by Lesley White, Owner, Peak City Puppy
I’m guilty of it. Uttering the phrase, “We’re just holding on; waiting for the world to come back”. An acceptable response last March as we watched our revenues crash 90% in a week. Acceptable again last Summer after a round of PPP funding, some initial enthusiasm around pet sitting jobs and then another sharp decline in the Fall due to rising COVID rates. The last time I uttered the phrase, “We’re just waiting for the world to come back”, was December 2020.
But, no more.
A Shift in Perspective
At Peak City Puppy, we’re starting 2021 in a direction of growth, however incremental. We’re focused less on how the world is changing to need us again and more on how we can change in order to meet the world’s needs. In essence, we’re looking within for ways to recover our business, rather than outsourcing the job. Leveraging what’s made and kept us strong all these years rather than seeking a new and improved identity.
No one (except possibly a handful of really smart scientists) saw COVID-19 becoming what it has become: a pandemic that has completely shifted our lives. It’s changed our work, our health, our notions of family, our options for entertainment, our habits, our finances and the list goes on. The most strategic small business owner couldn’t have fully prepared for the ways the pandemic has removed entire markets from the economy. Ours is one of them. A downturn in travel crushing our pet sitting business while ‘virtual work/school’ realities have kept the need for dog walking under 30% of pre-COVID times.
And, so it is. Our industry demand has fallen. Our market has shrunk. We can continue to wait and dream longingly for the days of old. Or, we can get to work.
The Work Ahead
For Peak City Puppy, the approach to recovery has less to do with reinvention or the all-too-popular term “PIVOT!” Rather, I believe, our recovery lies in returning to ourselves; the guiding principles, practices and values that shaped our incredible success for the first twelve years. The market for professional pet care has shifted, for sure, but fundamentally, don’t pet owners still want the same things?
Relationship. Communication. Caring. (WHO you choose)
Fairness. Transparency. Value. (WHAT the service provides)
Honesty. Integrity. Professionalism. (HOW the work gets done)
What we give attention to, grows. It’s a law of nature as well as basic human behavior. So, in the days, weeks and months to come, here are some of the values we will continue to pursue and rekindle in our focus:
Our Team is Our Greatest Asset & Source of Strength
Our Clients Value Trust & Reliability Above All
Our Services Will Set & Exceed the Bar for Quality
Today, we will introduce these concepts as our guiding principles. They are not new, but newly prioritized. Over the next three weeks, we’ll provide additional specific details on how we put these values to work. We’re excited to share this journey with you and hope it helps you too, remember why we’re here.
Lesley White is Founder and Owner of a Team of 21 pet professionals who set the standard in dog walking & pet sitting in Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Fuquay Varina, Morrisville and New Hill, NC.