 8 weeks, Randy still faced the problem of not much foot to work with. I’ll keep you up to speed.
 
My bank sends me a publication called Business Asset. The last two issues had some business tips I thought I’d pass along.
 
TEN TIPS TO BOOST PROFITABILITY:
1. Sell more to existing customers. Everyone wants new customers, but your existing customers are golden. You’ve already convinced them to patronize your business; selling them a bit more should be easy.
 
2. Encourage Referrals. Regular customers are not only your best customers, they are often a great source for new business.
 
3. Get your name out there. Write a press release about a change in your business, just a paragraph or two stating the basics. Send it to your local newspaper and business publication and to trade magazines in your field.
 
4. Build loyalty. Good products and service are essential, but earning loyalty requires a personal touch. Maintain a “tickler file,” or a database of personal information on your customers. Show your customers you pay attention to them and their needs by staying informed about their families and businesses.
 
5. Remember, time is money. Sales don’t automatically translate to cash. To turn sales into cash faster, send out invoices as soon as possible. Offer a 2% discount for payment within 10 days, or a 5% discount for payment in advance.
6. Eliminate fees. For example, many companies offer free Internet access. You’ll have to look at their advertising as you check your e-mail, but it could save you $20.00 to $50.00 per month. Go to www.internet4free.net to find ISP’s in your area.
 
7. Image matters. A professional, clean image is important, especially when you’re seeking new customers.
 
8. Adjust prices. Make sure your customers feel like they’re getting a deal during slow times, rather than being forced to pay too much during busy times.
 
9. Automate. A small investment in a new computer can automate billing and record keeping, saves time, increasing your productivity, giving you time to find and service new customers.
 
10. Scrutinize those bills. Even a small business is flooded with invoices. Set up your expenses as a percentage of sales, and look at them over a five year period. That way you can see if something that cost 2% of sales one year jumped to 6% of sales the next year.
 
These things aren’t specifically related to horseshoeing, but business is business!
 
Upcoming Events:
March 31 — Ken Davis Open House, Roy Bloom and Bobby Menker, Clinicians.
April 21-22 — Clinic with Steve Teichman, CJF, at OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. One day of lecture, one day of shoeing. Contact: Todd Adams at 740/965-2741.
April 28 — West Virginia Farriers Association Shoeing Clinic with Danny Ward. Contact: Pat McCartney at 340/462-5910.
May 18-19 — A.F.A. Certification Testing, Dick Becker, Examiner. Contact: Mike Augustine at 740/962-6571.
October — Annual MEFA Clinic and Contest, Buckeye Ranch, Columbus, OH. Contact: Mike Mcnutt at  740/826-9919.
November 10-11 — Clinic with Luke Prouix, CJF, Biomechanics and shoeing one day, contest forging one day. Contact Jonathan Taylor at 724/475-3831.
January 2002 — Clinic at Aurora Equine Specialty Hospital, on reading radiographs. Contact: Bill McCain at 814/756-0864.
Contacts:
T-Shirts — Greg Shuttleworth 814/587-3317
Video Library — Jon Adelsperger 740/678-2883
Membership — Mike Mcnutt 740/826-9199
Website — Steve Muir 740/967-7463








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