Something really cool and unexpected happened at the CFMG beach retreat: I was reminded of the power of community, of belonging and being a piece of a larger whole.
There's definitely a family-type community atmosphere with our school graduates and CFMGs who obtained the certification long before there was ever a school. The internet provides new and wonderful ways for people to connect and build relationships. When people have something in common, connecting and building relationships are easier.
I was excited to see CFMGs at the beach retreat connect and form new relationships with one another. People who had never met before, who have a common passion and skill set, became fast friends. They shared tons of ideas with one another and learned from each other's business practices. It was fun to watch.
I'm thankful for that beach retreat. It taught me so much and was truly an encouragement.
Here are some messages I received afterward from some who attended:
"Hi NCGIA! Just getting back home and settled in. I was so happy to be a part of your groundbreaking, exciting AND relaxing retreat this weekend. I learned a lot and the open forum was perfect. We always want to ask the 'MASTER' questions and it was exciting to be able to do so. Thank you again for making this a reality!"
Rachel Diller, CFMG
"I was so happy to be able to attend the NCGIA cat grooming retreat in South Carolina in April (2012). I think it is great that the NCGIA is branching out now to create networking opportunities within the organization because that truly is the best part of this kind of activity - meeting up with others who do what you do and sharing information thereby enriching everyone's go-to toolbox of skills. Trading business cards also increases the camaraderie within our organization as you get to feel more connected to others and get to know people you may have been talking to online anyway. Plus, doing it all in a fun setting in a beautiful location, what could possibly be better?"
Cheryl L. Maibusch, CFMG
The Cat Groomer, Willowbrook, IL
Recently, we sent out surveys to the folks who have graduated from the National Cat Groomers School. On it, were a series of questions pertaining to the state of business prior to entering our program and the effects, if any, on their business endeavors in the months or years post-graduation.
The stats surprised me! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we are teaching here at the National Cat Groomers Institute is of value to people who truly want to strive for excellence and be the best they can be. I know that because of the spoken and written feedback received from our grads after each and every class and from the very real things they are doing when they return home newly armed and freshly inspired. But until we did this survey, I had no way of actually measuring the effects. Thus, I am excited to see these numbers!
Liz Boles, one of instructors here at the school and the team member behind many of our design and layout projects, has spent time collecting the survey results and compiling the data into a something the rest of us can understand. She presented us with the current stats during one of our Wild Idea staff meetings. I wanted to share some of these with you here in my blog.
First off, we found that mobile and salon grooming are, so far, about evenly split, together making up over 80% of the total business models represented. The remainder of the respondents, thus far, have house-call or in-home grooming businesses. Just over 60% of the survey respondents own their own businesses.
While that is interesting, what I found to be most compelling was that 56% of the respondents so far offered absolutely NO cat grooming services of any kind prior to attending our school. That means we’ve had more non-cat groomers than experienced cat groomers participate in our program. I love that! New converts are always good!
Included in the survey were questions relating to income and revenue. I am pleased to see the average annual gross income for our grads is over $100,000 annually, some generating much higher revenue numbers. Considering we are in a “down” economy, I find this very inspiring!
In addition, survey respondents report an overall average of 52% increase in revenue post graduation than was experienced pre-attendance at the National Cat Groomers School. Why is that? Based on what we read in these survey results, three things seem to be directly responsible for this revenue growth effect:
I like numbers. They never lie. Numbers provide an accurate measurement of where things stand and then help us move toward a new goal.
This coming Monday (May 21st) at 2:00pm I am speaking at our next webinar. The topic: “Setting Goals, Making Money.” And I very excited to have one of our school grads join us for a personal interview! Kevin Beck, from Ontario, is a hair stylist. He does magically things on human hair, keeping his clients looking fashionable and stylish with cutting edge hair dos and coloring techniques. But somewhere in the middle of all that people hair stuff, Kevin decided to enroll in cat grooming school, crossing the Canadian/American border to spend 2 weeks away from home, pets, family, and a thriving business. What a crazy thing to do! Especially with ZERO cat grooming experience in his background!
On Monday, Kevin will share with you WHY he did such a crazy thing. He’ll tell you about his long-term goal that was publicly shared with his classmates and instructors while he attended school this past February. And then he’ll tell you how his long-term goal (originally 2-3 years from now) turned into a 2-month goal. Kevin grooms people and cats, (separately of course!) keeping them all rather stylish. He is making money and growing a real, viable cat grooming business one cat at a time. His numbers are here on my desk as I type this. And I’m going to share those numbers with you on Monday during the webinar. I also want to help Kevin make those numbers bigger, so we’ll talk about that on Monday, too.
