MARKETING

Make Every Card Unique

For a completely different take on business cards, Linda Liebrand of My Brand Buddy (and the Pets+ Real Deal columnist) suggests photos of freshly groomed pups on the reverse. Printer moo.com offers a service called Printfinity, which allows for a different image on every card. Your customers may just want to collect them all!

LOYALTY
Cats Like Free Stuff Too

It’s commonplace for pet businesses to offer freebies and discounts to pet parents of newly adopted dogs, but why not show kitties some love too? Animal Crackers Pet Supply in Corvallis, OR, gives cat adopters free food and litter. Bonus tip: Partner with a local rescue or humane society to spread the word.

STRATEGY
Shorten Your Years

Consultants Brian Moran and Michael Lennington aren’t big believers in the value of a year, at least when it comes to setting goals. A year’s too big to get your head around, they argue in their book The 12-Week Year, and there’s too much unpredictability involved in planning for 10 or 11 months in the future. In its place, they advocate dividing your year into quarters, and to think of each 12 weeks as a stand-alone “year” — a stretch long enough to make significant progress on a few fronts, yet short enough to stay focused.

MONEY
Keep a Separate Card for Autopayments

Most banks have accommodating policies for credit card theft. However, it can still be a pain to cancel your card and all of its automatic payments. NerdWallet writer Virginia McGuire has a solution: Designate one credit card exclusively for automated bill payments. “I now keep that credit card at home — well-hidden and protected by a burglar alarm — and carry a different credit card for daily spending,” she says. 

HIRING
Assign Some Reading

Next time you interview a job candidate, give him a book or magazine article in sync with aspirations for your store and tell him you’d like to discuss his thoughts on the material at your next meeting. Says Sam Parker on JustSell.com: “If they come back excited about the book, you’ll know you’re possibly of the same mindset. If they balk at the work, the person may not be willing to go the extra yard for you.”

ADVERTISING
Count Your Name

There was a time when copywriters believed the more times they could repeat a business’s name in an ad, the better. But that was in the mid-20th century, when Americans encountered 30 times fewer ads than today. “Do this today and your ads will sound like they were written in the 1940s,” warns “Wizard of Ads” Roy Williams. These days, the rule is to avoid saying your name in an ad more than you would in a normal conversation.

SIGNAGE
Keep Things Positive

Do your best to word your signs in positively. Sure, you have rules, says sales and service guru Jeffrey Gitomer, but it’s easy to present those rules in a way that doesn’t offend (and might even get a chuckle). An example: those nasty signs that say “Parking for patrons of Smith’s Pet Grooming only. Violators will be towed.” Instead, write something like: “Visitors of Smith’s Pet Grooming are welcome to park here. If you’re not a customer of Smith’s Pet Grooming, you’re welcome to park elsewhere.”

PRODUCTIVITY
This Year, Aim Low

For 2018, put a twist on your usual New Year’s resolution. This year, instead of trying to take on a new behavior, give up a few old ones. To start, list your 10 most important roles in life. Next, rank them. Finally, resign from at least the bottom two. So, quit your book group; stop struggling to make dates with that hard-to-pin-down friend; and accept, at long last, that you’ll never be a good cook. “Not because those things are bad,” says The Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman. But “because it’s the only way to do other things well.”


This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of PETS+.