How to Organize a Business
If you want to successfully run and grow a pet business, at some point you’re just going to have to get organized. You can definitely get by winging it at first… when it’s just you, you can just about keep everything in your head and jump from task to task, and client to client. But as soon as you have any appetite to grow past what you can personally accomplish, you simply must get a few simple systems and habits in place. If you don’t, the tedious tasks will pile up, the projects will fall behind, and eventually your business (and probably you) will suffer.
You can certainly hire a business organizer to get yourself sorted, but if your small business can’t quite afford that yet, we’ll give you some pointers here that will help you organize your own business.
One of the first things to understand as you set about tidying up your business operations, is that in most businesses the act of being organized is generally referred to as ‘project management’. This is exactly what it sounds like – managing the ongoing projects in your business – whether that’s getting a new website up, hiring and training staff, or simply managing the delivery of services to each client.
A starting point for managing any project is understanding what you want to achieve. What’s the goal? What are the priorities?
This is essential once you have team members to keep on track, but also really help for yourself, especially if you fall easily into ‘shiny object;’ syndrome (an affliction us petpreneurs often refer to as ‘squirrel brain’).
As a software company, we here at Book Your Pet love using purpose-built project management tools. To keep projects organized check-out apps like Asana, Trello, Basecamp or if you like to keep it super simple, try Todist (a hearty checklist app where you can assign deadlines). In our business we use Monday.com to build and update the app, and manage progress of individual tickets and projects across dozens of team members.
But no matter which platform you use, the big habit shift is learning to create more automation and transparency in what you do and in particular, how you do it, so that the business can be less and less about what’s in your head, and more and more about the systems your entire team can use to meet the priorities and goals you’ve decided are most important.
With Book Your Pet [link] can you automate some of the most tedious administrative tasks (like sending those dreaded invoices) which will improve your efficiency and energy dramatically. This will mean you won’t be weighed down energetically with tasks you hate – and it will legit give you back hours each day to invest in more meaningful ways. Speaking of hours back, let’s talk time management.
We hear from petpreneurs every day that time management is their no.1 most annoying and challenging obstacle. There just never seems to be enough time to do everything that needs to be done, and SHOULD be done, let alone what you’d LIKE to get done.
Efficiency and productivity become more and more essential as your business grows, and usually it’s down to the founder to stay on top of deadlines and thwart procrastination (which also for most petpreneurs gets harder and harder as you grow and begin to feel more demands and more pressure).
One of the secrets of effective time management for entrepreneurs is to (as much as possible) go with what comes naturally to you. You’ll read in lots of books and hear in lots of podcasts that you should have a ‘morning routine’ and do your best work first thing… but if you are not a morning person this may always be a struggle for you. Don’t fight it!
Try to get yourself organized the night before, and when you start your work day, tick off the tasks that don’t require too much thought first, to ease your way into the day. Unclutter your inbox, go through missed calls and voicemails. But do pay attention for when your most dynamic and productive times are… and use THOSE times to tackle the tasks that require more of your focus and creative thinking.
If you find yourself working in front of a screen most of the day, take breaks away from your desk. Stand up. Move around. You’ll really only be productive for about 90 minutes at a time – so don’t push through longer without a break. This will help you maintain your focus, get more done, and feel less tired at the end of the day.
Want to know where all your time is going?
Try tracking it for a few days or a week.
Once you’re truly aware of how much time you’re spending each task each day, you can make informed decisions about how your time could be better spent (HINT: might be time to stop neglecting meals, water, sleep, exercise and down-time – these are the simple but often overlooked habits of smart, successful petpreneurs .
Once you’ve tracked your time you might find there are manual processes or tasks that are wasting a lot of your time each day. Perhaps you’re spending too much time sending emails back and forth with clients… or maybe it’s your invoicing and bookkeeping. If it’s any of the above, do check out the Book Your Pet Demo and see if you might be able to hand off some of those time wasters to our software to automate them. If you’re anything like most of the dog walkers, trainers, pet photographers, groomers or sitters who already moved over to Book Your Pet – you’ll get HOURS back each day.
Last but not least
Taking a look at what needs to get done the night before can be really useful to avoid the chaotic feeling of constantly putting out fires and task-switching. If you set your goals and priorities BEFORE the day has swept you up, not only are you more likely to actually achieve your objectives, but you’ll feel more relaxed and in-control in the process. Whew!
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If you don’t already have a team, when you get serious about growing, you will. It’s definitely a good idea to get more organized, automated BEFORE you onboard new people into your company – but life isn’t always that tidy. Realistically, if you’re growing fast trying to keep up with demand, there’s a good chance you blinked and went from a team of one to a team of 10-20. It’s not too late to get organized!!
