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Starting off stable in equestrian business

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Expert advice from Wilkins Kennedy bloodstock and equine specialist

FOR those who are thinking of starting an equestrian business, you will need to make sure you are armed with all the information you need.

You’ll also need to make sure you plan carefully for both the expected and the unexpected during the start up process.

Here are a few pointers from Gina Bartlett – bloodstock and equine specialist at Wilkins Kennedy, London Road, Newbury.

All in the planning

The rule of thumb when starting any business is to have a good business plan.

A passion for horses can mean an emotional as well as a considerable capital investment.

Make sure you keep your heart from ruling your head with solid legal contracts and a business plan.

Remember to be realistic when drawing up your plans and speak to an accountant about how to best structure your business initially, the associated tax implications and, most importantly, should you register for VAT.

You may want to consider what qualification you have or may need, and what affiliations you should be associated with to give you as much support and enable you to expand your network and business contacts.

In your own back yard

The next important stage of the start-up process is to check out your competition.

There are more than 19,000 equine businesses in the UK that employ 250,000 people.

The industry is littered with small businesses – 97.5 per cent employ fewer than 10 people.

What makes you different from the others?

Are you branching out into a new area of the market or are there others in your area that doing exactly the same thing as you?

Smart finances

There could be a few unexpected financials to encounter and the first year of taxes and start-up costs might threaten your business before you get it off the ground.

Having an accountant will be extremely useful, because only they will be able to tell you about effective tax planning, or tax reliefs available, that could literally save you thousands.

In the same vein, I have worked with lots of clients who are starting out and one of the main objections I get relates to price.

Just because you are starting out, your price point doesn’t have to be any lower.

If you are good at what you do, make sure you charge what you are worth.

Starting a business can be tricky and there are lots of things to consider so try not to lose sight of your vision and plans along the way.

Combining your passion with your profession can be lots of fun and extremely rewarding – just make sure you have the right people on side to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Profile: Gina Bartlett
Position: Bloodstock and equine specialist at Wilkins Kennedy

Brief CV and background: Fifteen years’ experience in practice. Clients include trainers, stud farms, owners, livery yards and associated equine businesses. Gina is a keen horsewoman and former semi-professional eventer.

Current job role: Gina joined Wilkins Kennedy in January 2018 but has spent many years working alongside her father and Wilkins Kennedy colleague Terry Boothby, who has worked with the bloodstock industry throughout his professional career spanning more than 35 years. Together they will manage the increasingly-expanding portfolio they have developed. Her appointment comes following an increased demand for these services in a sector that has experienced tremendous growth at Wilkins Kennedy’s Newbury office.

Areas of specialism: Gina will be helping clients prepare, review and manage company accounts, assist with management accounts and advise clients on tax planning matters.

Gina says: “I am thrilled to be able to incorporate my passion for horses into my profession.

“Bloodstock and equine industries are complex, particularly in relation to taxation and it is important that a specialist can advise clients on tax governance and the latest reliefs available.”

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