3 Business Principles I Learned the Hard Way
So let's go ahead and start talking about three business principles. I learned the hard way now when I was thinking about a topic to do today,
I wanted to do something that might be a little, it was a little bit hard for me to figure out how to package this. And these were three different things that I really had to learn the hard way. And I hope that you can avoid learning the hard way personally. So number one is going to be to know your audience. I know this sounds kinda like a loaded question,
but how often do you guys think about who you're talking to? Are they a professional, you know, business professional? Are they an employee? Are they a grooming professional? Who are you talking to when you're doing things and what is their value system? I was talking today with one of my coaching clients and we were talking about how she is doing mobile,
very ex, very exclusive, like all small pets under 20 pounds. And her dog haircut started $120. And part of the things that she was talking about was how can, how can I work on converting people that are saying I'm too expensive? And one of the most important things I said to her was for her to know her audience. Is this somebody who is willing to change their mind?
Is this somebody who's going to be convinced? Probably not. We used the example of when I was growing up, I had, we had a little dog. He was, he looked like a, his name was Benji. He looked kinda like a P V G V and he got shaved once a year. I don't think there's anything you could have told my mom growing up.
You could have told her they were washing that dog battery acid. I don't think she'd care. Not because she didn't love Benji, but because she wasn't very wealthy and it wasn't, it wasn't something she could worry about. She was having enough time putting food on the table for her three kids, nevermind getting the pet groomed. So with that, I want you to think about is it worth trying to convince these people?
Is it worth trying to educate these people? What are the things that you're doing on a daily basis and do they make sense? You know, when you're knowing your audience, what's, if there, you know, is there something going on? They need to take a step back and go, okay, who is it that I'm talking to? You know,
who is it that I'm talking to? What do they value? You know, should I continue on this or is this just a waste of my time? And I know that sounds kind of unfair because it really sucks to go, why am I wasting my time? But sometimes you just are. Sometimes no matter what you say, no matter what you do,
you're not going to change their mind. They're not gonna, they're not gonna see your side of the conversation. They're just not going to. So it doesn't make any sense to continue being like a broken record. I see this happen a lot with you guys that are talking about a client who is not your ideal client or your soulmate client. They are just a client that won't listen to you.
And if you take a step back and you've said something over and over and over again and go, okay, who is my audience? What is their value system? Do they care? Probably not. And that's probably just putting yourself in a bad situation. And I don't think that makes any sense. Now you can keep doing it. I learned that the hard way.
I'd like you to be able to take that knowledge and be able to be more flexible like that. Alright, so number two, trust but verify. I thought this was a great aha moment. And basically what I realized was that yes, I should trust what my clients are saying. Yes, I should trust what other groomers are telling me. Yes,
I should trust what the vet is saying, but I need to verify that. And what ends up happening is a lot of times we just trust someone's word or we trust someone's integrity. For instance, if you get a check from a client, you know you're trusting that they are gonna cash that. You know, make sure it's for the right amount.
Make sure when you get money it's for the right amount. Yes, trust, but make sure you verify what they're doing. I can't tell you how many times I see in posts on Facebook groups talking about how someone shorted them some money, how someone wrote money out for the wrong amount. And this of course could be just a mistake, but it also could be someone seeing what they can get away with.
Another great example of trust but verify is in vet notes. Recently I was talking to one of my cat groomer friends and she mentioned that she had one of the most matted cats she's ever done. She's done thousands and thousands and thousands of cats. Like she's groomed thousands of cats. And this is one of the most matted cats she's ever groomed. Now,
when she got the vet notes, the cat had been to the vet within the last couple of weeks, it mentioned nothing about the matting. And to me that's really weird. If I'm a veterinarian and I get a cat in and the cat is basically a turtle shell, you'd think that I would put some notes in something. But they didn't put any notes on the cat's health.
They mentioned the cat had a little bit of dry skin, but mostly healthy. Well that dry skin was a pelt and lots of dead skin cells. So again, she got a vet report saying a cat was mostly healthy except a little dry skin, which she instead got was this incredible turtle shell. So again, trust what the vet says, but verify.
Now if she had just promised that customer based on those vet notes said, oh, the vet is saying the cat's not matted, no big deal, well then she could've gotten herself in a lot of trouble 'cause she would've had this cat and it's a much more expensive groom 'cause it's pelted versus if the cat was just a little bit dry skin, right?
Same thing with your employees. You wanna make sure that they are doing what you say, but double check their work. One of the biggest things I see happening with you guys with employees is that you just trust them is implicitly, which is great until something goes wrong. For instance, even when I'm grooming, I like to take before and afters. If I had somebody in the van with me,
I would love to see them double check my work. Why? Because I'm not perfect. And they're gonna notice something that I didn't see. 'cause I've been looking at it too long, right? One of my favorite things about when I had my shop was that we would have, the receptionist was the one who would verify or double check the dogs. It was so nice because what would happen is when you're a groomer and you're done,
you're on the fence of like, am I done? Am I not done? Like when's good enough? They could go ahead, put the dog away, the receptionist would come out, look at the dog and say, you know what, can you just soften this line? Or you know what? This hair had fluffed out, can you fix this?
