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November 2018

October 2018

5 Reasons You Need A Cat Groomer

 

 Professional cat grooming is so expensive! Aren't cats self-cleaning?

The answer to that question is no. They are not self cleaning. What cats do with their barbed tongue is licking. They are trying to remove excessive hair. Which brings us to reason #1.

  1. Licking is not bathing any more than using your own tongue to take a bath is. 

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Yeah, that's pretty gross. And in the same vein, it brings us to #2.

  1. Hairballs. 

When excessive coat is not removed via combing and brushing, the cat swallows the hair, which may lead to hairballs and in extreme cases may result in megacolon. Megacolon is what happens when a cat cannot defecate due to impacted materials in their colon.

  1. Prevent matting.

When excessive coat is not removed by combing and brushing, the hair begins to interweave and forms mats which become tighter and tighter as time goes by. These mats may cause skin irritations and even open sores, especially if the cat gets wet.

Why do you need a professional cat groomer to brush, comb, and bathe your cat?

  1. Professional cat groomers have professional cat combs, rakes and brushes.

Professional cat groomers know how to properly and safely use these tools on your precious cat. Many of the tools available to professionals are simply not sold to the public.

  1. Professional cat groomers use cat safe shampoos and conditioners.

Unfortunately, labeling on pet products is not regulated. The term cat safe is up to the manufacturer to make that determination. Professional cat groomers are more savvy when it comes to choosing products that are safe for your cat.

Before you balk at what a professional cat groomer charges remember that they take their profession seriously. They are educated and caring. Keeping your cat healthy and beautiful is a worth while investment in their happiness.


Moving A Business Across The Country

I’m moving across the country, how will I know if the area will support my business? It really doesn’t matter if I was moving a couple of towns or even blocks over. Moving is moving.

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There is some work on that needs to get done. It begins with demographic research.

  1. Remember all those pesky census bureau questionnaires we filled out? All that information regarding the population of the United States can be found at gov. Everything from age, sex, income, education, and so forth is right at your fingertips.
  2. The Small Business Administration (SBA) makes demographic (https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/market-research-competitive-analysis) information available to us as well.
  3. Trade Associations publish demographics particular to their industry. Didn’t know you had a trade association? Here’s a list of them. (https://www.marketing-mentor.com/pages/trade-list.)
  4. Once you have an area in mind, contact the local Chamber Of Commerce. They will have demographic information specific to their coverage area.
  5. Use the SBA’s SizeUp (https://www.sba.gov/tools/sizeup) tool to compare yourself to similar businesses in your chosen area. This app is a little dated, however, it still offers valuable insights to other providers in your area.
  6. Before taking the plunge, visit the area and see for yourself if it’s a good move for you and your business.
  7. Are there businesses that I complement or do I fill a void in similar businesses? For myself, complementary would include human wellness such as massage, yoga, health studios and so forth, as well as veterinary offices that do not offer grooming. Similar businesses would be other grooming shops that do not want to groom elderly pets or cats.

While we don’t always get to choose where we live, there are always choices when it comes to our businesses. Better business decisions come when you have more information to work with.


You Can Do It

 

There was a time when I thought I could never speak in front of an audience, but then Binngo happened in 2005.

Binngo was a 9 year-old Maltese with a known heart condition. His veterinarian cleared him for grooming. But he had a heart attack on my grooming table and died later at the vet’s office. Even though I had taken a pet first aid class 6 years prior, I didn’t remember what to do.

It was probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my grooming career. The next day I began looking for local pet first aid classes. I couldn’t find a single one and none of the upcoming trade shows were offering them either.

By chance, there was an upcoming instructor training class about 2 hours south of me. I knew that I didn’t want other groomers to feel the way I did that day and I overcame my fear of speaking in public and signed up.

My goal had always been to bring back pet first aid classes to the trade shows. It was scary stepping out of my comfort zone and I wished I had had better guidance than me just winging it and seeing what would work.

It’s been over 13 years since I took that instructor class and it was one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made. It has led to some awesome opportunities, including speaking at pet conferences and launching my own industry nominated website of the year membership site.

All because I just did it. So my question for anyone reading this: Do you have a message you want others to hear? What’s stopping you? If you are considering speaking and would like my PDF of 3 Elements Of A Good Seminar, click this link: http://bit.ly/3SpeakingTipsForYou.


7 Ways To Find Your Ideal Client

Build it and they will come marketing only works in the movies. Add in people need to see an ad 13 times before recognizing it and marketing to the masses is not cost effective as it dilutes the message. The result is a depleted or an overextended marketing budget when trying to reach the general population.

The American Pet Product Association estimates that there are currently 66.75 billion pets in the United States to the tune of seven out of ten pet owning families. Danbury, Conn alone boasts over 9,000 licensed dogs. Include a couple of surrounding towns and that number jumps to around 30,000.

