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Manager's To Do

You’ll Never Guess How This Sticker Display Came Together

The answer, plus more smart management tasks for your Feb-Mar To-Do List.

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Feb. 4-10

MERCHANDISING Stickers are a fun add-on, whether your customers buy a few for themselves or to give as gifts. But many stores struggle with creating an easily shoppable display that stays neat. The Modern Paws in Tampa, FL, has the solution, as shown above. When owner Lisa Prakobkit shared hers in the PETS+ Facebook Community, members quickly asked her about it. “They’re actually nail polish displays,” she shared. “Works perfectly, and you can hang them anywhere.”

Feb. 11-17

STAFF Spread the love on Feb. 14. Buy individual Valentines and chocolates for your team members, writing on the card, “Love your work!”

BUYING Global Pet Expo in Orlando, FL, will be here before you know it. It’s never too early to start planning. Start small by creating an extended to-do list to complete before you leave — everything from registering at globalpetexpo.org to packing two pairs of your most comfortable shoes. And don’t forget to join the PETS+ Facebook Community if not already a member. The PETS+ team posts dozens of videos and photos there every day during the show, talking to exhibitors about their newest products and bestsellers. Join the community of 2,600-plus fellow independent pet retailers and service providers at facebook.com/groups/petsplusmagcommunity.

Feb. 18-24

MAINTENANCE Ask a person who normally doesn’t look closely at your building exterior to do exactly that, pointing out any issues they see such as chipped paint, dinged corners, and dirt and debris buildup. Having a fresh set of eyes can help you build a fresh list of fixes to take care of. Thank them with a cup of coffee, or provide the same feedback if a fellow indie.

FINANCES You should have your financial statements finalized by Feb. 29 if your fiscal year ended in December. Make an appointment with your CPA.

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Feb. 25-Mar. 2

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Go to your business website and reread the “About Us” page. Does it relay who you are, why you do what you do, and the level of excellence at which you do it? If not, time for a rewrite. Also, be sure to include at the end of your story an actionable link that allows you to connect with potential new customers: a signup for your loyalty program, a small first-visit discount … any action that will keep them engaged after they’ve learned “about you.”

Mar. 3-9

HIRING An oldie but a goodie from business coach Bob Negen: Be prepared. You never know when you might come across your next superstar employee. It could be the server at a restaurant, someone you meet at a party or anywhere. Negen recommends keeping on hand business cards and committing to memory the phrase “I hope you’re happy here, but if you ever want to make a change, here’s my business card.” It makes the “ask” simple and effective.

FINANCES If you haven’t updated your fixtures and always-in-use props for five years or longer, they’re surely showing their age. Amortize and depreciate them as you do other equipment, then set a budget for 2024 to acquire new fixtures and props routinely. To a consumer, their condition and appearance speaks volumes about your store and affects perception of your brand.

Mar. 10-16

CUSTOMER SERVICE Do yet another thing the big-box stores don’t: Create a system to let your customers know you’ll always be there for their pets. A follow-up phone call one week after they try a new food or get a groom to check in on them is a good place to start.

Mar. 17-23

STRATEGY Also up your market intelligence: Find out from every new client: “Why did you leave your last (groomer, dog walker, pet sitter)? At the same time, follow up on defections. A polite inquiry for clients who have gone elsewhere will help ensure they’re rare events.

Mar. 24-30

BUYING Now that you’re back from GPE — even if you watched from your home office — invite your customers to be part of the buying process as it continues. April Meier of Pawsitively Scrumptious in Crestview, FL, shares videos and photos of products she found at the show and brings back as many samples to share as she can. “So we can then ask customers to ‘vote’ on what they would like us to bring in. Giving them a ‘voice’ helps to promote sales when the new items come in.”

MERCHANDISING Introduce “Staff Picks” at your store, featuring products your team uses themselves. Petagogy in Pittsburg, PA, sets the bar high with its program, which features yellow signs that let customers know who recommends the products and why. We love the warmth and humor of the descriptions, as they create a connection between customers and staff — and customers and staff pets!

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FEATURED VIDEO

P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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