by Nancy Hassel, American Pet Professionals
We all know 2020 was not the vision we expected for our planet, but also seeing pet businesses pivot, change and even prosper during a worldwide pandemic has been incredibly inspiring. As we begin the New Year, hopefully a much better year, (despite what is going on around us), we thought we would look at ways you can re-inspire and reignite your pet businesses, animal rescues and non-profits as well.
Let’s think about 12 ways to reignite your pet business during and post Covid-19.
Join us on American Pet Professionals Networking Events
Shameless plug alert: last year our members gathered for 40 live networking zoom meetings and 23 live webinars. Our members come from all areas of the pet industry and from around the world. Some have been in business for several decades, and others are creating new businesses or developing new products. When so many passionate entrepreneurs gather in one place (Zoom or in-person), it is easy to feel inspired and proud of being in the pet industry. Sometimes that positive energy is all it takes to re-inspire you and reignite your passion for what you do. If you missed our last open enrollment for membership, get on our VIP waitlist by clicking here.
Update Your Business Plan and Identify New Goals
When is the last time you looked at your business plan? Or a better question, do you have a business plan? A business plan is helpful for more than simply securing loans and funding. Your business plan helps you identify and achieve your goals. As we start a brand-new calendar year, take a look at your plan. What new goals do you want to achieve in 2021? What steps do you need to take in order to achieve them? Taking the time to update your plan and create new goals each year can help you feel more engaged in your business and ready to do all the things that will bring your business to the next level of success. (If coming up with an actual business plan intimidates you, do a one page plan that you can refer to monthly).
Spend More Time with Pet Owners
Whether you hop on some of the free virtual events in our Pet Events Newsletter, or attend a local event in person, spending time with pet owners can help you remember why you started your business in the first place. The key is to attend not as a business owner, but as a pet lover. Even when you follow your heart and pursue a career doing something you love, it can start to seem like any other job. Spending time with pet owners as a pet owner instead of as a business owner is a good way to remember how much fun it is to simply talk about pets without worrying about selling something to them.
Add a New Product or Service
Adding a new product or service is an important part of growing your revenue year after year. In a retail environment, in order to achieve more sales, you must have more inventory to sell. In a service-based business, you need to either serve more clients, or have your existing clients hire you to do more services, in order to grow your revenue year after year. However, not only are new products and services important to continually increase your annual revenue, but they also make your life more fun for you and your clients.
Avoid Social Media Gloom and Doom
Social media is an important marketing tool, but some of the content that some users share is downright depressing and disturbing. It can be extremely difficult to not go down the rabbit hole of doom and gloom, especially on Facebook. A simple post to your business page can end up costing you an hour or more of your time and leave you angry and frustrated if you are distracted by your friends’ personal statuses and news related posts. The good news is that you can manage your business page without even going into your personal timeline with Facebook Creator Studio. This tool allows you to schedule posts, manage your advertising, and interact with comments without ever checking your personal page. Creator Studio also works with Instagram.
Find an Accountability Partner/Group
Running your own business can feel somewhat isolated. Whether you manage a team of employees or are a solopreneur, you do not have coworkers or a boss like you do in a traditional job to keep you on track. An accountability partner can help you feel more connected by helping you stay on top of your goals. They can also be a sounding board for new ideas and to help work through frustrations on those days when your inspiration and passion is waning. You can reach out to other members of American Pet Professionals to see if anyone would like to be accountability partners with you.
Outsource the Things You Don’t Like to Do
Our next blog is going to be dedicated to the concept of outsourcing the things you do not like to do. As a pet professional, you probably did not start your business so you can do all the bookkeeping, marketing, and other essential tasks that come along with being a business owner. You started your business to work one-on-one with pets and their owners. When you hire someone to do the tasks that take you away from your clients, you can spend more time working one-on-one with your clients and their pets.
We have many members that could help your business, check our our Member Directory here – you may just find who you are looking for to expand.
Offer Your Expertise as a Speaker
I have done a lot of speaking in the pet industry, since 2008. There is nothing like the anticipation of preparing to speak to a group to re-ignite your passion for what you do. And when you are finished, you feel incredible! Speaking with authority and expertise to a group of your peers is a powerful high. In fact, after you have delivered a great presentation, your brain releases the feel-good hormone dopamine, which makes you feel happy and motivated.
Volunteer with Animals
Volunteering with animals is a great way to reignite your passion for the pet industry. Whether you volunteer your time or donate some of your business proceeds to animal charities, the dogs and cats of the world need us to keep working for them. Something as simple as a ride to an adoption event can change a dog’s life forever. Fostering, volunteering at events, helping transport pets from one state to another, and raising both money and awareness about pet rescue are all things that we can do to help save the animals we love so much and remind us why we are so fortunate to be in the pet industry.
Connect with 10 new business contacts a week
Initially this may seem like a big task weekly, but in our world of social media, connecting with people you may look to do business with is much easier. But don’t just email them to sell something, figure out how you can provide value to that person. Perhaps you can connect to them to one of your contacts. Be geniune, authentic and don’t expect anything in return. The more you expand your network, provide value – the more people are going to work with you.
Join the Clubhouse app
I know what your thinking, why join yet another social media app? Who the heck has time for that? Well, it’s not what you think, the audio-only app is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise, network with others, jump on a virtual stage with some heavy hitters (business owners, investors, entrepreneurs), who you may have otherwise never have spoken to before. I have already been on stage with non-pet business gurus and was able to ask questions and lend advice as well. Right now the app is in Beta mode and only available on iPhones (IOS), but keep a look out for it. Oh and hey if you’re on there I am @NancyHassel – let’s connect there.
Work Less, Play with Your Pet More
One thing that 2020 taught us is that there are some benefits to slowing down the pace of our busy lives. One of the biggest benefits is that we get to spend more time with our pets. Let’s face it, pets were among the heroes of last year. In the socially distanced world of Covid-19, we could exercise with pets, play with them, snuggle them, and have fun with them during times when we could not safely be around other humans. Because our love of pets is what motivated most – if not all – of us to get into the pet business in the first place, spending quality, intentional time together is a continual reminder of why we love the businesses that we created to serve other pet owners. Heck, I taught my dog some new tricks – and he can now wave hello, close cabinet doors among a few of his multi-talented tricks, you know for a delish doggie treat!
I would love to know what ways you have or are planning to reignite your pet business in 2021?