By Melanie Haber
Setting goals can be the best way to obtain long term success. Making goals can be for personal reasons like losing weight, exercising more, or to stop smoking. For the business owner, it can be about making more money, offering more services, paying higher wages, etc. However, only a small percentage of people will meet their goals if they try to do too much too quickly. In fact, after about one month most goals are completely forgotten.
The most common reason for business owners failing in their goals was setting themselves up with unrealistic goals. Yet, those that do seem to achieve their goals is usually through goal setting; a system where smaller goals are being set.
Understanding these trends allows us to look at our grooming business goals in a different, more obtainable light. Rather than setting one huge unsurpassable goal that is likely to fail, I recommend smaller, more realistic goals. By setting small monthly goals that can be achieved easily will allow you to keep moving forward and be rewarded along the way. Basically, small steady goals=Success.
In January, resolve to start a plan for your business. Since many times New Year’s Resolutions are of a personal nature, i.e. lose weight, quit smoking, cut back on drinking, etc.… they can often consume your focus with lifestyle adjustments. By using January as a simple planning month, it will not be too overwhelming to the point of failure when trying to succeed with your business resolutions.
So, for January, sit down with a notebook and pen to make a simple 12 month small resolutions business plan. This plan can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, but I recommend simple. In fact, this plan can be simplified so that once you are in the habit of practicing your business resolutions you can potentially pass the responsibility to another co-worker or employee. Here are a few ideas for the rest of the year.
During February, the month of love, fall back into love with your business/job. Running a business/having a job can be just like a relationship. It takes attention, cultivation, and nurturing. How long has it been since you looked at the needs of your business/job? Do you still go to work with the excitement of the first day you opened? Did you still feel the excitement of your first day on the job? Make a list of the positives and negatives you feel about your job/business and make improvements. Unless you re-evaluate any relationship, it will not grow. Remind yourself what made you so happy in the beginning and use that to get back in love.
March brings us the season of Spring! Use this month to do some Spring cleaning, not only in the facility but to your marketing and promotional materials. First, walk through your front doors as a client. Sit in your lobby or walk through the business as if you were on a tour. Does the appearance of the workplace need improvements? Is there equipment that is breaking down? Have you let clutter take over? Would a coat of paint go a long way? Look over the printed materials and promotional items you use to see if they are up-to-date or need to be revised. Do you have a ready supply of brochures and business cards? Do they need a makeover? Do you need a new logo? Finally, do your uniforms or employees need a polish? The perception of value starts with the appearance of your staff and the facility the minute the client walks in the door.
April is a great time to get your online presence organized. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to just be in your facility and printed materials, it needs to be reflected with your website, social medias, and online listings. Look over your website to make sure the information presented is accurate, your picture gallery is updated, new employees are represented, and new services are updated. If you don’t have a website, now is the time to get one. Businesses that can’t be found online won’t bring new business from dedicated smart phone users and social media fanatics.
According to a report from the Pew Research Center in 2015, over 2/3 of American adults are smart phone users. Can you imagine missing over 2/3 of adults in your area from seeing your business online? Get your social media in order. Make sure you are doing daily posts on Facebook, link it to twitter for ease of posting, or use a social media service that will let you post to several pages all at once to save valuable time. In fact, take 1 hour each month to schedule out your social media postings if you find checking daily is too difficult.
May is a great time to offer new services. April online showers (website/promotions) can bring new May customers, so be ready with a full arsenal of services that can make you more money each transaction. Rather than just the wash n’ go routine, enhance your services with cool and fun financially rewarding extras. With each groom, ask if the client would like one extra service that is appealing to their sensitive side of spoiling their pets. For instance, add in a spa luxury service like a mineral foot soak or anti-stress body wrap for the pet, or offer coat polishing with argan oil or other nice finishes that make the pet look “money!” Make them sound like something that makes the client say, “I want that for me!” If you added in one $10 service to each groom, imagine how much more money at the end of the week you would have.
June is summertime fun! Bring in some summertime fun by working on your client communications. Start collecting emails and smart phone numbers from every client. If you find your business slows down in the summer, text specials to clients on slow days. During our downtime in our spa we did a text one morning offering a free foot soak or tooth brushing to any client calling in for an appointment that day. Within 20 minutes we got 11 bookings! To use email addresses efficiently, try to send out a monthly communication promoting 1-2 new things you are doing that month. I don’t really recommend newsletters since, I, myself, really don’t read them, however, I love email communications that are only 1 or 2 lines that get the message across quickly with a link to the website or phone number for fast contact.
In July celebrate Independence from old habits. It has been 6 months since you have instituted your resolutions so celebrate by looking back at what you have achieved or what you could perhaps beef up or be more consistent. Use this month to hear from your co-workers and clients their perception of where you were and how far you have come. Their perspective may open even more opportunities and ideas.
August brings the summer heat. The days will start getting shorter but some will still be your hottest days of the year. Depending on your demographics and business flow, this may be a good time to take a vacation. However, if it is a busy time, think of small ways you can reward yourself like trying a new tool, practicing a daily relaxing technique, bringing in a new cool drink to take sips from, splurging on a new product you have been wanting to try, or treat yourself to a new smock or uniform.
September is Back to School time! Learn something new this month. It is always important to try and take your grooming career to the next level. Right now there is a trend in the grooming industry to offer more therapy services and create a spa experience for pets. Even though you know how to bathe and scissor, these opportunities have a different kind of education that is required. Learning the basics of pet skin and coat health is required to treat skin problems. For spa experiences, there will be a learning curve on mud treatments, facials, oils therapies, and detox services. Research certified pet aesthetician programs to get skin education and pet spa products/services online to find the right match for you.
October is a great time for marketing yourself with a fun event this month. While you may still be focusing on your education from last month, just plan something fun and easy this month. It can be a discount for shelter or rescue pets (Oct. is National Shelter Pets month), you can offer fresh and natural harvest treats for grooming pets, or have a pet costume contest with an open house. The sky is the limit when it comes to celebrating fun for your clients.
November is for giving thanks. Resolve to build stronger relationships with your clients by expressing your thanks to them for trusting you with their beloved pet. Showing appreciation to your clients can strengthen the bond that will retain lasting relationships. There are several ways to show thanks without giving away services or discounts. Get a pack of thank-you notes and jot down a reason why you love to groom a client’s pet and hand it to them on their way out. You can even mention how important their business is to you because it helps to not only keep your doors open, but it helps your family as well. You could also find a few minutes at check-in or check-out to speak with your clients and let them know they are appreciated or tell a small detail of why you look forward to their pet coming in. Any token of appreciation can go a long way in strengthening your relationships.
December is a time to give. If you are financially able, you can give each pet a small gift like festive bows and bling, holiday bandanas, or a toy. If you are unable to do that, this may be a good time to invest in your community presence by becoming a drop-site for rescue donations. During the month of December, our spa ran a food drive for a local rescue and collected almost 1,100lbs of food. This not only helped the rescue; it showed clients our compassionate side and created a buzz about our business in the public.
At the end of the year it is always important to take time to reflect back on all the resolutions you have instituted. Think about what worked, what didn’t, what could have been done better, or what should be repeated. By making small, obtainable resolutions monthly that also reward you at the same time will give you the ability to keep moving forward into the next year with success.