I asked farriers Danny and Johnny as they took a mid-morning break for their thoughts on running small businesses and what the important points are for planning in 2011.
Instead of answering, they asked me if I really wanted to hear business advice from two guys who work all day bent over with their heads lower than their backsides.
After the laughing stopped, it didn't take long for them to volunteer three tips for professional horsemen serious about building a successful business.
1. Raise your prices a little bit each year. Your costs creep up slowly as the months fly by and you need to pass these on annually in small increments instead of jacking them up abruptly in one move to recover lost profit from years long gone by.
2. Be working on an exit strategy from your business. Who will you sell it to, what is it worth and when will you know it's the time to sell?
Too many business owners convince themselves they will never want to retire or no one can pay them the true value of the business, or buyers aren't available when the time comes.
3. Put a little away each year for emergencies and retirement. Horses, tack, machinery, trucks and trailers scream for the attention of your profits, but peel some dollars into an investment account to have for emergency or retirement spending.
Good advice from two guys who work hard like you do.