StableSecretary is a barn management program aimed at alleviating the complications of running a horse facility. Founded and expertly led by Kate Rice Nilan, StableSecretary is the management tool made by equestrians and shaped by its users. With a lifetime of experience in the equine industry both riding her own horses and managing horse farms for top equestrians such as Ginny Edwards, Peter Wylde, Leslie Emerson and Anne Dotoli, Kate has a firsthand view of the difficulties facing barn managers. Her professional experience also extends to working in web development and customer support, as well as holding a Master’s Degree in Teaching.
We asked Kate a few questions about founding such an intuitive barn management system, how she finds working with KTB Creative Group, and her hopes for StableSecretary’s future growth.
How did you choose the name StableSecretary?
The name choice took a little while… And was sometimes limited by domain name availability. At some point during the process, I thought of the name “Stable Secretary”, and my first thought was “Who WOULDN’T want a STABLE secretary?!” That made me actually chuckle to myself. And, it seemed like a valid point – in the horse business there is a LOT of instability, and not a lot of record keeping. My goal was to offer a solution for both peace of mind, and easy-to-manage horse records. So, the name just fit!
Can you share how StableSecretary can benefit barn managers?
StableSecretary makes it much easier to both track and access information and records for the horses and people in the stable. You can enter all sorts of information and records like farrier, dental, meds, lessons, etc from our awesome mobile app which was totally redesigned and relaunched in January 2019, or from our online software.
StableSecretary replaces heavy and inefficient binders and notebooks, and makes the information way easier to find and use. For example, you can add Team Members so that other staff members or owners can view or add information as it happens. You can create Invoices from all the records you’ve kept, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time at the end of a month finding old day sheets and turning it all into invoices. In a nutshell, it makes tracking info and records for your stable quick and easy, and keeps all that important info accessible at all times.
What makes StableSecretary stand out against its competitors?
From the feedback I’ve heard from our subscribers, StableSecretary leads the pack in a few areas: ease of use, comprehensiveness, and awesome customer support. To expand a bit, we work hard to make our interfaces online and on the mobile app super intuitive so it’s effortless to figure out how to add/edit/view whatever you need. We understood from the get-go that barn managers need EVERYTHING at their fingertips, so our software literally tracks everything you can think of (and if someone thinks of something more, we add it!).
Our customer support team is made up of individuals who totally understand the software and app, have worked extensively in the horse industry, and care a ton about making the lives of barn managers and trainers easier. All of that shows up in the experience of our subscribers, and they appreciate it!
What is your favorite feature so far?
Wow, that is a TOUGH question. I am proud of so many parts of our software. I LOVE the mobile app – it is so powerful, yet so simple. We keep adding on to it, too, because more and more subscribers want to do everything from their phone, so it just gets better and better. I’m also very proud of our Invoicing feature. It is like a mini Quickbooks for horse-people that is very easy to use, but also super powerful in terms of bookkeeping capabilities.
What are your future goals for StableSecretary?
I cannot wait to start work on our Scheduling feature. This summer, we are starting work on a big upgrade to our Calendar, to better serve those subscribers who want to do lesson scheduling and those who want a daily white board view. That will be fun to develop and will be extremely useful to our current and future subscribers.
After that, we will begin work on Version 2 of our Breeding section.Our first version is good, but we got useful feedback from breeders about how to expand it into something even better, and I can’t wait to start that.
What advice would you give your younger self who was still in the first year of running the business?
Great question! That first year of business was intense! I had a newborn, and I didn’t actually expect the software to take off as quickly as it did. My plan was to have some friends use it and provide feedback before letting “real” customers get their hands on it. Well – it turned out that there was such a need for barn management software, I just jumped right into a live product with real users! Anyway, I suppose that the advice I’d give myself – and anyone else of any age – would be to “have a plan, and then just roll with it”. I think I had fortunately already learned that lesson, though, after working in horse barns for many many years… You can have a plan, but you better be ready to change it depending on what actually ends up happening!
How long have you been working with KTB Creative Group?
I have been happily working with KTB since 2017. Kim was originally recommended to us by a mutual friend, and she started out writing press releases and other web site content. She was SO great to work with that I increased her role as much as I could – and I continue to do so! StableSecretary will take all the “KTB” we can get!
How has KTB Creative Group helped your company?
I rely completely on Kim to handle everything to do with marketing. I have my hands full with product development, customer support, running the overall company, and 2 young kids. Marketing is NOT my passion nor is it my expertise. For example, I will randomly send Kim 1 line or 10000 word email messages with suggestions or questions about our marketing strategy or results, and she always responds quickly, kindly, and thoughtfully with educated opinions and advice. Kim is self motivated and extremely responsible and reliable, so I leave all the marketing tasks up to her. People LOVE our social media presence now. She is so lovely for our Sponsored Riders and Featured Barns to work with, and her creativity and “fun” spark make our newsletters fun, engaging, and informative. Also, she and I share the same basic values (kindness to humans, compassion and love for animals, respect for the Earth, etc), which makes her representation of StableSecretary spot-on and completely effortless for me – it’s like she says the words that are in my brain (only better)!
Any fun facts you want to share about you or your company?
For fun facts, honestly, I would have to ask KTB Creative Group! Kim is the “fun” of StableSecretary! I am so grateful to have her creativity, energy, and enthusiasm to keep our brand fun.
I guess the fact I would share is that our company is literally made up of the BEST people. We are small, but mighty. Each person working on this software, in whatever area, gives 1000% of themselves to the task. I feel incredibly lucky to have the team that we do. And, I think it really shows up in our software. Each contributor truly wants their part to be the best it can possibly be, and so, it is.
An Option for Better Barn ManagementOfficially launched in 2013, StableSecretary has been growing ever since. Its ever-evolving features puts barn managers in a place where organization and record-keeping is simple. Including both desktop and mobile app capabilities, it’s the tool every equine facility needs to keep on top of their program. Learn more at www.stablesecretary.com!