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5 Keys to a Successful Business

Business owners are some of the most optimistic, and often the craziest people in the world. No-one starts a business believing that it will fail. We are all absolutely convinced that our idea is a great one, that we will be successful (where others have failed) and that this business will change our lives for the better. If we did not feel that way, we would never take the risk to invest our own money, or borrow from others to start our business. The reality is however, that, according to the SBA, most businesses eventually fail and more that 50% do not survive beyond the first 3 years. Even if you manage to get that far, things can still go horribly wrong, as many seasoned business owners found out during the recession which hit us during 2009 to 2012.So, does this mean that you should not start a business at all? Absolutely not. I believe that your business can be an outstanding success, if you approach it in the right way, avoid repeating previous mistakes and impose discipline on yourself as the owner. Here are some of my suggestions on how you can make sure that your business succeeds:Discipline:Lets start with you. Successful business owners are disciplined people and more often than not, businesses fail because their owners fail. Your business must compete to succeed. There is always someone out there, trying to win over as many of the customers that you are targeting. Business is competitive and if you do not intend to work hard and discipline yourself, then don’t get into the arena. Anywhere there is competition, there must be discipline. You could have the most unique skill, or the best product idea, but your business will never achieve its full potential, if you do not have discipline.Discipline is a determination to work hard to get it right. It is not settling for mediocre results but rather working until you achieve the qualities and results that you need to compete. No-one will buy your product if it is substandard, or hire your services if you cannot deliver what you promise. Business discipline requires an eye for detail. I learned a valuable lesson very early on in my career. I was once required to do a financial presentation to a senior executive and felt that since I knew this stuff, I could get by with a minimum amount of research and preparation. I went to the meeting and had my presentation ripped to shreds. I was unable to answer questions that were obvious and fell way short on the detail needed to be credible and convincing. I left that meeting upset and angry, not with the executive, but with myself and vowed that this will never happen to me again. As a business owner you will not get things right every time. You will make mistakes and mess-up on occasion. But if your product or service fails, let it not be for lack of effort and discipline on your part, or that you were too lazy to do it right.Due Diligence:”A fool and his money are soon parted” – Dr. John Bridges
“All that glitters is not gold” – William Shakespeare
“There is a sucker born every minute” P.T. Barnum.These old sayings are trying to warn us that not everything we think is an opportunity or a good business idea, is likely to succeed. There are many con-artists out there, whose sole purpose in life is to deceive you into making financial commitments and who have no problem in robbing you blind. It is therefore foolish on your part not to do proper due diligence on any business idea, franchise or entity you intend to buy or invest in. This is where many business failures occur. At the very beginning.

