How to Build a Pet Care Business Empire with Courtney DeDi

Courtney DeDi founded DiOGi Pet Services in 2010 to provide exemplary, professional dog walking and pet sitting services to the in-town Atlanta neighborhoods specializing in caring for pets with behavioral issues and special needs. What began as a 2 person company, DiOGi quickly gained the confidence and love of Atlanta's people and pets. Today, with more than 23 employees, DiOGi has become Atlanta's number one resource for professional pet sitting, dog walking and dog training.

Courtney has always had a love of pets and has been working in the pet industry for more than 14 years. She is a PetTECH Pet First Aid and CPR instructor, a member of the ASPCA, has volunteered for many different Humane Societies, organized fundraisers for EARS – (Emergency Animal Rescue Services) during the Hurricane Katrina Rescue Effort, worked as a dog handler and Assistant Manager for Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and is now the Executive Director of a nonprofit called DiOGi CARES in addition to volunteering with other pet rescue groups. She is a graduate of the National Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and continues to participate in small business programs to continue shaping DiOGi Pet Services into the best dog walking and pet sitting company possible. This summer, Courtney is opening Club DiOGi, a boutique, high-end daycare and grooming salon. She and her staff are committed to providing the best care for all of Atlanta’s pets when their humans are at work and play.

In this episode Britt and Courtney talk about how she hustled extremely hard to get her business off the ground and had several jobs while she got it going. They discuss why it’s important to have a side income while you get your business going, when to bring on your first team member and how to put systems in place to be able to support 23 employees. Courtney shares how she networks like a boss and gives back to her community. Courtney is an inspiring leader who is dedicated to creating a company culture that stands behind her values and mission.

Britt and Courtney also discuss how she has implemented team building strategies within her company to tackle her biggest pain points in a positive way. Most recently, Courtney and her partner Katie came up with a genius “squad” concept to identify leaders in their company and created fun monthly competitions to inspire more teamwork and communication amongst their staff. By creating more leaders within their organization it gives their staff more upward mobility within the company and allows the company to ensure quality and consistency, which in turn leads to more success for everyone involved.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to start a pet care business with zero upfront capital

  • Whether or not you should go cold turkey and start your business, or have a side gig while you get it started

  • How to network like a boss and be a leader in your community

  • How to open a boutique dog daycare to complement your dog walking business

  • How to know when you should bring on your first team member

  • How to create leadership roles within your company and create fun goals to achieve a positive culture

  • How Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program inspired Courtney to scale her business and achieve her dream of opening up her boutique dog daycare

  • Why finding a niche is key to creating a successful business  

  • How Handlr has helped DiOGi continue to scale by offering a local and professional option for ondemand scheduling for their clients

  • Why it’s important to offer your clients an ondemand app so that they don’t look for the convenience that apps like Wag and Rover offer

  • How using Handlr keeps your client list private and protects your business’ assets by providing a three-way chat to give your clients, management and staff a way to streamline communication

  • Why it’s better to find a software that works well for your business instead of building it from scratch

  • How to create a company culture when you own a mobile service business

  • Why Club DiOGi is a whole new type of doggy daycare that is committed to protecting your dog’s mental and physical well being. Club DiOGi provides a calm, safe and fun space for little dogs. By providing small, personalized groups, training games, Zen nap rooms, and even doggy puzzles, Club DiOGi aims to treat their canine members like royalty.

  • How to plan and budget for opening up a brick-and-mortar business

  • How to be a rockstar entrepreneur

Courtney’s favorite saying:

“I will not be governed by the tyranny of immediacy” - unknown

To learn more about DiOGi and keep up on the launch of Club DiOGi, visit http://di-o-gi.com/.                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Why Taking Really Good Care of Your Employees is the Key to Success

Adina Silberstein is the founder, President and CEO of award-winning, Philadelphia-based professional pet sitting, dog walking and force-free, holistic wellness company, Queenie’s Pets®, one of the largest pet care companies in the city.  She is a business and leadership coach and a Certified Canine Massage Therapist.  Adina is committed to making the lives of pets and their humans better by supporting her clients & communities in learning and practicing holistic, fear-free, force-free and pain-free care for all companion animals.  Adina is an active member of many professional associations, including Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, the Pet Professional Guild and more. Adina sits on the Philadelphia Animal Advisory Committee, a team of 10 pet professionals from across the animal disciplines that  advises Philadelphia City Council and the city’s Mayor on all matters of the laws governing animals and their management - from companion animals, to the equine police units to wildlife and oversight of the main city shelter.

Adina is a writer for national & local pet-related blogs, including Dogster.com, Catster.com & thephillydog.com.  She is also a graduate of American University as well as the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The story behind Queenie's Pets and where the name came from
  • How to take really good care of your employees

  • How to take your mobile service business to the next level by creating systems and processes that prioritize efficiency, boundaries and profitability

  • The pros and cons of opening up a brick-and-mortar shop for your mobile service business

  • The importance of continuous business education in order to be a solid leader

  • The benefits of working with a business coach like Adina

  • How to get involved in your community to grow your business and give back

To learn more about Queenie's Pets and to find out more about Adina's business coaching program, visit:

www.QueeniesPets.com

twitter.com/QueeniesPets

www.facebook.com/queeniespets

Instagram: queeniespets

Thank you for listening! Please don't forget to subscribe to our podcast for the latest episodes or leave a review. We really appreciate your support!


