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Manager's To Do

Script the Perfect Store Tour … and More To-Dos for April

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APRIL 2-8

CUSTOMER SERVICE Begin training your staff to give first-time customers a “tour” of your store. This is a good way to break the ice and make newcomers feel welcome. Also establish a new rule — salespeople must walk customers who have made purchases to the door (or their car with heavy purchases) and thank them for coming.

LEGAL Inspect sidewalks and driveways to identify areas where people might trip. Call a contractor if repairs are needed.

OPERATIONS Is your phone in a public part of the store? See if you can’t move it to a more private spot where conversations can remain confidential and won’t interfere with sales on the floor.

APRIL 9-15

MARKETING Brush off the cobwebs in your old marketing files. This is a great time to revisit successful promotions from the past and reconsider ideas that might deserve a second look.

MARKETING Target those expected tax refunds. Advertise a “Tax Day Special” sale on services or training programs on April 16. Any reservation gets 10 percent off the regular price.

FINANCE When finishing up your taxes, don’t forget to account for items lost to theft, disappearance or damage. These may be tax deductible.

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APRIL 16-22

STORE  Mark Earth Day (on April 22) by looking into commercial solar energy systems that could be put on the roof of your store. Prices have come down sharply, and most states offer great incentives and low interest loans to subsidize the cost of installation (the payback period can be less than 10 years in many cases). Besides, a solar system shows a company’s serious commitment to going green.

INTERNET Add a calendar of events to your site. Link it to your own calendar.

TRAINING Hold a mini-conference right in your own office. Assign each staff person a topic for a 5 to 10-minute presentation. Extra team-building points if you make the event a potluck!

APRIL 23-29

MARKETING Do you have traffic that goes behind your business? Yes? So, do you have signage behind your business that’s designed to draw that traffic? No? Mary Gillen of IdeaSiteForBusiness.com suggests you get busy. Check out the traffic flow around your location and place signs strategically to attract the attention of the busiest traffic flow.

GENERAL Invest time in finding places where you can differentiate your business. These can be big and small. What does your door handle look like? What does your telephone answering machine message sound like? What does  your 404 error page say? Could you make your cash register receipts more fun? Think of the power of 1,000 points of differentiation. And get busy.


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

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In April, Have Fun at Work, Celebrate Volunteers, Be Kind to Lawyers

What was the most joy you had at work?

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01 On NATIONAL FUN AT WORK DAY, we have a question for you: What was the most joy you had at work this week? If you’re struggling to remember, you fail our test. Every day should be spiced with fun, laughter and a playful attitude. Look at any business study, and fun is associated with experimentation, better morale and productivity. So lighten up, and make a point of asking yourself every Friday, “What was the most fun I had this week?” We will be checking up …

01 STRESS AWARENESS MONTH is an opportunity to remind your market of the health benefits of pet ownership, specifically how petting and spending time with a cat, dog or other animal feels good, can lower blood pressure, helps release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. See if your local media outlets need a source.

07 Richard Nixon created NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK in 1974. So, raise those hands and get involved. Helping paint a school shed, pitching in at a rescue, getting thigh-deep in chilly water as part of a local creek cleanup is a great way to meet people in the community.

09 On BE KIND TO LAWYERS DAY, send a cheery note of thanks to your lawyers for their hard work keeping your business safe from legal jeopardy (and soundly ethical to boot).

11 Sure, every day is NATIONAL PET DAY at your business, but for just about everyone else, it happens in early April. Started in 2005 to highlight the love pets bring to our lives and to encourage adoption, the date has grown into a legitimate calendar event with pet owners across the country invited to share photos of their animals on any and all social media channels. Get ready with a promotion and some professionally taken photos.

15 Death and taxes, our constant companions. Of the two, the IRS has more potential to be a friend, especially if business is in a slump. If yours is not performing so well this year, consider carrying back the loss to get a refund of taxes paid in prior years. Just make sure you’re ready before today, INCOME TAX PAY DAY.

21 Don’t worry, be hoppy. EASTER as we know it today has its origins in the Christian incorporation of Teutonic pagan rituals that had to do with spring and fertility gods, and their symbol — a long-eared cotton-tailed rabbit. Why not pay homage to the Big Bunny with appropriately corny marketing, such as an egg-citing Easter email mailout?

23 LOST DOG AWARENESS DAY is the day for those who have lost their way. Offer a special on all of your tags and GPS collars.

27 Didn’t celebrate International Fragrance Day on March 21? Use SENSE OF SMELL DAY to consider an upgrade of your business’s olfactory appeal.

