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Manager's To Do

Incentivize Customer Referrals and More To-Dos for February




Jan. 29-Feb. 3

MARKETING Most people do not think of their pets when it comes time for Valentine’s Day shopping. Your job is to convince them otherwise. Send three or four bulletins over the next two weeks and keep your social media feed filled with pictures of animals with roses and hearts.

STRATEGY Embark on a strategic review. Look at what your competitors are doing and learn from them. Visit their stores and websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and have a staff member save their ads in a scrapbook. This will keep you up to date on trends, where your market is moving, and what others are advertising, discounting and featuring.  You’ll know where to compete and how to differentiate your business.

Feb. 5-10

ONLINE Call a friend, and tell her to go to your website and see how quickly she can find your business hours and contact info. Less than 10 seconds? Awesome. Twenty seconds? Not bad, but could be better. Thirty seconds or more? Change your design so these details are super-easy to find.

MANAGEMENT There’s no one right way to arrange the information on a profit-and-loss statement. If you can’t understand yours, ask your accountant to arrange the information so you can tell instantly what went right (or wrong) the previous month.

Feb. 12-17

MARKETING Email reminder: “Two days left ’til Valentine’s Day!” And list five gift ideas.

MERCHANDISING Schedule a meeting with staff to discuss merchandising. Brainstorm buying strategies that will enable you to achieve your 2018 goals: Do you want to attract more millennials? Expand your natural product section?


TECHNOLOGY Google your business name. If your website appears “below the fold” (where people have to scroll down to see it), you’ve got work to do. First up, join the conversation: Reply to any review posts on Yelp or Yahoo. 

Feb. 19- 24

FINANCE Check with your bank to see if it offers payroll assistance. Many now provide a service that allows you to log onto their site and enter your workers’ hours. The bank then makes direct deposits and pays your federal and state withholding taxes.

STAFF Ask staff to write an answer to these questions: “Why do you get up in the morning?” and “Why should our customers care?” You may just find a new mission statement in those answers.

MARKETING Work on a referral system to reward clients that refer friends. Maybe a bonus of a $20 credit for products or services to every client who refers someone.

Feb. 26-March 3

STAFF Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower your team to make decisions without you.

FINANCES Do a manual backup of all your customer and financial records and store it offsite. Your system should be doing this automatically — it’s always good to check occasionally — but in case of a catastrophe, it’s vital you have a record to start rebuilding.


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



PETS+ Wellness Summit

Let the PETS+ Wellness Summit Boost Your Wellness Business

This October, PETS+ is hosting its first-ever education and buying summit, with a laser focus on one of the most exciting, fastest-growing areas of the pet business — wellness. The PETS+ Wellness Summit will be held Oct. 1-2 in Rosemont, IL, just outside Chicago and minutes away from O'Hare International Airport. Watch the video to see how you'll boost your wellness business at the event.

FREE REGISTRATION! Sign up for the Summit today at

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Manager's To Do

Early Holiday Prep Begins in October

Learn how to use your phones for business and more here!




Sept. 29-Oct. 5

TEXTING Text has replaced the phone call. Discuss with staff and redraft your store manual to provide guidelines on when to call, when to chat, and how to make the process as smooth and as customer friendly as possible.

ONLINE SECURITY Do you sell any goods online? Then you need a trust badge/SSL certification (think of those Norton seals you’ll see at an online checkout). Not having one is a deal-breaker for 17 percent of shoppers. Get certified.

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work
Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

EVENTS Finalize arrangements for special events in the run-in to the year-end, confirm staff assignments.

Oct. 6-12

MARKETING This is a good time of year to be handing out business cards, especially cards with a special offer. Make sure that you and your staff have plenty of cards to hand out when out and about this month.

OPERATIONS Approach your own business as an outsider. Hire a secret shopper or ask a friend or relative to call or visit your store and report back on how he is treated. You may be surprised.

DISPLAY Stock products that can do double-duty as Halloween and Thanksgiving items, such as pumpkins and scarecrows.

Oct. 13-19

MERCHANDISING Are your windows working effectively to support your sales? Here is a good rule of thumb: If your store gets foot traffic, use small props; if it gets drive-by traffic, oversized props and graphics work best.


SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook doesn’t make it easy for business posts to be seen unless you pay its gatekeeping fee (meaning buy its ad services). You can, however, give your posts a boost by encouraging staff and customers to turn on the “See First” switch, which will put your posts at the top of the Newsfeed.

SALES Work on greetings with new AND old staff. Your welcome sets the base for the entire sales transaction. Keep it low-key and friendly, and try to avoid anything that elicits a conditioned or reflexive response, especially the dreaded “No, thanks. I’m just looking.”

Oct. 20-26

INFLUENCERS Invite some local bloggers to come in (with their pets) and check out your business. The influence of such people grows every year.

MARKETING Launch a holiday-specific email newsletter with specialized content and product offers. Prominently display “best sellers,” “our picks,” “top products” etc., to stimulate purchase and even gift ideas.


Oct. 27-Nov. 2

MARKETING Don’t assume your expertise is self-evident. Get those grooming/training/nutrition certifications up on the wall, and on your website with a brief explanation on your About Us page about what it takes to attain them.

SECURITY Holiday season means more people in the store, more distraction, and more opportunities for thieves. Alert your staff to be on the lookout for pickpockets, distraction gangs and other shoplifters. Check security camera angles and function.