And it allowed her, the receptionist to both trust that groomer and know that she's not gonna do something outrageous. She's not gonna forget a whole leg, although I have done that one Thanksgiving. But she's going to go ahead and look at what's going on. And the same thing with our customers, right? You wanna trust them, you wanna verify. And then we have number three.
Number three is accuracy matters. It's really easy to understand why accuracy matters when we're grooming. You know, if you're not accurate, i e, if you do a crap job, then it's gonna be really obvious. It's really uncomfortable watching some people who their grooms are just way off the mark as a mediocre dog groomer. I'm not really one to like judge another groomer,
but there are some grooms that I'm like, is this the rough cut? Is this an owner groom? And it's not even a new groomer, it's just somebody who I don't know if they didn't, they just don't have any skills or what it is. But the problem with that is that this is what you're selling. You're, and again, I don't think there's a big difference between having competition level grooming.
So yeah, accuracy matters. We're selling haircuts. We wanna have a good haircut. You don't need the world's best haircut. Although that is definitely a marketing opportunity for you guys if you guys do have those. But there has to be a level and a standard and you have to decide what that level and standard is. What is good enough? What is accurate,
right? Also, when you're putting in notes, accuracy matters. When you put in a dog's age, it may not matter. Now, for instance, like obviously if it's a rescue dog, there's nothing you can do. But if you put in an age, let's say, of two years old when the pet is five, that doesn't matter right now,
but it is gonna matter when the pet is eight, it's gonna, you know, we're gonna see you say, okay, this pet is this much older. It matters with weight, with your accuracy. Now it may not matter for something as simple as a bath or blow dry, but things like, if you ever, now not many groomers do this anymore,
but I know 10 years ago when I started grooming, people would do a lot of spot on treatments and accuracy matters. If the vet does not put in the right weight of that pet, you could accidentally overdose that dog. So I know that does, it's not as popular now, but I remember when that was like a big deal, mostly because it was like when birth control came out,
everyone's like, woo hoo, we're not gonna have to deal with fleas and ticks ever again. I mean, it was amazing. It was just this mind blowing technology. So accuracy matters, you know the right name, calling someone by the right name, calling a pet by the right name. Now, did I ever do that? Oh yeah, definitely.
Do you have any Bellas? We had, and we have, we're in Patriots, new England Patriots place, the football team, we had a lot of Brady's, we had a lot of poppies for like big poppy who's from the Red Sox. We have a lot of maxes. So it's really important to write down which max is getting which haircut and making sure that whatever you put the right leash in the right dog thing,
when you are inaccurate, you are opening up your business to problems. And I know this seems really obvious, but a lot of gut, listen, no judgment. A lot of you guys start getting sloppy, you get tired and you start getting sloppy. And the problem with getting sloppy is the fact that what ends up happening, good, bad, or indifferent,
you are going to end up with a situation where something goes wrong, just horribly wrong. Yeah, I'm sure you guys have heard of the instances where someone sends home the wrong dog, where a salon gives the wrong haircut to the wrong dog. Like let's say there's two max the be ons, one is getting a five strip and one is getting a face,
feet standing. It's really important to know which max is which and what they're getting. 'cause if you don't, you're gonna have one really pissed off customer. You know, as somebody who just shaved her own dog. It's one of those things that, you know, if I had given this haircut to the wrong dog, that owner would not be very happy.
You know, it never, it never happens the other way. It never happens that the dog getting the five strip only gets the face feet, Sandy, that's not what happens. What always happens is the dog getting the face feet, Sandy gets the five strip. So again, remember, accuracy matters. So these are the three business principles I learned the hard way,
and I hope, again, I know they're kind of like, well duh, but you know what? A lot of times they creep up on us. Know your audience. Know who you're talking to and why it matters. Are you just talking to a wall? Do they really care or are you, and are you talking to them in the way that they should be talked to?
A lot of times we use all these terminologies and we assume they have the knowledge of groomers. You know, they don't understand mad, they don't, they don't understand breeds, they don't understand coat colors and types. You know, yelling at your owner to brush their dog more when they don't know how to brush. You don't. You're not listening to your audience.
Your audience does not know how to properly brush their dog. They may say they do, but let's be honest, most of them don't. Two, trust but verify. We can keep using the brush analogy. How many times have we heard a customer say, yes, I brushed my dog. You touched the dog. Right? You don't just take their word for it.
You touch the dog and you find out that doesn't happen, right? Didn't happen. And then accuracy matters. Make sure you are meticulous. Now you're only human. You're only human, so you're gonna make mistakes. But focusing on being accurate, not perfect, but accurate will help you grow your business in a way that you're going to be able to relax it a little bit.
As you have employees, it's important to set that standard of excellence and accuracy because if they slip up a little bit, they're gonna slip up more often than you. Why? Because if they really were that amazing, let's be honest, they'd own their own business. They're either young or they're just, you know, a little sloppy. Artistic people tend to be a little sloppy.
It just is what it is. I think that sometimes we expect too much of people and then sometimes we set them up to fail, you know? But it's important you know, to write down things. It's important to make sure what you're doing is correct, accurate, and written the right way, or communicated the right way. This was three business principles I learned the hard way.