Written by Brittany Fisher of Financiallywell.info
Just like many other areas of business, the horse racing world was hit hard by the pandemic. In an industry already laboring under economic woes, this virus couldn’t have come at a worse time for many whose livelihoods center around the track.
Even if your venture is struggling with debt, there is still hope. Read on for solutions that can help you stage a comeback that not only helps you recover, but sets your business up for long-term success.
Assess Your Budget
Even if you think you’ve squeezed every penny out of your budget and you’ve hit a dead end, your budget is the first place to start in order to find a way forward. Begin by listing your debts and calculating your debt-to-income ratio. Even if you’re in the red, this provides a starting point.
Next, reduce any unnecessary expenses. Stable Management explains that this may require some creative thinking; maybe you can get hay directly from the grower, cutting out the middleman. You might install LED bulbs in your barn to reduce electricity use. Perhaps you can reconsider hauling routes and schedules to reduce fuel and boarding costs, or split trips and costs with other horsemen. You might even qualify for a hardship program.
Another option is to sell assets. This might mean letting go of your lowest performing stud or selling some equipment. Oftentimes it’s cheaper to lease than own equipment, which means you save on hidden costs like maintenance, insurance and registration. With a nip here and a tuck there, you might be surprised at how much you can scrape together. When your enterprise is back on its feet, you can rethink your spending habits, but the key is to survive until then.
Negotiate With Lenders
You might not be able to manage your debt, even with adjustments. In that case, see if you can make your debt cheaper. This might mean consolidating your debt or negotiating better terms with creditors. You might even reach the conclusion that you need to file bankruptcy on all or some of your debt.
Bankruptcy is not the taboo solution it used to be, and as Nav points out, you can start rebuilding your credit history — and business — almost immediately. Unfortunately, if you’re a sole proprietor, your personal credit can be deeply affected by a bankruptcy. To avoid such issues down the road, consider forming your new business as an LLC (limited liability company).
Just like it sounds, an LLC protects your personal assets in the event of future business problems. If you’re savvy with legalese you can do this yourself, or companies like Zen Business are a cost-effective way to get started. They will walk you through the details of finding a new business name and registering with your state, and they can even take care of things like filing your annual report. Either way, the important thing is to ensure that with your new business, your personal assets are safeguarded for the future.
Whether you revamp your spending to breathe new life into your business or you simply start over, your next goal is to create habits that will maintain solvency for years to come. Assuming you’ve already slashed spending appropriately, it’s time to address the other side of the equation: raising revenue.
Just like creativity can help you reduce spending, putting on your thinking cap can also help you find ways to increase your income. Perhaps it’s time to open your barn up to boarding, increase training offerings, or offer to haul other people’s horses when you’re planning a trip. When was the last time you raised rates? Whether for boarding, training, or other services, giving your farm a raise might be long overdue. Look for innovative solutions that will pay off without adding to your expenses.
If your farm’s finances wouldn’t pass a pre-race exam right now, it’s time to take a hard look at your budget. Address your spending and rethink your debts, and look for creative ways to boost income. With the right plan in place, you can finish this race in front — and stay sound for the long haul.