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How to Become a Professional Dog Trainer and Mentor

Do you own a dog walking business and you're thinking about becoming a dog trainer, but don't know where to start? Have you always dreamed of working with dogs and becoming an expert? In this episode of Handling Business, we sit down with Kim Sauer of Sit n’ Stay Professional Pet Services who is a true expert and leader in the pet care industry.

Kim Sauer's fascination with dog training took off in 1997 when she started assisting a local trainer using a clicker in exchange for helping her with her own aggressive dog. Her interest grew as she learned how much she loved working with animals and enjoyed seeing the transformation in both the dogs and the owners. Kim opened her pet sitting and dog walking business, Sit n' Stay Pet Services in hopes that the fields would complement each other. Kim hired her first employee in 2005 and has steadily increased in size over the years to now have 30 pet sitters and dog walks, an office manager and 5 trainers on her team.

Kim first earned her certificate from Animal Behavior College in January 2002 becoming an ABC Certified Dog Trainer and then later became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) in March of 2006. She is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and AKC STAR Puppy Evaluator. In 2006 Kim became an ABC Mentor Trainer and also a CATCH Dog Training Program Mentor Trainer and is now helping others to realize their dream of becoming a dog trainer! Kim became a PetTech Pet First Aid Instructor back in 2006 and in 2012 became a Mentor Trainer with PetTech, helping others to become PetTech Instructors as well.

Kim's specialty is working with families owning pets who plan to bring a baby into the household. She was the trainer for the SPCA serving Erie County's Baby Ready Pets Program for 7 years, the the trainer for the SPCA serving Erie County's Teaching Love and Compassion Program (TLC) to inner city at-risk youth program for 5 years, and the trainer for the SPCA Serving Erie County's Paws for Love Therapy Dog Program Evaluator. Kim is also a current Licensed Educator for the Dogs & Storks Program and the Dog and Toddlers Program.

Kim credits most of her education to her own dogs- Blaze, Nigel, Greta, Coop and the many cats and sugar gliders she has shared her home with. Kim believes that every animal (and human), come into your life to teach you something.

In this episode you’ll learn how to...

  • Become a certified trainer and develop a solid program or partner with other programs who already have great resources, handouts and outlines

  • Enroll in a dog training program with CATCH Dog Trainers Academy, Karen Pryor Academy or Animal Behavior College, and work towards becoming a Certified Professional Dog Trainer which is a separate certification from a dog training program

  • Become a mentor trainer through CATCH or PetTech as a way to give back to your community and bring in a good flow of potential dog trainers for your growing dog training business

  • Find great employees and motivate them to be dedicated to your team long term

Books that Kim loves…

A favorite takeaway…

  • “You can’t train people to be friendly, you need to hire friendly people. You can teach people how to take great care of animals, but you can’t always train people to have a certain personality type."  

To learn more about Kim Sauer, find her at sitnstaypetservices.com.

How to Respond to Online Business Reviews with Kristen Lee

Are you small business owner who is panicking over an online review about your business from a competitor or a disgruntled past employee? Or are you wondering how to attract more positive online reviews? The answer might lie in making sure that you're building a tribe and cultivating the right relationships. Kristen Lee breaks it down for us on this week's episode of Handling Business!

Kristen Lee is two parts serious business strategist, one part fairy godmother with a double dose of Jersey, and she’s also the Founder & President of Kristen Lee Consulting, LLC {formerly Thrive}.

Kristen is a dog business consultant, marketing expert, high-end sales ninja, mindset and personal development thought leader. She’s also a continuous education and improvement junkie; always placing herself in the student seat.

And her vision?

Creating massive empires for dog business professionals, empowering industry leaders while accumulating wealth and FREEDOM in their businesses.

If she's not traveling the world on the search for business knowledge bombs to bring back to the dog biz industry, you can find her at her home in hipster Durham, NC with her hubby Frank, two dogs and one cat who thinks he's a dog.

In this episode, Kristen and Britt cover a wide range of topics and narrow in on getting clear on what your niche is in order to find your tribe. Kristen is a firm believer that you have to identify your tribe as the first building block in forming your marketing and sales plan so that you don’t waste time and money knocking on the wrong doors.

Kristen also talks about how important it is to cultivate your tribe and build a community so that when it comes to big “asks” it’s easier to communicate with your clients about writing reviews or spreading word of mouth about your business. Becoming the leader of your tribe also builds credibility as an expert, which leads to other great opportunities and more revenue streams.

Kristen shares what to do about good, bady and ugly reviews and how to deal with them in the most positive way. This episode is jam packed with good advice so don’t miss it!

How to Manage 60,000 Appointments in One Year with Joette White

Have you ever asked yourself, “What if I could do 60,000 appointments in one year?”

