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January 2021

5 Steps To Priority And Re-Prioritzing Your Business

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5 Steps To Priority And Re-Prioritzing Your Business

Remember this ring. At one time in my life, it was the only priority in my life. I was willing to do just about anything. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but needed to make a concession (re-prioritize) and get the less expensive version.

The 16-year-old me may not have realized or appreciated the fact that I went through all 7 steps, but this 59-year-old most certainly does.

Step 1 is to create a master list of everything that needs to be done and classify them according to importance, urgency, how long it will take, and the reward associated with completion. That ring ticked every box. There may have been 2 other tasks that could have even made my list at 16. As an adult, my master list is quite extensive.

Step 2 After the master list is completed, I need to take a look at it overall and decide what I’m actually working towards. What is the Big Picture? Are the goals and tasks too big? Should I break them down into smaller tasks. If my master list is overwhelming, I run the risk of procrastinating and accomplishing nothing.

Step 3 Group each task into one of 4 categories:

  • Important/Urgent. These tasks need to be done first.
  • Important/Not Urgent. Schedule time in your planner to this these tasks.
  • Not important/Urgent. Delegate/hire someone else to do these tasks.
  • Not Important/Not Urgent. Just remove these from your master list.

Guess which category that ring fell into.


Step 4 Focus on one task at a time. Time management plays a role here. If you find yourself with too many Important/Urgent tasks, you will have revisit your time management skills, and re-prioritize what actually fits in that category. Get rid of things that serve you no long-term benefits. You can also delegate or hire out to complete.

Step 5 Review your master list on a regular basis.

Priorities can change over time and that’s OK. It’s why I found my high school ring, tarnished, and at the bottom of a jewelry box.

Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit

Or drop me a message or email her at

Putting Together A Business Plan

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Hey, hold on a second. Are you thinking of passing by this article because you don’t think you need a business plan as you:

  • Are not getting a bank loan for startup.
  • Have been in business for a while.
  • Think they are too hard to do.

A written business plan is more than a means to raise funds for your venture. It is your business’s blueprint. Everything you need to know right at your fingertips. A business plan is an invaluable tool to propel your business ever onwards and upward.

 “Planning is bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.”- Alan Lakein

My business plan has seven parts to it.

  1. Business Description. What does your business do? How do you deliver it? What makes you qualified? What is your why? This is more than the name of your business and your core service or product. Let the soul of your business shine through.

    My Example From 2016:
    Spirited Dog Productions is dedicated to pets. Yours in particular. We educate pet owners and their professionals through Pawsitive Educational Training. We care for your pet’s physical and emotional needs with holistic grooming via Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming. We care for their health and wellbeing by offering Hands And Paws Reiki For All.

It all started with Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming in 2002. Mobile grooming allowed me to have that one on one time with each pet. Pawsitively Pretty offers a holistic and relaxing atmosphere for all pets, while specializing in elderly dogs and cats.

When I couldn’t find information, I felt was necessary to grow my business, I took things in my own hands and added Pawsitive Educational Training to my lineup. We offer business and safety programs for the pet professional.

As a nationally recognized innovator and educator within the professional pet industry, I wanted to offer educational opportunities for pet owners to Pawsitive Educational Training as well. I value continuing education and spend hundreds of hours every year learning better ways to serve your pets.

In 2012, I opened Hands And Paws-Reiki For All. As a holistic pet groomer, Advanced Crystal Master, and Reiki Master, I wanted to offer wellness opportunities for your pets that my pets already benefited from.

