Start the New Year with a great Year-End

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Last week’s big focus was all about prepping FetchFind’s year-end summary. And while I was doing that, I thought about all of you – my fellow entrepreneurs and business owners.

The year end summary/report is an incredible exercise for any entrepreneur. You can do your own and share it with all of your stakeholders: employees, contractors, investors, VIP clients, vendors, and partners.

Here are my sections and a brief overview of what each section includes. Feel free to add your own and/or let me know if you think I’ve missed something!

2017 Overview: Just as it says. Write a few sentences about high-level takeaways, wins and areas of focus in 2017. (If you’d like to see mine, email me and I’ll happily share it with you.)

2017 Highlights: Get a bit more granular by listing your accomplishments, goals met, new business deals, conferences attended, key partnerships, etc.

Team/Roles: Did you add anyone? Let anyone go? Talk about that here.

Vital KPIs (key performance metrics): These will vary from business to business, and if you don’t quite know what yours are, the start of 2018 is a perfect time to establish them. In 2018, FetchFind will be developing some helpful tools around this and other business topics.

Active Sales Pipeline and Customer Acquisition Strategies: What are you doing to grow the business? (i.e. getting new customers!)

Product or Service: Have you added any lines of service or new products to your inventory? Did you have a price adjustment?

Areas for Improvement: This is pretty self-explanatory! However, this section is only meaningful when you are honest. Do you spend too much time on things that yield little return? Are there operational processes that don’t work as they stand now?

2018 Q1 Goals: This is also self-explanatory… but I encourage you to be flexible with goal setting. Our whole team is highly focused on goals for 2018 and I can already see where FetchFind is changing due to thoughtful goal planning. But I am also aware that goals can be both overwhelming and limiting, so it’s a fine balance between setting, keeping, and changing them as needed. (Here’s a good article on that.) Remember that Q1 is only 90 days, so think about what you are setting out to accomplish and make sure you are being reasonable.

Overall Goals for 2018: See above, but multiply x4.

Help Needed and Housekeeping: Use this area to communicate anything about your business that you might need some help or support with, and/or as a place to mention any important updates or administrative items.

So there you have at it. Take the time to reflect on 2017 and set the tone for 2018. Even if you do this exercise and show it to no one, it’s exciting and extraordinarily useful to look at what you wrote for each of these sections one year later.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Jamie Sig Trans - First Only

Plan to make plans – and don’t make small ones

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There was no better feeling than buying a new Trapper Keeper at the beginning of the school year.

It represented a tidy place to document all of those wonderful new experiences just waiting to happen (and, yes, I always put the initials of my secret crush on the inside cover. Don’t judge me.) Now, as an adult, the only thing that comes close to that expansive feeling of infinite possibilities – neatly organized – is buying a planner for the New Year.

There’s a trick to planning your life and work, and here’s the thing – that trick is different for everyone. However much you love the idea of the Bullet Journal, if you aren’t a set-and-subset kind of thinker, it will never work for you. If you function best with reminders inked on post-it notes and the back of your hand, there is no point to buying a half dozen apps and hoping you’ll get around to using them.

Here’s the other thing – the way you plan changes over time. I realized a couple months ago that my old planning systems weren’t working for me anymore, so I unleashed my OCD on the google and ordered the top 10 planners in the marketplace. I didn’t just want to plan the year, I wanted something to help me set and achieve my goals. So I sat with all of these planners arranged around me while I plotted out what I needed and wanted to do next year. Then I chose the keeper.

(The suspense is killing you, isn’t it?)  🙂

I’ve decided to use the 90X goal planner in 2018. The basic premise is that you select five primary goals for the next 90 days and build an entire plan around the five goals you work with every single day. In addition to that, I’ve also put together a template for consistent calendar structure which provides me allocated time for responsibilities across these 6 critical areas of growth: family/health, financial management/funding, sales, marketing, team/admin, and networking/mentoring.

So my first goal is to fill out my goal planner for the next 90 days. I’ll have a few blocks of “down” time this week while I’m traveling, and I’m going to use that time to clear my head, set my goals, and plan on how to make 2018 the best year ever.

What are your favorite planners or planning systems, and why? (I really do want to know – send me an email! I love this stuff.)

Make no small plans,

Jamie Sig Trans - First Only

Thankful for you — every day of the year

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Thanksgiving Day is a day off for most of us, but for many of you who own pet care businesses, it marks the beginning of one of the busiest weekends of the year.  