Here at Handlr, we love sharing stories about extraordinary entrepreneurs who have scaled their service businesses to great heights. This exemplary business woman has accomplished just that and has built a multi-million dollar pet sitting business. In this episode of Handling Business, we interview Joette White - award-winning business owner, board member, wife, mother, actress and active community member. She has owned Park Cities Pet Sitter since 2002 and has dedicated herself to creating the very best pet care business by investing in her employees happiness and well-being. Because of Joette’s exemplary business practices, her company was awarded NAPPS’ 2017 Business of the Year, a national award given to a pet sitting company that demonstrates outstanding business practices and vision in maintaining and growing their business.  Park Cities Pet Sitter has also won many local-based awards, including Angie’s List Super Service Award for the last 5 consecutive years, “Best of Dallas” by D Magazine, and has been featured on WFAA Channel 8, Dallas Voice, and The Dallas Observer.

In this episode we discuss how Joette bought her business over a decade ago and took it from a few pet sitters to 47 pet sitters who take care of thousands of clients. Joette shares how she continually adapts and makes changes to her business as it scales. She also talks about how she made the switch from independent contractors to employees and how this big shift might not cost as much as you think. Last year, Joette purchased her second pet sitting business to merge with her Park Cities Pet Sitter and stresses how important it is to do your due diligence when purchasing a business. There’s many factors you must consider such as, does their business model align with your own? Is the current business owner able to step away? How are the clients going to react to this switch and how do you mitigate the risks?

The biggest takeaway from this episode is what makes Joette so successful. She believes that you get back what you give and that we are all connected and we are all human. It’s all about relationships with your clients and staff that are based on compassion, healthy boundaries, empathy, loyalty and trust. Many people in the pet industry think that they only need to be good with pets, but they must be equally great with people too or be able to bring on a business partner who is. Joette also insisted that success is not only all about your client’s happiness, it’s actually all about your team’s happiness. Your clients will be happy if your team is. Joette contributes her success to her outstanding team and their dedication to providing her clients with exemplary, high quality service.

Check out the whole interview with Joette White below!

How to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Pet Care Business with Becky O'Neil

How to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Pet Care Business with Becky O'Neil

Becky O'Neil is the Founder and President of Becky's Pet Care, one of the country's largest and most successful pet care businesses. Based in Northern Virginia, Becky and her team take care of over 4,500 clients and employ 150 dog walkers and sitters. Becky started her business as a one woman show writing her schedule down in a planner and over the years made huge leaps forward to create systems and processes that have allowed her to continually scale. In this episode, we talk about how Becky's forward thinking mentality, strategic planning and diligent system reviews that propel her business forward. If you are just starting your business or you're looking for ways to take your pet sitting or dog walking business to the next level, this episode will inspire you to think big and take action!

Handlr Feature Highlight - Instant Payments (No More Invoicing!)

This week, in the Handlr Feature Highlight series, we’ll dive into Instant Payments and how this simple feature can make life much easier for you, your staff and your customers. To learn more about how you can automate your customers payments, read on below!

When you start a business, getting paid seems like the easy part, right? Provide the service or sell the product and cha-ching! Money in your pocket. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t quite work that way. You soon realize that chasing down checks from customers, dealing with refunds  and wasting a lot of time at the bank each week is a harsh reality of service businesses. How often do you have to call a customer and ask them for payment? How many hours a week do you spend chasing down checks? How many times has a payment “slipped through the cracks” costing your business money? What if there was a better way?

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 The Handlr automated payments system means you'll get paid on-time, every time - instantly. As soon as you or a team member check out of the service, your customer will receive a receipt, check-out notification and their card will be charged instantly - no more chasing checks. Need to refund a customer? Maybe you just want to check out all of their past payments? Handlr makes it simply and quick to do so. Customer profiles on the Handlr dashboard contain all payment history and refunds can be applied with just two clicks. Customers add their credit cards to their own Handlr profile using the customer app, or you can add a card for them via the dashboard. Handlr even gives you the option to pre-charge customers up front for services, allowing customers to book package deals or week long appointments. Customers love that they no longer have to write checks for each service, and they don’t even have to be present to pay you! In fact, once they book the service, their part is done - they can rest assured that you’ll be paid on time. Credit card charges are processed on Sunday each week via batch processing, saving you big bucks on transaction fees. With Handlr, your companies invoicing becomes an automated, efficient system that saves you and your customers both time and money.


To learn more about how Handlr can help your business become automated, contact us at: hello@myhandlr.com or schedule a demo here.

Handlr Feature Highlight - Customer and Team Apps

This week, in the Handlr Feature Highlight series, we’ll cover the Handlr team and customer apps. To learn more about how you can give your customers and staff the tools they really want read below!

Handlr provides powerful apps for your clients and staff alike to bring your business into the modern era. Easy to use apps for IOS and Android allow your staff and customers to stay connected and access their appointments instantly. 

