Being successful in the farrier business takes a well-rounded package of skills. It’s not enough to be able to shoe every horse regardless of its foot problems.

Instead, today’s successful farrier has to be a jack of all trades in areas such as client management and the development of valuable business skills.

That lesson came through loud and clear during a recent fact-finding mission by a dozen American Farriers Journal staff members. We hit the road for a 215-mile journey from southeastern Wisconsin to central Illinois to spend an afternoon visiting with Steve Hoselton and Alan Horton at Anvil Brand Shoe Co. in Lexington, Ill.

The growing need for farriers to develop management skills when operating a business and ordering supplies came through loud and clear during our discussions.

As an example, Steve and Alan explained how some farriers pass up considerable savings in the form of discounts and shipping costs when ordering supplies. They said it wasn’t unusual to get a panic phone call from a farrier who is completely out of the size or style shoe he needs for tomorrow’s horses. By not planning ahead when it comes to ordering supplies, the $55 overnight express shipping cost often end up costing more than a couple pair of shoes.

Must Wear Many Hats

When you’re handling many roles from chief executive to shoe maker to broom sweeper, it’s difficult to keep track of all the little things, such as effectively managing inventory. Yet not paying attention to the little things can quickly add up to a loss of dollars.

Effective inventory control and buying at the right price, the right time and in the right amount can lead to significant savings for many farriers.

To run your farrier practice effectively, you need to track information on income, expenses, clients, their horses, inventory and much more.

To help you compare your business with other farrier operations, the November issue of American Farriers Journal will feature the results of our 2012 Farrier Business Practices Survey. This data will offer valuable benchmark comparisons for seeing how your farrier business measures up with those of other farriers.

Think About The Next Order

Nobody ever said running a successful farrier business would be easy. But the skills necessary to be an efficient farrier go much farther than just dealing with the latest problem foot. It takes many management skills to be successful today.

And it’s apparent that farriers are becoming more interested in becoming more efficient as indicated by the growing popularity of business skill sessions at the International Hoof-Care Summit.

So the next time you think about placing an order for supplies, give those purchasing decisions some special thought. What you decide to buy — and how you do it — could have a serious impact on your income this year.