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5:46 PM   July 23, 2014
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How to Get Your Mojo Back

Keeping the Pet Professional Motivated
By Patti Storms

It’s August. It’s hot and humid. The air conditioner drones on, deliveries bring a fresh blast of hot air from outside, it’s too hot for anyone to be out with their dog and besides, everyone is at the beach. Except for you.  There are orders to write, invoices to be reconciled, livestock to be tended to and, for some of us, Christmas merchandise to be researched and ordered. We aren’t sure that we have it within ourselves to convince even one more customer that feeding a premium pet food will pay off in the long run, and burn-out looms its ugly head right around the corner. For months we have been listening to the frightening news about the economy and if the downturn has somehow managed to have missed your store, you fear every day that disaster is right around the corner.  How on earth can a person be expected to stay focused and on task with so much weighing on us? Motivation? It was lost somewhere between the last blast of winter (which was probably during the spring) and the first day the thermometer topped out at over 90.

As business owners we are faced every day with challenges that range from the ordinary to the extreme. The daily details of life and business consume us. Special projects to grow our businesses seem as distant as that dream of retiring to an island in Fiji. How can we motivate ourselves to maintain our current level of success and, more importantly, achieve even more in our business? Resting on our laurels is never a wise course of action. Finding the energy to get up and get going, however, can be a real challenge.  

Building motivation and reaching for a new goal can be approached in as thoughtful a manner as any challenge that we may face in our business. An employee problem, broken air filtering system, or supply chain disruption would require us to consider our options, evaluate the possible consequences of our action steps, and then move on and solve the problem. All pet professionals can use that same problem solving approach to renewing motivation and getting back focus and energy. Here are a few suggestions on how to get back your mojo.

First, take those routine tasks that we cannot avoid and figure out the GOOD reasons for those jobs. Does cleaning the tanks mean healthier fish and an easier sale? That means more money in the register. That’s a good thing.  Writing that press release about your new service at the store is something you have been meaning to do, but can’t find the inspiration. Consider this, getting that press release into the paper will probably help to increase your bottom line and the personal satisfaction you’ll feel for having achieved a goal will feel great too. That’s a good thing. Take a few minutes to analyze all your routine tasks. Find a good reason to do them and the energy and interest to complete them will come to you.

Second, try to make at least half of your day more FUN!  Start first thing in the morning by checking out a couple comedy websites or funny Youtube videos. Think this is a crazy idea? Just imagine how much better your day could go if you started it with a bunch of jokes rather than a bunch of bad news from the TV or radio. At your place of business change the radio station and enjoy the music. A shop near me always has great blues music playing. I can only imagine that the good music makes cleaning cages, stacking food, and tending to livestock a little easier as they all groove to the beat. We are in the pet business. Many of us chose this industry because we enjoy animals. Try to find that spark you felt when you first started out and realized that you were going to get to spend the day doing something you really liked. When that next dog comes into your store give it some extra attention and belly rubs. That should put a smile on your face and lower your blood pressure too.

A third idea for increasing your motivation is to REWARD yourself for what you have accomplished. Small rewards along the path to completing a task will make the journey easier. Are there tax records that need organizing? Divide the pile into 3 sections. After the completion of each section go get a gourmet coffee, call a friend, or take a walk. Give yourself a break and a pat on the back for having completed each step. A large looming task is always a motivation zapper. Breaking the task into smaller more manageable sections and rewarding yourself along the way will keep you focused and energized.

A final suggestion for increasing motivation is to try thinking “outside the box” and find new ways to complete routine tasks. Move stuff around in the store and you may find that sales in that category increase or at the very least it makes cleaning the floor easier. Delegate a task to a staff member. With the right coaching your employee may complete the job more efficiently than you did and will no doubt bring fresh thought to the process. Your time is freed up and one of your staff has broadened their base of knowledge. 

Staying enthused and motivated is an ongoing process in both our personal lives and professional lives. Maybe you have heard all these suggestions before. Take this opportunity to be reminded that there are ways to build your energy, refresh your inspiration, renew your drive and try just one suggestion. Being a business owner is hard. The pet industry can be fun. The effort you take to focus on the fun will make the hard part easier. <HOME>


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