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Manager's To Do

May To-Do List: Pet Travel Kits, Planning Your Summer Vacation, Staff’s Favorite Brands

Also, get out of the store for a few weekends this summer.

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April 29-May 5

OUTREACH Farmer’s markets are a great way to get into the community, meet new people, promote the pet health message and get out of the store for a few weekends this summer. Investigate what it would take to get your own stand.

MANAGEMENT Start meeting with staff at least monthly to share three “good things” to build on and three “development areas.”

PLANNING If you’ve typically taken your annual vacation in July, why not shake things up a bit and opt for one in August this year? Who knows what your community’s pet needs are like in July if you’ve never been present?

May 6-12

MERCHANDISING Assemble pet travel kits that your clients can take with them as they head to the beach, lakes or mountains over the next few months. The kits could include “Live Animal” stickers, water/food bowls for crates, pet pads, carrier locks and calming chews. Or you could let customers assemble their own kits from a list of suggested items.

BRAND AWARENESS Someone, somewhere is talking about your business online. To help keep track, set up Google Alerts for your name and your business name (put quotation marks around any proper names to get the most accurate results). For the result type, click on “Everything” to receive email notifications whenever your business gets mentioned on blogs and discussion sites.

May 13-19

MARKETING Your best customers are your current customers. Identify your top 200 customers. Draft a plan to market to them in the second half of 2019.

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GENERAL Print business cards for your team that include the URLs of your Facebook, Instagram, website and other social media pages. Hand one out any time you ask a satisfied customer for a referral. Or put them in a fish bowl with a sign that says, “Please take one. They’re free!”

LEGAL Check with your attorney and develop a zero-tolerance policy toward employee theft, drugs and alcohol abuse. If you have current policies, review them to make sure they are legally enforceable.

May 20-26

SALES Assign staff a research project to find talking points for their favorite brands. Ask them to come up with four bullet points for each brand that they can share at the next weekly meeting.

STAFF Give some thought to recruiting college or high-school students as summer help — especially if you’ve got people taking vacations — and how you’ll deploy them. Do not be afraid to give them responsibilities where they can show some initiative, such as cleaning up your mailing lists, retagging, etc.

May 27-June 2

MARKETING Has a customer ever asked for the name of your store or business as she writes a check or just in general conversation? That’s a sign you need to boost name recognition. Start with a prominent but tasteful sign behind your checkout, and then check your other collateral (doors, floor tiling, appointment cards, sales slips, etc.). It’s hard for people to recommend your services if they can’t remember your name.

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Manager's To Do

Make the Most of Your August and September

Something for summer, self-development

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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, Piktochart.com, Venngage.com, Easel.ly.

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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August and September Events, to Help You Plan Ahead

2 months ahead!

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AUGUST

1 For humans, August is a sweaty blot on the calendar. The weather is beastly, the kids are getting bored, there are no big sports events, the good movies have gone, and on TV it’s all reruns. Yet in the world of pets, August is huge, starting with International Cat Day on Aug. 8, the opening of SuperZoo on Aug. 20 and Dog’s Day on Aug. 26. Choose one and promote it big. There’s really not much fighting for your customers’ attention right now.

17 The noted medical researcher Julius Comroe once defined serendipity as “looking for a needle in a haystack and getting out of it with the farmer’s daughter.” On Serendipity Day, the idea of “happy accidents” sounds like a great theme for a sales event — either with surprise giveaways or as an excuse to try something like a marketing exercise you’ve never done before. You never know.

18 Today is BAD POETRY DAY. And for those of you whose reaction to that announcement was: “Hey, I thought all poetry was bad,” all we can say is: “Philistines!” Personally, PETS+ thinks that a bad pet poetry contest hosted on social media with a final reading in your store is one of the most entertaining events you can hold. Invite your customers to submit an “Ode to Fido/Fluffy, she who is exalted.” Edible prize to the winner.

SEPTEMBER

1 Scary stat of the month: At least one in four businesses affected by a disaster never reopens. During National Preparedeness Month, be sure to spend some time at the Department of Homeland Security website (ready.gov) so you can be as prepared as possible for any emergencies.

4 Like many great ideas, Pet Rocks got their start in a bar, in April 1975, as Gary Dahl listened to his friends complain about caring for their pets. This gave him the idea for the “perfect” pet: a rock. His training manual and other related products made Dahl a millionaire. And now stands testament to the power of goofy ideas. On Pets Rock Day, add some quirkiness to your marketing. Organic vegan foods for dogs anyone? Oh, right, that’s been done already.

