How To Make Your Canine Biz A Howling Success
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

How To Make Your Canine Biz A Howling Success

Enjoy these top 20 tips on everything from marketing tricks/PR problem solving and daily/monthly rituals to ensure your dog care is the best it can be. Learn how to make extra cash with popular add-on services and learn how to think outside the ‘dog box’.
In no particular order:
Spic and Span

A clean and tidy property makes the best impression for the incoming customer and provides the safest environment for pets and their caregivers too. Always keep the property free of debris, weed whacked or weed controlled, strimmed and mowed. Fences should be in excellent repair, concrete surfaces sealed without ugly cracks and all doors and kennel fittings clean and in good working order. Remove dead trees, fallen limbs and brush and seasonal materials such as dead leaves. Clean gutters, plant flowers in containers and make your property pretty to visit.
Keeping the dog boxes and runs clean should go without saying – pens and freedom areas should be mowed out, poop picked and be clean inviting spaces for the dogs to play.
Wash out the water and feed buckets and bins and ensure sinks, baths and interior areas of the kennel such as feeding rooms and aisles are vacuum cleaned of dog hair and in immaculate condition.
Everything should look sweet and smell sweet.
Be Organized

A schedule board kept on the wall and kept up to date is a clear indication of a well-run kennel. Visitors will notice the touches that show you run an organized kennel operation. Signs that encourage the right sort of behavior such as, ‘Please keep your dog leashed’ or ‘Please don’t feed the dogs’ and direction/action signs such as ‘Visitors please check in at the office’ can all not just give the appearance that the business is properly run but also encourages people to be obedient! Adding a touch of humor to signage doesn’t hurt either. For example: “Ring the bell and please sit. Stay. Someone will be with you shortly,” on the office desk or on the office door.
Have paperwork ready for signing.  Have a printer handy to print out copies from a tablet or device in case your customer does not utilize email much or prefers a hard copy of what they have signed. Ensure that paperwork that will need to be completed is available for download off your website. This encourages people to get the paperwork completed before their arrival and saves them trying to handle an excited dog while trying to execute documents needed for the pet to stay.

Have The Right Kennel Set-Up

Modern day kennel designs offer many advantages over concrete floors/boxes and center drained kennel spaces with limited ventilation or light.
You don’t have to invest in a new kennel set up all at once, it can be built on to piecemeal if you choose a modular kennel build. The advantages of a custom designed or ‘off the lot’ kennel manufactured in modular style means an easy, almost instant delivery and having the space ready to go in a matter of 24-36 hrs.
There is a lot less mess and mayhem and less distress to the dogs presently on your property involved with an off-site build too. The features are impressive and some you may not be aware of so always worth getting an up-to-date peek at what is out there. You can be sure your competitors are looking at upgrading or are already offering modern amenities.
A huge advantage of an upgraded modern modular commercial grade kennel is it also saves on labor time and costs. When you take the drudgery out of daily dog care tasks, you’ll also be surprised how much easier it makes it to find, hire and keep staff.
Keeping your canines’ content is so much easier with a modern structure. Don’t be shy to investigate your options.
 Modern Kennel

Know Your Competition

It is always good to keep up to date with what your competition is offering their customers and what rates they are charging. While reviews and posts online can offer some commentary the easiest way to ascertain what your competition is up to is to go and look. This doesn’t mean you need to sneak around pretending to be someone you not such as a prospective client.
Feedback from colleagues can be invaluable in developing your business model and keeping abreast of the times. Consider visiting in person and making a connection and ask their advice. Most people are very happy to share the ups and downs of business with others and as long as they are not literally in your backyard, the cross-over of clientele is likely minimal.
Online resources are critical reading and provide a great deal of insight too. Case studies in particular can offer ideas and inspiration for the canine care business owner. Great resources include site pages like this one.
Negative Nannies

Be careful who you listen to when seeking business advice. Look for folks that have been successful in their endeavors and who you admire. Look outside the dog business. General business knowledge is important and iconic business leaders like Richard Branson, Barbara Corcoran and others can illuminate how best to address everything from staff issues to marketing help to daily rituals you yourself can undertake to better manage your time and sustain energy.
Avoid people who have negative things to bring to the table. Always surround yourself with people who talk about ideas and improving life versus those who speak and gossip about others.
Online Feedback

Always embrace feedback from clients whether it be positive or negative. The latter often offers clues as to where you can improve your business model and addresses areas of concern that you may have overlooked.
Perspective is hard to maintain when you are too close to the subject. Learn to look at your business with a soft eye so you can take in the whole picture.
Marketing Madness

