None of us could have imagined the effect the COVID-19 pandemic would have on businesses and industry in general. Quarantine, shutdowns, and lockdowns allowed pet owners to spend more time with their furry friends. Still, as small pet business owners too, the pandemic has pushed them to the brink. Instead of wallowing in despair and self-pity, they can make some changes, adapt to the new situation, and prepare their business for the future.
Stay informed on the latest local policies
The situation with the COVID-19 changes by the hour. That is why governments and local authorities have to react quickly and introduce new policies and regulations to prevent the virus from spreading. Most changes don’t have an impact only on the citizens and locals, but also on businesses. For this reason, it is important to stay up to date with the latest information and developments. The changes usually affect working hours, preventative measures, and business activities. If you don’t hear about them on time, you might have to pay expensive fines or even close the business for a while. Therefore, set up notifications or catch the latest news on social media and websites to stay informed. The sooner you find out about the laws and regulations, the better you can adjust your business operations.
Keep in touch with staff and clients
Now more than ever, you have to stay in touch not only with your staff but also with your clients. Employees have to be kept in the loop about the latest changes, so they know if, when, and how they are supposed to do their job safely and responsibly. The easiest way to communicate all changes and updates to the staff is through internal communication software. Using such software allows you to keep everyone posted at all times and ensures daily operations run smoothly.
Similarly, you shouldn’t neglect the customers either. Despite the pandemic, they might require your services. Their pets might need vaccination, urgent procedures, medication, grooming, or customers would simply like to consult with you on some matters. That is why you have to keep customers informed about your working hours and safety protocols as well. By keeping them posted, you make sure your business continues making a profit while taking all safety precautions.
Set standards of hygiene
The local authorities may allow you to stay open and continue working with clients directly throughout the pandemic. In this case, it is pivotal for you to set and enforce high standards of sanitation and hygiene. This means you should invest in quality hand sanitizers and disinfectants and make them available for the staff as well as the pet owners. Also, make sure everyone washes their hands after interacting with coworkers, pets, or their owners. Moreover, you will have to keep all surface areas and facilities clean and sanitized.
It might be a good idea to work shorter hours, so you and your staff have more time to clean everything thoroughly. Don’t forget to equip the staff with face masks and other PPE or personal protective equipment. This way, you make sure everyone in a practice stays safe and healthy.
During the pandemic, businesses with diverse services have been maximizing their profits and staying afloat despite the lockdowns and shutdowns. When the company offers a whole range of different services, instead of just one type, it makes up for all their lost revenue in other business aspects. When a crisis such as this one arises, the company has enough resources to go by until things go back to normal. Therefore, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Consider what other services you can offer to the clients and create an extra income. For example, pet walks, grooming, dog training, or pet sitting. Because of the pandemic, offering telemedicine seems like a good idea. This way, even if the government places the business on lockdown, it can still reap some profits.
Practice social distancing
Another safety measure you and your employees have to adhere to is social distancing. This measure is particularly difficult to enforce since all your staff members work together in one building, and pet owners come and go every day. However, with a detailed plan and a few tricks up your sleeves, practicing social distancing shouldn’t pose a problem. For starters, you can limit the number of people in the facilities. This allows clients and staff members to keep a safe distance and stay protected.
Then, you can organize drop-offs and pick-ups without any contact. In particular, pet owners don’t have to enter the practice and drop off or pick up their pets after the appointment. Instead, they wait in their car in the parking lot while a member of the staff drops off or picks up the pet without making any contact with the owner. Also, when clients do enter the facilities to complete payments, they can do so using the contactless payment methods.
In the end, the pandemic hasn’t circumvented the animal industry. While the consequences of the pandemic remain vague, small pet business owners have no other choice than to adapt and navigate their way through the crisis.