Thursday 01 June - 16h17 | Hippolia

Five Keys to Succeed with Your Startup in the Equestrian World

Every month, in collaboration with the Hippolia Centre of Excellence in France, Grand Prix is looking at the topic of innovation in the equestrian world, and the methods for transforming ingenious ideas into products and services in a competitive marketplace. This month, five pieces of advice for making your startup a success.

1976 was the year when the term startup was used for the first time. Today, 1976 is perhaps the number of times the word startup is being used while you are reading this sentence. In other words, they are a big part of our societies today. 

In short, a startup is a young business which proposes an innovative product or service for which a new economic model may also be offered. Of course, there is no miracle recipe for creating a startup, no assembly kit with all the right tools — that would be too simple! But, as with horse-riding, even though there are several visions and methods to attain your objectives, some phases seem essential. Here are five keys to succeeding with a startup in the equestrian world.  

1) Have a (good) idea and test it: This might seem obvious but it is the foundation of a startup, and it’s not simple. But be careful! A good idea is not necessarily one you think is nice, but one which responds to a need, which will find a market and for which clients are ready to pay (enough for the business to be profitable). It is therefore essential to test an idea to answer these questions.

2) Go for it and take risks: A startup is like a horse — it takes time, energy and (a fair bit of) money. It is often necessary to dedicate 100% of your time to it. Creating a company involves a notion of risk which its creators have to accept. So yes, there will be some sacrifices which can’t be avoided, but the success will only be more sweet afterwards.

3) Discuss, exchange and reach out for help: Whatever the field of the startup, external opinions are always interesting (and if not, it’s good to ask for others). Before launching yourself in the process, it is important to develop your network and above all surround yourself well: find complementary associates and collaborators, partners, investors, etc. If 50% of businesses do not get past their sixth year of operations, this figure falls to 34% for those who are well-accompanied. Creating a startup alone in your garage can be a good idea, but be careful not to be too alone.  

4) Take your time and accept mistakes: Again as with horses, taking the time to build the foundations at the beginning will help you in the long run. You wouldn’t spin around on a galloping horse which does not run in a balanced manner. And in a startup, it’s the same thing. the bases are crucial and strategies have to be thought-out, all the while accepting that these will inevitably evolve. “To err is human”, and this is even more the case when one creates a startup as, by definition, you are feeling your way forward (sometimes in the dark). The key is to accept it and catch up as quickly as possible later.

5) Get known and convince people: Having the best product in the world is good, but if no one knows about it, it’s no use. It has to be talked about, displayed, made known to investors, to the market and future clients. The startup has to generate traffic, and most of all ‘conversions’, which is to say convincing its audience to use its products and services. 

In the end, the keys for succeeding with a startup could be said to resemble those of succeeding riding horses: try, develop the bases, surround yourself well, accept errors and… don’t give up. And if a miracle recipe for startup success doesn’t exist, the good news is that the barometer for success does exist, and it’s simply called ‘the client.’
For more news on innovation in the equestrian sector, follow the news on the Facebook page of Pôle Hippolia. (In French). 

Further reading...