Here’s the thing: When you’re an entrepreneur with a big heart, you gotta be discerning or you’re gonna get screwed.
Take Clinton for example. He’s got a couple of businesses–dog training is the primary business, plus dog daycare and boarding. On top of that, his company trains service dogs for people in the community free of cost. He’s a good dude…wants to believe the best in people and focus on the good work he’s doing. Not bad qualities at all…but ones that can lead to disaster in business if you aren’t careful–tricky for an entrepreneur.
On top of that, his training business has slowed to almost a halt–and he has no idea why. The daycare element is keeping them afloat–which is why it’s critical that every business has multiple revenue streams whenever possible.
He has a lot of roadblocks. He bought a tub to give the dogs baths while they board as an upsell, but can’t do grooming cause he can’t find a solid groomer. He’s at the higher end of the daily rates for boarding in his market. The list goes on…
But the REAL problem is that this guy is a kind-hearted people-pleaser. He doesn’t set rates and sticks to them…he says “Hmm…give me $10 for this dog cause it’s small.” He doesn’t go out and sell his services far and wide cause he doesn’t want to get in people’s faces. He’s never going to be successful in his business this way.
He has to have boundaries that show that you’re worth your love and care. You gotta put a value on your work and have limits and then be proud of those limits. You can’t be everything to everybody and if people can’t pay, then you can’t get attached. You have to create a system in your mind where you break it off and say no…that you’re worth more than that, and that’s all there is to it.
Instead of expanding your business to try to make revenue through other sources, focus on growing the dog training and boarding side of things. Learn how to market your business and how to charge for it. How many dogs can you handle a day? How much will you charge for each dog? What are the upsells that a pet owner, who loves their dog like a child, can tack on? Is it food? Grooming? Flea medication? Think all of those things through and set pricing for them–non-negotiable pricing.
Come up with a plan for four strings of income and create pricing strategy for each. Then, determine how you’re going to market–how are you going to run ads and get people in for the boarding and the day care? If traditional online advertising doesn’t seem to be working, try other outlets like hospital newsletters, flyers, Groupon. Give people a week for free to try it out and then keep them off and upsell them as much as possible. The hardest part is getting people in the door. Once they see what you have to offer–the above and beyond care–they’ll be sticking around and the ad or Groupon investment will be well worth it.
Once this business is thriving, then you can do other things, like training service animals, on the side to help people for free. Think of yourself like Robin Hood–taking money from rich pet owners and using it to fund things that are really important.