Trust us; your customers love their smartphones, and they use them for everything. Today alone they’ll check emails, messages, browse the web, social media and book things like restaurant reservations and movie tickets, all with a few taps. Why not bring your business to their fingertips? Sign up for Handlr and your customer can see your open availability and request times they don’t see, all from their smartphones. They’ll get updates on their appointment status, receive chats, check-in/out notifications and even GPS track your staff. They’ll store a credit card on the app and pay you instantly on check-out. No more sending staff to collect checks. They’ll love how easy it is to interact with you and your staff and the peace of mind they get from knowing exactly when and where their appointment starts. They can leave reviews after each service and even provide you with notes about their home, pet or child. All of this is available to Handlr customers, simply by downloading the Handlr app and booking with your business. Give clients the same technology as the big guys, without the cost of building it yourself.

Give your customers the power they want with the Handlr app - the ability to book an appointment with just a few taps. Automated payments, access to your availability, request un-open times, GPS tracking, 3-way chat, instant updates, photos and much more. The Handlr app is the technology your customers crave, saving them time and giving your business the edge over competition.

 

The free Handlr Team app lets your team members know exactly where they're supposed to be throughout the day. With instant updates, notifications, GPS directions, chat and check-in/out. Your staff will become more efficient than you ever thought possible. The schedule tool keeps them updated as things change throughout the day. If a new appointment is booked, edited or cancelled, they’ll be updated on the-fly and in the field as to changes in their schedule. As they check in and out of each job, you’ll also be notified letting you track their progress and always be sure that they made it to their appointment and finished on time. Staff can quickly send photos or updates to customers via the chat system, and you’ll always be included in the conversation. This gives clients a constant peace of mind even if they’re out of town. Give your team the tools they need to conquer your town and provide the best possible experience to your customers with Handlr.

To learn more about how Handlr can help your business feel free to contact us at hello@myhandlr.com or schedule a demo here.

Handlr Feature Highlight - Automated Scheduling and Requests

 

    For the coming weeks on the Handlr Blog we’ve decided to explore each of our unique features in-depth to bring you an understanding of the power Handlr can bring to your business. Each blog post will highlight one of our incredible tools and how it can better your brand. This week, we’ll cover the Handlr automated scheduling and requests system. To learn more about how you can let your schedule run itself, read on below!

    As a service business, managing your schedule can be challenging enough, but without the proper tools, it can be unbearable. If your customers call or email you every time they need to book an appointment, have a question about your schedule or need to make a cancellation, we know your pain. Managing your schedule based on phone tag and back-and-forth emails is not only difficult but extremely inefficient. Manually creating your schedule each day by phone and emails gets pretty hard to manage when your business is expanding, and before the day is over you have hundreds of booking requests in your inbox, texts, voicemails and other channels of communications. With Handlr, you’ll never waste time scheduling again. Set-it and forget-it availability is one of Handlr’s best features, allowing you and your staff to create open spots for clients to book using the customer app, or fill them yourselves using the management dashboard. This easy-to-use scheduling tool lets you customize everything from what times and dates each staff member is available for, to which services and zip codes they can perform in. Know your employees schedules? Spend 3 minutes on the Handlr dashboard and set up their availability for the next week, month or year - It’s that simple. Maybe you’ve already created your availability but need to add to or change it - a few clicks and you’re good to go. Once you have availability set up, add customers to appointments yourself, or let clients drop themselves right into your schedule using the customer app. The Handlr system knows your staff availability and will automatically calculate the best team member to book for each job. If your customer doesn’t see a time that works for them, they can easily request unavailable times for your approval. Handlr will send you notifications with the requested details and let you choose to approve or deny the request with one click. Automate your daily operations and let your clients book themselves or take more control and let customers request the times they want. Handlr gives you the power to automate your business while always being in the know.

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    The true value of Handlr comes from the tools we give your customers. In this age of on-demand, instant consumer gratification, customers expect a business to provide quick and easy ways to book, buy and pay. Apps like Uber have given consumers a taste of how modern tech can improve the way we purchase every-day services. Now with Handlr, you can give your clients that same great technology, without having to build it yourself. The freedom to book at their convenience, request specific dates, pay automatically and review each service gives clients everything they want at the tip of their fingers. Not into letting customers book on-demand? No problem, you can easily set up Handlr to only take requested appointments. Accept or deny these requests at your convenience and stop spending your days frantically updating your schedule. Give your customers the freedom they want without giving up control of your business.

Saving For A Rainy Day

If you live in California, you may have noticed the sudden, relentless downpour of much needed rain the last few days. This very welcome relief to one of our driest winters yet got us thinking. How prepared are we for a truly "rainy" day? 

Let's explore how a rainy day fund can help your business:

A rainy day fund is not a luxury, but a necessity in today’s competitive business environment. Most people view this extra pile of money sitting idle as simply an optional advantage. Most businesses, especially small business, never accumulate a rainy day fund. Either because they are struggling to just break-even or the money is used immediately to grow the business. These funds are often only created when a small business experiences a sudden budget surplus.