Which brings me to my thought and message for the beginning of the holiday season.

This year my family did something very different for Thanksgiving.  We all (40+ of us) had our dinner at a country club where my cousins are members. There was a ton of perfect food and excellent service, all in a gorgeous setting in a very posh area of Chicago.

And while we were enjoying not having to cook, clean, etc., I kept thinking about how everyone on the service team – from the valets to the chefs – were not at home with their families.

I asked our server if she had dinner yet.

You know how she replied?

“Wow, thanks. No I haven’t. You are the only person here who thought to ask. That was really nice of you.”

Ugh.

I remember the years and countless missed dinners, holidays, parties, weddings, and funerals as a pet sitter. My friends and family hardly understood and, truth be told, I hadn’t ever really weighed that consideration as I built my pet care businesses. It was a struggle. But I recall the clients who left me special gifts and notes knowing I was with their pets so that they could be with their families. And that made all the difference.

So what I want to say is:

 I see you.

I respect you.

I admire you.

And I understand.

You – and your team – are my pet care heroes.

Be proud, because pet professionals like you provide an extraordinarily valuable service. Your hard work and dedication allow millions of people to have enjoyable and relaxing holidays knowing their pets are in capable hands.

Hang tight for this holiday season. You got this. And FetchFind is here if you need anything at all.

With great respect,

Jamie Sig Trans - First Only

 

WTF (Really!)

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My life has two tales (or tails, if you will).

Last week I was in Hershey, PA at the Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo. I was surrounded by friends and colleagues from my beloved pet industry – some people that I have known for 20 years or more. They know me as Jamie-the-Dog-Trainer, or maybe even Jamie-the-Person-Who-Started- a-Company-Called-FetchFind-and-I’m- Not-Sure-What-She-Does-But-I-Think-It-Might-be-Kind-of-Cool.  I have so much history with these people that I want to tell them all about my other life,  which blends my love of pets and people with my love of entrepreneurship and technology. But how do I even get started with that conversation (especially when it’s so much fun to just talk about dogs)?

Likewise, when I’m with my technology colleagues, I would love for them to understand that I’m not just a dog trainer who started a tech business, but that I’m also a serious entrepreneur who happens to be working in a dynamic and growing industry.

That brings me to Thursday night…

I attended the Midwest Women in Tech Awards dinner, where I was surrounded by some of the most successful and innovative minds in entrepreneurship, technology, and business leadership. The evening was filled with dignitaries such Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who gave the opening remarks and displayed some truly world-class shushing powers) and J.B. Pritzker, who gave the keynote address.

And the thing is, I won a technology award!  

(See above; WTF stands for Women Tech Founders, which is possibly the most satisfying acronym ever.)

But the entire time I was in that room full of tech and biz stars, I was aware that none of them had any idea that a mere 10 hours before I was talking dogs with my pet industry peeps in Hershey, PA.

How do I represent both sides of my career and passion?  Or should I just resign myself to talking pets with my pet tribe and tech with my tech tribe? Sometimes I feel that I’m denying 50% of my essential self to half of my network, all the time. Which is hard, because I really do like to share pretty much everything with everybody.

But you know what – maybe that’s okay. I’ve dedicated my life to people and animals, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to deploy that passion, experience, and education in building FetchFind. FetchFind gives me and my Amazing Team a platform to meaningfully scale our life’s work and being recognized for that work last night really did bring those two worlds together in a way that felt exactly right. 

 How many of us change careers or try to discover who we really are, only to end up feeling that there’s no way to effectively reach disparate audiences or even just the people from different sides of our life? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve struggled with that dilemma in the past, or are wrestling with it right now – we might be able to help you bridge that gap.

One of the best quotes from last night was “a good leader is a person who opens the door but holds out a hand to help the person behind her”.  So here’s my hand – let’s go through that door together. 

Jamie Sig Trans - First Only

 

How to get the most out of FetchFind Monthly Pro for your team

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By Cara Armour, Founder of Active Paws Inc and marketing manager of ProPetHero

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and a popular question that they ask is, “if you could tell your 20 year old self something you know now, what would it be?” I realize that while there is a ton to tell my younger self, sadly what is most important to make my life better then didn’t exist.

Running a pet care business 15 years ago

When I first started Active Paws Inc back in 2003, I was using excel to print schedules and handwriting corrections on them. Smartphones didn’t exist, so I spent my dinner time responding to emails and phone calls. I certainly didn’t have amazing online training available, provided by experts in the industry. I had to either go out in the field and use my precious admin time to train my staff, or rely on a senior pet care provider to train the new hires.