MORE EVENTS

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month — Encourage your customers to take the online course offered by the American Red Cross.
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Email a reminder to all of your dog-owning clients about the need for an annual test.
April 1-7 is International Pooper Scooper Week. This category is a hotbed of innovation. How’s your selection?
April 9-15: National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Use #preventdogbites to share dog bite prevention information. (petsplusmag.com/4191)
April 19: Bicycle Day. Ride to work today. Your heart and lungs will thank you.
April 25 is INTERNATIONAL GUIDE DOGS DAY. Tip of the hat to these canine heroes.
April 28 is GO BIRDING DAY. Take the opportunity to draw attention to the fact many of our best-loved species are also the most threatened.

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Manager's To Do

Fresh from Global Pet Expo, Outreaching and More Manager’s-To-Do for This Month

And a lot of reviewing to do.

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April 1-7

VOICE SEARCH Run some voice search tests in different phones along the lines of “OK, Google/Siri/Bixby, where can I get my dog groomed?” to make sure your store is appearing high in your area.

OPERATIONS Spring cleaning: The rule is if it hasn’t been used in a year, toss it. That applies to old advertising, displays and any other miscellaneous junk you’ve been holding onto.

FINANCIALS Review your cash-flow projections. With the economy in something of a state of flux, it’s easy to run into a mismatch between the cash flowing in, what you’re taking out, and what you owe your vendors.

April 8-14

IN-STORE In a study of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19 percent fewer sick days. It apparently has to do with how we evolved to function best in nature-rich settings. If you can’t knock out a wall to provide a view, buy a few potted plants to place around your sales floor.

MANAGEMENT Some things you should do spontaneously sometimes need to be scheduled. Here’s one: Find time this week for a few quality minutes of conversation with staff. It’ll do wonders for their morale and give you ideas into what motivates them.

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OUTREACH Investigate ways to become more involved with your community. Draw up a schedule to visit shelters, rescue organizations and vets clinics to introduce yourself and discuss possible co-promotions.

April 15-21

SALES FLOOR Buy a Suspicious Incident Logbook for employees to record things that appear to be “not quite right.” The log can be used to write down license plate numbers, names used, times, physical descriptions and other information that may later help police.

EMPLOYEES Make sure that all of your employees get their summer vacation requests in on time. And while you’re working on a roster, book some time off for yourself.

MERCHANDISING Has your fresh Global Pet Expo inventory begun arriving? Highlight select items in-store and online with this message: “Brand New for You From the Top Pet Show.” Consider offering your favorite customers an exclusive sneak peek at your new stuff.

April 22-28

COST-CUTTING April 22 is Earth Day. Save the world, save some money. Get in touch with your electric utility. Many offer free energy audits, giving you more ideas on how to cut down on your electrical consumption. Some water and gas utilities do the same.

MANAGEMENT Institute a fun day like Carb-Wild Wednesday or Beer Friday. Good spirits encourage innovation, better customer service and staff loyalty. They also tend to encourage bigger waistlines, but such is the price to pay for bonhomie.

FINANCES Insurers don’t reward your loyalty. In fact, via premium creep, they punish it while giving new customers great deals. Shop around to see if you can get better rates elsewhere.

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Manager's To Do

America’s Coolest Pet Store, Global Pet Expo and More of This Month’s To-Do List

Take notes of these important dates!

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March 4-8

BUSINESS GLORY Submit your entry to the 2019 America’s Coolest Stores Contest by March 15. For details: petsplusmag.com/acs

FINANCE April 15, aka Tax Day, will be here before we know it. This one promises to be a particularly busy one as businesses make adjustments to reflect the new tax law’s rules and deductions, let alone the chaos caused by the shutdown. Get busy.

March 11-15

MERCHANDISING Pull out your promotional calendar and view it from the perspective of using the events primarily to manage and reduce specific inventory. Annual customer appreciation sales, food tastings, product launches, anniversary parties can all be profitable, but they will give you a greater boost if you execute them with a view to move certain items.

MANAGEMENT Download a time tracker to your phone and start logging how you spend your work life. The very act of recording can have a powerful psychological impact, leading you to use your time much more efficiently. (Warning: Brace yourself to be alarmed at how you fritter away time.)

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March 18-22

BUYING Global Pet Expo starts on the 20th. Don’t miss the PETS+ Merchandising Success Panel at Global, beginning at 4:15 p.m. America’s Coolest Stores honorees will share their expertise. See you there!

MARKETING Experiment with paid Facebook advertising. Ad prices on Facebook are determined by action, as they are on Google AdWords. You can pay based on either the number of times people see the ad or the number of times people click on it. Try both to see which is more effective. Start with a $20 budget.

March 25-29

CMR List all the people who referred customers over the past three months. Thank them with a gift card that can be used at your business, or another local (independently owned) establishment.

MARKETING Make contact with other small businesses in your market to see if they are interested in some reciprocal social media action via Instagram Highlights. In your case, you could have Florists That Inspire Us, Bakers That Know Our Weakness, and Opticians Our Tired Eyes Love.

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