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Due diligence is a serious matter for start-ups as well as on-going businesses. Large successful businesses are constantly doing “due diligence” on their internal processes (systems review, business process improvement, financial and strategic planning) as well as on any expansion thrust or acquisition they may contemplate. Start-ups need to do this as well, before they invest significant funds. Be wary of taking advice from people with vested interests in your decision. For example, you may be considering investing in a franchise. Don’t rely solely on the advice of the franchise vendor with its polished website and a persuasive story, to tell you what a great opportunity this is and how much money you will make. Get independent advice and do your homework before you invest.Many people start businesses based on a personal passion. While this a great plus factor for success, because your passion drives you to overcome obstacles, it does carry the risk of making business decisions with your heart rather than your head. Sometimes we are too close to the project to be objective and we become emotionally committed too early. This is where an independent expert like an experienced business coach or adviser comes in handy. Some would-be business owners need to hear the brutal truth (in a compassionate way), before they go on to make the mistake of their lives. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). Finally, don’t be taken in by those who pressure you into investing in “a once in a lifetime, limited space available” opportunity. Anytime someone says that to me, I take a step back, and take a good hard look, to see what I’m missing about the offer. It is better to miss out on a “limited offer” opportunity than to rush in and lose your money.Marketing:A well thought out and researched marketing plan is one of the most important ingredients that you need to succeed as a business owner. Unless you happen to own the only source of water in the desert, don’t expect people to automatically think of you and come flocking to your doors to buy your product. I worked in a corporate career as a CFO for many years before going off on my own. One of the biggest challenges that I faced when I decided to start my own consultancy business, was how to market my services. That is because, for many years, my job was about cleaning and cooking the fish that someone else caught. All of the businesses I worked for, had large, well staffed marketing departments, whose jobs it was to go out there and win customers. My job was to manage the money and make business decisions. That works fine if you are a part of a large well structured business. If however, you are the owner of a small business, marketing is not a secondary pursuit to be left to others, it is your primary point of focus. You may have a brilliant product or service to offer, but if you do not have a winning marketing plan, no-one will know about your business or care about what you sell. So, whether you are a small or large business owner, you must get involved and often drive the marketing function. You need to know the following:What specific need does my product or service meet?
Who are my customers, what do they want and how much are they willing to pay for it?
How sustainable is the demand for my product or service?
What is it about my product/service that makes it unique? How can I take advantage of this?
Who are my competitors and what are they able to do better than me?
How do I reach out to potential customers to persuade them to buy my product /service?
How much money do I have available to promote my business?
What specific marketing/promotion activities will work best for me?Answering these and other marketing questions would help you understand your product/service customer appeal and market potential and how it ranks against your competitors’ offerings. This forms the basis of your marketing strategy and business plan and is critical to your long term success.Capital:Raising sufficient capital to start and develop the business is very often the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face. I have seen many, potentially successful businesses, grind to a halt because the owners did not have capital to take it from start-up, to sustainability. A business needs capital to acquire productive assets and fund its operations until the business itself can generate enough positive cash flow to continue as a going concern. Say as an example, you decide to start a restaurant. You would need capital to buy cooking equipment, furniture, renovate the premises to suit your needs, buy inventory, secure licenses and so on. This is what many people understand capital to be used for, the initial investment to start or acquire the business.However it may take a while for your restaurant to become popular and attract enough clients to provide the revenue to fully fund operating costs. In the mean time you have overheads to pay such as monthly rent, wages to employees, advertizing costs, replenish inventory (drinks you sell and food ingredients you serve) and so on. This is where many businesses fail. The owners hope that the sales they generate in the future will cover their operating costs from day one and do not properly estimate the time it would take for the business to become established, during which the owner needs to have additional capital to carry the business.Underestimating the point sustainability or “breakeven point” is a common and fatal mistake made by both seasoned and novice business owners. Before you start your new venture, you have got to realistically project your future cash flows and determine if you have sufficient capital to succeed. Here is what typically happens if you don’t do this. You start your new business by investing your life savings. Things go well for a while, but you soon realize that it is taking longer for the business to become established than you anticipated. Customers are coming in, but not in the numbers you first expected. A lower number of customers means less revenue to pay expenses and you quickly find yourself running out of money to pay suppliers and bills as they fall due. Next comes the juggling act of trying to figure out which suppliers to pay first and which ones you will stretch out far into the future. The calls begin to come in from creditors and you now find yourself working for free for a business that you love, but which is slowly dying, because it ran out of capital before it became sustainable. This is the most common reason for business failure and it supports the SBA statistic that it takes 3 years for a business to fail. That is the time the owner takes to realize the painful truth, that he/she never had sufficient capital to start the business in the first place.