A surplus of capital is can be needed for many reasons. Unfortunately, you never realize it before it is already too late. Perhaps you’re hit with a large tax penalty or a massive insurance payment. A timely infusion of cash could limit the damage and stop the ugly process of accruing interest, payment plans, and collection agencies. However, it’s also a mistake to think the rainy day fund has to be for something “negative.” This cash could also be used to make the most of some great opportunities. Let’s say you see an incredible deal on a key piece of equipment, or a new vehicle for the fleet. Maybe the opportunity to expand your staff and hire a part-time employee during the busy season takes priority. In these cases you’ll surely be glad you have the extra cash to quickly make these decisions.

Struggling to make-ends meet but want to start a rainy day fund? It can be difficult to make this happen when your business runs month-to-month, but you can make changes to start the process: First and foremost, take a look at your monthly spending. What's a "need" and what's a "want"? Split them in to two lists and you'll undoubtedly have a few "wants" you can get rid of. Now, do it again, but this time think of some rainy-day scenarios. Maybe an employee has an accident at work and a lawsuit is formed. A few long-time customers suddenly move on - leaving your revenue a bit dry. Maybe a storm floods your office and insurance can't cover it all... Now lay these scenarios on top of your spending list and see what else you can drop. Chances are more than a few items are worth giving up to negate the risks of a really bad "rainy day".

If you have reached the point in your business where you are generating positive cash flow and easily paying your bills, it’s time to start preparing for a rainy day. It doesn’t have to be huge, just make sure it is appropriately sized to handle the unexpected events your business could realistically expect. Start putting in some money when you can, or better yet, create an automatic transfer to the fund. Before long, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected.

6 Fun Ways to Network with Other Local Businesses in the New Year!

At Handlr, we’re all about bringing the small business community together. Nothing strengthens a business like connecting and growing with other entrepreneurs. The Handlr marketplace allows you to share customers with other professional service businesses in your neighborhood creating the perfect opportunity to grow and spread the word. Why not help the process by getting to know your fellow businessmen and women? Below you’ll find some great tips for breaking the ice and connecting with those that can help you succeed.

Just call ‘em up!

There’s nothing wrong with calling up a business owner and asking them to join you for a cup of coffee or lunch. Offer to take them out and explain that you want to get to know the business owners in your area. Tell them you want to pick their brain about local marketing and outreach strategies. Ask them if they’d like to know anything about how you operate your business. Now obviously a direct competitor to your business may not feel like meeting with you, but entrepreneurs with compatible businesses stand to gain a lot from being friendly. Own a dog walking business? Call up your local groomer and offer to brainstorm with them. Do you clean houses for a living? Partner with the local pool cleaner to share customers. It really is that simple!

Start a community dinner.

A more approachable and formal way of meeting neighborhood biz owners is to start a monthly dinner. Setting this up is easy with a Facebook account or even a text thread. Reserve a table at a favorite bar/ restaurant on the same day each month and invite local owners via a Facebook page or chain text. If you need an extra push to get the traffic flowing you can offer to buy appetizers or the first round of drinks. Do this and we guarantee you’ll get at least a few guests to join you. If you don’t mind some potential randoms, tell guests they can bring a friend, or better yet, another business owner!

Invite them to a conference

Conferences and seminars can be an incredible way to bring new tools, tips and tricks to your own business, but no one likes going to them alone! If you need an excuse to talk to a fellow business owner, inviting them to accompany you to a conference is a great strategy. Not only will you both learn new strategies to bring back to your own business, but you can discuss what your learning on the fly with an alternative point of view! Comparing notes after each speaker or mingling as a group can make these event much more exciting.

Drop off a gift!

This one’s a no-brainer and especially good if a new business pops up in your neighborhood. Bringing by a pie or bouquet of flowers will not only make you a friend, but open the door to communication. Friendly gestures say a lot about not just who you are, but how you run a business. Bring a catered lunch for the new staff and that company is likely to suggest you to their own customers.

Add a “resources” page to your website!

This is the best possible excuse to get friendly with your business neighbors. Add a resources list to your website where you suggest compatible businesses to your customers. Add their website and phone number and then call the business to ask for permission to add their info. They’ll be so flattered that you’re recommending their business!

Invite them to Handlr!

This is an easy one to do as a way to establish connection or even after you’ve already done so. Tell your local entrepreneurs that you can share customers with them using the Handlr marketplace and it’ll be a win-win for you both!

Give Yourself and Your Clients the Gift of Easy Booking this Holiday Season

 This holiday season, give yourself and your customers the gift you all truly want - more time. This is the busiest time of year and no one has enough time in the day. Consumers value their time over anything else and gravitate towards businesses that can save them some of that precious resource. It’s the reason delivery services, air travel and just about everything else was invented. To save people time. Handlr allows you to do just that; our easy booking process means customers can book your services in seconds, while our management tools let you focus on the tasks that matter most.