Neither scenario was ideal. My company means the world to me, so I want my staff to know everything I have learned over the years; but, I only have a small window of time to deliver that information. I also do not have that time. I am busy with payroll, new hire paperwork, reconciling the bank account, bringing in new clients, handling client problems, answering employee questions, looking over schedules, doing accounts receivable — you get the picture!

Besides not having the time to do the training myself, my senior staff isn’t always overflowing with spare time, either. I have to pay them to train new hires or do a ride along, and I have to pay the new hires for their learning time out in the field. If my senior staff wasn’t trained correctly, or have developed habits that were not in line with the company standards, our precious new hires could learn bad habits and the quality of our care could snowball in the wrong direction.

Only having in-the-field training

There are many issues with only being able to train in the field as well. I don’t always have access (within the two week training period) to all of the “example” animals in our care that exhibit common behavioral issues or special walking tools, such as body language basics, safe greetings for shy dogs, using a gentle leader, introducing two new dogs headed out to a walk together, cats going outside of the box, etc.

So I was super excited to find out that someone was doing this, just for MY staff! For the 20 year old self that I would get the chance to talk to, I would tell her to hold on, an easier way to run your business was coming, courtesy of FetchFind Monthly Pro!

To be honest, I am [still] a little surprised that the training is only $69 a month, for unlimited users per location. My staff has access to things that would take months for them to be exposed to with that particular animal or in that particular scenario. Even though I provide checklists for my senior staff, I no longer have to worry if the new hire saw or was taught everything, let alone worry if they actually learned it. I now know that they’ve learned it, since the report in FetchFind’s admin dashboard shows me they did.

Why is education so important?

Prevention – the best way to prevent a bite is to train staff how to recognize the triggers and avoid them. If they don’t know what to look out for, they won’t know that a bite is coming.

Retention – while the pets in my care are an important priority, the liability of the people in my employment is actually my biggest concern. If they are not happy, well, and healthy, they cannot care for the animals our clients have contracted us to care for.

Employee happiness starts with confidence in the job. Confidence in the job comes from training and feedback.

If you have poorly trained staff who have to fumble through their tasks and learn by being corrected, they don’t feel great about the job they are doing. Don’t leave your staff figuring out or learning as they go. I started that way and it didn’t feel good. I felt great about my job after I had learned everything I know.

Health and wellbeing of the animals – someone that doesn’t know a cat going outside the box could be a medical problem might write it off and not mention it.

Confidence your clients have with your company – a new hire that wasn’t trained in customer service may not know how to act around your clients, and therefore could make your clients feel uneasy about the people you hire to care for their pets. I have seen staff who interview well get super nervous and act strange around our clients. This behavior would then prompt me to train them, but of course that’s after the fact. Now I can take care of that beforehand.

Cost effectiveness

I know from networking with a lot of pet care businesses that we know our time is valuable, but we rarely – if ever – put a monetary value on it. You really should! Figure out what it would cost to have someone trained to do your job and to the caliber your company demands, then add the value of your knowledge, and you’ll have a good number for an hourly wage. Now charge that to your company for training your staff. (I know you wouldn’t, because that would affect your bottom line, but you can see where this is going.) I can guarantee that doing all the training covered in the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription would cost you much, more more than $69 a month.

Then you have the senior staff –  you might get away without paying them extra, but you have to pay the new hire to tag along and do a one person job with two people. I have tried making the visits enough for two people, but the backlash of the new hire seeing the tremendous workload sometimes turns them off. I’ve had people quit after a couple days out in the field because they were so overwhelmed by what they saw and needed to learn!

I now have all new potential hires take an hour’s worth of courses on FetchFind Monthly Pro before they are even hired. I consider this my second interview for them, and a way for me to see how they do in the training, since I can see their results. If they don’t score well on certain quizzes and  I choose hire them anyway, I know the areas in which to concentrate further training.

While content is added every Friday to FetchFind’s Monthly Pro subscription, the crucial information needed to get a new hire confident with caring for pets is already there, and can be taught in 5-10 hours (depending on the type of pet care business you have). If you care for cats and dogs, there obviously is more content to consume.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s estimate the minimum wage to be $10/hour. For 10 hours of paid training on courses that cover more than you could in 10 weeks, you’re looking at $100 + (lovely taxes). A few hours of my time is worth that amount, not to mention the cost for 2 weeks at 5 hours/day training in the field (that’s $500 + taxes).