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Faith:These four items, Owner Discipline, Due Diligence, Marketing Strategy and Adequate Funding are the main, universally applicable business ingredients needed to operate a successful business. There is however one more ingredient, which is personal to each business owner, and that is “faith”. I said earlier that business owners are either the most optimistic or the craziest people on earth. That is because we take risks with our capital as an act of faith, hoping for a successful outcome. It takes faith to start a business. But what is faith? It is an expectation that things will work out, or materialize, as we hope or believe. It is what gives substance to our hopes and dreams. The Bible tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews 11:1).As believers in Christ, we have already established a platform of faith in our lives. We believe that an unseen God, who controls the universe, has a plan and a purpose for our individual lives. This plan is made real in us as we place our faith in our Lord Jesus as our personal savior and leader. Now, to everyone else, this is absolutely nuts. But to those of us who have taken this step of faith, it is as real as the air we breathe. Once we get to this point, every additional thing we do that requires faith, is built on this platform. As a result, our decision to start a business, is not based on an abstract optimism that things will somehow work out, but on the trust we establish in our Lord Jesus to lead and guide us.I believe that when we become reconciled to God through faith in Jesus, an eternal destiny opens up to us. We who were all once distant from God, now draw close to Him and get plugged into His purpose for our lives. Our purpose for our businesses also transitions from simply being a source of personal wealth, to a tool that God uses to bless us and to bless others. As we actively cooperate with God as an act of unselfish faith, He leads us into decisions and opens doors for us, that we ourselves could not open, all according to His will and purpose. Being Christian business owners does not guarantee that we will all be rich and “successful”. It does however give our businesses and our lives an added dimension and very often, if we are committed to God’s processes, things work out to our benefit. Our role is to trust God for the unknown, follow His leading, even when this conflicts with our personal agenda and build our businesses on Biblical principles. When we take this approach, we have the assurance “that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This hope applies to our all aspects of our lives, including our businesses.I hope this information was useful to you and I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions about your business.Robert.
Website: http://www.christiancfo.com Email:rfullerton@christiancfo.com.

Market Research – Why Screening For Talkative Respondents Doesn’t Work

We recently published a special report titled 25 Common Field Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting Your Qualitative Market Research. In point #12, we suggest that researchers scrap open-ended screening questions that are intended to identify respondents who are outgoing and able to express themselves.

Here is the complete text of point #12:

“If your screener contains open-ended questions that are intended to elicit expressive types of people, drop those questions. Questions like that don’t work, and they needlessly lengthen your screening process. Yes, you do want to exclude respondents who cannot or will not express themselves, but you don’t need an extra question to identify these people. Well-trained recruiters will eliminate them within the first few minutes of screening. If you want further reassurance that your respondents will be outgoing and talkative, over-recruit and include a pre-discussion telephone interview. This would be conducted by the moderator who would then select appropriate respondents.”

Our suggestions elicited a lot of feedback. Some readers agreed with us, others didn’t. One of the most interesting comments we received came from a qualitative fieldwork manager at a major full-service research firm. It went like this: “I disagree with one item in your list about excluding open end questions from screeners. Good recruiters may be able to easily identify articulate respondents, but tired or distracted recruiters may occasionally go on autopilot…I think a little qualitative in a screener is worth the time.”

Do you agree with this reader’s comment? Should you?

What is an articulation question?

Articulation questions measure a respondent’s ability to communicate. Articulation questions also judge respondents’ expected communicativeness in a focus group or interview.

Some synonyms for “communicative” include: outgoing, open, forthcoming, talkative, unrestrained, chatty. So who decides what is communicative? The recruiter? The recruiting supervisor? The client who reads the verbatims on their daily reports? And how much communicativeness is enough? How much is too much?

Even the most experienced recruiters can’t determine how outgoing, open, forthcoming, talkative, unrestrained or chatty a respondent will be at a future point. That’s a judgment call recruiters are not qualified to make. But they can be counted on to spot respondents who have…

  • language barriers
  • casual attitudes toward the recruiter, the recruiter’s questions or the research
  • reservations about their ability to attend the research
  • any problems communicating during the screening process

What you must watch for…

Respondents get tired or go on autopilot when screening interviews last too long (10 minutes or longer).

Articulation questions don’t belong at the end of your screener. For some reason, articulation screening is almost always performed at the end of the screening interview. But why is a question that is supposedly so important put at the end of the screener, when the chances for respondents to be tired or distracted are the highest? What are recruiters learning about respondents at this point in the process that they don’t already know?