  1. Products and Services. Detailed descriptions of all your services and products, including what makes them unique. This section should include how you decided on pricing, as well as time spent delivering the product or service? After all, time is money. Does your pricing reflect your operating costs?
  1. Sales and Marketing Strategies. How are you acquiring your clients? This section should detail all forms of marketing, including your website and social media. The most important part is the metrics of past strategies. What worked and what did not. Meaning which strategies netted you clients.
  1. Day-To-Day Operations. What does it take to run your business? Overhead, start up costs, employees, outside support professionals, salary (yours), and end game. Unless you plan on working until the day you die, you must plan for the end of your business. That’s retirement and/or sale of your business. Your business will command a higher price if you can demonstrate its value through documentation, such as yearly updated business plans and tax returns. Your outside business support personnel may include accountants, marketers, lawyers, service repair, insurance agents, coaches, suppliers, and so forth.
  1. Development. While every other section is based on facts, here is where you can dream. What are planning to offer in the future? This holds space for you make those plans.

My future plans for Spirited Dog Productions will focus on introducing a consistent line of recorded and live online workshops geared towards the pet professionals, as well as pet owners.

  1. Financial summary. If you have not started your business, then income is projections based on similar businesses. No detail is too small. Account for every penny. The health of your business depends on your familiarity with your financial summary. Accounting software makes this easier than you think. Income should be separated divided by every thing you sell or offered service. When you track each income stream individually, you can see what is making money and what is not. Are you allocating resources that are not adding to your bottom line? You’ll know that if you track your expenses.
  1. Business Summary. Sums up your business in easy to read bullet points. Most financial institutions, investors, or prospective buyers will read this first before making the decision to read further. has downloadable templates to make this job a little easier.

A written (or typed) business plan gives you the tools to make intelligent decisions regarding the future of your business based on real time analysis rather than conjecture and guesswork. It adds measureable value to your business.

Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit

Or drop me a message or email her at

Pro's And Con's Of Online Learning

Pro's And Con's Of Online Education

Pro’s And Con’s Of Online Learning

I was sitting at a booth at the Atlanta Pet Fair when the announcement came down that the last day of the show was being cancelled due to Covid shutdowns. Then came 3- hours on hold with Delta while I changed my travel plans. Shortly after that, one after another show cancelled for 2020.

For me, online learning was my preferred method and why I started Pawsitive Educational Training back in 2011. While I found myself at several shows every year, the classes I wanted to take all seemed to be held at the same time I was teaching.

“As someone that has taken classes all through 2020 it’s been a blessing as I have gotten to take many seminars that my competition schedule would never allow, while being comfortable at home... whether that was my pool in the summer, or my couch or work as the weather cooled.”- Helen Schaefer

Online learning became the easy way for me to take classes. And while the pet industry was lagging in this arena, most others were not. I have taken some world class programs from the top people in their fields.

Online learning is simply a different way of consuming education. But there are challenges. From a speaker perspective, it’s not what they’re used to. Adjusting to a new way of doing things, can take some time. It’s why I spend the time walking any speaker I’m using through the platform to at least remove the ”tech anxiety.”

“As someone that has been teaching online, I feel very anxious. I appreciate the live feedback of having an audience in front of me. It is especially difficult when I am doing live demos as I cannot monitor the chat and focus on what I'm trying to teach.” Helen Schaefer 

Another issue is the way we learn. There are four primary types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Kinesthetic is commonly referred to as hands-on learning, such as my pet first aid class or hands-on breed workshops. While we will favor a particular type, to some degree we need all four. Online shows lack  kinesthetics, and the other issue is focus. So easy to pay attention to a thousand different things while you are supposed to be watching a seminar.

"I'm not much of a fan of online workshops. I see the appeal. Vast knowledge from across the globe in the comfort of my home. Sounds perfect. Except the practical application doesn't work for me. There's something to being in the same space as my speaker/teacher that can't be duplicated in a virtual setting. I would love to figure out what this factor is. Because of the pandemic there's a shift to virtual learning. And I would love to benefit from it as well. As for now, I wait."-Cynthia  Alvarado Hoffman

“I have found virtual seminars a blessing and a curse. I love the opportunity of attending a webinar from a tradeshow on the east coast, and the ability to re-watch it again for clarity. At the same time, I find I have to work harder to keep my focus and concentration on the webinar and not get distracted by trying to do other tasks at home or at work”. Erin Martin


“I’m a visual learner and the CPR workshop with Mary was so refreshing she explained everything verbally and then visual examples. Loved that she recognized that not everyone learns the same.”- Kim Kier

But if you can dedicate the time and space to online learning, it’s wonderful. The other benefit to online education is the lack of travel expenses and time away from business and family. Add in, that a live show is not always in a reasonable geographical location.