So basically for an hour of training as part of the interview process and $100 in payroll, you have saved yourself $331 ($500 – $69 – $100). (I left out taxes for the sake of simplicity.) That’s $331 savings per new hire for more consistent, time efficient training.

There are a few ways around the pesky payroll as well. Depending on the structure of your pet care company you can have staff take courses while pet sitting, if you provide in-home visits. I have asked my clients about doing this and they love it. No course is longer than 17 minutes, and for those that pay per job, this is a massive bonus! I get the wifi password from my client, the staff performs the visit in the time the client has requested, and for the downtime when your staff would be at the house not doing anything but being present for the pet, they can be learning as well. As I write this blog, I am pet sitting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who has been a client for 8 years. I am sharing while she is snoring.

What about an incentive program?

You can ask staff to take the course not as a requirement, but rather as an incentive. Whoever scores the highest gets a $100 gas card or $50 to Starbucks. This is one of many ways to cost effectively get your staff learning.

Do you ever throw staff parties, events, or dinners? I take my crew out on a yearly excursion of their choosing. We have gone bowling, laser tagging, and even taken a trip to an amusement park. Have everyone meet beforehand for a half hour to an hour of training – it’s a great group exercise and bonding experience.

Finally, the cheapest and most cost effective way to train – just ask! Ask your staff to have a look at the FetchFind Monthly Pro courses provided. Let them know the benefits it will provide them in their daily tasks and the experience and credentials they can gain.

My younger self would be jealous

I’m sad that my 20 year old self wasted so much precious time and money doing things the hard way. Pet care software, CRMs, and now unified pet care staff business training exists, and it’s always online at our fingertips. My 20 year old self is jealous for sure, but at least now I can prevent turnover, have animals in safer hands, have happier staff, and – most importantly – have more time to work ON my business.

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Cara ArmourCara Armour os the co-founder of Active Paws Inc., a professional pet care business based in the greater Boston, MA. In 2009 Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year, the industry’s highest honor awarded by Pet Sitters International and collected many other accolades over the years. Since 2003, Cara has been trained in Pet First Aid and CPR, and in 2015 she started her own online pet first aid & CPR company. She later joined the team at ProPetHero. She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc. She has been a mentor to many in the pet industry as well as those in the small business world. Cara spends her free time traveling to agility, lure coursing, and conformation trials. 

 

Thanks to you – we did it!!

Republic final

I’ve always said that we have the best community in the world.

And it’s thanks to this community that we were able to meet – and exceed – our goal for the Republic equity crowdfunding campaign.

  • 217 investors
  • 222% funded
  • $111,161 raised

I won’t lie to you – the last four months have been a roller coaster of emotions and soul-searching. Just getting to the point where we could launch the campaign was a hard, tough slog (and boy did we learn a few things along the way). But the rewards of the campaign go far beyond the funding – we’ve tightened up our processes, met amazing investors and pet industry pros, and drilled down to our core values and company mission.

And now – after a weekend of catch up and, yes, a nap! – we’re back at it with new ideas and new perspectives on how we can make FetchFind an even better tool for pet pros across the world.

We wouldn’t be here without you.

With love and endless gratitude,

JM Sig copy

When your business is your significant other

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By jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I like being in the office at night.

I like listening to music and drinking tea while I get stuff done.  My office is less than a mile away from my home, but I take at least one night per week to stay here and do a marathon session of catching up on email and looking (and marveling) at our new customers’ pet companies.

Being here at night is a peaceful and powerful feeling. I use the time to connect with my business on a deeper level, practice some self-compassion, celebrate the wins (e.g., the amazing traction we are getting through our equity crowdfunding), and reframe the challenges (e.g., not enough time in the day. Never enough time in the day). 

It’s in those moments that I realize I am in a real relationship with FetchFind. And, just like any relationship, it needs nurturing, attention, and occasionally whatever the biz analog to “Netflix and chill” is. 

Do you need to schedule a “date night” with your business? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

Think big,

JM Sig copy

 

Dogs, discernment, and doughnuts

This article was originally published on the Republic blog, 5/31/17. Learn more about our equity crowdfunding campaign here. 

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Founder Series: Dogs, doughnuts, and discerning investments

Meet Jamie, CEO and founder of FetchFind, and Stacy, mentor, angel investor and entrepreneur. FetchFind, Jamie’s fourth startup in pet services, unites the nearly $70-billion fragmented industry by connecting pet parents with trusted resources.

