Beyond these things, you have to maintain your customer base, stay involved within the community in acceptable ways and remain fit for the stability of the future of your business. The final focus that you must more than maintain is the health and safety of your daycare. You cannot find a high level of success if you do not keep a high level of health and safety, especially because it will directly affect the people and their dogs. You have to keep your inspection ratings at the top for people to trust your daycare. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, you have to do this. An unfit facility, even in a slight way, will cause a major negative wave to roll over your business, your reputation, and your success.
When you own a business, and this is especially true in a business that concerns people's pets or children, your success is tentative if you cannot keep your facility clean and safe.
Financially Fit: Keeping your business financially fit is putting in place and maintaining attention to the details of the business. If this is not your strength, you need to hire a book-keeper or an accountant to do it. You cannot, however, dump it into someone else's lap and walk away. You have a responsibility to know what is going on with your finances and to remain in charge. You cannot trust anyone to steer your business in the direction you want to take it.
There are some specific and concrete actions you can take to keep your business financially fit. You have to keep records that are clear, updated, and in a computer program that has the capabilities to disseminate and chart various parts of the records. Never mix your business records with your business records. Know what your business costs your and what your income is. Know where you make most of your profits and where your money is spent yet with little or no return. Know your financial goals and set up steps toward meeting those goals. Planning is the key. Plans can be changed and altered but plans must be made.
Set down no less than once each week to go over the numbers. It is wise to have another person you trust to look at it with you because another person has a different perspective and may see something you don't. Use financial institutions that you trust and have been around a long time. Make sure you do not give your services and products away. Charge what is necessary to meet expenses. Being "cheap" will not bring success. Make sure your business offers quality and charges what it is worth. It is better to charge more and offer excellence than to charge less and offer low quality.
Make sure when you set up your business you do it to protect your personal assets. Keep an attorney on retainer as well as an accountant to assist you. You may think you can understand the ins and outs of a business but people who go to college and get high degrees in that area will know more. Be sure to stay legal in all things so you are not fined. Also keep good insurance. There is no substitution for good insurance. In the long run, paying someone to keep you on track will pay off.
Facility Fit: There are some specific ideas to pay attention to if you want a facility that is easily maintained, cleaned and used. There are new products available every year that are more effective and healthy for dog daycares. It is cheaper in the long run if you create a facility that will take less maintenance into the future, even at an initial higher costs. You have a responsibility to the dogs and their owners and your own employees to provide a proper facility.
There are now floor materials made of rubber that is easier to keep clean that concrete and offer the dog less soreness in their paws. There is artificial turf that also offer dogs a real feel for grass and makes a great place for elimination indoors if your facility requires a year round indoor site. This would be due to weather or lack of outdoor space. Using vinyl fencing requires less care than wood and can be moved around if used indoors to change the separation areas. It can also help with softening the noise levels found in the dog care center.
Learning about ways to create better ventilation may seem costly at first but will make your facility healthier for the dogs, employees and will reduce bad odors. Dogs often get kennel cough because of poor ventilation that supports mold and other microbes that cause ill health. Your center needs a separate area for food preparation for the dogs as well as laundry facilities. In the area you use for grooming invest in systems for using less water and also provide for water cleanup. Use different washing sinks for medicinal baths for fleas and ticks than those used for merely bathing to clean and groom.
There are machines that sprat out water with a cleaner that also sucks it back up to clean floor and to use with the dogs if they create a mess after elimination. An investigation of new products available can save you time and money in the future.
Your facility should be comfortable for the customers when they come into the areas where dogs are dropped off and picked up. This area should be set up so that dogs are kept quiet and separate. There should be an area where customers can leisurely shop if you have products for sale. If you build your facility right in the beginning and with thought about the future, it will pay off.
Dog-friendly means dogs are given space to be happy, are offered interaction with people who play with them, pet them, and talk to them. The need to have positive reinforcement for good behavior and offered a variation of activities and exercise. Your facility's mission, if it is with a vision to provide a place for dogs to act like dogs in a safe and healthy environment, will support the future fitness of your business.
Employee Fit: Employees will range from professionals who can give health care, grooming, and training to the nonprofessionals who play with dogs, are daycare attendants, greeters or front desk representatives, managers, and cleaners. It is your job to hire individuals who have the characteristics of a good employee and then to train them, maintain that training and observe and mentor on a regular basis. If you bring in good people, give them good training, and pay attention to their work and their needs, the you will be developing employees who will stay with you, who will be loyal and who will help your reputation in the community. To keep these kind of employees you will have to make sure you communicate your expectations well and often.
Pay is an important part of a fit business. Your employees must be paid well if you hope to retain them for the long haul. You put a lot of energy and time into an employee, so to pay more to keep a good employee will save you money in the future. Making sure employees know that their raises are tied to your frequent observations and your evaluations over time will keep your employees working hard for you. But you do have to follow through with raises that make a difference. You will need to figure out what you have to do to find that money because paying employees well, will earn the respect of your community and your employees.