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Let’s say your customers contact you directly to book an appointment with your business. Well, that gets pretty hard to manage when your business is expanding, and before the day is over you have hundreds of booking requests in your inbox, texts, voicemails and other channels of communications. By becoming a Handlr Partner, your customers can book you through our Handlr App with ease. They can book a single, last-minute service, or plan out the rest of the year with recurring booking options. All while you manage appointments, team members reports and more right from your own easy-to-use dashboard. Clients can instantly chat within the app with you, and the assigned employee, receive real-time updates and review the service when completed. The team member can send photos and updates about the service to your customer in real-time. And the customer can trust your business that the job is getting done with Handlr’s GPS tracking, they don’t even need to be home! It’s common knowledge that through the course of today, the average consumer will check emails, browse the web, do some holiday shopping, & much more before they head to bed - all from their smartphones. Take advantage of this and give customers one more easy, mobile option to save them time this season. To become a Handlr Partner email us at hello@myhandlr.com or request a demo at your convenience here!

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Top Ways to Thank Your Employees During the Holidays

The holiday season can be the most stressful time of year for everyone involved in your business. With the constant end-of-year hustle and bustle that most businesses experience, it’s important to keep your employees in mind. Your team is responsible for keeping customers happy and to ensure they stay with you in the next year. These are the people that can make 2018 your best year yet, so be sure to keep them happy too. Below you’ll find our top tips for showing employees appreciation during the holidays.

Take them out for a nice meal

Whether a company-wide "Worksgiving," or a one-on-one lunch, just getting away from the craziness to enjoy a meal and some work-free conversation is a solid expression of gratitude.

Give them some time off

We know Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks are typically the busiest times of year for small businesses, meaning you’ll need your employees more than ever. While employees are usually both expecting and appreciative of more hours during this season, they can also benefit from the occasional day off. Remember that while business is booming, this is also a time for family. Cut your team a break now and then to go spend quality time with loved ones and they’ll repay you ten times with hard work.

Holiday Happy Hour

Close up early on a Friday and take the team across the street for some cocktails and laughs. Team bonding comes in many forms and Eggnog is one of them. Better yet, decorate the office and surprise them with an early work party!

Host a Fancy Party

Does a party in the office sound too drabb? Think your employees will find the thought of partying in the same place they work all day the kind of idea the Grinch would suggest? Take it elsewhere! Rent a private room at a local restaurant and throw a Real party! An upscale event where employees can bring a guest will make them feel like you truly care about your work family. Throw a party they’ll brag about for months and you’re sure to start off the new year strong.

A Personal Note

If you're going to do holiday cards, then do holiday cards. Don't just do the blanket "thanks for all you do" statement; personalize the message to each employee so it's clear leadership values each individual's contributions. Classic, simple and effective.

Pot Luck or Baking Contest

Either as a complement to a lunch/Happy Hour or as a stand-alone event, invite employees to bring in their best homemade holiday dishes for the chance to win a prize, like a gift card or an extra day off. Make it a blind tasting and give employees tickets to vote anonymously to keep things fair. Tables filled with treats plus a little friendly competition and you've got a low-cost event sure to please your employees.

Charity Work

Work with your employees to come up with a list of charitable organizations to support, and then make time to support them ... during work hours. Bake sales, fun runs and more can get your team feeling good and giving back.

Holiday Bonuses

Does this really need an explanation? But on a serious note - this is the time of year when people start to think about their career paths, and where they might have other options. End-of-year bonuses and raises are one of the few ways to show employees that you’re serious about their contribution to your business.

7 Awesome Podcasts for Business Owners On the Go

Here at Handlr we LOVE podcasts. They are such a great way to ease that morning commute, distract yourself at the gym or learn something new. podcasts can be an invaluable resource when operating your own business. There are so many entrepreneurs sharing inspiring stories of success and failure for you to learn from. From broad stories of entrepreneurial journeys to specific subjects that will answer your most narrow questions; you’ll constantly be surprised with what you learn listening to podcasts. If you haven't joined the podcast train yet, we’ve taken the time to put together a list of our favorites to get you started!

How I Built This

This is a great starting point for any small business owner. Produced by NPR, How I built this has an exceptional quality in terms of guest lineup, production and entertainment . An all around great podcast with something for everyone - especially entrepreneurs.

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this


Masters of Scale

Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of Linked-in hosts the show with a compelling passion for business. Each episode will leave you with great resources that give real ideas and strategies that can be applied to your small business. While his guests are always fascinating, it’s Reid himself that really makes the show worthwhile. Though his guests are usually successful entrepreneurs themselves, you really get the sense that even they are learning from what Reid has to say, often taking notes or probing Reid for ideas and tips to further their ideas. These are top-tier entrepreneurs providing invaluable lessons.

https://mastersofscale.com/

 

The Tim Ferriss Show

Ever heard of The 4 Hour Work Week? Author Tim Ferriss now spends those 4 hours (and a few more, we suspect) hosting a Podcast. This one is a little more chaotic with much less structure than other Podcasts. Tim likes to talk about what he’s interested in so you may get a business episode or an episode about fitness or food. While this sounds like less of a learning opportunity, trust us that Ferriss brings his business expertise to just about everything he talks about. The diversity can also add some relief to typical all-business style shows bringing a higher entertainment value than some of the others. Be prepared for a bit of chaos as episode length can range from 10 minutes to 2+ hours.

