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Restart your pet business after lockdown with Dominic Hodgson

by | May 13, 2020

The Coronavirus crisis has meant many pet business owners have had to shut up shop completely for nearly two months.

This week I’m speaking to Dominic Hodgson who runs Pack Leader Adventures and coaches petpreneurs about his five step recovery plan.

Having been through a recession and tried and tested many things since setting up his dog adventure business in 2011, he shares his insights on how to bounce back.

You can listen to the podcast on the player link or read as a blog post.

 

The Coronavirus pandemic that has seen the nation lockdown for nearly two months has turned lives and businesses upside down – not just financially.

Being unable to work and do the thing that defines you affects emotional wellbeing too.

This week, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to ease the restrictions, you may be returning to work.

You may be planning your next steps and being cautious – for many the restrictions still make returning to work almost impossible.

The effects of Coronavirus are going to be long lasting but during lockdown, there has been opportunity too.

There’s been a chance to work on your business rather than in it, to assess what’s working best and to be flexible and resourceful.

Here, Dominic shares the five steps pet businesses owners can follow to come back with a bang.

1. Protect and Serve

That’s the motto of the Los Angeles police department, and it’s a great strategy for you during the Coronavirus crisis and beyond.

Effective communication is essential in marketing but at times of great uncertainty it’s even more critical.

Think about when a friend or relative is unexpectedly taken into hospital. You don’t want all the gory details but you do want to know everything is ok.

Your clients feel the same way and they will remember you were there for them when it mattered. 

Reaching out is hard, because you feel like people don’t want to hear from you, but they DO.

Especially if you show up and ‘be real’ with them.  

How to communicate? Every way possible. I sent emails, texts, phone calls, postcards, letters. and I even wrote a book to help dog owners during self-isolation. 

As you come out of lockdown, keep your clients informed of the impact it’s had on your business and the steps you’re now taking to serve them.

READ: How to keep in touch with your clients during lockdown

2. Practise ‘Self-Help’

Put your own life-jacket on first because if you don’t you are no use to anyone.

Remember to look after yourself. Stepping away from social media is key to this.

Only watching news once a day, and getting regular exercise and fresh air will help.

Discover or re-starting an old hobby – I’ve been making more bread since lockdown. it was something I used to do years ago but fell off the ‘breadwagon’.

Now I’m back on it and it helps to immerse myself in something that takes my mind off everything that’s going on. 

3. Do a business audit and create a vision for the future

The seven weeks we’ve had of lockdown has given us the opportunity to do all the things you say you don’t usually have time to do because you are too busy working!

If you’ve not done this already, sit and think about all the things you currently love and hate about your pet business.

You might not think you ‘hate’ anything, but I bet there are activities that you dislike (and maybe even clients you would rather not deal with).

Does your business bring in the kind of money you deserve, are you working too many hours?

Is it giving you the kind of life you really want to have? Use this time to put a plan in place to fix those issues. 

I’ve gone from being a dog adventurer, to trainer, to a store, to hosting a podcast, to teaching online courses, to becoming an author and speaker, to now being regarded as Europe’s leading pet business marketing coach.

How did I do that? With hard work, a vision and a plan to get there. 

4. Transition to ‘Being Premium’ and look for up sell opportunities

Things are going to be different for a loooong time.

Whole industries have pressed pause on their operations and some will disappear altogether.

This is incredibly sad. But it highlights the need for you to sell your products and services to those who can afford them – affluent premium clients who have more disposable income.

When you charge more for your services, you work less hours which means less stress.

Social distancing restrictions will impact on your work. You’ll have to spend more time cleaning meaning grooms and walks will take longer.

You’ll be delivering less ‘services’ with additional operating costs so you should be charging a premium.

5. Implement an effective marketing system for your business

All great businesses (big and small) have systems that work like clockwork.

They have systems for delivering the service AND for marketing the service.

Yours should be no different.

Smart pet business owners have a specialised service and a ‘marketing systems’ that have effective online AND offline follow up.

My most successful coaching clients do email marketing (online) and direct mail (offline postcards, newsletters) and they work hard to exploit PR opportunities.

READ: How media coverage can help your pet business

READ: How to prepare for a media interview in 10 steps

Many have followed my lead and written their own books and guides that demonstrate their expert status.

It’s possible to transform your business and bank balance if you fix your marketing. It can be hard work, but life is way less stressful when you feel in control.


From May 28th, Dominic is hosting an online event for pet business owners, Inspire.

There will be eight days of seminars covering pet business marketing, video, how writing a book can boost your pet business and how to get media coverage.

It’s to provide people with the skills they  need to protect their pet businesses against unforeseen events like COVID-19 in the future.

Speakers are:

Amy Smith – founder of the Soundproof Puppy App – How to build an online pet business

Alex Wardle – Artifact Media – How to get confident on video

Vicky Fraser – Moxie Books – How to write a book to change your pet business forever

Colin Taylor – Colin Taylor Grooming Academy – Expert tips for groomers

Dominic will be talking about marketing and I will be doing a class on how to get media coverage for your pet business.

If you’d like to come along, tickets are £34 and this includes access to the live classes and recordings.

You also receive a PDF of the Ultimate Pet Business Plan and The Lockdown Survival Pet Business Plan.

Find out more at:  https://www.growyourpetbusinessfast.com/inspire/*

  • Denotes an affiliate link which means I will receive a commission if you click through and purchase a ticket. This does not affect the price you pay.
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