As we wind down from the busiest time of year in the pet care sector, we need to give thought to our successes over the past 12 months and how to quantify them. If you have been rushed off your feet with the general running of your enterprise, or lost a little mojo in recent months; this exercise can help.
Regardless of when your business start of year is, January naturally sparks renewal, declutter, reappraisal and new strategy in business. Stopping to spend an afternoon to look at your success and plan your next 12 months will really help 2019 be the best year yet.
This is an overview of how I assess small and large business alike. Simply scale up or down based on your business size. You can use this for individual establishments all the way up to the grouping of your full company. By looking at a good all round view of our company we can see the impact that improvements in any of the categories can have.
Turnover – This is an easy place to start. After all we are usually in business to sell and measure our success accordingly. Number crunching time. Look at your like-for-like sales, number of dogs boarded, number of collars sold. It doesn’t matter as long as you track it and set yourself goals for yourself then you have something to aim for that will naturally grow your business.
Profit – Having a plan to increase your profit is a must. Let’s face it. You can increase your profit by many ways but effective long term growth takes planning and effort in all of these areas. Reducing loss and costs. Increasing prices, selling more, expansion, or maybe better conversion. By working through all of these categories you will start to see how you can increase this month on month, year on year.
Brand awareness – You’ll have heard marketing gurus talk about this subject. Is your brand well recognised? Do you need a refresh? Are you getting your company touch points out there and in the right places to drive sales or bookings? How can you persuade potential customers to not only see your brand, but want to interact with it as well?
Loss reduction – every business should assess the waste the business produces and should look to actively reduce the figure. Loss could be stock-related such as out of date items, damages, returns. There may be errors in bookkeeping, incorrectly priced products preventing sales or affecting margin. Staff turnover should be considered here. A high turnover is a loss of training expense and potential at the very least. Working to retain your staff should be as important as retaining your stock or contacts database.
Consumer engagement – have you increased your social media following? Do you have more traffic through your website?. Have you analysed the browsing patterns on your shop or in your shop. What is a client’s perception of your service, stock or store?
Reputation – Do you track complaints that come into your team? One of the best examples I saw of this is with a Danish aquatic plant company called Tropica. They have a board on the wall of their office which a complaint is put in and is then moved from category to category until, not only has it been resolved for the customer, it has been resolved so it cannot reoccur in the business. The board took pride of place in the office, so everybody could see the current issues the company faced regarding its sales, service and deliveries and all could contribute to making permanent improvements. Do you track compliments? Do you celebrate your successes and what you and your team are brilliant at? Do you regularly check?
Your team – How has your team grown over the past 12 months? By grown I mean they should be much more beneficial to your company than this time last year. Have they increased their efficiency, productivity or skill set? Are they engaged with your brand and their coworkers? Have individuals been given support to increase their training and take on a larger role? A happy productive worker will be a great ambassador for your brand and your customers. Remember with every team member loss, it costs you a lot to recruit and train. Quite often it is the people that cause someone to leave the business and not the business itself.
Nicola is the founder of Ravensford Consultancy – Providers of holistic business support for pet people. www.ravensfordconsultancy.com
This feature was first published in the December 2018 issue of Pet Gazette