https://tim.blog/podcast/

 

Entrepreneur on Fire

EoFire is one of our absolute favorite podcasts here at Handlr. In fact, our very own founder, Britt Alwerud was a guest on the show. Check it out here! Each episode details the journey of a successful entrepreneur and the trials they faced to get there. This show is all about real, actionable advice that you can bring to your business. Tim asks each guest about their “Ah-ha” moment and how their lives changed from that point on. You’ll come away relieved that others have faced the same struggles and motivated to get past them.

https://www.eofire.com/

 

Mixergy

Andrew Warner takes the usual business podcast and turns it into something more chronical. These episodes involve a lot of story telling from founders who want to get their message out. While details and actual steps taken are less of a focus, It can be incredible to hear the story of how the worlds top businesses came to be.

https://mixergy.com/interviews/
 

GirlBoss Radio

Sofia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal brings a voice to the most powerful and successful women of modern day. On each episode of the Girlboss Radio, Sophia interviews boundary-pushing women who've made their mark on the world of business. These are some of the most honest podcast episodes you’ll come across where many of the guests don’t mind spilling the whole truth. It also makes for one of the more humorous shows on the web. There’s even a Netflix series about Amoruso’s life!

https://www.girlboss.com/podcast/

 

Handling Business Podcast

Now this one is our favorite! Though we might be a bit biased. Handling Business is our own podcast where we interview you, our Handlr business partners about your own journeys on this ride we call entrepreneur-ism. We’ve had some really great guests on the show with some really special stories to learn from. We highly recommend it!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/handling-business/id1230262850?mt=2


Want to be a guest on our show? Email us at hello@myhandlr.com !

Your November tips for landing in 2018 the right way

2017 IS ALMOST A WRAP. HOW DID WE GET HERE SO FAST? WITH 2018 HURTLING TOWARDS US IT CAN BE EASY TO FORGET THIS YEAR WHILST PREPARING FOR THE NEXT. FINISH THE YEAR STRONG WITH THESE GREAT TIPS:

Keep costs low.

Holiday season spending is the easiest thing to do, both in our personal lives and in business. The sales, deals and opportunities, presented to us this time of year can be overwhelming and often impossible to pass up. That being said, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the spending spirit and land in 2018 with a low budget.

Stay in the minds of your customers

 Make sure you put in the effort to stay connected to your clients during this busy time and keep your business on their minds through the holidays. One of the best ways to do this is by sending out Holiday “thank you” cards to show your clients just how much your appreciate their business. If you can afford to do so; adding a gift certificate or coupon for the new year will give them a reason to come back as soon as the new year has started.

Create holiday or New Years specific services that will “last for a limited time”. Don’t worry about seeming too pushy, just remember that you’re offering services to your clients that can help save valuable time during the busy season. Remind customers of other services you offer in case they forgot. these are the times when people are most busy and in need of all the help they can get.

Automate!

Think about how much time you spend managing your scheduling, your clients and your team. Chances are, instead of spending your days growing your business, marketing and bringing in new clients, you’re trapped at a desk and on the phone while you constantly play catch-up. Take a moment to review just how much time you could save if all of these processes were automated. From accounts payables to billing to team management, your days can be better spent. to customer data entry, look for ways to save time by streamlining tasks.

Handlr can help you with all of this. By automating your scheduling, managing your team and providing customers with a streamlined booking experience with GPS tracking, notifications, and automated payments. You can setup your full 2018 schedule today!

Plan the next year.

Learn from the mistakes you made this year. What were your biggest problems? What drove away customers? What took up valuable time that could have gone elsewhere? Follow up with the things that worked; a great marketing campaign, a special deal that brought in clients, etc. Use these to plan ahead and get yourself ahead of the curve.

Handlr can help get you there, as you’ll spend less time in a frantic struggle with your daily operations and more time focusing on the big picture.

Is your website working for you?

At Handlr we pride ourselves in offering the best scheduling, fleet tracking and management software on the market. While these tools will help to grow and automate your business, a great website and a strong online presence are crucial for true success. Our partners at Like Honey Marketing are here to help you develop that imperative side of your small business. Check out what they have to offer below!

 

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Whether you’re running a brick and mortar shop, on-demand service, or e-commerce platform, these days, an online presence is crucial for any business. Not to de-bunk one of your childhood theorems, but people really do judge books by their covers, and in your case, your cover is your website! With recent studies revealing a whopping 97% of consumers searching for local business’ and services online, your website's role in the overall success of your venture should be your priority. 

 

Creating a digital footprint for your business in the current competitive space isn't an opt-in option anymore. Google recently reported that 58% of all Google search queries are done on a mobile device with a whopping 65% of shoppers making purchases with their phones. The fact is, if you aren’t optimized for mobile you’re ultimately losing sales. Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load! 

Check Out Our Tips For Small Business' Website Success

Hey, Thanks For The Info. Now What? 

