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Tip Sheet

Leave a Little in the Locker Room, Plus More Useful Tips for Your Pet Business

A business thought leader recommends that you and your team give give 85% — not 110%.






Consume content at 1.5 times speed. “Studies show that retention rate doesn’t start to drop until around 2X speed,” productivity blogger Colby Kultgen says. “It takes about five minutes to get used to, and then you’ll never want to go back.” This doesn’t apply just to reading. In fact, it’s probably best for listening to podcasts and audiobooks — you’ll get through a lot more useful, inspiring or just fun material.

FINANCESDon’t Sweat The Small Bills

If you’re prone to overthinking spending decisions, apply this rule of thumb: The only three digits of your net worth that matter are the left three, so if you have $3,649,855, the $9,855 doesn’t really move the needle. Which means you can spend anything to the right (i.e. up to $9,999) without thinking too much. Of course, this is a general conceptual rule — spend 10k on dinner every night for a few months and soon those three digits to the left will be two. The bigger point, says Khe Hy, a former Wall Street banker who now runs a productivity startup, is that where your attention goes, your energy goes. It helps to be aware when you’re sweating the small stuff.

OPERATIONSRun Better Meetings

One of the best ways to improve meetings is to get everyone on the same page, literally. Before your scheduled get-together, write up a Google Doc, or even an email will do, for participants to read. According to INC contributor Marcel Schwantes, this sets the agenda, gets brains thinking about what is to be discussed, and “creates a sort of ‘team’ feeling among co-workers that allows you to get to critical thinking faster.”


It’s hard to overestimate the impact of email, but so much of its power goes under-utilized because, simply put, no one tells us! Here’s one for Gmail you should know: Confidential Mode for sensitive emails. It allows you to set a message expiration date, revoke message access at any time, and require a verification code (sent by text), to open a message. Got a message you don’t want shared? Simply locate the “padlock” icon at the bottom of your message (to the right of the “Send” button), choose your options and you’re set to go.


PRODUCTIVITYLeave A Little In The Locker Room

As a pep talk staple, “Go out there and give it 110%!” makes intuitive sense. More effort should lead to greater success. Only it doesn’t. In a wide number of fields, from Olympic sprinting to academic learning to your pet business, demanding the optimal invariably leads to burnout, discouragement, and poorer results over the long haul. It’s the rationale behind the 85% rule, which recommends aiming for a sweet spot just short of maximum effort to achieve high performance. In an article in Harvard Business Review, business author Greg McKeown suggests implementing the 85% rule specifically by setting a done-for-the-day time, explicitly telling employees to aim for 85% effort, and watching out for unnecessarily high-pressure language like “ASAP” in communications. Yep, he’s saying you should leave a little in the locker room.

MOTIVATIONGet Some Perspective

When times get busy and the tasks pile up, it’s easy for your staff — and for yourself — to focus on the stress or drudgery. Try instead to encourage a mindset fixed on the big picture and the help you’re providing to your customers (and their pets), Dan Ariely writes in Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. “When we reframe experience so that we focus on the meaning, so that we see how it helps others, dull activities can give us purpose and even be inspiring,” Ariely says. To be sure, the work won’t change, but your perspective can. Keep reminding your people that during your team meetings.

NETWORKINGDesignate Yourself

It’s party season, which means it’s networking season. A good way to take full advantage of the opportunities to mingle and meet potential customers is to be the designated driver. (Rideshares get pricey on NYE!) This removes a huge headache for partygoers and ensures you’ll get many invites, networking guru Keith Ferrazzi, co-author of Never Eat Alone, says.

MANAGEMENTDon’t Cut Muscle

Unless an economic downturn threatens your company’s existence, do not cut back on strategic initiatives, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton write in the Harvard Business Review. These initiatives will give you the competitive advantage for the long haul. “Attempts to cut fat and waste often slice into newly growing muscle, bone and tendon,” the authors write.




NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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