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Planning For a Profitable Equine BusinessJuly 2012

Planning For a Profitable Equine BusinessWhen it comes to operating a business in the equine industry, a bit of planning can certainly make the difference between its success or its downfall.

Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, provides the tools necessary to those who are looking to operate a profitable horse business through its online course in Equine Business Management which runs this September.

“Many who work with horses have no business knowledge, yet they want to turn their passion for horses into a business,” says Heather Gentles, instructor of the Equine Business Management Program at the University of Guelph. “This course covers the basics of setting up a businessand is overseen by instructors who have extensive business and horse knowledge, so that they are able to guide the students on their journey. The interaction with other students helps spur ideas, and gives feedback and support, which are invaluable.”

Gentles, who has a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Biology from the University of Northern Arizona and a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing and General Management from the Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio, has over 20 years of experience in marketing research and product management. She also helps small businesses get off the ground and develop their marketing initiatives.

Throughout the 12-week course, students will learn the time management and readiness skills to start a business, examine SMART goals, understand market research, and how to identify profitable products and/or services, as well as pricing strategies, and marketing, legal and insurance needs. Topics also covered include basic financials such as start up costs, income statements and cash flow, human resources, business organization and establishing a business team. At the completion of this course, students will have developed a business planentirely geared to their business.

“It is surprising how many businesses start without writing any kind of business plan,” notes Gentles. “They have an idea and passion, but have not thought out all the details that can make or break a business. It has been estimated that 30 to 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years due to weak general business, financial and/or marketing knowledge. The Equine Business Management course forcesstudents to sit down and think through a variety of areas that will help them succeed in their horse business.”

Other courses offered in Equine Guelph’s Fall 2012 lineup include:

 • Management of the Equine Environment,
 • Equine Health & Disease Prevention,
 • Equine Nutrition, Growth & Development,
 • Exercise Physiology, Advanced Equine Behaviour,
 • Equine Journalism,
 • Stewardship of the Equine Environment.

Registration is now open, with early bird registration ending August 10. Courses run from September 10 to December 2, 2012.

For more information, please contact the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support at, call 519-767-5000 or visit