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Editor's Note

Our Resolutions Include a New Look

With the launch of a new website and a refreshed design, we’re ready for 2019.

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NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK. You may notice the results of our own New Year’s resolution in the following pages. We have refreshed and updated the design of PETS+ in order to make our business-building advice even easier to consume and digest. (We like to think of ourselves as pet business nutritionists!)

Look out for new bells and whistles, like “Favorite Sellers” on our Products+ cover (page 13), in which we ask Brain Squad members what one product they find themselves recommending over and over again. We want readers to have the ability to give a shout out to those companies that not only manufacture great products for independent pet businesses but that also stand behind, even partner with, small businesses, recognizing how important they are to pet-owning consumers.

In our new design, you will see a lot more mentions of our companion website, petsplusmag.com — one of our other New Year’s resolution projects. If you haven’t been to our website in the past few weeks, you’re in for a surprise: We redesigned and rebuilt it from the ground up. You’ll find a vibrant, easy-to-navigate homepage, complete with news, favorite magazine features, photo galleries and educational videos. You’ll also find extra content we just didn’t have room for in the pages of PETS+.

And while it’s great that it’s so easy to search and navigate on a desktop computer, just wait until you try it on your mobile device. It’s going to give your kids another reason to remind you: No phones at the dinner table!
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We’re excited about the projects we have in store for the new year, and we’re encouraged to hear bullish predictions from our readers. Be sure to read some of those — and the overflow online — on page 8.

Best wishes for your business,
 
ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Scour Craigslist for a real bakery case for your decorated biscuits. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  2. Offer a seasonally themed scent-of-the-month spa package. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  3. Buy discounted holiday cards now to send to your best customers in December. (The Big Story, page 25)
  4. Host a clearance sale with a “detox” theme. (The Big Story, page 25)
  5. Help your customers achieve their pets’ resolutions with a free weigh station. (Tip Sheet, page 38)

Ralf Kircher is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. He has worked with SmartWork Media since 2006, and is the busy father of a son and three Jack Russells.

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Editor's Note

Live Your Life Like a Pet Business Superhero

This month, we give eight pet pros the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment.

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SHAWNA SCHUH hits it right on the mark in her column this issue (page 44), when she tells us “Your life is like a novel.” Surrounding that statement, she makes a case for telling the story of yourself and your business in the fashion of a binge-worthy TV series — one so engaging, you can’t help but keep coming back for more.

She’s right: Your life is like a novel. So’s mine. So’s that guy’s across the street. It’s all in finding the right way to look at it and tell the story. Often, though, we’re so in the thick of things, it’s hard to see it that way.
It’s in that same spirit of stepping back from the mundane to view our lives, workdays and businesses from a different — even fantastic — perspective that we bring you this issue’s Big Story: “The Super 8.”

Ask any of the eight featured pet pros whether they think what they do daily is worthy of the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment, and they’d probably just shrug it off. (Isn’t that just like a superhero for you?)
But by the PETS+ way of thinking, that’s being far too modest.

We think what every one of you is doing every day deserves the same sort of recognition, the same view from a different perspective and the same go-get-’em pat on the back.

Here at PETS+, we received a piece of news recently that had a similar effect on us.

Just as we were wrapping up our second year of publication, we received word that our February 2018 issue took gold in the General B2B category of the Folio: Eddie Awards for magazine excellence. (In silver and bronze positions were two magazines that have been around a total of 180 years.) And, senior editor Pamela Mitchell scored two honorable mentions for stories she wrote this year.

Does that make us cape-worthy? Maybe not so much as The Listener (page 34) or Super Pet Food Man (page 36), but we’re hoping binge-worthy, at least.

Wishing you the best in business,

 

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Dec. 21 is Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, and we’re envisioning you and your staff in awful sweaters, overseeing a crowd of pets and their owners in a pageant for the ugliest. (Calendar, Page 10)
  2. The perfect holiday season sales opener? “Does your dog have a present under the tree for Christmas?” … “No?! Well don’t be a Grinch! Let’s find them something special.” (To-Do List, Page 12)
  3. Bundle broken treats from your bar in individual bags, priced at $1.99. (Hot Sellers, Page 16)
  4. Cat food has the same margins as dog food but takes up less space. Expand your offerings. (Benchmarks, Page 46)
  5. Try a pet-name-of-the-day promo to lure in customers. (Tip Sheet, Page 53)

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Editor's Note

Two Times a Month, See PETS+ Come Alive

Don’t miss our webinars, happening twice every month.