“I love the fact I can get training for my staff and have them not have to up end their life by traveling to do so. I also like the fact it's a lot easier to be able to be home and take an online course for staff that has commitments at home so they can't travel. For me I have thoroughly enjoyed the online seminars because I've been able to take seminars by speakers from all over the country, and I can't get to every trade show. I've think it's been phenomenal.”-Anjie Coates

“I love online learning as I’m not a good traveler. I also love the fact I can re-watch the season or class the next day or so.”- Kathryn Simard

I, for one, can’t wait for in person shows to start up again. But online learning is here to stay and should be a supplemental part of everyone’s continuing education.

Don’t know where to find online education, drop me a message and I will direct you to oodles of opportunities.

Pet First Aid Kits

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I remember the very first time I needed to use my pet first aid kit. I was hoping it had bandaids after I sliced my finger. I took the cellophane off and while I was happy they were there, out of the 100 count pet first aid kit had about 75 of them. I quickly learned that I needed to make sure my kit had the proper items.

This list is my current pet first aid kit:

  1. Activated charcoal is used to absorb ingested poisons. Any item in my kit that is intended for poisoning will NOT be used unless directed by a veterinarian. Protocols vary and what will help in one instance can cause harm in another.
  2. Antibiotic cream for wounds. I do not use triple antibiotic as I groom cats. While it is rare, if the cat is allergic to the combination of the three ingredients may cause a fatal reaction.
  3. Antihistamine and safety pin for minor allergic reactions. I specifically look for diphenhydramine gels with a liquid center. The safety pin is used to puncture the gel cap and squirt the liquid directly onto to the tongue of the pet. It is the fastest way for an anaphylactic pet to absorb the antihistamine. Consult a veterinarian for proper dosing beforehand. Not all pets can safely use antihistamines as it may interfere with other medications and medical conditions.
  4. Apps for smart phones. I have two that I like. The first is the ASPCA’s Pet Poison app. It’s FREE and will dial the number for the Pet Poison Hotline. As minutes matter in a poisoning, this is invaluable if you cannot reach a local veterinarian for instructions. While the app is free, the phone call to the hotline is not. The second is a veterinarian locator. This is useful if you are either a mobile or house call groomer and need to find the closest veterinarian.
  5. Baking soda to absorb topical poisons or chemicals.
  6. Band aids for myself. This is the one item that is replenished on a regular basis.
  7. Bandanas have multiple uses. They replace triangular bandages and can be used as slings to take the weight off of an injured limb.
  8. Expired gift cards are always saved. They are a perfect size to cushion pad injuries on larger pets. I place gauze on both sides of the card and securely wrap the cards and gauze to the paw with vet wrap. In addition, the cards can flick out bee stingers. Place the card at the base of the stinger where it meets the skin and lift up and out.
  9. Eyewash serves double duty. It can be used to flush out both eyes and wounds.
  10. Gauze comes in three varieties: gauze roll, gauze pads, and nonstick gauze pads. The gauze roll is wider and is good for larger wounds. The nonstick gauze is more expensive, but I will use it as the first pad on the wound and then place the cheaper gauze on top on it. The nonstick gauze will not remove the scab when it is time to replace the bandaging.
  11. Honey packets for hypoglycemic pets. Stress, seizures, as well as an owner giving a pet too much insulin can result in low blood sugar. This is a serious condition that may result in the death of the pet. Signs include listlessness, staggering, tremors, muscle weakness, and seizures. Do not give the pet honey unless directed by a veterinarian.
  12. Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a dog. As this is used for poisoning, consult a veterinarian first. Dosage will vary. Vomiting is not a given for poisoning. If it is caustic, it will burn the throat on its way out. You cannot use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in cats. Cats cannot metabolize hydrogen peroxide.
  13. Ice will constrict blood flow and slow bleeding. I do not keep ice in my pet first aid kit. If you have a freezer in a shop, then add ice.
  14. Liquid bandage is an asset if you know how to use it properly. Used incorrectly, it can damage surrounding tissue, as well as trap bacteria in the wound. Your veterinarian can instruct you in proper usage. I do not use superglue. It is not manufactured for medical use and as such, the manufacturer can change ingredients and formulation without consideration for safety on wounds.
  15. Muzzles are a must. If you need to use your pet first aid kit, this pet is likely in pain. Any pet that is in pain is a bite risk.
  16. Plastic baggies to collect a vomit or fecal sample. This may be necessary if the pet has been poisoned and you are unsure of what was ingested. When not in use, it can store smaller items for easy accessibility.
  17. Rubber gloves to protect you from any zoonotic and also to collect vomit or fecal samples.
  18. Sanitary napkins will absorb blood.
  19. Squirt bottle to deliver hydrogen peroxide down the throat of a dog.
  20. Styptic powder for use on nails only. It stings and this pet is already in pain. In addition, styptic powder is not sterile and you may introduce bacteria into the wound. There are newer products on the market that functions as a styptic powder and can be used for wounds as well.
  21. Tea bags contain tannic acid. It is effective in stopping bleeding. While sugar is effective, I do not recommend it because the pet may be diabetic or pre-diabetic.
  22. Vet wrap is wonderful. It keeps the wound secure and dry.
  23. Wound cleanser. You have a couple of options. The first is sterile saline solution, also known as eyewash. The second is a Chlorohexidine based cleanser. This is easy to find. Almost any store that sells first aid items carries it. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Do not use sterile, tap, or bottled water and it disrupts the salt balance of the cells and slows healing.