12 On this day in 1954, Lassie first bounded into the living rooms of America, where she was to become a fixture on TV screens for the next 19 seasons. Mark the occasion with a breed meet. (Well-diving optional.) It should make for a great social media photo op.

15 The level of pet ownership among Hispanics has almost doubled in the last decade, to more than 20 million households. While most of this demographic is fully acculturated, there are still small differences that represent opportunities for retailers. During NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH, make a pledge to learn more about this growing market.

18 America’s debt wasn’t always in the trillions. Alexander Hamilton kicked off things by borrowing $191,000 on this day in 1789. There’s a good argument that wise use of debt was what allowed America to become great. But the key word there is “wise.” If you’re still paying for a pizza you charged in college, use the 230th anniversary of America’s first loan to inspire you to get smart with debt.

30 Need information about raw food, CBD and supplements that will help customers, their pets and your sales? Don’t miss the PETS+ WELLNESS SUMMIT, with education starting today, followed by two days of a curated show floor featuring the top vendors in pet wellness. Entry is free. Learn more at petsplusmag.com/summit.

MORE EVENTS

Aug. 4 is Assistance Dog Day. Celebrate these amazing animals.
Aug. 15 is Check The Chip Day. Promote scan checks.
Aug. 22 is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Promote your favorite vet.
Sept. 1 is National Pet Insurance Month. It’s growing fast. Are there implications for your business?
Sept. 8 is National Pet Memorial Month. Work out a plan to help console the bereaved.

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June Marks National Microchip, Pet Preparedness and Wash Your Dog Month

… and many more June events!

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01 Sales of audiobooks have surged over the last 15 years, as smartphones made downloads as easy as a tap of the finger. During Audiobook Appreciation Month, do a Google search for “bestselling business audiobooks” and catch up on some of the great management advice that’s been published in the last few years. Best of all, there’s no actual reading required. You can finish the book while commuting to work, working out at the gym or walking your clients’ dogs.

15 Psychologist Steven Smith, one of the leaders in the study of skill accumulation, has noted that few people can juggle six tea cups, but that anyone could actually learn to do it if they had the inclination and some training. Remember, though: You can do anything, but not everything. On World Juggling Day,, choose one thing you really want to achieve this week.

16 It’s Father’s Day,, and all over America, fathers are practicing that look of thrilled surprise — that one dear old Dad always manages after receiving his third cigar cutter. This year, encourage your customers to organize a gift from Max or Bella. Gift cards, possibly illustrated with an image of said pet, always go down well. Dad’s an unfailingly practical person at heart. He’s sure to get a kick out of coming in to pick up a top-of-the line pooper scooper.

17 There was a time that the workplace was no place for pets. Not so in your business, of course, but help spread the love with promotions of Take Your Cat to Work Day, which kicks off the annual Take Your Pet to Work Week,, and culminates with Take Your Dog To Work Day, on June 21. Find out more here: petsit.com/takeyourcat.

19 Dogs with faces only their owners could love gather at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the World’s Ugliest Dog contest today. Hold a similar competition in your store.

21 Ask any Washington insider and they’ll say that the best way to start a campaign is with a solid base of fear. When it comes to the sunny months ahead — summer, officially begins today — there’s plenty to be scared about for pet owners: ticks, snakes, heatstroke, bad human food at barbecues, hot asphalt … the list goes on. Sharpen your shears, prep your anti-tick inventory, get out in your community, work the press.

21 What was once considered a petty self-indulgence is now viewed as a powerful marketing tool. Ahead of NATIONAL SELFIE DAY,, draw up a strategy to get your customers to take more photos of themselves and their pets with a mention of your business. The ultimate goal is to get them post the images on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

27 “Happy Birthday To You” turns 160. Offer to send a singing telegram to any pet owner who shares a birthday with the world’s most sung song.

MORE EVENTS

June is National Pet Preparedness Month — It’s that time of the year when nature turns capricious. Remind customers to include their pets in the emergency planning.
June is National Wash Your Dog Month … Celebrate with a coupon. First bath free.
June 11 World Pet Memorial Day. Urns, stuffed animals, jewelry, picture books … the “over the rainbow bridge” segment is growing fast.
June 18 Clean Your Aquarium Day — Offer a DIY service.
June 20 Productivity Day … sponsored by Steel Horse Coffee. We’d have to agree, a good work routine starts with a cup of Joe.

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