By Jeff Dickerson
Any pet grooming business owner knows that juggling daily operations can be not only extremely challenging, but also rewarding. While there is no single way to eliminate the many obstacles of running a small business, here are a few tips and tricks to help out with a pet groomers’ busy day:
Anticipate Needs: Put yourself in the shoes of every person who engages with your business. From employees to vendors, customers and their pets, try to be one step ahead of their needs to keep yourself organized. Pay attention to your inventory reports, for example, and if a certain product is flying off the shelf, prepare restock orders ahead of running out. This will enhance your vendor relationships and avoid shortages of popular products.
Use Client Records: There is much more to your client than the name and breed of their pet (which is always important to remember). By collecting and consolidating client data in one system, you can spend less time guessing what makes the client happy (or unhappy) and more time perfecting their pup’s service. Remember that the owner really prefers a shorter cut on the pooch, even during the winter. If a customer has a purchase history of an anti-itch shampoo and tends to schedule monthly visits, remember to ask if they need more of their favorite product this visit, and consider offering a loyalty discount.
Automate Communications: In 2018, it’s estimated that pet parents will spend nearly $70 billion on their beloved furry friends, around $6 billion of which goes to grooming and boarding. As the grooming business continues to expand, this is the time to build and retain your client base. A regular cadence of communication can help keep your services on their radar, but this can prove to be a heavy lift when you are wearing many hats in the business. Instead, consider using a business management and scheduling tool that automatically checks in with your customers to schedule appointments, suggest re-booking, share business news or follow up after a grooming. Not only will this take away the burden of maintaining constant lines of communication, but it will also go a long way toward keeping customers engaged.
Delegate More: As a small business owner, it can be difficult to let go and grant responsibility to others. The most common mistake that new business owners make is feeling that they must take everything on themselves or it won’t get done right. When hiring new employees, establish a “trust but verify” relationship where their work is supported and supervised. Once this approach has allowed you to hand off responsibility comfortably, it will ultimately facilitate success and diminish your stress.
Facilitate Relationships: You need to groom your clients as well as their pets. That doesn’t mean cleaning them, but being nice to them! Take the time to make small talk with your clients, ask questions and build relationships with them. Through these relationships, you will earn their trust and garner repeat business. It’s important to remember that your business interacts with customers before they enter the store and after they leave. Consider implementing online booking for a great client experience, keeping your front-desk people off the phone and engaging with the clients already in the door.
Convey Your Vision: Pet groomers should establish the mission and goals of their business from the beginning. By setting expectations for daily operations, customer communication and the kinds of experiences the business aims to deliver, you can create metrics for success to hold yourself and your team accountable. You can also lay the groundwork for where you want your business to go. Involving the team from the beginning raises the likelihood of successfully realizing your visions.
While strategizing for your pet business can feel like a strain, assessing the needs of the business will help you choose the most proficient and valuable solution to ultimately save time, money and avoid future headaches. With the right mindset, applied discipline and a proactive approach, pet business owners can make the most of even limited resources to focus on growing their business.