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Tip Sheet

Ready Your Pet Business for the Coming Travel Boom

With COVID-19 vaccinations well underway, are you prepared for an influx of business? Plus more tips from our March-April issue.

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PLANNING
From Bust to Boom

Last year as the economy slumped, we ran a tip suggesting you quickly prepare for a possible recession by drawing up three scenarios: bad, worse and worst imaginable. A year on, the economy is at another pivotal point, but this time there’s a possibly unprecedented boom you need to get ready for. Savings by American households have “absolutely exploded,” says former Wall Street Journal columnist Morgan Housel. Writing on collaborativefund.com, he notes the amount of money sitting in consumer checking accounts has leapt from $800 billion to almost $2 trillion in less than a year. “You begin to wonder what happens to that money once there’s widespread vaccination and the vacations, weddings and mall trips that have been delayed are suddenly unshackled.” So our advice again is get out your notebook and sketch out three scenarios: good, better and unprecedented. Is your staff ready to deal with cash-flush customers? Do you need to bolster your boarding program? Could you offer more high-end services or bigger-ticket items? Should you rethink advertising? Be prudent, be upbeat, be overly optimistic. Most of all, be ready.

BRAINSTORMING
Framestorm First

When confronted with a creative problem, don’t rush to find an answer, says Tina Selig, a Stanford University business professor and author of Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World. Rather, let yourself bask in it for a while. If you go straight to the solution, you will likely end up thinking too narrowly whereas if you frame wider, you can often come up with a really creative answer. “Living in that problem space and falling in love with your problems is one of the most powerful ways to unlock really innovative solutions,” she says. (Note that this applies to creative issues; for day-to-day problems, we often know what to do straight away and that what we call deliberation is actually just dithering.)

READY FOR THE PITCH
Have a Vendor Day

If manufacturer reps drop in when you least expect them or you are getting headaches trying to keep track of all your vendor appointments, here’s an approach from Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small that should help make your life simpler. Have one day a week (or even just a morning or afternoon) when vendors are free to visit you with no appointments needed. The rest of the time, you are off-limits — at least, if you want to be.

QUESTION TIME
Listen, Watch, Hire

When interviewing a job candidate, put all of your initial questions on the table up front. This accomplishes two things, says Pierre Mornell, author of Hiring Smart! First. First, you put the spotlight on the candidate. He or she must step up and respond. It shouldn’t be you who is trying to sell yourself or the organization. Second, it tackles the most common problem in interviewing: the employer talking too much. With this technique, you are forced to listen and watch the candidate’s behavior.

MANAGEMENT
Hire a Hotshot

Don’t have the money to hire a top industry consultant to come in and turn your business around? No sweat. Just hire an imaginary one on a monthly retainer. That’s the advice of Kat Cole, COO of Focus Brands (Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Jamba Juice, etc). Talking to INC magazine, she says that once a month, she asks herself if a hot shot consultant or manager, someone with amazing tenacity and insight, were to take over the reins at her company, what one thing would they immediately see and change. Chances are, you already know what needs to be done, but just need the power of self-distancing to make it clear.

MANAGEMENT
Tomorrow To-Do Today

What do you do with the last 15 minutes of the day? Answer e-mails, schedule meetings, linger on the sales floor before closing? A better way to spend the time is to draw up a to-do list for the next day. Be specific and jot down things you’ll do from the moment you enter your business. It’s a great way to get the new day off to a productive start.

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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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