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Have you ever wanted to talk with someone you read about in a magazine? Maybe you read a story, and it prompted a question based on your situation. Or you just wanted to hear more from that person.

At PETS+, we strive to make every story leave no question unanswered. But we know our readers are in the trenches every day, facing unique challenges and questions that even we can’t dream of.

With that in mind, we — along with PETS+ columnist and Pet Boss Nation’s Candace D’Agnolo — created PETS+ Live!

Some may call it a webinar. Those in the know think of it as an online show in which everyone has a voice.

In September, Candace will bring alive two stories from this issue: Her guest on Sept. 5 will be Trace Menchacha, owner of Flying M Feed Co., this month’s featured Cool Store (page 54). And on Sept. 19, six pet business owners featured in this month’s Big Story (page 26) will be on camera to dive deeper into how their past careers have shaped their current roles.

PETS+ Live! marks a year of experimentation in the medium of online shows this month. Past topics have delved into CBD, management issues, hiring, firing, inventory and more.

Sound a lot like PETS+ magazine? We like to think of it as a way for the magazine to come alive a couple of times a month to give you the chance to ask burning questions and hear straight from our sources. Find out the latest month’s lineup of PETS+ Live! on our online highlights page (page 9) in every issue, and sign up for our bulletins at petsplusmag.com to receive invitations to shows.

If you can’t make it, no worries: You can always watch the replays at petsplusmag.com/education.

And if you still have questions, my email is below. I’ll answer any question — or try to find you an answer — no matter your schedule.

Wishing you the best in business,

 

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com
Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Try Today
  1. Share a list of beach do’s and don’ts with your customers for those last days of summer. (Calendar, Page 10)
  2. Offer regional sports team branded pet merchandise during football season. (To-Do List, Page 11)
  3. Pitch a story on CBD to the local press. (Hot Sellers, Page 16)
  4. Ensure your business name, address and phone number are identical in all internet listings. (Tip Sheet, Page 42)
  5. Peel Post-It Notes right — that is, from the right, not the bottom — to keep them from curling. (Tip Sheet, Page 42)

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Editor's Note

No More Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

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Small business owners never fail to astound me, every day wearing more hats than I have pegs on my rack. You guys are amazing; you do everything in the running of your businesses.

But doing it all day in and day out doesn’t always mean you truly know how to do everything. There’s always going to be that element of flying by the seat of your pants and hoping for the best.

So we thought we’d do what we could in that regard with this issue’s Big Story (page 32) and help fill in the gaps where things might be a bit hazy. You know, like what to do when you wake up one morning and a fish in a tank has gone rogue overnight and has started eating everyone. Or how to give first aid to an ailing bird. Or how to pack more dog food varieties on your shelves when your shelves positively can’t fit another bag.

Enter the wisdom (and wit) of crowdsourcing. We reached out to members of the PETS+ Brain Squad, the PETS+ Community on Facebook and to our team of expert sources, asking for special skills they could share. And what we found is a collective skill set even more astounding than we’d been giving you credit for. You guys really can do it all!

You’re not going to use these how-tos every day, just as you don’t use high school trigonometry every day. But let’s just say this morning you woke up with a revolutionary new idea for a dog toy, you’ve got to get the word out to the press about your pets-with-the-Easter-Bunny photo shoot, you still haven’t figured out the right backdrop for said photo shoot, you’ve got a complaining customer on the phone who costs you more more than she makes you, your mascot Fifi is stuck in the tree out front, and you don’t know whether that ladder will reach the limb … well, then, you’ll be glad you studied trigonometry and have read “How to Do Everything.”

Wishing you the best in business,

 

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

 

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Try Today
  1. ennials have safety concerns about driving with their pets. What product displays and information can you gather to help assuage those concerns? (Know It All, Page 14)
  2. Prepare a portfolio of your business to present to any new vendors you meet at SuperZoo. (To-Do List, Page 13)
  3. Win over an aloof cat by reading him a children’s book. (The Big Story, Page 35)
  4. Get tree sap out of a pet’s coat with De-Solv-It. (The Big Story, Page 36)
  5. Refresh any display by flipping it — move what’s on the bottom to the top and vice versa. (Tip Sheet, Page 48)

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

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