I don’t know where you are in your life – in your business. But if you are seriously wanting to set some goals, make some money, and grow a successful business, there is a way. Too many groomers are working paycheck-to-paycheck……long back-breaking days with nothing much to show for it. I know this because I hear it ALL the time. It’s at epidemic proportions in the pet grooming industry. And I hate that! We have such potential, such opportunity as professionals in the pet industry. And it’s within our power to change the state of things.
But it’s hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes. It’s impossible to eat an elephant. I get that. But, like my husband frequently reminds me, you CAN eat an elephant……one bite at a time. On Monday, we will cut that elephant up into tiny bites and start eating.
PS. A second guest is also joining us for Monday’s webinar. Amy Brown, president of the NAPCG (www.thenapcg.com) and owner of AB Grooming Spa in Alabama will join me for some discussion on this topic of changing our status and improving our own personal professionalism as well as the value of the pet grooming industry as a whole. Amy is very business-savvy and has used the medium of add on spa-style creative grooming to grow her own business. She travels the world teaching others how to do the same. She is also the co-author of “The Science of Creative Grooming,” the most comprehensive book on the market that covers pet skin and coat topics. I’m excited to have her with us on Monday to provide even more advice as well as a different perspective on business growth topics.
Upcoming events meant to inspire, motivate, boost sales, increase profitability and inject confidence. For you!
Because it’s what we do. It’s what we are about. We want to inspire YOU to be the best you can be.
At the NCGIA, we are working hard to do whatever we can to move the grooming industry forward. We are changing the world one cat at a time……….Are you with us?
Webinar: Grooming the Aggressive CatThursday, May 10, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm ESTLocation: Wherever you are!
Webinar: Setting Goals, Making MoneyMonday, May 21, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm ESTLocation: Wherever you are!
Webinar: Advanced Q&A (Grads and CFMGs ONLY)Thursday, May 31, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm ESTLocation: Wherever you are!
Advanced Cat Grooming CourseMon-Tues, June 4-5, 2012 9:00am -4:00pmLocation: NCGIA
Member Excursion to Biltmore EstateWednesday, June 6, 2012 All dayLocation: Asheville, NC
Webinar: No More Once a Year Shavedowns!(Changing the way your clients care for their cats)Thursday, June 7, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm ESTLocation: Wherever you are!
Webinar: Pricing Structures and Special FeesMonday, June 18, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm ESTLocation: Wherever you want to be!
Cat Grooming Workshop – Maine Coon Society of SwitzerlandSat/Sun, June 23-24, 2012 9:00am-3:30pmLocation: Zurich, Switzerland
1-Day Cat Clinic (cats provided)Monday, July 9, 2012 10:00am-5:00pmLocation: NCGIA – Greenville, SC
Grooming the Aggressive Cat
This is a repeat of one of our first webinars. It overfilled the first time around and some folks did not get a seat. This is back by popular demand and will be recorded. Recorded webinars will be available to NCGIA Members ONLY. As always, both the webinars and the recordings for members are free of charge.
See you soon!
(to become a member of the most fabulous cat groomers association on the planet, click here)
The 2nd day of the CFMG beach retreat started out with warm weather and the hope of sunshine. After breakfast, we chilled out, surfed the web, enjoyed some coffee, and chatted about our businesses. We shared funny stories of cats and dogs we had groomed and told about interesting clients we’d had over the years.
At one point, one of the CFMGs pulled up her website on her iPad , asking for suggestions on how to make it better. We went over the logo, branding, font styles and content as she made notes about what to add, what to change and what to highlight in an effort to generate more business.
There are so many opportunities these days because of the internet and social media. Learning how to get the most of the opportunities can be a daunting task, made harder by the fact that these things are constantly changing and improving. It’s easy to get behind and overlook low-cost or free ways to market a business on the world wide web. There is so much potential in the cross-networking opportunities that exist today. We talked about this for a while as everyone sat around the bar counter with laptops and iPads open, and I cleaned up the last of the breakfast dishes.
A few in the group had plans to take a boat excursion near Georgetown, SC, just north of Charleston. The rest of us had no plans other than to relax and enjoy the beach. I grabbed a book and a beach towel and headed down by the pool for some more sun (this time with sunscreen!).
