How to remain productive when you have downtime in your business.
It’s never ideal, and rarely something in your control, but sometimes you might find yourself with some extra downtime in your dog walking and pet sitting business. While it can be a little discouraging to have slow periods, it doesn’t mean that you need to take a break from running your company. Downtime provides an excellent opportunity to catch up on administrative tasks and work on improving your business. Here are a few productive projects you can work on while things are a little slower than usual.
Get organized — Take some time to refine your systems and processes. A little extra time might be just what you needed to take a look at and refresh all your standard operating procedures. If it has been a few years since you’ve updated your service descriptions or website, now might be the perfect time to go through and make sure everything is still relevant. Here are a few ideas for getting organized:
- Update your service descriptions
- Review your cancelation policy
- Refine your client intake and onboarding process
- Update your standard operating procedures—especially for emergencies
- Review your hiring process
- Check that you have your holidays set up correctly. For more information about holidays, you can read our Academy lesson on Creating Your Holiday Fee Policy
- Update your website or review it to make sure everything you want to have included is visible. If you need some ideas, check out our blog post on 10 Must Have Pet Sitting Website Pages
Marketing — Lulls in business can be a great time to refresh your marketing materials and also to create new items. It’s time to get creative! Are there any ideas that you have been thinking about for new marketing materials or services? Now is a great time to really hash them out. Here are some other ideas:
- Spend some time thinking about your marketing strategy
- Create new business cards, flyers, magnets, t-shirts, and any other marketing materials you might use. Check out our Academy lesson on Using Pet Sitting Flyers to Grow Your Business
- Work on creating a Referral Program if you don’t have one in place
- Write some new blog posts that you can store and share later on. If you don’t have a blog on your website, this might be a good time to start one. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a blog and videos/social media posts to share things to do with your pets in small spaces
- Why keeping pets on regular schedules is a good idea
- Working from home with a pet
- Blog Post Idea from PuppyLeaks about creating a nose game for your pets
- 33 Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy Indoors from PuppyLeaks
- 52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog from DoggieBuddy
- Schedule social media posts for the future, including holidays
- Check all of your social media channels and make sure the right website, phone number, address, and hours of operation are listed
- For more marketing information you can read our post on Local SEO for Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Business
Training — Downtime can be great for learning. There are lots of ways for you and your staff to get some extra training while you have some spare time. Here are a few ideas for training:
- Make sure your employee handbook and training manual are up to date
- Have your staff train online with FetchFind and learn about Pet First Aid/CPR
- Let your staff train online with Fear Free Pets and get them certified
- Catch up on reading those business books you bought but haven’t had time to finish
- Check out all the great resources in the Time To Pet Academy and Blog. We have lots of useful information on managing and growing your business
Take care of yourself — When you suddenly find yourself with extra time and a break from your regular, hectic schedule, it can feel odd not to have somewhere to be or something to do. But this can be an excellent time for you to focus on something that might come second when you are really busy—taking care of yourself! Downtime is a great time to catch up on personal projects, start new healthy habits, and spend quality time with your pets and family. That could mean reading that mystery novel you’ve been meaning to start or creating elaborate, home-cooked meals. Use this extra time to take a breath and appreciate the small things that make you happy!
Soon enough, business with pick back up, and you’ll be back to your busy, hectic days. The time you put in now to work on your business can provide you with lots of benefits down the road. Enjoy this extra time, and make the most of it!