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Candace D'Agnolo

Complete These 7 Important Tasks at Your Pet Business Before the End of 2020

These tasks will help you stay dialed in.

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BEFORE SAYING GOOD-BYE to 2020 and leaping into the new year, there are seven key business areas for which you must make time. This year still may have a few curveballs left, but these tasks will help you stay dialed in.

1. Prep your business. Stock up not just on inventory, but supplies. After a busy day working, the last thing you’ll want to do is run an errand. Stock up on all coronavirus essentials (masks, sanitizer, wipes) and business essentials (paper products, ribbon, stickers). In a cold weather location? Review the needs to winterize your space (pet friendly de-icing salt, space heaters). Even connect with a snow-plow service to help keep sidewalks and parking lots clear.

2. Give the office TLC. Spend one afternoon organizing your office. Ensure all invoices for the year are filed or scanned. If you can get your invoices caught up, closed out and received into your point-of-sale system, your bookkeeper and accountant will be ready to roll Jan. 1. Cleaning up this space also will give you a sense of control in uncertain times.

3. Rev up your online presence. Driving traffic to your website is critical with online shopping set to dominate this holiday season. Consistently promote your online store on social media and in email marketing. Make it front and center on all marketing. Deliver targeted ads on Facebook by uploading your customer list to Ads Manager as a custom audience. It doesn’t take a big budget to make a big impact! Go live on social media four to seven days a week. If you have special hours, update them on your website, on your Google My Business page, and pin a post to the top of your Facebook page.

4. Celebrate your team. The fourth quarter is exhausting, and unfortunately many retail and service workers are burned out or have lost their enthusiasm. It’s time to turn up your communication. Engage positively, listen and ask questions to help your staff feel heard, confident and part of the team. Figure out bonuses, holiday pay and gift exchanges early to get them excited. Get restaurant gift cards to reward above-and-beyond efforts and positive attitudes on the fly.

5. Think about your customers. Customers love receiving surprise gifts, especially ones related to their pets. Buy branded merchandise and add pet names after (like with a paint pen, vinyl sticker or label). During November and December, hand out bounce-back gift certificates with all purchases. The “bounce back” is to get the customer to come back during the first quarter. Make a unique offer for each month to drive repeat visits.

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6. Track the good, bad and fabulous. Don’t you wish you could remember everything you did last year? Like what worked well and what didn’t? Start a log for this year! Use your favorite notebook or start a Google Doc. Each day or two, jot down thoughts, upload pictures, track numbers, screenshot reports — all to track exactly what happened this season. Keep notes of what worked well and what didn’t for events, promotions, products, window displays and social media posts. What were your hours, shift-coverage results, team attitudes, bestsellers and total duds. This doc will help you next year to do less of what didn’t work and more of what did!

7. Put a bow on it. The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and goal setting. Grab a piece of paper and make three sections: stop, start and continue. Set the timer for five minutes for each key area of your business, such as employees, inventory, operations, marketing, time management and even how you handled COVID-19 issues. What no longer serves you or wasn’t a good idea? These go under “Stop.” What opportunities or new ideas should you start doing? Put them under “Start.” What worked well? These go under “Continue.” Do this solo or as a team. Reviewing your company in this way will help you establish goals for the year ahead. You will know what to leave behind and what to bring to life!

Candace D’Agnolo owns successful pet business Dogaholics and offers business consulting at Pet Boss Nation. For help creating a customized 90-day plan to tackle all your business goals, download a free worksheet, at petbossnation.com/petsplus. Contact her at hello@petbossnation.com.

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