As I lay by the pool reading, I saw people going back and forth from the house to the beach. Eventually a few headed off for the walk to the pier to get some ice cream. Some time later, one of the CFMGs came back to tell me I needed to come out on the beach to see something.
As I walked barefoot in the sand toward my fellow cat groomers, I found this carved into the wet beach.
Apparently they have very large cats here on the Carolina coast!
We goofed around for a bit. It was a beautiful day and hardly anyone else was on the beach. We had it almost to ourselves. Purrfect!
Later that evening, at supper time, everyone met up for a pancake dinner with homemade caramel syrup and a hot breakfast casserole. More conversation went on, covering a wide variety of business topics. More notes were made, making everyone even more excited about implementing growth strategies. I could barely wait to get back to the office by this point because I was fired up myself!
By the time the retreat was at its end, the wild idea stickies had multiplied. One of the last things I did before leaving the beach house for good was to carefully untape and roll up the paper board filled with stickies. It would be the springboard from which the NCGIA team would work once I returned home and everyone was settled back into work. I could see that we were going to be busy for a very long time!
Thank you to the CFMGs and their better halves for the invaluable input and additions to our idea board. Your contributions are greatly appreciated as we endeavor to grow a cat grooming industry that we can all be a part of!
The CFMGs arrived throughout the afternoon and evening, one having travelled by plane and others having driven for 12 or more hours. The weather wasn’t cooperating the way I would have liked. It was overcast and windy, a big change from the clear sunny days we had enjoyed prior. No matter. Everyone was excited to be there. And I was excited to have them as my guests at the shore.
It was first come, first serve on the bedroom choices. Before long everyone was settled in and dinner was almost ready to be served. I baked chicken and roasted veggies with a spinach tortellini salad on the side. For dessert, one of my family’s all time favs: German chocolate upside down cake served with some freshly brewed coffee.
Five hours after we first sat down at the table to stick a knife in the chicken, we were all still sitting in our seats, engrossed in conversation. Time was flying by, it seemed. I started out by telling the group about our Wild Idea Club launch the previous day and walked everyone through how they could start a club of their own, even those who worked alone. By gathering people each business owner knew with various personality types and skills sets, their own Wild Idea Clubs could be started and used in mighty ways to grow their existing businesses.
The people at the table that night were a perfect representation of the grooming industry. From mobile to salon to vet practice to house call, we covered it all. Some were dog groomers with cats on the side and others were feline-exclusive. Some were long time groomers and others fairly new to the industry. Some worked alone, others had assistance. A little of everything. This meant there was a lot of great information to share amongst the group – stuff that we could all learn from and implement in our own unique business settings.
One CFMG brought her husband to the retreat, and another brought her boyfriend. Neither of these guys are “cat people” (YET!), yet they live with women that are extremely dedicated and passionate about changing the world one cat at a time. And each of these guys come from a different background and different vocation that provided more unique perspectives into our endeavors as cat groomers.
The conversation around the table migrated from one topic to another as we discussed marketing our businesses, gaining new clients, changing the way veterinarians think about cat grooming, and getting our clients to care about their cats and maintain regular grooming appointments. We talked about what to do to resolve difficult employee situations. We went on to discuss numbers – revenue and expenses, and how to use the reality of our stats to become more profitable. Everyone had a notebook. Ideas were jotted down, concepts underlined, “to do” lists made, visions defined. It was a productive first night!
One of the CFMGs is dealing with some old policies in her salon that are causing her to lose money. She is frustrated. The issues run deep and will require some serious undoing before she can rebuild something more sound, something with more profit potential. We talked about this situation at length. Together we made a plan. There was a lot of scribbling in the notebook, jotting down ideas, plans, and business principles meant to empower and maintain focus. This particular business owner has work to do, no doubt about it. But things were off to a good start by making a plan to tear down an old structure and rebuild a new one. I am excited for this CFMG as she works out her plan. And we’ll be there to help her out along the way however we can. I look forward to next year’s retreat because I believe this CFMG will be back with an inspiring progress report.
At close to midnight, I finally said goodnight to everyone and headed upstairs, leaving them to keep talking shop as long as they wished. I’d been up since 4:00 that morning. My brain was fried and ready for some sleep. As I drifted off to the sound of the ocean just beyond my bedroom windows, I thought about how the people downstairs were part of a movement. These folks are true professionals, operating in ways that present them as such to everyone they meet. They are educated, smart, and cutting edge. They are definitely not “just groomers!” They make me proud to be one of them!
Day one of the CFMG Beach Retreat was a wrap, and I was happy with the outcome.