I am looking for some advice from either small business owners or some constructive criticism of a 5 year plan and I am in the beginning throes of developing.
A bit of back-story: I am relatively new to horses (within the past 5 years or so taken an interest) and this began when I moved to Montana to work on a dude ranch about in 2009. Since then, I got the “ horse bug” and have spent my time since then reading up, taking riding lessons, and just in general being so incredibly drawn to the lifestyle.
I moved to TN, in the heart of Tennessee Walking Horse country and it is beautiful, pristine scenery with a relatively low cost of living. My dream job, and something I aspire to do is to open a Guest and Horse Ranch in the TN hills. There’s really not much in the area by way of guest ranches (surprisingly, there’s a lot of B&B type of stuff), so I think the concept is truly unique to this area, and with such close proximity to Nashville—I think it could be a great tourist destination. Guests would be able to either bring their own equipment (fishing, hiking gear) and horses OR it would be something we would provide at the ranch for guests to use.
My goals would be to:
1- Provide an atmosphere where guests could learn and experience the ranch lifestyle. This would include home-style meals, outdoor activities during the day and entertainment at night ( cookout on the pond one night, bonfire, live music, etc)
2- Provide guidance for outdoor activities such as horseback riding and hiking on well maintained and scenic trails, fishing, or just lounging by the pond or campfire with a book and a glass of wine. You set your schedule and activities, we provide the food and bed!
3- Provide a family friendly, relaxed atmosphere with comfortable lodging, excellent dining and first class attention to individual needs from an experienced staff.
The way I plan on implementing my goals is kind of twofold:
1- Making sure the land, equipment, lodging , activities and food/drink are excellent. I have my eye on 108 acres currently for sale that already has 2 ponds, 2 barns, 1 guest house and storage building and a main home. I have already starting looking at additional cabin designs ( would like up to 7 independent cabins on this lot with capacity being around 55 guests at one time), a “main lodge” for dining/ conference room(s) and office/gift shop, a pool, and an additional “main” barn with an indoor arena, storage, etc.
2- The staff: I already have 3 people who have verbally committed to join the team if I am able to get this thing going. One is in marketing and event planning, the other is a trained chef ( met through my past experience at a dude ranch) and the other is a head wrangler ( also met through past experience at dude ranch)
Sorry that was lengthy. I am open to any criticism, advice from other business owner on getting this plan set in motion… or just general feedback! Is this something you and your family or friends would enjoy?
Thanks so much