How did you two meet?

Stacy: My dog, Jameson, was enrolled in one of Jamie’s pet training programs. Jamie happened to be the tester during Jameson’s “Good Canine Citizen Test” (he passed!).  

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What was your inspiration for FetchFind?

Jamie: During my 25 years in the pet industry, I’ve personally witnessed its transformation from a $17-billion industry in 1994, to its current state, with almost $70-billion in consumer spending. While pet parents increasingly look to professionals for advice, the fragmented nature of the pet education space often leads industry professionals to make up their practices as they go along. This opens an opportunity to make pet services more accessible to pet owners, while also equipping professionals with relevant skills and knowledge at scale.

This is your fourth startup; is building companies still as exciting as when you first started?

Jamie: It’s more exciting! By developing expertise from working in the pet industry and building communities, I’m able to enjoy everything else that comes with running a business. I’ve also overcome various mental blocks, including becoming comfortable talking about money.

What three things do you look for when deciding to invest in a company?

Stacy: When deciding whether to invest, I consistently look at three things:

  1. Social good. I want ideas that are more than just money making ventures.
  2. The person I’m dealing with. They need to be someone I want to spend a lot of time with, even when things aren’t going well.
  3. My excitement for the company. I need to feel a personal connection, otherwise I question my value as an angel investor for that particular startup.

As an example, Public Good Software excites me as it makes it easy to contribute to social causes. I’m also interested in political tech mix-ups, which build tools to mobilize voters in the face of a fragmented political system.

How does being a founder help when choosing companies to invest in?

Stacy: As someone with experience on the other side of the pitching table, I can gauge the authenticity of any pitch I’m given. I know which parts the presenter is comfortable with, which parts they’re testing on me in the hopes that I may like it, and which parts they’re making up.

It also allows me to empathize; you owe it to your entrepreneurs to invest with your heart. When an entrepreneur calls to tell me it’s been a rough day, I prefer to encourage them to take the rest of the day off and have a doughnut.

Jamie: It’s so valuable to have a mentor with experience running a company—Stacy is truly with me in this journey. She’s also right about the doughnuts: the other day, I had one of those “crazy days” founders have. Stacy helped me take a step back by taking me out to eat doughnuts and talk it over.

There’s so much going on in the process of building a company, how do you prioritize?

Jamie: People first, money second, everything else after. I begin every morning filling out three columns (‘people, money, stuff’), reviewing each category to keep the day’s priorities in check.

Why did you decide to do equity crowdfunding?

Jamie: While I’ve already raised $500k from professional investors, FetchFind is an idea that millions can personally relate to. I’m building this company for people and their pets and I love the idea of opening it up to more than just accredited investors.

How do you achieve balance outside work?

Jamie: The truth is that you don’t really get balance. When you’re running a company and putting in 90-hour work weeks, that is the reality. It helps to surround yourself with people who understand that.

Stacy: While what Jamie said is true, it’s also important to practice radical self-compassion. You have to accept that this was the journey you chose and not feel guilty about the opportunities you gave up as a result of that choice. Also, doughnuts help.

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become an angel investor?

Stacy: Five tips:

  1. Just do it. You don’t need huge sums. I would recommend starting with small investments, which is now so much easier with equity crowdfunding.
  2. Connect with relevant groups and ask experienced investors for advice.
  3. If an idea sounds too good to be true, specifically due to scale or proportion, walk away.
  4. Be wary of companies pitching a service that already exists. I prefer companies offering a new idea.
  5. Look for entrepreneurs with a solid background in the industry they’re building their company in.

Head here to learn more about how FetchFind is disrupting the pet services industry.

– by Caroline Hoffman, Republic team

A lesson in authenticity

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We’re so proud that these outstanding pet professionals are FetchFind clients! Top row, L-R: Jenna Gotch of Passionately Pets, Lauren Cora of Dogs Deserve It, Yvette Gonzales of As You Wish Pet Sitters.  Bottom row, L-R: Barbie Klapp of 2 Paws Up, Karen Levy of Laughing Pets Atlanta, Lisa Tesch of Best in Pet Services.

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

As you know, March 5-11 was the 23rd annual Professional Pet Sitters Week. Since pro pet sitters are right in the center of our FetchFind Monthly Pro wheelhouse, I decided to feature one of our clients on social media each day (see above for a collage of all that awesome). Not just to honor the week, but also (and primarily) because they’re the reason we exist.

