If you own a pet store, chances are you started your business because you're passionate about keeping pets and their people happy and healthy, not getting rich quickly. As a small business owner, though, you probably learned right away that running your store isn't just about passion but also business savvy and endless logistics and coordination. Not to worry: With the following tools and strategies, success will be yours.
1. Stay Organized
As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Keeping track of finances, ordering and stocking items, managing employees, meeting customer demand and so much more can become hectic, so it's crucial to stay ahead of the workload with superb organization strategies. Business experts recommend ditching the to-do list and instead adopting techniques such as:
- Keeping a detailed online calendar that you update every day
- Taking notes with pen and paper, but keeping all your important files in digital folders
- Writing out important goals and all the steps it will take to achieve them
- Tracking and improving your time management for maximum efficiency
Finally, the University of Rochester recommends strategies such as limiting distractions, using a timer to track your time, maintaining a neat environment, practicing accountability and taking breaks.
2. Invest in Reliable Software
In today's small business world, technology has come a long way, and there’s no use staying stuck in a less efficient and more chaotic past of paper files, exclusively in-store transactions, manual ordering and arduous data collection and analysis. Instead, save yourself the effort — and the costly mistakes — by investing in state-of-the-art pet business software that was created by experts to help you succeed. Small business technology isn’t just about automatizing the most basic processes and freeing up a couple of minutes in your day. It’s about using past data trends from your own business as well as the broader pet store landscape to predict your business’s needs even before you can, then simplifying the next steps.
This type of software can help you perform crucial functions as varied as appointment booking, online sales, Point-of-Sale (POS) inventory management, marketing, vendor reimbursements and loyalty programs. With modern technology at your fingertips, it is only logical to take full advantage of all the tools available to you to maintain and improve your pet store.
3. Maintain Work-Life Balance
When you run your own business, especially one as fast-paced and potentially hectic as a pet store, it can be tempting to devote every waking moment to staying afloat and ahead of the curve. Mental health experts will tell you that overworking yourself is a fast track to burnout and is ultimately unsustainable. Instead of running yourself into the ground, make sure to take a step back, choose only the most critical tasks to accomplish each day and learn how to delegate projects and responsibilities.
To avoid burnout, experts from Ohio University recommend setting specific working hours each day (and sticking to them!), going off the grid for vacations and working remotely when possible. Other strategies from Mayo Clinic include making sure to get great sleep, make time in your day for relaxing activities, and consider practicing mindfulness. It might seem counterintuitive to spend time on yourself rather than your business, but in the end, a healthy work-life balance could make all the difference in your store’s success and longevity.
4. Remember Why You Started
Perhaps most important of all is to remember why you started your pet store in the first place. Especially if you feel symptoms of burnout coming on or start to feel overwhelmed, it is always worth setting aside a few precious moments of your day to take a step back and appreciate all the hard work you have put into your business and all that you have already accomplished. Consider your regular customers, who rely on you for the supplies and expertise required to care for their own pets. Consider the first-time pet owner who enters your shop frazzled and desperate for your counsel and leaves armed with everything they need to make a good home for their animal friends.
Most of all, consider your store’s place in your community and the joy and comfort that you bring to so many lives every day. Remember that you have what it takes to run your pet sore successfully!