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Manager's To Do

Spring Clean Your P&L, Plus More Items for Your Manager’s To-Do List

Put slow season to good use by blocking out time to do some planning, reaching out to customers.




Apr 3-9

MANAGEMENT April is often one of the year’s slower months — put it to good use by blocking out time to do some planning, reaching out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while or just taking a rejuvenating break from the business.

FINANCES If you’re like a lot of small businesspeople, your profit-and-loss statement is long and detailed and not particularly informative, especially if the items are listed in, say, alphabetical order. Business coach Laurie Owen recommends giving your P&L a spring makeover. Consolidate some of those expenses and group them into like categories, such as salaries and benefits, marketing expenses, admin, etc. Then, next to the dollar amount, list the expense amount as a percentage of sales. “It helps you see when an expense is increasing as a percentage, and not just going up because your sales are increasing. Important to know if you want to catch those creepers.”

Apr 10-16

STRATEGY Find a category of your business you want to improve — such as small animal boarding, agility training or raw pet food — and draft an action plan to start making it happen.


Apr 17-23

MERCHANDISING Has your fresh Global Pet Expo inventory started to arrive? Highlight select items in-store and online with this message: “Brand New for You from One of the Top Pet Shows.” And consider offering your favorite customers an exclusive sneak peek.

Apr 24-30

MARKETING Here’s a fun goal for the coming warmer months: Make a friend from a different generation. Could be a youngster or a senior. Either way they are likely to give you great insights into core markets.

STAFF Ask for summer vacation requests.

Apr 24-30

MERCHANDIZING It’s been a while since many pets have had a summer vacation. They’ll probably need supplies. Assemble “pet travel kits” that your clients can take with them to the beach, mountains or anywhere else over the next few months. The kits could include first aid supplies, water/food bowls, a crate, pet pads and calming chews. Or let customers assemble their own kits from a list of suggested items.

May 1-7

MANAGEMENT Step up engagement with your team. If you don’t already, draft a schedule to meet with everyone once a week and individually every month. And bring the KPIs. Most successful people like to be measured. It gives them a yardstick for success.


May 8-14

LEGAL Check with your attorney to see if you need to update your staff manual or policies to make sure they are legally enforceable. Workers are holding business owners to higher standards when it comes to their rights.

May 15-21

CUSTOMER SERVICE Train your team to give first-time customers a “tour” of your business. It breaks the ice and makes newcomers feel welcome. Also establish a whenever-possible rule: Sales associates walk customers with purchases to the door (or their car if helping with heavy purchases) and thank them for coming.

May 22-28

FINANCES Talk to your bank about establishing or increasing a line of credit. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best time to apply for a loan or a new line of credit is when you don’t need it. When the economy falters, getting access to finance gets much harder.



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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