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Tip Sheet

Using the 10-10-10 Rule to Make Better Decisions, and More Advice for March

It’s a framework to help you make better choices.

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WHEN FACING A TOUGH decision, whether personal or business, Chip and Dan Heath recommend the 10/10/10 rule, which asks you to think how you will feel about the decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.

“Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving conflicts is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser,” they write in their best-selling book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.

If, for example, you’ve been avoiding a difficult conversation with a staff member, then you’re letting short-term emotion (fear) rule you. “If you commit to having the conversation, then 10 minutes from now you’ll probably be anxious, but 10 months from now, won’t you be glad you did it?” they say. Or maybe you’ll just view it as a trifling matter not worth getting worked up about. The important thing is that you remove some of the visceral emotion from the occasion.

partnering

Become a Wedding Expert

Money-making idea: Promote services that will allow pets to participate in spring weddings.

Spring is wedding season. And it’s likely that you have customers who are getting married who would love to include their pets in their weddings, if only they knew how easy it is. Reach out to local wedding organizers and ask if you can put a flier in their store and/or a link on their website. And add “wedding assistance for pets” to the list of services on your website. You can sell or rent doggie tuxedos, cumberbunds, dresses and veils. Have a selection of wedding-cake toppers that include the marrying couple and their favorite pet. Even offer your services as pet handler at a wedding.

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team-building

Lunch Roulette

If you have a fairly large staff that doesn’t always seem to communicate as well as it could, try “lunch roulette” — a game developed by pharmaceuticals manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim. Participants select a date — or dates — when they are free for lunch, then they click a “Match Me” button, and a lunch date and calendar reminder are emailed. (Numbers in a hat would work just as well.) After that, all they need to do is show up with an open mind. “Both can learn something from the other,” says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who reported on the idea in Harvard Business Review. “Lunch roulette not only produces unexpected pairings but often sparks unexpected conversations,” she says.

hard talks

Serve up a Sandwich

You may have already heard of the concept of giving “sandwich” criticisms to employees. (Short version: Say something nice, make your criticism, end with something nice.) One more thing to watch out for, says T.J. Schier, author of Send Flowers to the Living, is using the word “but” as part of the sandwich. That one word can ruin the taste of the whole sandwich. Instead, use “and,” as in: “Jane, normally you are my best employee, and it’s critical you are here on time so you can do that awesome job. Now get out there and make it happen.”

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marketing

Serve up a Sandwich (2)

Your biggest sales event of the year is here, and you want to make sure that you’re jam-packed with customers. You’ve spent big on advertising and done heavy direct mailing. What else can you do? On the day of the sale, hire people to wear sandwich boards promoting the sale in big red letters. (“50% Off! Today Only!”) Have them stand at major intersections near your business.

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ICE Can Save a Life

Here’s something small you can do today that may save lives in the future. Ask your employees to designate ICE numbers in their mobile phones. ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.” Putting the “ICE” designation in front of a person’s name makes it easier to contact them immediately in the event of an emergency.

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WEBSITE

Publicize Your Hours

Challenge: Call a friend, and tell him to go to your website and see how quickly he can find your business hours. Did it take 10 seconds? Awesome, you’re doing great. Twenty seconds? OK, not bad, but you might improve visiblity of this important information. Thirty seconds or more? Make a change in your design to ensure that business hours, phone and address are super-easy to find. Because that’s what people are most often looking for when they visit your website.

SIGNS

Go with the Flow

Do you have traffic that goes behind your business? Yes? 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 to attract the attention of the busiest traffic flow.

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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FEATURED VIDEO

Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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Tip Sheet

9 Tips for a Better Life, Better Work

Maybe try a guilty hour?

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MANAGEMENTTry a Guilt Hour

Try this experiment: A weekly Guilt Hour dedicated to uncompleted jobs. Creative consultant Nick Jehlen explained the idea recently to lifehacker.com. “Every Wednesday at 10 a.m., we sit together and look at our task lists [and] identify the one thing we feel most guilty about not having done yet. Then we go around the table and name our One Guilty Task and commit to spending the rest of Guilt Hour working on it.”

