Business Development – Do All of Your Horses Jump?


Do All of Your Horses Jump?

At the beginning of a new year, It is common for entrepreneurs and business owners to take a look around themselves and see how things are going.  Now, for most of us who own or are starting an enterprise, our constant struggle is to achieve and maintain a healthy business balance: we can’t allow ourselves to give too much or too little to home, business, employees, or personal areas of our lives, because each other area will suffer if any one aspect of our multi-faceted lives is overfed.  The others will become weak and eventually fade away.

So balance is critical, and assessment is essential to finding balance.

I think that we can agree that every smart business owner has a compelling desire to provide the BEST POSSIBLE EXPERIENCE to every “customer” on every transaction.  We also realize that our family members, employees, prospects, suspects and, of course, clients are all members of that flexible “customer” category.  (More about the many ways you can define a “customer” in another post)

So is it possible to deliver the BEST customer experience if there are some parts of your operation that aren’t firing on all cylinders?  I don’t think so.

In order to freshen the pursuit of excellence, and as a constant reminder that we never finish improving, I like to refer to following true anecdote for inspiration.

At a time in our country when there were no such things as amusement parks, a boy and his Dad walked through the narrow walkways of a county fair.  They followed along the sawdust-covered alleys, past the carnival barkers, doughnut stands and cotton candy machines.  They walked through crowds of amusement-seekers huddled around dunktanks and midway games. They ignored the delicious smells and happy music coming from the crowds, because they were headed toward the boy’s favorite ride at the fair – the carousel.

Arriving at he carousel, they entered the line and stood waiting for their turn and watching the riders as they got on, had their ride, and moved on to other rides. As they watched, the boy noticed something he had never seen before. He said, “Dad, why do some of the horses jump, but some don’t?”

The man furrowed his brow and thought about this.  “I don’t know, Son. Maybe it was too expensive to build it that way.  Maybe the workers don’t know how to make that happen, or perhaps that’s just the way that carousels have always been made.”

“Don’t you think that the kids would have more fun if they all had a jumping horse? The ones on the jumping ones sure seem to having fun.”

“Probably so, Son.” his Father replied. “Someone should make one like that.  It would be the best carousel ride any of them ever took.”

The boy thought about this for a long moment.  When he replied, he was grinning.  “I’ll build one, and when I build MY carousel, ALL OF THE HORSES WILL JUMP!”

 What areas of your business are horses that don’t jump?

Consider these horses, and identify which ones need to work on their elevation.

  • Your Product – Is what you are selling the BEST product for your clients? Or just the one that you are familiar with, or the one that’s easiest to sell? If your product or service isn’t a perfect fit for your clients, maybe your product is a horse that doesn’t jump.
  • Your People – Many of us have employees that go the extra mile and “buy-in” to the culture that your company exists to cultivate.  But if some, or most, of them don’t, perhaps your people are one of the earth-bound horses.  If you are truly dedicated to seeking perfection, some changes may be in order.You may also have great people, but they aren’t doing the right job for them.  They may have a particular skill or desire that their current position doesn’t leverage or develop.  Maybe your people are a horse that doesn’t jump.
  • Marketing and sales process – Do you get plenty of prospects, but can’t close sales? Or do you have a high close rate, but few prospects to sell to? Analyze your marketing and your closing procedure to see if they might be horses that don’t jump
  • Follow Through – Perhaps you are too busy asking for engagement and can’t follow up on leads very quickly, and lose sales as a result. How about service / product delivery? Do you overpromise or overdeliver?
  • Customer Service – Unhappy customers are inevitable. But with the right policy and people in place, customer complaints are a great opportunity to build a great reputation as a company that does whatever it takes to win back a client. Is the way you deal with unhappy customers a strength, or is it a horse that doesn’t jump?
  • YOU – Lastly, how about you, owner and entrepreneur? Are you jumping as hard as you can or lounging by the track?  Sometimes our inability to achieve our goals is the result of our unwillingness to do what’s necessary?

Take the time to stand in line and watch the kids on your carousel.  Are your customers having a great time? Or do some of your customers look like they are underwhelmed? We all have some lazy jumpers.  Once you identify your horses, get them all airborne!

Back to the boy and his Dad in our analogy.  This is considered to be a true anecdote, and although I haven’t been able to confirm it, the boy is purported to be Walt Disney.  I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that if you go to Disney World, to the Magic Kingdom, there is a beautiful carousel there. And if you take the time to look, you may also notice that ALL of the horses jump.

Need help from a pro? Contact Available Technology at or 864-232-1234 and we would be happy to do an assessment of your small business.

Mike Lane, Available Technology Inc

Let me know what you think! Leave comments or contact us @availabletech


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