Has your business slowed down – or even come to a sudden halt? Are you feeling paralyzed by fear or panic or finding yourself consumed by the sheer suddenness and strangeness of all of this?
If so, I wish I could give you a hug right now. But there’s that social distancing thing, so even if I could, I wouldn’t because I want to protect you, me and everyone we all come in contact with.
However, it’s my hope that what I have to share here will provide some comfort to you during this time and maybe even feel like a hug from me (or perhaps even a coaching session).
I went through a time that feels somewhat similar to what we’re all going through now. I want to share what I did during that time that really helped me and my pet business so that you can learn some positive actions to take in your pet business.
What Happened To My Pet Business After September 11
What’s happening now to pet businesses feels similar to what happened to many pet businesses after 9/11. Those of us who had a business then were all in shock by the immediate shut down of business (very similar to what’s happening now). Business just… stopped.
Truth be told, I didn’t know if my pet business would survive what happened after 9/11. People stopped traveling. Pet owners stopped having their dogs walked. Everything related to pet care immediately came to a grinding halt. I wasn’t prepared for it, as you might not be for what’s happening now.
That Was Not an Easy Time, Just Like This is Not an Easy Time.
Before 9/11 my business was booming. But in one single day, the business phone stopped ringing, the email stopped pinging. On top of the fear of economic insecurity, I didn’t know what to do with myself now that I had all this time. I felt paralyzed with fear, which is what you may be feeling right now. (If you are, give yourself a whole lot of slack.) After the paralysis wore off, I realized that I needed to get proactive and use my time in positive ways, ways that would positively move my business forward.
Below are some business and personal actions I took during the 9/11 business slow down that helped me mentally and emotionally in addition to helping me be ready to hit the ground running when my business came back to life.
Here are some business and personal actions you can do now if your business is slow:
- Create a list of business and personal tasks you’ve been putting on the back burner and take action on them. These tasks included tax prep, office and home organizing, throwing out expired food and spices in my pantry and refrigerator, plus other to do items that had been on my main list for many weeks or even months. It felt incredible to have these tasks behind me and helped me channel nervous energy in positive ways.
- Contact your friends and family and asked them how you can help. Helping others is a sure-fire way to get out of my head and into my heart. It’s a powerful antidote to fear. Here’s a support email you can use as a template.
- Stay up-to-date on what’s happening but limit your exposure to the news. I noticed when I watched or read a lot of news related to the disaster, it was like eating McDonald’s. In the moment it felt good but quickly it lead to me not feeling awful. In fact, after watching and reading a lot of news after 9/11 as well as with all the current coronavirus coverage I felt depressed, helpless and scared. This unhealthy behavior of wanting more and more information doesn’t create a stable, solid place within from which to make important decisions. Remember, the media is designed to create a hunger for more information and that hunger will rarely be satisfied unless we put a stop to it. Ingesting a vast amount of information can often ignite the fear part of our brain that often reacts by wanting more information, which then creates more fear. You get the picture. And if you’ve been reading or watching the news lately, you really get the picture. Stay informed but do limit your watching or reading the news. Giving yourself a media time limit will be your best line of defense against the free-floating fear or anxiety that you may be currently experiencing.
- Get pet business administration software (or change software services if yours isn’t the right fit for you). Now is the perfect time to get software or switch software systems! When 9/11 happened, I had known that I needed to get my business set up on a software system but I’d been dragging my feet about it. Up until then, the business had often felt too busy to make the switch from my archaic system to a modern way of running the business. However, I used the slow down after 9/11 to sign up for a software system and took the time to learn it, the way I would a new language (which for many of us, a new software often is). If you need a software system or don’t like your current system, now is the time to explore something new! I’m happy to personally set you up with a 30-minute software demo with the founder of the software system that I absolutely love (and that hundreds of my coaching clients love too!) Email me to get a 30-minute software demo.
- Update your client and staff forms, contracts, and employee handbook. This was something I’d put off for years because there always seemed to be something more pressing to put my attention on. If you are using the same contracts or client forms that you had since you started your business, they are probably past due for a revamp. Now is a great time to make the changes, or to start fresh with brand new forms that will ramp up your professionalism. Here’s a limited-time discount link on forms, contracts, and employee handbook, etc.
- Look at all of your business and personal expenses and contact all service or product providers to see about lower-priced options. This included my cell phone provider, all of my business advertisers and even my landlord. It felt humbling to ask for lower priced services but I put on my big girl pants and did it anyway. Calling my landlord to ask for a reduction in rent was the hardest call for me to make, and yet I did it. Thankfully my landlord said yes. In fact even better than saying yes, she asked me how much I could afford to pay in rent. I asked for a $200 reduction in rent and she agreed, though she did ask me to raise it back to the current rate when I was able to pay that again. A few months later, I called her again, this time to let her know I could start paying the regular rate again.
- Learn business skills with the intention to become highly-effective and proficient in order to run your pet business in a powerful way. I am a voracious reader and spent part of the slow time reading books on small business management, hiring and advertising. This enabled me to be better prepared when my business began getting busy again. There are 65 episodes currently available for listening and learning from the Prosperous Pet Business podcast. I also have online courses and webinars that you can attend including tomorrow’s March 17 webinar called How to Hire a Pet Business Manager. Visit the Webinars and Online Workshop page to learn business skills.
We will get through this. Together.
About the Author:
Kristin Morrison started her pet sitting and dog walking company in the mid-90s and it grew to become one of the largest pet care companies in California. Kristin hired over 250 people in the course of running her business for 18 years and when she sold the business, she had 35 dog walkers and pet sitters and 4 managers on staff.
Kristin is the founder of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™ and Six-Figure Pet Business Academy™ which provides coaching, webinars and business products to pet sitters, dog walkers, dog trainers, and pet groomers across the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia.
Kristin is also the host of the Prosperous Pet Business podcast which is found on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also listen to it on the Prosperous Pet Business website.
Kristin is the author of five books: Six-Figure Pet Sitting, 30 Days to Start and Grow Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business, The Hiring Handbook for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers, Prosperous Pet Business and Six-Figure Pet Business. Her books are available in paperback on Amazon. The eBooks and audiobooks are on her website at: www.SixFigurePetBusinessAcademy.com
Join the Prosperous Pet Business Community Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/prosperouspetbusiness/
Prosperous Pet Business Podcast: https://prosperouspetbusiness.com/pet-business-podcast/