Knowing and understanding the value of having current and effective elements will keep your small business website ahead of the rest. We’d love to take a look at what you're working with! Schedule a free consultation with us HERE to see how we can help you with your ongoing small business website improvement.

Back to School, Back to Business

Summer is winding down and for kids everywhere that means back to work. For the rest of us, that means time to work even harder than we have been all summer. If you’ve taken some time off under the sun it can be hard to get back to the grind. But don’t let this time slip by! The back to school season can be one of the most lucrative times in business. Between getting kids ready for school and preparing for a winter full of holidays and get-togethers, parents and consumers are extremely busy. This is a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this hectic season.

Offering services that save time can seem like a godsend to consumers right now. Take advantage of this, by marketing your services as much as possible to moms and dads on-the-go. Remember, your dog walking or landscaping business is saving them valuable time. Your massage business is helping them relax after stressful days, and your house cleaning business is doing the work they simply don’t have time for. Remind your customers as well as potential clients of these facts. Partner with a local school to promote business, sponsor an after-school event or group, even putting flyers up on the local bulletin board with a "Back to school" special can have huge impact. Focus your Fall marketing on this strategy and prepare to reap the rewards.  This is also the start of a new "spending season" where consumers are placed in a mindset to buy. Fall is a busy time for working families as they prepare for upcoming holidays amidst the bustle of school and work. Take advantage of this by targeting customer pain-points. What can help ease their work load? What will relieve some stress as we approach these busy holidays? Remember that time is the best commodity you can sell. Customers are very wiling to pay for more time in their day. 

Handlr is here to help you take full advantage of the back-to-school potential. Our incredibly easy to use scheduling, team and customer management system is the ideal way to automate your business so you can focus on bringing your service to new, busy customers. Contact us today about getting your business ready for this opportune time of year.

Handling Your Law Questions with Alex Stathopoulos

This week the Handling Business Podcast welcomes Alex Stathopoulos! Alex is an employment litigation attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and works out of the firm’s San Francisco office.  In that role, she regularly counsels clients and litigates employment-related claims before various administrative agencies and in state and federal court, including discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims, as well as wage-and-hour class actions. Alex is a double golden bear--she graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law, and also earned a B.A. in Philosophy and B.S. in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.  In between undergraduate and law school, Alex was a workforce communication consultant for two years, focusing on drafting strategic employee communications.  In addition to her professional pursuits, Alex also has a wide array of side-projects--she is a painter, has dabbled with running her own Etsy store,  knits, cooks, and hopes to someday get into falconry.

We capture an extensive and in-depth interview as we ask Alex all the questions a small business owner could ask. We’ll cover hiring and termination laws, tips for successful background checks, what you can and cannot ask during interviews, the importance of a clear company policy and much, much more! Alex also provides some invaluable resources to help you stay on top of local and federal laws when it comes to your small business. This is one of our most informative episodes yet so be sure not to miss it!

 



LINKS TO LISTEN/ DOWNLOAD

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Building a business with your best friend

We have a fun Handling Business episode in store for you today as we sit down with the co-owners of a very successful pet care business in Northern Virginia called All Friends Pet Care. Pam Ahart and Beth Greenburg are not only business partners, but also best friends. They’ve known each other since 1973 and their childhood was full of pets. It was only natural that they one day decided to turn their passion and dedication toward their animal friends into a business where your best friend is their best customer. We’re going to dive into the early days of starting their business, the secret behind having a successful co-founder relationship, the benefits of getting involved in professional communities and neighborhood events, and the trials and tribulations that they’ve faced as business owners over the years. Tune in now!

 


SHOW NOTES:

All Friends Pet Care - allfriendspetcare.com



 

LINKS TO LISTEN/ DOWNLOAD

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Just do it... how to get scaling, hiring and profiting right away with Gila Kurtz

This week the Handling Business podcast welcomes the amazing Gila Kurtz. A serial entrepreneur who found her passion in helping dogs and their owners, Gila has led an incredible life of ambition and dedication to her businesses. In addition to building a successful dog training business wherever the Navy moved her,  she co-founded and co-owns  Dog is Good, an award-winning lifestyle brand for dog lovers. She has also authored Fur Covered Wisdom… A Dog Can Change the Way You See the World, a #1 international bestseller in Pet and Self-Help Categories. These days Gila continues to grow her love for business and pets as her company generates an impressive 7 figures a year.

Britt and Gila spend this episode sharing stories of their startup struggles overcome by their passion for dogs, people and entrepreneurship. You’ll discover how Gila was able to create successful brands in a two year time-frame while she moved around for the Navy. You’ll also come away from this podcast with an understanding of the importance of revenue, consistency, and getting your hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of your business. This is a powerful episode chalked full of great tips and tricks from one of the most successful women in the pet industry. Listen now!

 


SHOW NOTES:

Dog Is Good  - dogisgood.com

Fur Covered Wisdom - Amazon



 

LINKS TO LISTEN/ DOWNLOAD

Itunes

Google Play

Soundcloud