CUSTOMER RELATIONPrep for the Game

It’s Super Bowl party time, and if you’re looking for advice to pass on to pet owners, consider these tips from Beagles and Bargains (petsplusmag.com/2202), which among other ideas suggests preparing them snacks so they don’t get fed table scraps, taking them for a walk before the big game, and ensuring they have somewhere quiet to rest — if the excitement of a party gets to be too much.

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SUCCESSAlways Raise Your Average

It’s still early in the year — still time to digest this wise post from Seth Godin, which is succinct enough to include here in its entirety: “Everything you do is either going to raise your average or lower it. The next hire. The quality of the chickpeas you serve. The service experience on register 4. Each interaction is a choice. A choice to raise your average or lower it. Progress is almost always a series of choices, an inexorable move toward mediocrity, or its opposite.” Ask yourself in 2020: Which direction do I want my business moving in? And then spend each day, and each decision, acting accordingly.

PRODUCTIVITYGet Creative at Home

Here’s a neat rule to get the most out of your workday: Do creative work at home and boring work at your business. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, researchers found that when it came to creative tasks, people were 11 to 20 percent more productive outside the lab. For rote and repetitive tasks, however, they were 6 to 10 percent less productive when not in a formal work environment.

MARKETINGShow Your Human

In 2020, there are some jobs that could probably be handled in large part by computers or machines, but that people have shown that they want a human touch. To the list you could add pet pros. Wags to Whiskers in Plainfield, IL, appreciates this, holding regular “meet our team members” promotions. “Each week, I introduce a new team member and their favorite things so our clients can get to know them a bit better and see the person behind the interaction they have each time they come in,” explains owner Janelle Pitula. “Relationship worker” can sound like cheesy corporate speak, but it’s what humans will increasingly value in a business.

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LIFE-WORK BALANCEWhat Gets Measured …

Silicon Valley’s obsession with measuring data can be useful in a surprising number of areas … such as getting home for dinner in time to eat with your family. “It’s great to know how to recharge your batteries, but it’s even more important that you actually do it,” venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told Fast Company. “I track how many times I get home in time to have dinner with my family. Your company measures its priorities. People also need to place metrics around their priorities.”

SELF-IMPROVEMENTFight Bad Habits

When it’s too difficult to deny yourself that cigarette, donut, or new coat, tell yourself to instead wait just 10 minutes before you give in. This “mini” delay in gratification will help you build more self-control over time, says Kelly McGonigal in her book The Willpower Instinct. “Ten minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but with more practice, 10 minutes can turn into 20, 30 or 60 minutes, and soon you might be able to put off gratification for as long as you want.”

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Tip Sheet

Tips to Get Your New Business Year on the Right Track

Anxious of public speaking? Practice with a canine.

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SPEAKINGAn Easy Audience

If giving a public speech makes you so nervous you can’t even do it in front of friends or family, you may want to try a dog. American University is trying such an approach to help anxiety-prone students. “Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood — perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation,” says a brochure for the project. “It makes you smile looking out at the dogs,” one student told the New York Times.

ACTION Shout Out (Some of) Your Goals

You’ve probably heard advice that you should tell your friends your goals for the year, because such a declaration will motivate you to achieve them. But according to a recent study in the journal Psychological Science says “identity goals” are less likely to be achieved if made public. Tell everyone you’re committed to being a better boss, a great pet parent or a more active citizen, and you may slack off because your brain confuses telling people with taking action.

WANTS You Can’t Do It All

According to business writer Greg McKeown, questions such as, “How can I fit everything I want to do into my schedule?” are fundamentally dishonest. They’re based on the false premise that trade-offs are avoidable. The honest question, he says, is: “What is it I really want?” Knowing you can’t possibly have everything or get everything done spares you the anxiety of trying to figure out how you could.

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LIFE FUEL Rekindle the Joy

Do one thing every day that you loved as a kid. “This is usually the fuel that can power your life,” writes entrepreneur and business author James Altucher on his blog.

CHARITY Round Up

Want a way for your customers to leave your business feeling they’ve done some good? Take your lead from Urban Tails Pet Supply in Minneapolis, MN, and offer a register round-up. “Customers can round up to the nearest dollar, with the difference going to a (different local rescue every month),” explains manager Megan Trombley. “It has been really helping the animals in our community.”

