WEEK 1Jan 2-6
MANAGEMENT This is about the most fun you can have as a store-owner. Set long-term business goals and then break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily action steps. Think big. Plan your biggest local event ever. And put the pieces in place to launch one major new business initiative or service this year. (Go to page 34 for more ideas.)
PUBLIC RELATIONS News editors will be looking to do articles on the just finished Christmas season and trends for 2017. Send the local business desk a story idea on what trends in pet products and services you see increasing in importance in the year ahead.
WEEK 2Jan. 9-13
MARKETING Calculate the dollar value of every customer. (Average purchases per year in your store x 20 years = a heckuva lot of money.) Post in the office for all staff to see.
DESIGN Bring in a lighting consultant for a day. With professional help, you can replace halogen bulbs with LEDs and make every aisle of your store brighter and more attractive. Plus, the savings on your electric bill will soon pay back the consultant’s fee.
WEEK 3 Jan. 16-20
FINANCES The new year is a good time to refresh your commitment to watching costs like a hawk. Check all those ridiculous recurring expenses from services you rarely use. (Stamps.com? That credit monitoring service? Your gym membership?) If you haven’t used the service in the past three months, cancel it. You can always rejoin.
DISPLAYS Check your signage. Is it sufficiently welcoming? “Open!” is kind of flat. Instead, how about: “Welcome, two- and four-legged friends ... we’re glad you’re here!”?
WEEK 4 Jan. 23-27
STAFF Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower your team to make decisions without you.
ONLINE Examine your website — particularly your “About Us” page. Make sure it isn’t a dead end. If you’ve written it correctly, customers are excited about you and ready to buy. Make sure you have an offer, another link, any course of action ... to keep them going after they’ve learned “about you.”
WEEK 5 Jan. 30-Feb. 3
MARKETING Go ahead, get extra Valentine’s Day dollars with a marketing campaign for gifts for pets. Valentine’s Day is about love, isn’t it? And people love their pets, don’t they? You see where we’re going with this, don’t you?
OPERATIONS There’s a term for those dozens of email newsletters you subscribe to but rarely read — “bacn” (named so for being a close relative of spam). Studies estimate that up to 30 percent of emails are bacn. A huge inbox slows searches and makes your head hurt. So, go ahead, dump your bacn.
WEEK 6 Feb 6-10
CUSTOMER SERVICE Inspire customers with a monthly pet training challenge on your website.
STAFF Training session: give new customers a store tour.
WEEK 7 Feb 13-17
STAFF Share the love on Tuesday morning. Buy cards and chocolates for your staff this Valentine’s Day. Inscribe cards: “Love your work!”
COMMUNITY With warmer days on the horizon, make a plan for springtime pet walks in your community. It’s a great way to connect your customers and build a community around your business.
WEEK 8 Feb 20-24
BUYING Global Pet Expo is a month away. Mark down stock to make room for all that great stuff you’ll buy at the show.
MARKETING Basketball’s “March Madness” is imminent. Are you ready with petwear in your local university’s colors? (See page 20.)
This article originally appeared in the Jan-Feb 2017 edition of PETS+.