Customer Spotlight: National Women’s Small Business Month
Women Small Business Owners
October marks National Women’s Small Business month – a time to recognize the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs and their contributions to the economy. DaySmart Software, makers of DaySmart Pet Software, has always been invested in the growth of women small business owners. In fact, 85% of our customers are female-owned businesses. With that, we wanted to highlight some of our most inspiring female customers.
As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we’ve also been spotlighting DaySmart Pet customers who have been directly impacted by the pandemic to learn more about how they’ve adapted their operations to overcome resulting business disruptions.
The passion and innovation of these customers have never been more pronounced than in their responses to the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, and we hope their stories serve as a guide for those navigating similarly difficult situations. We’ve taken highlights from these 2020 interviews to highlight how women owned small businesses have adapted to the pandemic.
Gabriela – All Fur Pet Grooming
Most recently we spoke with Gabriela Rudnick, Director of Operations at All Fur Pet Grooming, LLC, in Virginia, to learn about her experience running a business during a pandemic, and how software usage plays into her strategy. To read the full article, click here.
Q: How has the pandemic impacted your business? How have you adapted the ways you do business amidst the business closure?
A: Fortunately, we were only closed for two weeks, but then we were only allowed to reopen with three groomers per location. This meant we had to cut back on the number of clients we were able to serve so that we could maintain our certain level of quality.
To stay safe, we’re wiping down equipment with heavy-duty disinfectants every time someone touches a pen or a door to make sure there’s no virus transmission. All employees receive a temperature check in the morning, and if they display any symptoms, they’re off work for a mandatory two weeks. Additionally, we’re only allowing only one client in the waiting room at a time, which makes some people upset, but we have a lot of older clients and we’d never want them to feel like they can’t visit our business because there’s the risk of getting sick.
Q: Are there any changes that you expect to uphold after things settle?
A: We’re currently requiring staff to wear masks, which we want to keep going forward considering the safety issues that come with groomers’ lungs, like inhaling nail dust floating around. Now that we’re finally protecting ourselves from those particles, it’s made a huge difference for our health.
We’ve also found new ways to be more efficient with our time. DaySmart Pet has proven that we don’t have to be in the shops all the time to do our jobs. Because it integrates all our operations, from the time clock to payroll, we can finish up management tasks at home. Our groomers can also use the information stored in the app to plan for their appointments the night before, instead of spending time between appointments that could instead be spent with pets.
Q: Have you noticed any larger industry changes resulting from COVID-19?
A: The number of customers using our boarding services has decreased for the time being, but we hope that people know they have the option that, when they do go back to the office, they can trust their dogs to us. People typically drop their pets off just to do errands, not even for work, so we expect to get that business back.
We’ve also gotten a huge outpour of new clients from “coronavirus puppies,” so we need to make sure people will continue taking care of those animals once they return to work—and we hope our boarding options will be what people use to do that.
Abbey – Calling All Paws (Mobile Groomer)
Abbey the owner of Calling All Paws a mobile grooming business with multiple vans providing service to Northeastern Illinois has been inundated with calls and requests for grooming.
“We take the safety of our clients and their pets very seriously. Calling All Paws intends to remain open until we must close by order of a government agency. We understand the fear. Being mobile gives us a unique opportunity to limit client contact and keep a contained environment. We want to assure you that we will continue to clean and disinfect between every appointment including our payment processing devices. We also have a medical-grade sanitation light that is utilized daily.”
Rachel – Rachel Ann’s Country Clips
Rachel with Rachel Ann’s Country Clips, a family run business who’s daughter is a budding grooming competitor on our DaySmart Pet Groom Team is picking up their sanitizing game as well as finding some unique ways to stay connected with her clients while teaching her daughter some vital life skills while home from school. To read her full customer spotlight, click here.
“Our clients continue to come and we continue to work until our State decides to close non-essential businesses. We took action immediately. We cleaned all door handles between every client that entered our spa. We cleaned the whole credit card machine and the pens before any client touched them. Staff wore masks while doing check-ins and check-outs to protect our clients. We asked our clients to hand sanitize (which we always have on our front counter) and scheduled pick-ups at separate times so only one client was in the Spa at a time. Our clients are like family and they all understood our concerns and were happy to do their part. To keep our minds and skills sharp Gwendolyn and I will create short “how-to” videos for our clients to do basic things like brushing, comb checking, ear cleaning and basic nail trimming at home until we reopen. We are also making ourselves available over social media daily in case a client needs advice. Without knowing what will happen next we need to stay strong, help each other, spread love, knowledge and band together to protect and care for each other.”
We want to make sure to also highlight some of the businesses themselves run by women across the country delivering top notch grooming and daycare services for our favorite furry friends. And if you are not currently in the industry and these stories inspire you to launch your own grooming business, check out our article on “How to Start a Dog Grooming Business” as we share useful tips passed along from our favorite groomers.
Deana – Dogs Paw Inc.
We recently sat down with Deana Deitchler, owner of Dogs Paw Inc. in Park Rapids, Minnesota, to talk about all of the considerations that go into creating and running a full-service dog care center—from designing your dream workplace to planning for difficult situations. To read the full article click here.
Q: What is your favorite part about running a pet services business?
A: It’s hard to name just one thing because there are so many great parts to running this type of business. Of course, I love providing quality pet care—that’s number one—but I also love that, as a business owner, I get to choose who I work with, both in terms of clients and employees. Not everybody has a job where they get to design their work environment like that. I’m fortunate to have that sort of control.
Q: What advice would you give to other professionals who want to pursue careers in the pet business?
A: First and foremost, make sure you plan for difficult situations. When people enter the pet industry, they think it will be fun all the time, but that’s not the case when you’re handling animals. Even under careful supervision, pets can still get hurt or fight with one another. People are very attached to their pets, so you need to make sure you’re taking care of them. This means having a plan in action for dealing with tough situations when they occur. Develop a training program that covers standard operating procedures for new hires, so they know what the pet-safety protocols are for these sorts of situations from the start.
Alicen – Pet-Agree Pet
For our latest customer spotlight, we sat down with Alicen to talk about how she’s evolved her company from a one-woman show to a nationally-recognized grooming facility, and how DaySmart Pet has helped her create the customer-focused company she’s envisioned from the start. To read the full article click here.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a small business owner?
A: In the beginning it’s hard. You start a business because you want it to be profitable, and you want to design a certain quality of life for yourself, but that doesn’t happen right away. When I opened my business, I was charging less than half of what my services were worth so that I could get people’s business. It took two years before I could pay myself a salary.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business?
A: Look at your target market and figure out where you fit in. When I moved to Jasper, local groomers didn’t actually have any education about grooming. They thought it was fine to just pick up a clipper and groom their pets themselves, so I saw an opportunity to educate the community on the skills needed to do a successful job. I also learned that many local groomers were turning away large dogs and cats; two types of clients I knew I could handle. Because of this, when I first opened, I specialized in grooming large pets to meet my specific market needs.
Women Small Business Owners Infographic
Learn more about women small business owners in the pet industry by checking out our infographic below. This infographic was created from a survey for small business owners conducted by DaySmart Software (makers of DaySmart Pet) in March 2019, we then filtered the results for women-owned businesses only.