Articulation questions don’t belong at the front of your screener, either. Well-trained recruiters immediately engage respondents in conversation regarding the details of the research. It is during this prelude to the screening questions that recruiters deal with respondents’ questions and concerns and make an assessment about a respondent’s ability to communicate.

Articulation questions aren’t magic bullets that ensure good focus group participants. These questions simply ask recruiters to use their own biased judgment to decide if a respondent can communicate clearly.

Articulation questions lengthen your screener. Remember this. The longer your screener, the higher your costs.

Respondents become anxious when asked questions out of left field that are unrelated to the screening questions. Being asked, “What is a gazinkle?” or “How many different things can you do with a paperclip?” or “If you were a tree…?” might stump even the most articulate respondent. Off-the-wall questioning from recruiters confuses and frustrates respondents. This line of questioning is the moderator’s territory.

Of course, group dynamics and respondent personalities affect how open and responsive respondents will be. For example, a person may be forthcoming over the phone with the recruiter, but feel intimidated if an aggressive personality dominates the group. Or, a respondent may not be as comfortable with the research topic as they thought they’d be and feel out of place – especially if the subject matter offered during recruiting was vague. How can recruiters know how respondents will act in a variety of conditions? Handling reserved respondents is the moderator’s area of expertise.

In fact, moderators are best qualified to know what can and should be expected of respondents in terms of communicativeness and articulation. So it makes sense that, as we suggest in point #12 of our special report, moderators should pre-interview respondents and select the right personalities for the research.

So what about articulation questions being useful for snapping distracted or unconscious recruiters out of their daze (as our reader suggested)? Assuming that a tired, distracted recruiter missed all of the red flags during screening, will the articulation question suddenly remind the recruiter that the respondent isn’t chatty? What should you do about recruiters on “autopilot?” Simple.

The researcher’s job is not to craft questions that keep recruiters alert and focused. Tired or distracted recruiters are not an asset to your research. They don’t help you get great respondents. And neither do articulation questions. Don’t use either of them.

Internet Marketing Guidelines For Online Home Businesses

Having an online domestic venture has many focal points. One of these points of interest is that showcasing costs online can be controlled and kept to a base. The Internet offers many free and ease promoting strategies. Notwithstanding this advertising your online household undertaking gives you overall presentation and boundless potential. Here are a few variables you have to consider while seeking after an advertising procedure for your online domestic undertaking.

The Market

The primary component up for thought is the market you wish to target. You should know who and what sort of market you are attempting to pull in to your online household undertaking, administration or items. This is to ensure that one, your item is advertised to the important group of onlookers of clients and two, the showcasing system you wish to utilize will have the capacity to come to these focused on clients.

Your Budget

You can simply go over the edge burning through cash, regardless of whether it is looking for another outfit or new shoes, the web advertising industry is the same. It is along these lines essential to allocate yourself a financial plan in which you can stick to. This additionally causes as a manual for enable you to end up noticeably mindful of the costs essential and plan out what you require and don’t have to burn through cash on. You might need to take a gander at advertising methodologies that fit into you spending plan as there are numerous, numerous approaches to showcase your item on the Internet.

The Planning

Arranging your online domestic venture is a major stride and one that can’t be ignored. Record everything in which you wish to consolidate into your business, including thoughts, objectives and when you need to accomplish these objectives by. Assess both long and here and now objectives. Frequently individuals arrange out extraordinary thoughts in their heads while holding up at the transport stop or having lunch. On the off chance that so get a bit of paper and pen and record it. Much of the time you won’t recall that them later on the off chance that you don’t scribble them down some place. All the more essentially adhere to your timetable.