It is important to be active and engaged in marketing your business. But it is also important to realize that perhaps the task requires more specialist knowledge than you have, to make a big impact and supply more income.
Social media management can be achieved with a modicum of good routines, common sense and scheduling, but creating interesting content may be better off handled by a professional. Good marketing is not about spending a lot of money. Learn how to maximize your business potential and create brand loyalty either by employing a professional or studying it yourself online.
The Haters

The best way to handle sincerely hateful commentary or bullying online is simply to delete the comments and if possible, block the follower or user. Pay no attention to their activities and they will most likely simply move on. To give them attention is the feed the hate monster.
Keep Your Opinions Private

Avoid making claims, repeating gossip or threading conversations with negativity yourself when talking or writing to anyone. In the world of modern technology what you say and do can and will be used in future evidence against you somewhere.
Being positive in your words and actions actually does improve your own sense of well-being and self-esteem. Stay real but stay kind.
Build The Check

Always be open about your pricing and policies but don’t be afraid to offer add-on services that can build the check. For a canine care business this could be in the form of offering grooming and bathing services, extra special walks and private one on one attention for a dog in for boarding, or breeding services for a pet owner that would like to whelp their bitch out or breed their pedigree dog.
Do You

You will hear much about the unique selling point {USP) when it comes to marketing. Remember as a small business owner the key ingredient in the business is you. How you do things, why you do them, when you do them and your thought leadership in the business matter. Ensure ‘you’ are well represented when it comes to marketing materials.
A Website Is A Must

Even though attracting potential clients to your business and keeping existing customers up to date and interested in your business can be readily achieved through social media, the website is a must have for any business. The emails attached to it should not be titled ‘info@’ or generic names. Personalize the titles of emails and most importantly monitor and answer emails promptly.
Website construction and management does not have to be expensive. A simple landing page is sufficient to start, but plan on building it out as one page does not a business make. Create a sales funnel at your website that makes sense.

Things go wrong. The best practice to handle an incident or upset is first to do whatever you can to fix the issue and resolve the objection. The second thing to do is to then put standards and practices in place to ensure the issue is not repeated.
Take responsibility for mistakes, offer a genuine apology, and do what it takes to rectify the situation. Good news travels fast but bad news travels further and has a longer shelf life.
Have Fun

People are very tuned in to whether you are enjoying the work you do or whether you are just marking time or making a paycheck. Presumably you started your business because you had a passion for something in it or related to it. Don’t lose that. It is easy to become overwhelmed at times but always seek to stay present in the moment.
Vacations Are Must Haves

No-one can stay truly fresh at their work without a meaningful change from the daily grind. Figure out the best time and best options for at least an annual get away. Family time is not something to take for granted, and you will return refreshed and revigorated and who knows may pick up some tips on your travels that may help you develop your business.

In every industry there are opportunities to join clubs and entities where like-minded individuals gather and share information and help one another along. It may be your local Chamber of Commerce or a chapter of a dog breeding or dog training association.
Don’t be shy to take some time out to mingle. Many good connections and friendships are formed through these events and many larger clubs offer industry discounts on everything from airfares to dog products.
The Deep Clean

While daily cleaning rituals may look sufficient for your kennel it is imperative that a deep clean routine is also in place and followed. Frequent deep cleans will not only make the daily cleaning chores easier they will also provide longevity for the structure and most importantly, facilitate optimal health for the canine occupants and their caregivers.

Deep Clean
Open The Door

Great ways to grow your business includes Open Days, dog training fairs, hosting a rescue for a puppy/dog giveaway and similar ‘open the door’ days. Whatever the reason people come to visit your property, the outcome will be free press via word of mouth and knowledge of your facility.
Go The Extra Mile

It may sound simple but in fact it is anything but. Most of the time business owners are wearing so many hats it is hard for them to keep up with what needs to be done never mind what extras they could do to make the client extra happy.
Easy ways to keep clients happy are things like, gifting them a bottle of dog shampoo or dog product that you know will help their particular pet, not charging them for ½ days of board where they are delayed picking up the pet due to factors beyond their control such as flight details or car problems.
Focus on Fido

When their pet is happy the pet owner is happy. Always put the dog’s interests first and foremost. Taking the best possible care of the animal and ensuring its happiness and well-being will always win hearts but no-one will feel better about it than you do.

Professional Kennel