By Daryl Conner
It’s nearing the time to call 2018 a wrap and kick off a fresh, brand new year. Whether you believe in New Year’s Resolutions or not, this is a good time to reflect on what you accomplished in the months past and look ahead to plans for the days ahead.
Regarding your grooming career, what would you like to achieve?
Here are some ideas:
- With bills cropping up around the country trying to regulate groomers, this might be a good time to consider becoming certified. Having a voluntary certification to add to your credentials could be very helpful if and when regulation becomes enforced. In recent years there have been three major, recognized certifying bodies for groomers: National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA), International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC) and International Professional Groomers (IPG). Each of these offers curriculum that allows groomers to learn and hone their skills, with both written and practical exams required to achieve titles.
- Invest in a great, time–saving tool. Is this the year you improve the quality of your work, save time and increase your income by purchasing a tool that will help you work more efficiently? Groom a few extra pets a week, save your tips or simply budget for a new bathing system, better dryer, clipper vacuum system or electric grooming table. These tools really do quickly pay for themselves, all the while helping to save your hard–working body and fight groomer burn out.
- Resolve to take better care of the most important tool you have… yourself! This could be the year you quit smoking, start eating healthier, take a yoga class and/or sign up for regular massages. What do you need to do to take care of you? Only you know, and only you can take the steps to put a healthier living plan into action.
- Plan to attend a trade show…or three! There is nothing like the energy at a grooming trade show to get your creative juices flowing and help you regain excitement for your work. There are shows held across the country, and if you have never been to one, make this be the year you check one or more out.
From interesting classes to free tool demonstrations, the learning potential is unequalled. Then there are the vendors, where you can see and hold the latest innovations in tools to help us work our magic. And the other groomers! Dinners, dancing, contests… you could meet your new best grooming pals at a trade show. Check out the calendar for the year’s upcoming shows and find one near you.
- Spruce up your work space. Take a hard look at your place of business. How welcoming is your entry? How fresh does it smell when you come inside? Is the paint unmarred and clean, or grimy and dull? How do the floors look? Is there clutter everywhere? Look around as if you were seeing it for the first time and take notes. Where is there room for improvement?
Sometimes a little elbow grease and a can of paint can make a world of difference. In the coming winter months, many of us find we have a little extra time on our hands. What better use of that time than spiffing up our space? Not only will our customers appreciate the change, but it’s nice to have the place we spend so many hours working in looking its best.
- Consider your business policies. Do any need updating? For instance, if you had too many no–shows or last–minute cancellations in the past year, consider instituting a reminder service or a method of collecting a portion of revenue from missed appointments like many human spas and hair salons do.
- Are you due for a rate increase? The winter months might not be the best time to institute one, but perhaps this is a good time to plan one for spring or summer. Decide on how much and when the new prices will begin. Many experts recommend that we raise our rates by $1–2 dollars each year to keep up with the cost of living and prevent the shock of a larger increase every few years.
- Plan to give something back to the community. Offer to groom some shelter dogs for free or give a grooming gift certificate to help raise money for a worthy cause. One of my favorites is simply refusing pay from random customers when I know they are struggling. The look on their face when I say, “Your money is no good here today,” is priceless and makes me smile for days after. If you are ever feeling blue, doing something nice for someone else is always a mood booster.
- Put some time for yourself on that brand new calendar. How about a random day off in the middle of your busy season? You can do it, and you should. It’s important to have a balance in our work and “real” lives so that we don’t grow to resent the work that keeps us fed. Set some goals to do things you love and put them on the calendar. It will give you something to look forward to as you launch into the New Year.
- Do you need to get the word out about your business? Brain storm ways to do that now and build your business as the spring season rolls around.
Taking time to dream and plan a little can help you define the goals that are important to you in the year ahead. Plan the work and work the plan. Here is to an excellent 2019!