In the first episode of Handling Business Season 2, Britt interviews Becky O’Neil of Becky’s Pet Care. This interview is one that you do not want to miss! Becky has played a pivotal role in shaping the professional pet care industry and has built a multi-million dollar pet care business along with her amazing team.
Becky’s love of animals originated in her childhood, spent on a farm in Pennsylvania where she helped raise and care for many animals including livestock, family pets, and horses. Responding to Northern Virginia's growing need for professional pet care services, Becky O'Neil founded Becky's Pet Care, Inc. in her townhouse basement in 1998. Thanks to her strict professional standards and knack for hiring devoted animal lovers, Becky's Pet Care rapidly expanded and now occupies three commercial office space locations serving over 4,500 clients. Caring for these clients and their beloved pets are nearly 150 Pet Care Professionals including a fully-staffed administrative office.
Along the road to this stunning success, Becky cultivated a formidable expertise in small business ownership, including personnel management, systemization, marketing, business planning and development, and human resources, all in a concerted effort to render her business interactions efficient and effective for employees and clients alike.
In addition to running her business, Becky supports animal rescue groups and participates in community organizations including Community Business Partnership, her local PTA and the Northern Virginia Professional Pet Sitters Network. She also earned the prestigious NAPPS Business of the Year Award for setting industry standards. Becky currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with her son, daughter, and two black Labs, Teddy Bear and Rylee.
In this episode Britt and Becky talk about how she started as a one-person show with a handwritten calendar and how she put systems, technology, processes and procedures in place in order to scale her business into the success that it is today. After hiring her first administrative assistant Becky recalls her saying, “I can’t do half the stuff you want me to do because it’s all stuck in your head.” This is what lead to Becky and her staff documenting every little detail about their processes and operations in order to turn Becky’s Pet Care into a well-oiled machine with well-trained, happy staff who could provide dependable and high quality service to their customers.
When asked about how a new business owner can tackle writing down these processes, she recommends that you ask your new admin assistant to interview you and have them write down all of your answers as a draft for your Operations Manual. If you have pet sitters or dog walkers who have been with you for a long time, you can also ask them to write down a detailed outline of how they go about performing tasks so that you can start creating an Employee Handbook.
Becky is a future oriented, goal seeker who is constantly looking ahead to make sure that her business is consistently able to grow and scale. Becky adds that you should schedule your budget reviews and system processes throughout the year to make sure that you are proactively checking on the health of your business. This way, you’re able to plan ahead and make sure that your business can continue to scale.
In regards to staffing, Becky recommends that business owners sit down with their managers and write down every single procedure, interview question and interview protocol to make sure that hiring is done qualitatively. Becky’s Pet Care does three rounds of interviews with three different staff members who decide on whether or not to hire the candidate. She also recommends that businesses perform a field interview to have the candidate shadow the position to make sure they are a good fit for the job. Due to her stringent hiring practices and training protocols, Becky has had several people who have been with her as long as 10 years. She believes that the success of her business is built upon her systems and processes that provide her staff with stability and predictability, which leads to happy clients who can depend on the highest quality of care.
Becky adds, "It's important to develop and practice clear values for your company. The more everyone understands the way the company feels about client and employee care, the easier it is for all team members make better decisions."
Becky’s core values of high quality service, teamwork, and consistency give everyone a shared mindset so decisions can be made quickly and efficiently.
When asked what her favorite quote is, Becky replied, “Successful people do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether they feel like it or not.” She also added, “Good things, happen to good people.” We couldn’t agree more. Becky is such a good business person and a kind-hearted soul. It was an absolute pleasure having her on the show!
To check out this episode and to hear more from Becky O’Neil, listen to the Handling Business Podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes or Google Play.