How to protect your pet business from the upcoming recession….
‘Put Yourself beyond the possibility of defeat’
(Sun Tzu, 5th Century BC)
If your pet business has emerged from the lockdown battered, bruised and you are lacking some belief in your ability to recover, then this article will help you prioritise where to start with marketing, because today we are taking a lesson from a chapter in The Art of War on Tactical Dispositions.
Sun Tzu said; ‘The good fighters of old, first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity to defeat the enemy’.
Now then, you’ll be relieved to know you can put your sword away for a minute and ignore ‘the enemy’, while we first look at how we put your pet business beyond the possibility of defeat.
Make no mistake, if your pet business has struggled to survive during lockdown then the possibility of ‘defeat’ might be a very real one, so you should be urgently taking steps to make your business ‘safe’ from future lockdowns and the recession which is rolling towards us.
To help I’ve got a two-pronged approach you can follow.
The first deals with how to put your pet business in a category of ‘one’.
See, a perennial problem for pet business owners is the amount of competition in your town. There is very little barrier to entry for someone who wants to set themselves up as a walker or a groomer (or even a dog trainer, which is still an unregulated industry).
All anyone needs to set themselves up as a dog walker is a Facebook page, some leaflets and some dog leads.
You might think this is a bad thing, and it can be, but only if you position your pet business as being the same as everyone else.
The trick to stand out from the crowd, and put yourself in a category of ‘one’, is to do the complete opposite of what all the other pet businesses are doing.
So, if they do dog ‘walks’ then you need to do ‘adventures’ or ‘hound hikes’
If you are a groomer then you need to be a ‘stylist’ rather than a groomer.
If you run a day-care then you could be a canine adventure college, or adventure retreat, rather than a bog-standard day-care.
Doing this just takes a little bit of creativity, but it will make your pet business stand out from the bland, boring, beige sameness of your crappy competition.
The other way to ‘protect’ your existing business is to throw a protective cloak around your clients so that they are never tempted to stray into your competitors arms.
Providing a great service is a start, but you’ll have more success (and generate more referrals and get your clients to buy more from you) IF you remind them how great you are through the promotional material you send them.
Dan Kennedy calls this ‘protecting your herd’ and it’s something I invest a lot of time, energy and money in doing.
See, ‘putting yourself beyond the possibility of defeat’ means first protecting what you currently have.
You might have a website, leaflets, a van with signage, branded clothing etc, but the thing that will get you through another lockdown (not to mention the upcoming recession) is the relationship you have with your existing client base.
That’s what you need to protect.
I do this with constant communication through newsletters, gifts, postcards and emails.
Following my advice, this is what my private clients also do, and that is why many of them have been able to restart their business after lockdown at almost full capacity.
Many of my dog walking clients were paid in full throughout lockdown by their clients too, even though they weren’t able to deliver any services.
How did they manage that?
By constantly communicating the way I’ve taught them.
If you don’t have a monthly or a quarterly client newsletter on the go then I suggest you make that your first port of call.
To get more pet business tips and advice you should sign up for my FREE Pet Business Report HERE
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.
Take that leap today. You won’t regret it.