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For many years, this directory issue has delivered practical farrier business insight along with the resource information. That wasn’t always the case. The first directory issue appeared in November 1982. It was strictly a contact directory, containing information on American Farrier’s Association members, as well as suppliers and manufacturers. It took several years for the information to expand into the directory you have today.
Business practice advice wasn’t always an emphasis in the magazine either. Early on the closest subject related to business practices touted the value of competition, but didn’t address the many elements required to have and grow a profitable business. This changed in the 1980s. First, with articles by Doug Butler, then other farriers like Donald Jones and Jim Sproles contributed more articles about business practices, such as inflation, what to charge clients and contract law.
It was in November 1987 when AFJ featured the first in-depth article on business management. Its author was Ken Roby, then a farrier based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Roby recognized that most small businesses fail as a result of poor management. His goal in writing this article was to inform colleagues who lacked the knowledge of where to start in running a more professional business.
His article focused on five areas: managing business income and expenses, insurance, taxes, investments and retirement. Reading this article years later, it stands out that while the tools for operating and laws regulating a business have changed, the better practices that were outlined…