By Khris Berry
How do you create a viable self-sustaining business that will endure and thrive? Chances are, if you own a Pet Service Business, your livelihood depends on you showing up to work and customers showing up to pay for your services. This segment focuses on learning to implement basic money management strategies to help you thrive today, tomorrow, and long into the future!
Here are your Grooming Business Basics tips for managing Money in a Pet Service Environment:
1. Know your market. You can define your own metrics and learn the consumer habits of the economic markets in your area. Your market and how you brand, manage, and run your business may change based upon being rural, suburban, or urban based. The “flavor” of the market surrounding your business can offer key insights into helping you establish policies and prices.
2. Know your customers. Getting to know the customers you are attracting to your business is important. Learning where they live, where their kids go to school, and even what hobbies they participate in will give you key clues to determining their spending habits or flexible income. Remember, although necessary for the health and well–being of their pet, Pet Services are often seen as a luxury service and learning about your customers will help you identify how luxurious you can afford to be!
3. Know your business. Identifying the skills and even environment that surround you in your specific business will be helpful in determining how to monetize your opportunities when seeking to maximize your business revenues. Perhaps you have enough square footage to offer services by 5 providers, you may identify that as an opportunity to increase your client base and revenue. In the reverse, you may be limited in space and can only accommodate a small amount of clients—you would look to increase the revenue opportunity with each client by adding services to complement your base.
4. Know your numbers. Many Pet Service providers choose their careers out of passion and simply collect their money as a by–product. Take control of your financial future and learn to balance your check book, create a simple Profit and Loss Statement, manage your Balance Sheet, and get acquainted with a budget.
5. Plan for today and for tomorrow. Budget. Don’t cringe, just do it. Like any skill, learning to Budget properly for unexpected (and planned) expenses will become easier with practice. Budgeting allows you to take control of your business finances and see roadblocks sooner. Budgeting can be as simple as plotting your next day, week, or month expenses on a sheet of paper and reviewing it later for accuracy. Your business will need money to sustain and grow—a budget allows you to keep your eyes on your money.
6. Create profit centers. Think of this as the “Orchard Effect”. Your primary business is like planting a Money Tree which you will harvest when the time is appropriate. Profit Centers are the equivalent of planting related money trees in the same orchard so that you can harvest them when necessary. Just like an orchard, having multiple trees allows you the luxury of harvesting from different trees at different times. Your trees should be related. For example, it may not resonate with your customer if you offer Pet Grooming, Boarding, and sell ladies’ clothing. The Money Trees you plant should all complement and relate to one another in your Business Orchard.
7. Use loss leaders. A loss leader can be an effective method to drive activity to your business. A business may choose to employ a loss leader to bring customers in the door, and then focus on teaching them about their services. Think: Activity breeds activity. Your goal as a business professional is to put yourself in front of as many potential clients as you possibly can—used effectively, a loss leader can bring those clients to your door.
8. Income vs. Expenses. This is the single most important money relationship you will have as a business person. The money you take in is your Income; the money you spend is your Expenses. Learning to balance the ratio between Income vs. Expense will allow you to widen the gap and increase your profit. Many Pet Professionals believe that if they simply increase their prices, it will equate into making more money—learning to balance this ratio is paramount to watching your profits grow.
9. Money diets. Just like regular check–ups are recommended to make sure you thrive and enjoy continued physical health, your financial health will benefit from check–ups as well. After you review your business spending habits, put yourself on a money diet. Just like counting calories, you can begin by counting pennies. Finding areas that you can save money and make wiser spending decisions is the equivalent of giving yourself a raise.
10. Invest in yourself. Often times, Pet Business professionals get excited about investing in new equipment. Bringing the latest tools and gadgets into your workspace can be invigorating and make your daily tasks easier to complete. Don’t forget to invest in yourself (and your staff)! Bringing new ideas, forward thinking, and education into your workspace is equally important. Taking classes, online or in person; taking time to read and contemplate new concepts; and researching practices in your specific industry are all ways that you can invest in your business by investing in yourself.
11. Create sustainability. There are several reasons that Pet Service businesses may experience peaks and lows in income. Certainly consumer habits can drive markets—anyone who has experienced a “back to school slump” or “holiday rush” can attest to that. Creating sustainability runs deeper than market swings. Remember our Money Orchard above? Learn to plant trees to pick when your main money tree is not ready; create a menu of services that may allow your customer to return to you more often; get creative with service offerings and rewards programs that drive activity and clients into your salon more frequently. There is no single way to create sustainability—make it as unique as your own business.
12. Don’t break the piggy bank. Saving is never as exciting as spending. There is a multi–billion dollar advertising industry that proves we, as consumers, like to spend our money.
Learn to get as enthused about saving your money as you are about spending it. As a Pet Business, you have a responsibility to yourself, customers, and employees to make sure that you are solvent and have appropriate reserves. Savings will allow you to weather emergency expenditures, grow your business when appropriate, invest in yourself and your staff, and ensure that you will endure financial markets that will span not only your career, but perhaps the legacy you leave afterwards.
Now, go forth and prosper in a career that you love! ✂