Knowing the popular mistakes pet professionals make could stop you from making the same errors yourself. From not taking out insurance or being under-insured to ignoring the importance of work culture — it’s time to clue up on the popular pet-industry blunders.

Top 6 mistakes pet professionals make

Running a successful pet business is no easy feat. Be it a veterinary practice, a dog walking or pet sitting gig, or even a cattery, you’re required to exercise many different skills.

Sure, you might have a good business aptitude and great communication skills. Yet, this doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. Heck, even the greatest business professionals have slip-ups. However, the trick is recognising the common mistakes people make, so that you can do your best to avoid them. Here are six widespread errors pet professionals (amongst other business people) make time and time again

1. No online presence

So you don’t have a website, nor do you have any social media accounts because you think they’re a waste of time and money. Certainly, setting up a website and keeping your social media up to time can take time and money, but it’s worthwhile.

Especially in this day and age, people like to do their research. Without any social media or online presence, it’s very difficult for potential customers (or employees, for that matter) to get a feel for who you are and what your business represents.

Indeed, having an online presence isn’t just about posting pretty pictures. It enables you to engage with clients and customers. Plus, from a consumer viewpoint, they can see how professional you are in your responses to people.

So, if so far you’ve managed to avoid entering the 21st century and going digital, perhaps it’s time to revise your online strategy—or at least create one!

2. No marketing plan

You might be the best pet professional on this earth but if no one knows about you, how will you attract clients or customers? This is where a solid marketing plan comes into action.

On the opposite side of the coin, perhaps you do advertise your business, but in an ad hoc way with no clear plan under your belt and no idea about the results you can expect.

A stellar marketing plan should detail who you are marketing to (what does your target audience look like?), the strategies you intend to use, when each marketing campaign will come into play, how much money you’ll invest, and the predicted results—as well as some form of measurement.

3. No insurance or under-insuring your business

Peter Vickers Business Group reports 70-80% of Australian businesses are under-insured. Meanwhile, approximately a quarter of SME businesses have no insurance at all. Many pet professionals think they can ‘get by’ without insurance. Others convince themselves, it’s ‘an unnecessary expense’. However, it really is worthwhile cluing up on the ins and outs of pet business insurance.

Furthermore, if you have insurance (well done you) don’t forget to check your policy annually to ensure the policy you have in place satisfies your business needs.

Businesses can change over time; they can grow in size or decrease their operational capacity. As your business transforms, it’s important to make certain your insurance gives you the correct level of cover.

4. Not investing in work culture

As pet professionals, it’s not surprising that you spend a great deal of time thinking about the welfare of the animals in your care. However, it’s vital not to overlook the health and happiness of your staff.

The report entitled “Understanding the Impact of Organizational Culture in Veterinary Practices”, conducted by the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, US, highlights that ‘the culture and relationships within a veterinary practice may have a significant impact on the success of the business.’ Of course, the same goes for any business.

The important point is to recognise just how vital it is to create a positive work culture within your business. A positive culture is associated with better employee morale, increased productivity and greater job satisfaction.

Want to know more about creating a positive workplace culture? Check out this post, which outlines some of the key characteristics.

5. Trying to please everyone

The role of a pet professional can be both exhausting and demanding. If you spread yourself too thin and try to satisfy everyone’s needs (but never your own), you’re going to end up in a heap on the floor.

Certainly, you can remain professional at all times, but this doesn’t require you to please everyone, all of the time. Again, it comes back to your marketing strategy. Who is your target audience? Keep your focus on the clients you have and those you are trying to gain — everyone else will have to wait (just be sure to convey this message politely!).

6. Ignoring the competition

Without a doubt, when your business is booming it’s easy to get caught up in your own offering and ignore everyone else. Likewise, you don’t want to be constantly comparing yourself to others. This may cause you to lose your own identity or your confidence!

However, keeping an eye on the competition is smart. You may be able to recognise gaps in their service offering, which you can fill. You may also be able to learn from the mistakes they make. For example, if their customer service is pretty bad, make sure yours is awesome!

On the flip side, if they’re the bee’s knees when it comes to social media, look and learn. Don’t copy them completely. But you might want to adopt similar tactics to see if it helps give you a spike in your own social media engagement.

What business mistakes have you made and did you learn a valuable lesson as a result?

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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