MARKETING Twitter’s search function along with free applications like TweetDeck can be great tools for market research and lead generation. Start monitoring your competitors’ brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them and you. Set keywords related to pet services in your market and don’t be afraid to follow up. (Unsolicited messages from strangers is a fact of life in the Twittersphere.)

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Black Cat Day, Pet Obesity Awareness Day, Black Dog Day … And Other October Events

Celebrate these October dates with your pets!




01 Winston Churchill may have forever associated black dogs with dark moods, but the truth is the joy and loyalty they give owners is no less or more than any other dog, although they are less likely to be adopted. Help change that by sharing the message that they need a home, too, via #NationalBlackDogDay on your social media channels.

01 One in five Americans claims German heritage, making the country the leading ancestral background of U.S. citizens. Germany is also the origin of several popular dog breeds: German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Pomeranians, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Dobermans. And let’s not overlook the debt we owe German immigrants for bringing some of the world’s best beer and sausages to our shores. What’s it all add up to? Oktoberfest. Strike up the Oompah band!

01  Research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology has estimated that 85 percent of an individual’s financial success can be attributable to “human engineering skills” — that is personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. In short, success is much more about EQ than IQ. During EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AWARENESS MONTH, ask yourself what you can do to improve your ability to make others feel valued and understood.

10  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60 percent of the cats and 56 percent of the dogs in America are overweight, raising the risk of conditions from arthritis to heart failure. Use PET OBESITY AWARENESS DAY to inform your customers about the dangers, and what you can do to help through nutritious food offerings, advice and the services you offer.

13 It’s Getting the World to Beat a Path to Your Door Week. Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, his actual phrase was: “If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell … you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house.” The snappier version was coined by a New York ad man. The lesson? Innovation and marketing are the two main ways to grow a business. Concentrate on better words.

16 October is clearly furball month. Today is FERAL CAT DAY. The 27th is BLACK CAT DAY. And then the 29th is the biggest of them all: CAT DAY. The common theme among them all is to celebrate the special bonds cats have with humans. Get involved.

29 Think the internet is a fairly recent invention? It turns 50 today. Yes, 5-0. It’s middle aged, and bloated with too much information and the odd chronic virus, but unlike the rest of us, it gets better every year. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure for your business, sit down today and map out a more aggressive online strategy. The future is not waiting for you.

31 Trick or Treat? It’s Halloween, probably the single best national holiday for exploring the goofiness in your customers’ relationships with their pets. Invite customers to dress up their dogs and cats for a baked treat and to get their picture taken for a Howloween costume contest on your Instagram or Twitter feeds.


Oct. 1 National Pet Wellness Month … Kick it off by attending the PETS+ Wellness Summit:
Oct. 1-7 National Walk Your Dog Week … See our reference to pet obesity above.
Oct.1 National Work and Family Month … It’s a U.S. senate resolution, no less. Get your work and family life in balance
Oct. 6-12 Fire Prevention Week … This year’s theme is fire escape plans. You have one, right?
Oct. 21 Reptile Awareness Day … A day for education, conservation and appreciation.

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Manager's To Do

Make the Most of Your August and September

Self-development for the summer months.




July 28-Aug. 3

SERVICE It’s hot out there. Welcome customers into your store with a cool washcloth and an ice-cold beverage.

OPERATIONS If things slow down during the summer, shake things up: Take off every other Saturday in July, but work whatever your usual day off is in August.

Aug. 4-10

FINANCIALS if you’re like a lot of small retailers, you may be underpricing a proven seller compared to your competition. “Fast-sellers, in particular, need to be fully priced,” says the Edge Retail Academy’s David Brown. This week, spend time researching what prices your bestselling items and services are fetching at other stores and make sure your prices are in line.

INTERNET With all the social media sites that come and go (MySpace, anyone?), it’s easy to have dated store information floating around the Web on inactive accounts. Close down those accounts.

Aug. 11-17

SELF-DEVELOPMENT Seek novelty this summer: Your brain loves new experiences and sensations, which help it continue to build neural connections for work and life.

SYSTEMS Write scripts for greeting customers: how to welcome, what to show them, handling returns and complaints.

Aug. 18-24

INTERNET Need a tech project? Learn how to integrate the tools on Google Docs so you can share store information (training tips, store manual, rosters) among staff.

TRAINING Try something different: Talk to your vendors about providing some training to staff.

Aug. 25-31

MARKETING The Internet is no place for modesty. Consider posting everything that will enhance your image or inform: your credentials, your experience, your location, your hours, your blog, links to articles about you and volunteer efforts with which you’re involved.

MERCHANDISING Gather staff to inspect your show finds and go through what you ordered at SuperZoo. Develop a product launch plan and schedule training sessions to ensure the successful sell-through.

Sept. 1-7

WINDOWS Labor Day (Sept. 2) marks the unofficial end of summer. Time to change your window displays.

Sept. 8-14

SALES FLOOR Make an extra effort to listen to how your staff interacts with customers. Focus on the words they use to describe products and services and build perceptions of value. Remember that to be effective, feedback needs to be specific, actionable and timely.

Sept. 15-21

SOCIAL MEDIA Want to take your social media efforts to the next level while teaching folks about pet health in a way they’ll remember? Think infographics. Whether explaining the benefits of CBD, providing tips on grooming, or educating about raw foods, infographics are a shareable way to get the word out. Try these free websites: Canva,,,

Sept. 22-28

NETWORKING Write a letter to someone you admire. Whether in the short term or the long term, it could result in a valuable new relationship. Or it might just might be a way of making a person who inspires you feel good. Either way, you win.

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