It felt great to give a shout out to our peers, and if that had been the sole benefit, it still would have been a win for FetchFind. But when I looked at our weekly Facebook insights (stats) I saw that our genuine display of love and support for our clients resulted in an immediate increase in FetchFind’s most relevant metrics.

Page views: up 113%. Page likes: up 900%. Post engagements: up 467%. 

The moral of the story: Keep it real. Keep it genuine. And always tell the people (clients, colleagues, partners) who inspire you and make you want to do your best work every day that you love and admire and appreciate them… because they are the reason you get to do what you do.

This inspired me to reflect on how that same thinking applies to other areas of life… how when I am fully in gratitude and commitment, valuable outcomes result. Case in point: my mom was in the hospital this week, so  I had to cancel my trip to St. Louis for the final full week of PWE. I had to reschedule investor activities, as well as several other important meetings and calls. During the week when I was tending to my mom’s care, I was stressed and resentful that I had to make the choice between my family and my career – a career which includes supporting staff, clients, and partners.

And then I remembered what happened on Facebook: by following my heart and staying true to my vision, the results were unexpected and fantastic. And, as it turns out, the same thing happened by choosing to put my family first.

So I will meet the rest of this week/month/year with a deeply renewed sense of trust in myself, the process, and the outcomes.

With love, admiration, and appreciation for all of you,

JM Sig copy

 

How to rock Global Pet Expo – like a Boss!

 

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With Wendy Jones from Walk-e-Woo, and a drool-free spokesdog from The Wipe It. 

By Candace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation & CEO of Dogaholics 

Are you going to Global Pet Expo next week? I’ll be there, so I hope we can connect!

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still experience the excitement! Just search #globalpetexpo on all social media platforms during the show (3/22-3/24) and you’ll be sure to come across loads of photos and videos of everyone sharing their experiences and product finds. And you’ll have access to all the awesome vendors who will be exhibiting by looking at the exhibitor list online.

Global Pet Expo is of the biggest pet trade shows in the world! With that being said, I want to share some of the tricks I’ve learned over the last decade of attending these types of shows myself. My tip in the video could save you HOURS on the floor!  

For Bossin’ Buyers

There are thousands of ways to spend all your money and all your time next week. I had many years where I left a show thinking “What just happened?!” So just stay true to what your business stands for. See every product and service you’ll come across through your business uniqueness. Don’t fall for an offer too good to be true, and don’t give in to a pushy sales rep.

#1 – Before you write an order, think about if the product aligns with your brand. Would your customers value it? Will it help you stand out from your competition?

#2 – Trade shows are not just about buying products and taking advantage of show specials. It’s about creating opportunities for yourself and your business when it comes to pricing, strategies, and partnerships with vendors. Build relationships and work together!

#3 – Have a plan of attack! It will likely be impossible to walk the whole show floor. Remember that it’s about the journey, not crossing the finish line. Have a list of things you want to find, instead of impulse shopping. Identify your top 10 current vendors you want to make sure you see for specials and new releases, then work the room discovering all the new stuff.

Here’s a quick video on how I like to plan my route, utilizing the show’s website.

For Bossin’ Exhibitors

Having had my own booth at two trade shows last year, I got to see the other side for once. I could not believe how exhausted I was!! At least buyers get to walk the show and take breaks from talking, but not exhibitors! It’s the same message and conversations, over and over and over again.

Here are a few things to consider, from the viewpoint of a seasoned buyer: busy exhibitors who make eye contact, smile, and say “I’ll be with you in a moment”, go a long way with a retailer. Being acknowledged and treated with the same high quality of care that we give customers in our own shop is fantastic.

And it is even more impressive to us when an exhibitor is still able to have great energy at the end of the day or the end of the show…I know it’s not easy. But you never know who might be walking by and ready to place a big order – or better yet, become a lifelong customer!

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candace-dogsCandace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation and CEO of Dogaholics, started the Pet Boss Nation community because she knows the value that support and coaching can provide to a business. In her own company, she took the initial concept of a brick and mortar location and turned it into multiple revenue streams – up to three locations, offer services (as in dog walking, doggy daycare, grooming), online informational products, books, merchandise, and now pet business consulting. She’s employed over 150 people, led a team as large as 30 and still runs a successful 7-figure business. 

Learn more about Candace and Pet Boss Nation on the Pets Mean Business podcast!