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Start the New Year Right: Schedule Ahead, Meditate, and Hire a CPA

Try a five-minute meditation session to reduce stress.




In my grooming business, I feel like I can never look further ahead to the next few days’ appointments. How do I get further ahead?

Especially at this time of year, when you’re wrapping up your 2018 calendar and looking ahead to 2019, try a simple trick Fay Bunny of Day of the Dog in Salem, MA, uses: When grooming clients are checking out — especially regular customers — encourage them to to book their next appointment … and the next … and the next. “When we notice a pattern with people who like certain days/times, we call them as soon as we get our new calendar and tell them they’re welcome to book as many appointments as they’d like to get ‘first pick’ for those prime-time slots,” Bunny says.

Some days I think my business is going to drive me crazy. I get so stressed I think I might explode in front of my employees or customers. Any tips on how to keep calm?

Try meditation. The common misconception is that meditation requires a lot of time to be effective. But here’s a quick, five-minute exercise from author and meditation expert Alan Watts that should help smooth you out during even your most frenzied moments. Says Watts: “Find a quiet place and sit, either cross-legged on the floor, or in a straight-backed chair. Don’t lie down. You’ll probably fall asleep, and your assistant may trip over you when he opens the office door. Close your eyes and breathe slowly in through your nose, letting the air fill your lungs, all the way down to the diaphragm. Hold it briefly, then exhale slowly. Most of us routinely take shallow breaths — a few good deep ones should relax you considerably on their own. Tell the chatterbox in your head to quiet down, and try to focus on a single sound. ‘One’ is a good basic sound. Say it, either aloud or in your head, as you slowly exhale each breath: ‘Onnnnnneeeee.’ Do this for five minutes, or even one if time is short. You should feel calmer and more centered when you’re finished.”

I’ve always done my own books and taxes, but I’m thinking of hiring a bookkeeper or CPA. The cost worries me though.

You sound like a lot of entrepreneurs with that DIY frontier mentality. To be sure, CPAs aren’t cheap and they don’t even keep your financial paperwork in order (that’s the bookkeeper’s job). But hire the right one, and he or she should return the investment many times over in strategic advice with regards to tax, sourcing capital, operational weak spots, financial red flags and competitive opportunities. Indeed, after tax season is over, a good accountant should be acting almost as an outsourced chief financial officer, looking how to drive performance over the next year and into the future. Be sure to look for someone who will take the time to really understand you and your business. And, be sure he or she communicates well and speaks in a language you understand.



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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