There's no doubt it takes enormous amounts of skill in a variety of disciplines to effectively start and grow your pet business.
Skillful marketing, hiring, management, customer service...all these things, among many others, are required for success.
I'd say that one item in particular outranks all the others in importance, though. Because, without it, you will never ever have a chance to succeed.
...the ability to say "no."
Every day you are faced with an unlimited amount of decisions to make. From the very moment you open your eyes in the morning, you start making choices that impact your success or failure.
Should I hit the snooze button...yes or no?
Should I check my phone to see what emails came in over night...yes or no?
Should I eat a banana for breakfast instead of going to McDonald's...yes or no?
The ability and skill in saying "no" at the right times and to the right things will have a dramatic impact on your chances at growing a pet business you love.
Every day there is a brand new shiny object that's supposed to be the latest and greatest way to market your pet business to get customers.
Just say no.
Don't get trapped trying all types of marketing and doing none of them well. Focus on one or two or three things that match your interests and skills and pursue those until you find success or can determine for sure that they're not going to work. Say no to everything else in the meantime.
We all have customers that are forgetful or just plain unprepared. They're the ones that constantly call you at the last second to add or cancel a visit.
Just say no.
Don't let these customers ruin your day because they're not giving you notice for schedule changes. Sometimes you need to tell them that you just can't help.
Or, if you can, you're going to charge them an arm and a leg to do so.
By saying no, these customers will learn that they need to give you notice or else they'll be charged an extra fee. Either that or they'll leave your business. Either way is success for you.
Wow, a 5-day-a-week dog walking job? That would be an awesome client...except that it's a 25-minute drive in the opposite direction of all your other clients.
Just say no.
This is a tough one for sure, but don't be tempted by big money if the job is not efficient for you.
I've been trapped by this one before and it's no fun in the long run. Sometimes you have to say "no" because you know that servicing this client is actually going to cost you more than you make when you consider the value of your time and effort.
Facebook, email, your cell phone...all these are distractions that take you away from accomplishing your goals.
Just say no.
Distractions are everywhere and they are the enemy of greatness.
Focusing on one thing for an extended period of time without shifting your attention is surprisingly difficult. But saying no to other peoples' requests (email, texts, etc) while you're laser-focused on accomplishing an objective will do wonders for your productivity.
In my company, we do dog walking and dog running. That's 75% of our business. And we do pet sitting the other 25% of the time.
We don't sell products. We don't do grooming. We don't take dogs to dog parks. We don't do errands for clients. We don't do training.
We just do 3 things as well as we possibly can.
And we say no to everything else.
Be careful of offering too many services to your clients. You don't need to be all things to all people. Just be an expert in a few areas and people will love you for it.
There are no shortage of activities that you could be doing in your business. I could go on giving example after example of all your daily decisions.
But you know what they are because you face the same decisions in your business that I face in mine.
So, I'll stop here and simply say that you must decide on exactly what you want to accomplish and then choose only the activities that you feel are most likely to get you to your goal.
Then, say no to everything else.
And feel good about saying no. Feel proud, even. Because this is a skill not many people do well.
PS - here is a video of Apple's late, great founder, Steve Jobs, on what focus and saying "no" is all about.
Is saying "no" a skill you do well? Or are you still working on it? (personally, I'm a long way from mastering this skill) Leave us a comment below with your reply.
John loves animals and business. He put the two together and built a multi-million dollar dog walking/running and pet sitting business with hard work, systems, and great people. He now teaches everything he's learned in the Pet Business Masters! community.