The Implementation

One tremendous misstep the vast majority make when beginning on the web is hesitating. This implies they stay there are stress and think “consider the possibility that” and bite their pen tops. Toward the day’s end they have done nothing. On the off chance that this would you say you is then stop and think do you have enough resolution to need to begin an online business? In the event that so put your thoughts, research, and plans vigorously. Get this show on the road and you will find that it can later simply move all alone.

Breaking down the Results

A fruitful online household venture requires steady checking and examining of occasions and results. On the off chance that you have utilized a specific showcasing system that attempts to get loads of guests to your site you need to know which technique this is. That as well as need to realize which advertising technique gets the most guests that will “purchase” from your business. Checking and investigating such outcomes will enable you to change your publicizing and, showcasing effort and disregard those which don’t create comes about.

Web promoting methodologies will constantly change as innovation is a developing medium. You should keep yourself and your online domestic venture state-of-the-art and in front of your opposition. It is constantly great to post for new methodologies, learn new procedures and if something works, at that point attempt to enhance it to give you surprisingly better outcomes. Your online household undertaking requires steady consideration from you. Recollect that you are the one to drive your business towards achievement.

AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services Franchise Review

Home Inspection Service Franchises gives individuals their administrations of home investigations. They visit the places of their customers and investigate them to locate any potential basic difficulties. There can be many sorts of sullying, which can destroy your home. This AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services Franchise Review states many focuses about this establishment choice. It might help you on the off chance that you are thinking about a home review business.

Foundation: The AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services was first begun in Anaheim, California. The point of the organization was to offer homebuyers with their one of a kind home examination administrations. Following a couple of years of effective operations, the organization begun to establishment their administrations to other potential individuals who need to put their cash in the AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services.

The organization offered its franchisees with bunches of offices and additionally operation comfort for beginning their business. The organization offered their potential purchasers from the nation over with administrations like outside, inside and basic home investigations.

The organization additionally went ahead to end up noticeably a section the ServiceMaster. This gave the organization the privilege to co-marking with numerous other rumored organizations like Merry Maids, Terminix, ChemLawn, Tru-Green and Furniture Medic. The association with these organizations gave them an alternative to offer rebates to its clients on its administrations even from previously mentioned organizations who had turned into its accomplices.

Alongside the home examination benefits, the organization has offered its clients with numerous different administrations ideal from the earliest starting point. The organization likewise gives administrations like checking homes and properties for the undesirable nearness of hurtful substances like molds, water contaminants, lead, carbon monoxide and radon. It additionally gave ecological examination administrations to its customers.

Advantages of the Franchise –

In the event that you are thinking about the reason you ought to pick this establishment, there are a few reasons expressed underneath which can help you in doing this-
· No experience required-you don’t need any kind of earlier business involvement in this field.
· Marketing and other innovation bundles you will be given a hand-held PC which you can use amid your home investigations, a portable workstation phone, an AmeriSpec Home Inspector Software.
· Initial preparing gave you will be given broad preparing at the their best in class office preparing. This preparation will cover all perspectives developing your home assessment establishment and opening it effectively.
· On-going preparing administrations they hold territorial meetings consistently in different urban communities. At these provincial meetings, numerous eminent industry specialists are welcome to give bits of knowledge on assortments of home review related administration and specialized themes.

Establishment Cost and Start-up Fees:
Add up to Investment to be paid at first: $26,400-$64,600
Eminence Fee which must be paid: 7%
Beginning Franchise Fee which must be paid: N/A
Term of Agreement: 5 years
Promoting Fees: N/A

Likewise with any business, it is vital you do your due perseverance and see all parts of the organization and in addition your market. Effective examination of all parts of a potential business will in many cases definitely increment your chances for business achievement

Did you realize that over 80% of ALL establishments come up short and the individuals who begin their establishment wind up in the red working for a considerable length of time to pay it off. Figure out how you can stay away from the high hazard and start up expenses of a customary establishment business.

Are Your Financial Projections Pro Forma or Bull Sheeta?

