Greetings! Here is the next edition of the APPA's Professional Women's Network e-newsletter.
Thanks for taking time to check out our e-newsletter. We hope you enjoy this issue, and each and every one that follows it!
Retailer Spotlight: Karima Jivraj:
An interview with Karima Jivraj, the owner of Bosley’s Pet Food Plus in New Westminster, BC, Canada.
How did you get started in the pet industry/ What motivated you to open your pet business?
I had been looking for a business for about four years but nothing seemed to “click”. I had been contemplating opening a grooming salon or doggy day care, when I was presented with a Bosley’s by PetValu franchise opportunity. This was the perfect fit where I could use my business acumen and creative strengths to build a solid retail business. I am inspired to excel at customer service and educate my customers on product and care for their pets as I would do for my own. I am committed to developing personal connections with my community, foster relationships with local rescue groups to adopt out pets to their forever homes and have fun doing it. Five out of my family’s seven pets are adopted from rescues. Prior to opening the store, I volunteered for a local small dog rescue and I realized that this was a great way to make a difference. I was motivated to open my business to share my passion for the well-being for all pets and their human parents.
What do you do to make yourself and your business stand-out?
One of my key goals was to have educated and knowledgeable staff in all aspects of pet care. I require my staff to attend manufacturer/distributor product training sessions. Also, all staff are required to complete online training developed for Bosley’s by PetValu by University of California Davis Extension in Nutrition for Canine, Feline, Small Animal, Bird and Reptile. I personally attend workshops, business programs, and industry trade shows to expand my knowledge of pet care and products.
My staff and I have worked hard to become contributing members of our local community. I try to hire staff that live in the area/neighborhood who understand the demographic needs. We focus our efforts with the local animal shelter, local rescues and events in the community. This includes donating food to the local shelters/rescues and food banks as well as fund-raising events for them. This includes being a satellite adoption centre for a local cat rescue, holding adoption days for other local rescues and attending community events with our Bosley’s Pet Lounge. Our customers love coming into the store to see what cats or kittens are available for adoption.
We collect clothing and blankets for the local (human) shelters in the area and occasionally hold a “show and tell” with the local children’s day care in the area. Since opening in March of 2011, the store has won 4 local community awards including the Chamber of Commerce Platinum Award for the New Small Business of the Year.
Do you think there are challenges specific to women business owners?
There are challenges for women in business but you just have to have the mind-set that failure is not an option. The biggest challenge was building my business from the ground up and acquiring a loyal customer base. We have gone from serving 1,835 customers in our first month to serving 4,000 customers per month. I had to be creative and innovative to grow my business. It has taken two and a half years of patience, dedication and perseverance to finally feel like I am achieving the goals I set.
One challenge I have faced, has been entering the pet industry with no background or experience. I found that I had to work twice as hard to earn the respect of my colleagues and show them that a strong minded, detailed oriented woman is a positive addition to the industry.
Another challenge was finding options in business financing. After careful research and family support, I found there were many options available through the Canadian government for women in business requiring financing.
The other challenge is staying focused on my goal. There is always a solution to whatever issues you are facing.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
Ideally, I would like to open up a few more locations. I hope to continue to a destination store in New Westminster and to be a leader and innovator in the pet retail industry.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?
Do your market research. Get advice from others in the industry. Ask the hard questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will make mistakes but the key is to learn from them. Be the leader you want your staff to be. Listen to your customers; they will determine how successful you are. Be prepared to work hard, work long hours and make sacrifices. You need to have a really good support system in place – your family, friends, vendor partners, your staff are all key to you being a success. To differentiate your store from your competitors: Love what you do, show your customers your passion, and keep learning.
Sales & Marketing:
Two Useful Tips to Handle Customer Objections
How do you usually respond to objections from customers and prospects?
Click here to read the full article.
For Your Business:
Crushing the Four Hour Workweek
My last PWN article on The Happiness Advantage resonated so well with readers that I decided to devote this column to a similar subject. I recently finished reading two highly-recommended business books – The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferris and Crush It!: Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion, by Gary Vaynerchuk. They focus on the same thing – make a living by following your passion and live happily ever after. As someone who has always urged people to make a living through their passion, I love the concept of both of these books. One of my favorite sayings is “Passion and persistence go hand in hand. When you have passion for what you do, you will overcome obstacles you never dreamed possible.” I know this VERY well as is illustrated in the first chapter of my book “Do As I Say, Not As I Did!” That chapter is the story of how I survived a nasty lawsuit, an 85% drop in sales in one year, and an evil supplier only to emerge a few years later more profitable then ever. My passion for my product and parrots is what kept me from throwing in the towel.
The interesting thing is how one book touts being able to get rich through working four hours a week and the other emphasizes that you till have to toil endless hours to achieve your goal. Which one is right? Or are they both right?
The 4- Hour Workweek is a 416 page textbook on how to become one of the “New Rich” through selling product on the internet. He emphasizes throughout the entire book how it’s not necessary to work hard to become rich. Per Amazon.com:
Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
I love many of the concepts that Tim’s book emphasizes: The importance of outsourcing (of which I am a huge proponent!); how to create a lifestyle that will allow you to work from anywhere in the world; making sure you don’t create a business that REQUIRES you to be at a certain place at a certain time (a little challenging for retailers, but it can be done); and a long, detailed explanation of maximizing time management. It’s good stuff, but how realistic is it for the average American? It definitely requires a passionate person who wants to realize some big dreams.
Crush It! is also about making your living working through your passion, but his concepts are very different from Tim’s. This 160 page book took me less than 90 minutes to read, and I was able to glean a few key strategies that I can use in my every day life as a pet industry entrepreneur and investment banker. But the thing that struck me the most was how emphatic he was that a person cannot Crush It without working A LOT of hours. Workdays lasting until midnight and beyond are common in his world. It was the opposite of what Tim Ferris’ book was touting…and yet they are both huge sellers and, per Amazon, most people who read one book will ultimately read the other.
Is this confusing? How many hours should I work – 4 hours a week or 84 hours a week? I don’t know the answer, but I know which one I would prefer! Readers – what do you think? Do you think someone can become rich by working 4 hours a week or do you think it requires mega-hours?
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Wet Dog! A new PAL video.
Since 2005, APPA has been sponsoring the Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign, which is designed to demonstrate the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership.
Most recently, PAL has produced videos on YouTube that highlight our latest message: Get a pal for your pet – an effort to encourage multiple pet ownership.
The APPA Professional Women's Network:
The APPA Professional Women's Network's (PWN) mission is to attract and engage women in all aspects of the pet industry. Our purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, and to promote social and career development activities that can help everyone achieve greater success.
For updates on the PWN and our latest activities and events, visit www.americanpetproducts.org/pwn.