ROUTINE The Golden Hour and a Half

Research shows that starting the day on a good note has an enormous positive effect on productivity. To actually get things done in the morning, “Four Hour” productivity guru Tim Ferriss suggests having the first 90 minutes of your workday vary as little as possible. “I think that a routine is necessary to feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety. It therefore also makes you more productive.”

JUDGMENT Time Decisions

Can’t make a decision? Use a timer, suggests Oliver Burkeman in his Guardian column on lifestyle optimization. For everyday matters, set it to allow yourself a few minutes for deliberation, and then, when your time is up, make a decision. “Often, what we think of as deliberation is really hours of indecision, followed by a snap judgment,” he notes.

ENCOURageMENT Wow, Wow, Wow

“Everybody likes a compliment,” Abraham Lincoln famously observed. But most humans are weirdly parsimonious about handing out kind words. To keep the good feelings flowing at New Jersey eyecare practice Focus Eye Care, management installed a “WOW Box” in the back office and encouraged staff to write something positive about another staff member that motivated them. “Often the notes contain funny messages and inside jokes that go over our heads, but the point is we enjoy it,” manager Vlad Cordero told PET+’s sister magazine,
INVISION.

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Tip Sheet

Prep a Flu Kit This Winter … and 8 More Tips to Make Your Holidays Smooth

It’s time to up your reading game.

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self enrichmentUp Your Reading Game

Want to read more? Try what serial entrepreneur, business author and general overachiever James Altucher does: Read about 30 pages of five books each day. Given the average American reads about 250 words a minute, or about a page a minute, that’s 2.3 hours. Don’t have that much time? How about 25 pages of three books? That’s little more time than it takes to watch an episode of the Kardashians.

EXPECTATIONSSet Clear Goals

According to a study cited in INC. magazine, 63 percent of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren’t aware of what work was a priority. As a leader, make sure staff knows what your key goals are heading into the holiday season: Is it to reach new customers, take really good care of your VIPs, hit aggressive new sales targets? No one should have any doubts.

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MOTIVATIONThe Power of Appreciation

Salespeople like performance-based pay incentives, but don’t overlook the power of appreciation, says Wharton professor Adam Grant. “Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning — your bonus gets spent, your raise in pay feels like your just due, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it,” he told The Wall Street Journal last year. “But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” So, give the people what they want, and what they want is compliments and pizza, he says.

HEALTHPrep a Flu Kit

Flu activity typically starts to pick up around now. This year, be prepared with a “wellness” box in the back of the store. The medicine kit at Toner Jewelers, an independent jeweler in Overland Park, KS, includes EmergenC, cough drops, vitamin C drops, pain medicine, alcohol wipes, Lysol and more. “Temperatures vary so much at this time of year that someone is always sick,” manager Alisha Moore told our sister magazine, INSTORE.

WISDOMDon’t Stop Moving

As one year ends, and you start to plan for the next, here’s an inspirational little nugget to consider from Will Rogers: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

MERCHANDISINGWe’re All Early Birds Now

With all the emphasis in recent years on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers have learned that deals don’t get any better as the season progresses and the selection dwindles. What to do? Be ready for them now, says management consultant Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, “with a system of refreshing bestsellers and calling attention to gift items through placement and signage.”

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PRODUCTIVITYPhysical Action Equals Results

You’ve got a thousand things to do at this time of year, but some just seem to elude completion. The problem could be that you’re not phrasing your tasks correctly, says productivity guru David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. A powerful anti-procrastination trick is to keep rephrasing a task until it involves the use of your limbs: “Pick up phone and call …,” “Open laptop and search for….”

MEETINGSMix It Up

Your sales meetings should be intensifying as you prepare for the holidays. Alexi Venneri, author of Balls: 6 Rules for Winning Today’s Business Game, suggests lightening the mood by having a bit of fun. For one meeting, you might ask staff members to bring in high-school yearbook photos. For another, bring in a guest speaker. Or have staff write down five or so of their favorite things … and let the others guess who created each list.

TIME OFFBreaking Good

Breaks are not a deviation from performance; they are part of performance, says Daniel Pink in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. “And the most restorative breaks are social rather than solo, outside not inside, moving instead of stationary, and fully detached rather than semi-detached.”

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