There is plenty of pie to go around. The pet industry is a huge market to tap and the bottom line is that most small businesses cannot accommodate that volume. Instead, spend those marketing dollars wisely by targeting your ideal clients.

But first, let’s Identify Who Your Ideal Client Is

 

  1. What is their demographic? This includes type of pets, number of average pets per household, age, sex, income, spending habits. The smaller the demographic group, the more focused marketing becomes. A single mobile pet groomer needs less than 150 regular pets to be successful. Three sites to find demographic information: suburbanstats.com , https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx, and https://www.americanpetproducts.org.
  2. What do they want? This can be approached in 2 different ways. The first is to find out what is needed and then provide it. The second is to offer what you are passionate it about and convince clients (marketing) they want it. Figure out either or both with a Client/Competitor/Your Business Venn Diagram.

Clients

 

 

It’s easier to start with competition. What are they doing/selling that is working well for them? What can you do better or with a twist? This exercise can identify both your similarities and differences to other local businesses. It becomes your choice to design a marketing plan that appeals to what makes you the same only better or one that highlights your unique perspective. This exercise can also help to identify types of customers that are not your ideal clients.

Now you know who your clients are and want they want. How do you find them?

 

  1. Tell your friends and family. Practice your elevator speech with them. An elevator speech is a term that refers to a brief conversation in which you describe what you do in the amount of time it takes to go from one floor to another in an elevator. It’s more just a statement. It conveys your passion and why a potential client would be interested in your goods or services. A mobile groomer’s might be “ I groom cats and dogs in a nurturing, respectful spa-like environment in my state of the art mobile grooming van. Conveniently in your driveway.” These two sentences clearly indicate the benefits of what is offered as opposed to simply stating a profession.
  2. Target your message in niche and weekly publications. If you’re not sure if the publication is a good fit, contact the publisher for audience profiles. And if you have never designed an ad, let their design team do it for you. It’s worth the investment.
  3. In any given day, there are 3.5 billion searches on Google by people looking for a website to solve their problem. While you can put up a quick and cheap website on your own, it may not be effective if you are unfamiliar with what brings your website to the top of a search. In addition, consider adding a blog to your website. Blogs can extend your reach by offering sought after information that is connected to your website.
  4. Set up a Facebook business page along with other social media sites. Each platform has it’s own way of reaching potential clients. Research which sites will be to your advantage to spend time on. There are plenty of online programs that can help you navigate through the maze and confusion of using social media effectively.
  5. Get out in the real world and meet people. Almost any live event may be a good fit as 70% of all household’s own pets. That means that 7 out of 10 people walking past your booth is a potential client. Pet shelters usually have at least one event every year. Join a MeetUp.com local pet or business group. While there is a yearly charge if you organize a MeetUp group, it’s free to join any one already set up.
  6. You are going to need printed material such as business cards, brochures, and flyers to hand out at events. Local printing shops can offer an experienced hand in helping you design marketing materials. But services like Vistaprint are cheaper.
  7. Network with local business referral associations such as Alignable and Chamber Of Commerces.

 

Putting the time and effort into identifying who, what, and where your ideal client is can help you focus your marketing dollars into an effective plan.

 

Next online Marketing 101 for Pet Professionals is Sunday, November 25th at 6 PM Eastern Standard Time. For more information or to register: https://www.pawsitiveed.com/marketing-101/


How Many Clients Do You Need?

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There is no magic number as many factors contribute to the overall formula.

To determine how many clients you need, start with what you need to earn to meet your business expenses and live comfortably. Cost of living is different from one region to another, as well as are lifestyle choices. Your expenses need to include your salary, as well as various funds such as retirement, emergency, education, vacation, and capital improvements.

Let’s say your target is $4,000 a week based on a 50-week year ($200,000 for the year.) Prices for shop, mobile, and housecall can vary widely even within the same area. I’ve chosen three price points: $45, 65, and 85 an hour.

The formula is Weekly Target Amount/Hourly Rate.

 

Per week based on one hour or less grooms 

$45 = 89 pets

$65 = 62 pets

$85 = 47 pets

Number of regular clients needed if on a 6-week schedule

 

Formula is: Weekly Number Of Pets X 6.

$45 = 534 clients

$65 = 372 clients

$85 = 282 clients

 

Let's tweak that number for 4 vs 8 week clients:

$45   356 vs 712

$65   248 vs 496

$85   188 vs 376

 

All figures are whole numbers, so either rounded up or rounded down. But you get the idea. You can see that there is a huge difference in the number of clients you need based on amount and frequency.

Being at the higher end allows you to work at a much easier pace with less stress on your body. Having clients commit to a more frequent schedule keeps the pets in more manageable coats reducing that wear and tear on you, as well as encourages a pleasant experience for the pets. Adjust the amounts and targets to suit your needs.

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Mary Oquendo helps pet professionals achieve their goal through easily accessible online education, as well as one on one business coaching.