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Controlling costs in a sports business

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McGowan joined the £6m-turnover organisation in January this year and oversees a finance function comprising five people. She says: “We are extremely aware of the economic climate and the challenges that all of our stakeholders face, from our riders through to the organisers of our events.

"We’re looking very carefully across management, making sure the business is running as efficiently as possible, and we’re making some tough decisions in terms of cost control. We want to ensure the cost that we have to pass on to members is as low as possible.”

British Eventing is the governing body for the sport of eventing and it gets its money from membership subscriptions and events. The body also receives funding through Sports UK and the Equestrian Foundation. Primary overheads are mainly to do with the events it runs. McGowan notes: “They’re things like providing appropriate advisers, safety professionals and stewards.”

She adds: “There are very few overheads in actually managing the business. We try to keep it as self-contained as possible so we can ride the current economic situation as long as possible without affecting our members’ enjoyment.”

From a strategic point of view, McGowan is working on expanding British Eventing both in terms of the sport and membership numbers. She says: “We want to involve more people in the sport, not just from a competing perspective but from the spectators side as well.”

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