I highly recommend Berkshire-Hathaway’s annual report for your pleasure, amusement and education, even for those of you who don’t enjoy reading business publications. More specifically, I recommend chairman Warren Buffet’s annual message to shareholders.Buffet always educates and illuminates. He doesn’t offer excuses for performance shortfalls. There is only the brutal truth – good, bad, and in-between. If you have ever read his complete message, you’ve been impressed by his simplicity, straight talk and logic; no convoluted explanations of lofty concepts and abstract philosophies.After re-reading last year’s message, I thought about two incidents in my own past business life:Several years ago, I considered pursuing a “roll-up” of small financial services firms. I had procured the help of an investment banker and spent about six months soliciting interest from potential sellers and combing through financial documents for many of those firms to assess the value of each.One specific firm was particularly enticing. The principal and I hit it off immediately. He had built a company, completely organically, from zero to about $5 million in commission revenue in a very short time. The business was no longer dependent on him for survival or success. Because of a health situation, he wanted to throttle back. It couldn’t have been a better scenario.

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After our initial two meetings, he crafted a profile of the business for my review. That included three years of retrospective financial information and a two-year financial projection – a pro forma.For the next two weeks, I spent every free moment combing through his financials. I concluded that his pro forma document was really a bull sheeta document. Here’s why:His projections depicted rosy scenarios across the board. Although his past growth had been impressive, his future growth projections were stratospheric: almost 100% in the following 24 months. When I questioned him, his reasoning was at best, flawed and at worst, delusional.His expense projections were similarly “optimistic.” I’m overly simplifying here, but it looked as if all of the expenses he incurred to grow the business to its (then) present day size would discontinue or very significantly diminish during the following 24 months. He evaded my pointed questions.When all was said and done, my estimate of free cash flow during the 24 months to follow was about half that of his “bull sheeta” projection. Accordingly, I pegged the value of his business to be about half of his asking price. We never did the deal.Did he really believe that I would succumb to his asking price? Did he think that I wouldn’t do the appropriate amount of due diligence on his “story?” Did he believe that I would even consider doing business with a person who would stretch the limits of credulity with an outrageous set of numbers? Apparently so!A year later, I was helping a $1 billion (revenue) financial services company craft its strategy. During my first one-on-one meeting with the CEO, I asked to review their current document. He handed it to me with some apparent unease. It consisted of some very lofty philosophical statements about being “the best they could be.” As I scanned it, the president leaned over my shoulder and flipped the pages until he arrived at the pro-forma financial document. “This,” he proclaimed, “is the meat of the document.” I inquired, politely, if I could ask him some questions about the plan, and the process that produced it. He looked at me suspiciously, but said OK.The bottom line: There was no evidence that they had considered how they would achieve the numbers they projected. So, their plan was a “credenza ornament,” and the pro forma was really bull sheeta.Here are some lessons, first from the initial example:1. Don’t assume that others will do business with you on the same (above board) basis upon which you will do business with them. Don’t become cynical; do become discerning.

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2. Don’t conclude, when you’ve learned a tough lesson, that you should adjust your future approach because some others might cut ethical corners.3. Conduct your transactions as if the other party is your clergyman. Be the example for others! Your reputation depends upon your credibility.And, from the second example:Business plans must:provide the linkages necessary between lofty and philosophical, on the one hand, and specific and quantifiable, on the other.
result in specific people doing specific things, culminating in specific results, consuming specific resources, within specific periods of time. If they don’t, you are wasting your time.
create the focal point for an organization’s reward systems. What gets rewarded, gets done. Reward systems must drive the achievement of planned results, not the number of Suzie’s sick days or Fred’s adherence to the dress code.
create buyer value in measurable ways.
be sufficiently creative and challenging so as to undermine the status quo.
never merely extrapolate the past into the future.Copyright 2014 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

The Horse Rider and Managing Headaches

In my Physiotherapy practice I treat 100’s of patients a year for headaches. Many of these have recurring neck pain and stiffness as well as headaches. I teach riding and very many riders admit to suffering from headaches. Riders tend to get neck pain and headache after riding at the end of the day. Unless there is a medical cause then most headaches are what we call ‘cervicogenic’ (cervico means neck and genic means origin of) so cervicogenic means the headache starts from the neck and are caused by the neck joints and muscles. The upper two joints are the major cause of headaches because the nerves that supply the head, temples and eyes are related to the upper two neck joints.

