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Manager's To Do

How to Reel In Tax Refunds for Your Pet Business and Other To-Do’s for April and May

It’s time for a post-show review.

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Apr. 4-10

BUYING If you attended the digital version of last month’s Global Pet Expo, even just to browse, it’s time for a post-show review. Gather the product and pricing information you collected, go over the materials with your manager/staff and decide which products will help you accomplish your goals. An analysis of last year’s sales data by segment is essential.

DISPLAY Reel in tax refunds: Create a display of small splurge options that fall into the $75 to $150 range. That’s close to the sweet spot for tempting pet owners who suddenly discover some “found money” in their pockets.

Apr. 11-17

FINANCIALS Review your cash-flow projections. With the economy and sales picking up, it’s easy to run into a mismatch between the cash flowing in, what you’re taking out and what you owe vendors.

Apr. 18-24

MARKETING Brush the cobwebs off your old marketing files. This is a great time to revisit and reuse successful promotions from the past. Good ideas don’t have to be new.

TRAINING Get your salespeople to work on their customer approaches with retail expert Harry Friedman’s Opening the Sale Game. Divide your team in two, salespeople facing each other, with one from each side taking turns to deliver a fresh opening line. Rules: The lines must have nothing to do with business, should generally be questions and should encourage conversation. Pick a winner for each face-off. Last person left standing wins.

Apr. 25-May 1

GENERAL Invest time in finding places where you can differentiate your business. These can be big and small. What does your door handle look like? What does your voicemail message sound like? What does your 404 error page say? Could you make your cash register receipts more fun? Think of the power of 1,000 points of differentiation. And get busy.

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May 2-8

MARKETING Prep a mail-out to remind customers about your summer services, be they boarding, early summer check-ups or hydration products.

MANAGEMENT If your typical response to handling day-to-day affairs is, “Let me take care of this,” then try this experiment: For the next two weeks, free up two hours a day just to manage. Delegate some admin work, drop less important meetings and spend the extra time giving more guidance to your team. You may find the extra productivity far outweighs your “lost” hours.

May 9-15

OPERATIONS Step outside your store. Through your windows, assess the displays and other visuals, but mostly watch customer-associate interactions. It’s amazing how much more you can observe without sound. Research suggests words account for only around 7 percent of communication. What kinds of things are your sales staff communicating to your customers?

May 16-22

STORE Notice it getting warmer in your store? Could your air-conditioning do with a service? Could it be worth investing in heat-reflecting window treatments?

MANAGEMENT Work on task management. Assign specific jobs to specific people on a rotating basis. The front window will never go uncleaned for one week again.

May 23-29

STAFF INCENTIVES Motivate staff with a sales contest to win an extra day off during the summer months.

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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