Five BIG Takeaways from the INSPIRE Online Pet Business Success Summit

The arrival of dreaded Covid and the lockdown that followed changed everything for everyone, including me. And I’m not just talking about the Zoom family quizzes that dominate our Thursday evenings, or that fact I’m now starting to look like Tom Hanks in Castaway (after he’s spent 3 years stranded alone on the island…)

See just like you Covid affected my business too. Some parts of my business (the dog adventure and luxury home boarding) completely shut down for a full ten weeks. As an aside, this made me grateful I had diversified my business operation over the last 9 years, so I wasn’t completely reliant on one income stream.

However, the coaching and consulting side of my business didn’t emerge completely unscathed and the main ‘casualty’ was the cancellation of my IMPACT event. IMPACT is the Pet Business Success Summit and my flagship event of the year. 

The Best Laid Plans…

Planning for IMPACT 2020 has been happening since the day after IMPACT 2019 finished last year. It was on course to be a sell-out and in addition to the many dog walkers, trainers and groomers we had coming from all over the U.K. I also had international speakers and guests coming to the U.K from as far away as Australia. 

So, you can imagine my disappointment when I had to postpone the event until October. Never one to rest on my laurels I decided to put on an ‘online’ success summit instead.

I had two objectives. One was to provide to provide something for everyone who was desperately looking forward to IMPACT, but also it was a good opportunity for me to ‘show up’ and help other pet business owners, who were struggling during lockdown.

So ‘INPSIRE 2020’ was born and it happened in early June. 

The INSPIRE 2020 line up.

I even managed to ‘rope in’ all the original IMPACT speakers including Sound Proof Puppy app inventor and Australia’s leading puppy trainer Amy Smith, Video content specialist Alex ‘the video guy’ Wardle, the U.K’s leading business book coach Vicky Fraser, Author of Publicity for Pet Business Owners Rachel Spencer, and dog grooming industry legend Colin Taylor. Plus yours truly of course, The Pet Biz Wiz…

The INSPIRE five BIG takeaways

In the end the event was a stellar success, and today I thought I would share my five BIG takeaways from the week’s seminars. These are the BIG THINGS that will help move the needle with your pet business growth.

BIG THINGS NUMBER ONE ‘Before you ‘restart’ your business, RE-THINK’ your business’. The enforced ‘break’ that lockdown provided gave everyone a chance to take a breather and enjoy the finer things in life.

I heard lots of new Year’s resolution type statements like’ Oh, things will be different when I go back to work’. Sadly, these good intentions, like new years resolutions often disappear like a dog fart in the wind. So, I kicked off proceeding with ‘Operation –Re-think’. 

Operation ‘Re-Think’

BIG THING NUMBER TWO ‘Get Moving’-– Million Maker Dan Kennedy tells  a story of a bracelet his father used to wear that has inscribed on the inside ‘YCDBSONA’. Which translates to ‘You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass’?

It amazing me how many pet business owners think just because they have a Facebook Page and a van that clients are suddenly going to flock to their door. HINT- They AREN’T.

If you want to sell your services then you need to get eyes on your business, which means you need to do something worthy of being looked at. Often this doesn’t take much as your competitors are lazy or dumb to do anything at all.

When telling their business stories both Amy Smith and Colin Taylor talked about getting ‘out there’ in the big wide world in the early days of their business. They travelled around doing seminars and talks to get their name known. And today I see Amy posting a ‘daily’ live on Instagram and Colin does a daily Facebook live to his tribe.

Find out where your clients are hanging around and start showing up there, regularly and consistently. 

BIG THING NUMBER THREE‘Start Small’. If you have struggled with marketing in past then chances are you are feeling overwhelmed when you think about all the things that need to be done. This leads to procrastination and if you aren’t careful then then nothing gets done at all.

If you’ve ever found yourself saying ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ than I’m talking to you.

On the Saturday of INSPIRE Alex ‘the video guy’ Wardle delivered a terrific video masterclass that showed the attendees how they could start small. His presentation included loads of technical advice for more advanced video makers, but included a handy ‘business idiots guide’ to get people moving.

When you are marketing your business MOMENTUM is crucial, and starting small is the way to start. Want to start using video to show off your services? Then just do a Facebook live and talk about why you do what you do, and how it can help people.

Want to create a direct mail campaign but don’t know where to begin? Start with a simple referral postcard or a ‘come back we’ve missed’ reach out campaign to past clients.  

Alex and me presenting at IMPACT 2019

BIG THING NUMBER FOUR ‘Think BIG’ – One of my INSPIRE guests was my business bestie Vicky Fraser. Vicky helps business owners write a book that will help to sell more of their services and products.

Now, you might think you could never write a book, but let me tell you, you CAN. I know because that’s exactly how I felt before Vicky helped me write a book in 2015 (Now I’ve written 7!) If you are awesome at what you do then you should be telling the world about your superpower, and there’s no better way to arrive than with a book.  

My first book

If writing a book seems beyond you now then there are plenty of other ways to get fresh eyes on your business. Another of my INSPIRE guests Rachel Spencer talked about how you can make yourself a local celebrity by getting your name (and business) featured in your local newspaper, a magazine, or radio.

Over the last two years, with Rachel’s guidance, I’ve done just that.  Once you have established a connection with a journalist it’s actually quite easy to keep your eye on what’s being reported on in the news and ‘position’ yourself as an ‘expert with an opinion. Because of the way media is reported digitally, any coverage you get will last forever, online. 

BIG THING NUMBER FIVE ‘Don’t forget to sell!’ – One of my favourite Albert Einstein quotes is ‘Nothing happens until something moves’. Well similarly, ‘no-one buys anything, until someone sells something’.

Don’t forget YOU are the chief salesmen of your business. Don’t believe the doomsters and gloomsters in the media, yes there’s a huge recession coming, but you WON’T ride it out by being meek and mild with your marketing.

Don’ forget to sell!

If you have a life changing product or service then shout about it from the rooftops. Make sure you have some online AND offline marketing systems that help you do three things;

  1. Raise awareness and increase your expert status to those people who may/could/will be clients of yours. Remember, when putting content out there, to show up with a ‘solution to a problem’
  2. Move those people from prospect to customer. Have an option for someone to ‘trial’ your service, or better still, use lead generation to get the prospect to ‘opt-in’ to find out more info about you, so you can start building a relationship BEFORE you make the sale. This makes for longer lasting, happier clients.
  3. Finally, you should have some systems in place that encourage your existing clients to buy more from you, or that lead them to a higher priced (more comprehensive) service offering. That’s almost always where the easy money is to be made in your business.  

So, there you go.  My BIG FIVE takeaways from my recent online success summit. Yes, this was a conference specifically for professionals in the pet Industry, but these principles can be applied to any service industry including yours.

So, pick one and TAKE ACTION! 

If you want to discover how to successfully market your pet businesses so you can make more money with less stress and fewer headaches, then there are a number of ways I can help you…

Next you can grab a FREE copy of the pet business bible ‘The Ultimate Pet Business Plan’ Audiobook from me by clicking here.

Click the photo to find out how to work with Dom

In 2011 Dom Hodgson revolutionised the pet service industry with his first business Pack Leader Dog Adventures, the UK’s first, award winning ‘dog adventure’ company. Now a respected dog trainer, author, speaker and mentor to pet business owners, Dom’s calling is to help dog walkers, trainers and groomers to excel with their marketing, so they can help change the lives of more dog owners with their amazing skills. to find out how to work with me personally to help you grow your pet business.

Take that leap today. You won’t regret it.