Headaches that originate from the neck are due to the nerves being squeezed or pressured by the joints and or muscles of the upper neck. There are many other causes of headaches. This article is only talking about cervicogenic headache (start from the upper neck) not headaches of any other cause. It is important to be assessed by a Physiotherapist and or a Doctor to determine if your headaches are cervicogenic or other.

Poor neck posture and poor general posture will nearly always result in headache, given enough time. Repetitive behaviors and postures resulting in the neck being in a poor posture will result in headaches. These postures are the positions we use in our daily work and in our riding posture.

So what is the Relationship between the horse rider and headaches?

The ultimate poor neck posture comes from the round shoulder posture. A person with round shoulders on the ground will have round shoulders in the saddle. When the shoulders are forward and so called round then the neck will be in a forward poking chin posture. This posture puts the upper neck in an extended position and this squeezes the joints, nerves and muscles. Over a period of time the joints become stiff and painful the muscles shorten and the nerves become inflamed. The nerve then refers the pain into the head as a headache. The increased pressure riding in a round shoulder posture will increase the pressure and hence nerve pain. Horse riding is a major cause of headaches. All other activities associated with horses can put pressure on the neck as well.

Many teenager’s posture is unfortunately the norm. Their shoulders are slumped, their chin is poking forward and their upper neck is in a jammed closed position. Many do not use any of their postural muscles and are just hanging off their joints. Many people spend many hours in a similar posture. Driving, computer work house work, are just a few of the activities that reproduce this posture. As horse riders we then adapt the same posture in the saddle. Horse riders get told to sit up and put your shoulders back.

How do you fix it?

The easy quick answer is to straighten up, correct your posture and manage your mobility. The long answer is to educate yourself and mange it with knowledge. First of all, see a Physiotherapist and have a professional assessment. Learn how and why you adopt the postures you do and then become educated on how to fix yourself and manage your pain with posture management. Not many therapists will be able to relate your headaches to horse riding unless they know about the horse riding posture. Very few therapists can relate to the muscles used in horse riding or the amount of skill required to ride well. Remember to the non horse rider it looks so easy. You just sit there!

To manage headaches as a rider can be easy.

The control of headaches in horse riders is the same as for all people; however I put an increased emphasis on particular features of treatment, because I am a horse rider. If you have been assessed and your problems are not too severe, but are chronic in nature, that is, they keep returning, then these simple exercises will help. This must be regarded as basic advice only. To control headaches your upper neck joints must have mobility. Your muscles must have strength and endurance. You must have strong core stability as well. The deep core muscle strength will reinforce the correct upper neck posture. I start with the core muscles on every patient I treat for headaches. The success of management without this knowledge and strength is always limited. This is why chiropractic treatment (and or other) is very come back come back.

I give simple but effective stretching exercises and I educate patients about their posture. I advice all my horse riding pupils to follow the Applied Posture Riding program.

Simple Stretches to gain neck mobility

Stretch 1

Stand tall, clasp your hands behind your back and tilt your head so your ear moves towards your shoulder. This stretch can hurt so take care.

Stretch 2

Stand tall, close your eyes and turn your head so your chin moves towards your shoulder.

Stretch 3

Push your chin with the opposite hand to force the stretch more. Feel the stretch and or some pain in your neck. Don’t increase the headache pain with this stretch. Obviously do both sides and if it makes you worse see a Physiotherapist. Hold for 10-20 seconds ease off and repeat. Do these stretches little and often and do them when you are well, don’t wait for stiffness and headache to return. Manage good mobility and keep pain away.