Perhaps best-case at this point is to actually find and hire, or assign someone in your existing team who has a very detail-oriented, organized brain to help you start to create the systems, automations, project management, time management and goal setting processes. If hiring, training, onboarding and managing people isn’t your jam – you can hire someone to do that too (eventually you will need an HR person in your company to manage all that stuff). So remember, it doesn’t have to be you, but someone needs to be getting and keeping you and the team organized.
anagement is also an excellent tool for employers with people working under them. Using project management systems lets you view which step your team is on for each project. Moreover, it also simplifies your communication with an employee. You do not have to spend time in catch-up meetings if you can know at any point what each of your employees is working on.
So, be honest, are you the petpreneur who keeps everything on paper or in your head? I get it – it feels so nice and tangible and controllable… but organized pet businesses which are easier to run, and easier to grow are not run from a paper planner, note cards or post-its. Even Veterinarians these days are moving away from those walls and walls of paper-based filing systems.
Why? Physical documents take up space, they’re not secure, they require manual labor to physically pull and file each day, and there is an extremely high likelihood of critical information getting lost or getting destroyed. Going paperless is also WAY better for the planet (having to print everything is so 2001) Ok, ok so we all know an electronic file management system is a much more efficient way to go about organizing a business… so why aren’t we doing it? Mostly because of the effort to get it embrace change – and the fear of new and unknown. This is why at Book Your Pet we offer done-for-you onboarding so you can just let our team handle getting you from paper or your current software onto the cloud.
Just imagine how wonderful it would be to just do a search in an app instead of shuffling through those tiny scraps of paper!? How much freedom would it give you to always have your entire business totally backed-up and searchable in your pocket, all the time!?
Even those annoying client contracts, model releases, vaccination records can be simplified digitally. No one (especially millennials) wants to print, sign and scan anymore – there are easier ways!! The easier you can make it for your customer to do business with you – the easier it will feel to run AND exponentially grow your business.
Let’s be honest – it’s not just the files that are bogging you down… the sheer volume of communication with team and clients in a pet business can be totally overwhelming. It’s not like you can just stop doing it either right? Communicating is absolutely essential for the safety and satisfaction of the pets in your care and their parents.
But when you’re loaded with emails, texts, whatsapps and notes from your existing clients and staff – when on earth are you able to actually chat with new clients who are trying to get information and book in? It can easily feel impossible.
This is another reason automation is critical for a growing pet business, but even just having all your contacts and communications in one place will make it easier to fire off those quick chats without having to search your phone, inbox and notebook for a phone number, email or notes. Plus, your team can pick up where you left off, since everyone you authorize to, can see the conversation.
Another top-tip is getting a ‘book now’ button enabled for your inquiries, which can allow clients to book a free consultation (in-person or directly integrated with zoom) so that intead of sending you an email you will have to go back and forth on… they can just simply book themselves straight into your calender for a time to chat. This is a win-win strategy to keep you super organized, and help make it easier for them to become a happy new client, without wasting anyone’s time.
Money is a major pain point for most businesses… pricing, yes and the budgeting and forecasting ‘will I make enough’ ‘how much can I afford to spend’ of course. But when we start out, most of us don’t have any notion of the unbelievable amount of time we’ll have to invest in setting up and maintaining multiple ways to accept it (in-person and online, at our location, and on the go). Then of course there is bookkeeping, reporting and accounting – ohhhhh and taxes.
If keeping the money organized is a major pain point for you right now, think of how much better your life could be if time could be, if you had all your sales and invoices already digital, all in one place, and already integrated with Quickbooks or Xero!? (Did I mention, Book Your Pet has built-in integrations with Quickbooks and Xero? Yup).
If you’re a pet business owner and you’re feeling a need to get organized, and you’ve read to this point, you’ve probably noticed a bit of a recurring theme… it’s time to move away from manual and get on board with automated. It’s time to let clever software do the heavy lifting for you and your team.
Whether you start with a project management tool like Asana, Trello, Todoist or Monday.com – or make the management of your time and team, and getting your transactions, finances, files and contacts up onto the cloud feel like a breeze with Book Your Pet…. It’s time to let go. Yes it’s scary at first to feel like you’re not touching every single moment of the business – but after you experience the relief, expansion in your time and energy, and praise from your customers and staff for the added reliability, speed and clarity – you’ll be so glad you did!
Want to chat with one of our pet experts about how Book Your Pet can help you get organized?