When the U.S. Polo Association asked David Brooks to restart polo in North Carolina, there were no active clubs in the state. “We started with a couple lesson horses and few members,” he admits. Finding a location with enough space that people would drive to was an early challenge, as was marketing the club and “overcoming the thought that polo is just for the rich and famous," Brooks recalls.
The club has grown over the years, but Brooks wanted to take it to the next level. He attended a SCORE business planning class at the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce, where he met volunteer mentors John Bartelme and William Griffin.
“John and Bill have been extremely helpful in looking at my unique business as a business,” Brooks says. “Polo is my passion, so having someone look at the business who doesn’t love horses or polo has helped me become profitable and understand my market better.”
Brooks reports that Triangle Area Polo Club has grown in both revenue and profit, and he has added several part-time employees. “Actually, now I am asked to mentor people starting in the polo business,” he says. “I give them all the same advice. Prepare a business plan and seek help from a SCORE mentor.”