What You Should Be Doing Right Now to Help Your Pet Care Business
By Fernando Camacho
Let’s be real here—this sucks.
Most of our businesses are either shut down or are operating on minimal capacity; we’ve had to lay off staff and no one is making any money. Add to that all the depressing media coverage, and it makes most of us just want to curl up in our pajamas and Netflix our days away.
And that’s exactly what
some will do.
But what about you?
Are you ready to just lay down, do nothing, and wait idly for this crisis to end and then get back to business?
No, you’re not. Not on my watch.
Yes, these are tough times, and yes, your business is struggling right now. But just complaining or having a victim mentality will only make this bad situation worse. What you might not realize is that with every struggle comes opportunity.
You’ve actually been given a pretty amazing gift; the gift of time.
There are likely a number of things that you’ve been meaning to do, but because you’ve been consumed with the day-to-day of running of your business, you were never able to get to them. These are probably important things, just not urgent compared to your normal daily activities.
Now is the time to cross those items off your list so you’re ready to hit the ground running when business picks back up.
Here are some suggestions to get you going:
1. Improve Your Appearance
Take a good hard look at the first impressions of your business. Is it showing you in the best possible light? Look at the outside or your building and grounds and think about how you can clean them up and make them more appealing. How about your lobby? Now is the time for that new paint job or reorganizing what you have to create a better customer experience.
Then look to your online lobby—your website. Does it have an updated design, is it user–friendly and is it built to lead the customer where you want them to go? This is a perfect time to overhaul your site and make your business stand out from the competition.
Like it or not, people are judging you on your outer appearances every single day, and if you mess up the opportunity to impress them, you’ve lost them forever.
2. Create Protocols
I see too many businesses floundering in their day-to-day operations because they don’t have clear, spelled-out procedures that everyone can follow. Think of all the repetitive tasks and situations that come up on a regular basis and create standard operating procedure (SOP) documents so that no one is confused about what to do in the moment.
Create them for your cleaning procedures, closing process, staff training, dog incidents, appointment setting and everything else you can think of. Having a published document that everyone can refer to ensures that your staff will always know what to do, bother you with less unnecessary questions and make sure everyone is consistent.
3. Staff Training & Materials
This is where there is always room for improvement. Most daycare employees are entry level, meaning they don’t have a lot of skills starting out, so it’s your job—your obligation—to give them the tools they need give their best effort for you.
Create or update your process for when you get a new hire. If you don’t know the best way to teach them about their job (whether it’s dog behavior, customer interaction or general operational stuff) find someone or some place that can supply you with the information and/or materials you need.
Remember, your facility is only as good as your staff.
4. Marketing Campaigns
A week before Black Friday is NOT the time to think about what kind of promotions you want to run. You need to plan out what you want to do and how it will work way in advance. This is the perfect time to map out all of the marketing campaigns you want to run for the next year.
Brainstorm ideas for getting new leads, promotions for special events and holidays, not to mention the campaigns to over-deliver and take care of your existing customer base. Create the visuals, write the copy, prepare the emails and get everything ready to go, so when the time comes, all you have to do is just hit the “go” button.
The first thing I recommend working on is the campaign you will launch when this crisis looks like it’s finally ending. Will you be ready for it or will you just open back up and hope people will show up? Get your re-engagement and special ding-dong-the-coronavirus-is-dead campaigns done now! They will help you get business back up much quicker.
There are a ton of other things you can do during this down–time to strengthen your business so it will be stronger than when it all started. These are just a few to get you moving—but think about what your business needs and get to work.
Stop dwelling on what you don’t have and what you can’t do, and put all your attention and efforts on what you can do. As I see it, we all have two very clear choices right now: give up or step up.
So, get to work, stay positive and be safe.
Fern (aka Fernando Camacho) runs Overdog Digital, the digital marketing agency that specializing in dog daycare and boarding facilities. He’s also a popular speaker at conferences, consults with pet businesses all over the country, and is the author of six books. www.overdogdigital.com