Many of these items have expiration dates and should be checked periodically.


Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader.

You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at

Motivation Vs.Self-Sabotage

Motivation Vs. Self Sabotage

Is the real reason you can’t seem to finish anything because you lack motivation? Or is it because your subconscious is sabotaging you!

Motivation is simply a process that guides any goal-oriented behavior. You’re thirsty, so you drink a glass of water. You crave some social interaction, so you see what’s happening on FB.

Did you know it’s actually easier to achieve disappointment than it is to seek fulfillment? Your logical side of your brain thinks that what you’re doing is great, but it is forever battling your subconscious. You can become very good at having a disappointing life.

It’s the fault of a tiny area in the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is part of your subconscious mind that controls emotions, survival instincts, and memory. It can make decisions for you and encourage traits that make it hard for you to finish such as procrastination, while ingraining bad habits that make you feel better.

Your subconscious doesn’t necessarily want your life to suck. It’s actually looking for self-preservation. It views change as the great unknown and therefore must be feared. Most of the time, your subconscious gets it view of the world based on your childhood.

To get around this, you first need to notice when you’re being sabotaged by the following traits:

  1. Instead, try breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable goals.
  2. Engaging in negative thinking. Instead, be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the same way you would talk to a friend. Change the narrative to I can and I will rather than it’s just not working for me.
  3. Looking for perfection to start something. Realize perfection doesn’t exist.

Most of our bad habits come from feelings of self-worth. We don’t deserve this. You feel inadequate, then your subconscious comes along and pats you on the back and tells you not to worry, we’ll just stay the way we are.

Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader.

You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at

Sometimes we need to look at how we’re trying to get things accomplished. Try a different approach, get a different perspective and insight on the situation.

Real change starts with small steps. Once you see where your subconscious is “trying to help” you, you can make the changes you need to make a difference in your life.