Giving unexpected bonuses at irregular intervals, in a fair way will also push your employees to give their best. When employees give their best, your business will be solidly fit into the future.
Services and Products that Fit: Offering services and products that are needed and wanted in the community where you are located is important. As the years pass, you will reevaluate those and listen to your customers, employees, and professional organizations to keep up on new trends in the health and safety of running a dog daycare facility. You will also want to make sure that as your customers change through the years and as the neighborhood changes you make changes to meet those differences.
Your services and products must help meet the needs of your clients, and their dogs. They should support education of pets, fun with pets, and pet communities. A dog daycare will stay vital if it creates support for pet owners and advocates for pets in the local government. Offering a boutique within the facility may be one place where you can add income as well as offer convenience for your clients.
Customer and Community Fit: All of the areas discussed in this article work in unison to make your business one that will survive economic shifts. You cannot put all of your focus in one area. You must be capable and able to balance each thing that influences your business. They all revolve around each other. One is not more important than another.
Your customer is connected to your products and services, the health and safety of your facility, the employees who work with their dogs, and the cost of those things. The customers are the community along with the other businesses and the governing systems. The fitness of the community will depend upon the fitness of the people and businesses, and the fitness of the people and businesses will depend upon the fitness of the way the community is run.
Fit customers are those who need and can pay for your services and products. A fit community is one that can support the needs of the community members in safe, healthy and financially stable ways. It is all interconnected.
Health and Safety Fit: Keeping your dog daycare healthy and safe into the future of your business is no small affair. However, there are ways to make it simpler. Putting in equipment that makes it easy to clean, that keeps the air flow moving and setting up the center with separate places to ready food, keep equipment and to do laundry will make it amazingly simpler.
Just passing a health inspection is nothing to brag about. That is the bare minimum for your center. Rise far above what is expected. You are caring for a family's prized possession and you don't want to be the one to cause harm in any way. Your investment into updated tools will support continued care and maintenance of the daycare.
Training for all employees is also a contribution to fitness in this part of your business. Employees must know and follow all instructions for day to day tasks as well as in taking care of the dogs, fixing their food and using the laundry. It will do no good to have the latest equipment to keep the facility clean if you have and employee who does not keep his own hands washed. You also must require pets that appear ill to be isolated from the rest until they can be picked up and not allow ill pets into the center. You may have a customer upset with you if you won't take their ill dog, however, you will have many more upset with you if you don't.
Dog FAQS: Research both scientific and nonscientific, has shown that some kinds of music or sound have a positive effect on dogs that live in kennels, like rescue dogs. It has been found that sounds with long or extended notes, a purer tone and music with slower beats work best. However, one of the pieces that is difficult to separate out is that the music also works to sooth the people who are in the centers either working or visiting. When the people around dogs are calm the dogs prone to anxiety will be more calm.
Other research has shown that dogs actually prefer music that is called "species-specific music." These are musical pieces that are developed from the same tones, pitches and tempos that they are used to hearing from their own species. So, though you may think your dog likes country western music or Mozart, it may not be true. Dogs prefer music that is within their own pitch, no higher or lower. Humans prefer music that moves to the human heart beat, but dogs prefer a tempo closer to their own.
This finding fits with what science has seen works with other animals. Animal species across the board prefer sounds that are similar to what they themselves make and not necessarily human sounds. Some music has been created with a piano using tones that dogs find soothing and it seems to work to calm dogs. Those tones do fit within a range of the dog's vocal scale.
There is not enough research to substantiate any real findings so you are left to try and decide what will sooth your dog or what music to use in your kennel. Unfortunately, the music that might appeal to the dogs might not calm the people who have to listen to it.
Can you pass the fitness test? If you can answer each one in the positive, then you are fit to be a day care entrepreneur.
1. Are you financially able to manage a center that will both make a profit, keep organized records, and support the operation? If you can answer this in the positive and explain how you will do this, you are financially fit.
2. Have you investigated, researched and found out how to develop a physical plant that will not merely support the health and safety of the dogs you keep and your employees, but exceed the requirement standards? If you can answer this in the positive and explain how you will do this, you are facility fit.
3. Do you have a vision for a "dog-centered" facility? If you can answer this in the positive and explain how you will do this, you are Mission fit.
4. Do you have a plan for training, evaluation and observation of your employees for them to earn appropriate raises and bonuses? If you can answer this in the positive and show how you will do this, you are Employee fit.
5. Will you offer services and products at a fair cost and that are current, meet the needs of the community, and support dogs and their owners? If you can answer this in the positive and show how you will do this, you are Services and products fit.
6. Do you understand how your customer and the community are connected and interrelated with each other and your business? If you can answer this in the positive and explain how you, you are Customer and Community fit.
7. Can you describe in detail how to keep your facility clean and healthy and list the laws and regulations that will be required of you? If you can answer this in the positive and demonstrate how you will do this, you are Health and Safety fit.