Sometimes when you are managing a new business, or even one that is established, it can be hard to prioritise what is most important and what really matters. As a result, tiredness, stress and ineffectiveness can come into play. I’m sure most people would find themselves thinking “how can I stop feeling like this???
The best way to address the imbalance and manage to balance your workload is to look at the areas within your business that need prioritising and identifying solutions rather than problems. This will identify some of the issues and then look at ways to resolve them.
Staff management: This may sound like a simple task, especially with a small task force, but the need for structure is imperative. Clear boundaries and regular meetings to inform staff of any changes in routine or protocol, especially in writing is a way of covering yourself and making the business an efficient place to work. In addition, this gives staff a chance to voice grievances and ideas for improvement to make the business one that communicates well and is generally happier.
Too many dogs: This is a nice problem to have but it can occur. You don’t want to refuse a customer because you are worried about losing business but need to make sure the quality of your work is up to a high standard. Timetable your bookings to allow enough time to have a break at appropriate times. Make sure you understand the length of time it takes to do dogs.
Too many staff: Becoming attached to your staff and being aware of their financial setup is important but even more important is to make sure that you are not paying out to people that aren’t an asset to your business at that time and ultimately, your profit margin. Plan out an effective rota and have clear expectations of working hours for your staff in advance. Pre-plan staffing at key times of the year to meet the changes in how busy it is.
Overworked: When you’re entering into this industry, it is easy to get lost in a pattern of working as many hours as possible to try and make the money back from an investment that you have made into your career. This is completely understandable but can lead to burnout and as a consequence, more errors and a lower quality of service. Look at the jobs you are able to delegate to other capable members of staff. Try to focus more on your unique selling point rather than the quantity of dogs because this will be the thing that will allow your business to be most profitable and gain the best reputation.
Too few dogs: This is a worry for any new business. Having enough dogs to make sure you can pay the bills is important but try to think of other avenues that can ease that worry. Can you multitask with another job and begin to build your custom base slowly? Can you offer additional services to increase income without the huge additional time needed to groom another dog? Do you want to branch out into retail as well, selling products that your customers may want to buy?
Not enough staff: There is a huge demand for groomers within the industry and finding the right type of staff isn’t easy. You are much better to take your time to find staff that are appropriately qualified and importantly, also have the right mind set for working in the field with yourself and the rest of your team. Ease the strain by looking at lowering the number of dogs you take in and look into schemes that can offer apprenticeships. Having an extra pair of hands whilst offering experience is highly rewarding and a great way of building your team without a great expense.
Stress and expectations: What do you want to do within your first week? Your first month? Your first six months or year? How many dogs do you expect to do and how many are you expecting of others? Make a realistic plan and be flexible with it. Have a range of goals you consider to be ‘successful’ and include stepping stones to mark your progress. You need to set very high standards in your professionalism and quality of your work. A higher standard can mean a higher price and a better reputation. Is there more stress learning to specialise in doing 5 dogs brilliantly each day or in rushing through 10 dogs?
Time management: Time management including personal time is vitally important. There is no question that to be the best, you have to put in a lot of hours, but not to the detriment of other aspects of your life. Book in allocated free time for yourself so that you can maintain a sense of balance between work and play. Get active and book in time for your family and friends so that it is a cycle between hard work and enjoyment rather than stress and recovery. This can be the most rewarding career, as long as you have the right balance.