Keith Zeiler opened Paws on Chicon for one motive: to make each canine’s life higher—together with his personal. When his beloved pet turned sick, Keith delved deep into canine vitamin, took an intensive course on the topic, and would quickly share his information through his boutique pet retailer in East Austin.
“Each person who walks via this door and each considered one of my staff that I practice, it’s about serving to that canine,” Keith stated. “It’s not about making that greenback [off of] them as a result of if we might help their pet, that builds loyalty, and that makes me and my employees really feel like we did an incredible job.”
For Keith, constructing loyalty additionally meant increasing to a second location in South Austin, the place he may assist much more canine house owners with their pets’ wellbeing.
Opening a second storefront can really feel like a giant hurdle for a small enterprise, from sustaining consistency between shops, managing two completely different staffs, and selecting stock for various neighborhoods and demographics. But it surely will also be an unimaginable alternative for development, permitting clients to expertise the identical connection and repair in a location handy for them.
Beneath, Keith shares three classes that helped him increase the enterprise whereas staying true to his mission.
1. Hold the client expertise constant
Location is likely one of the greatest components in a enterprise’ success—a brick-and-mortar in a single neighborhood has completely different benefits and challenges than the identical enterprise throughout city.
For instance, Paws on Chicon opening a spot in South Austin was a giant draw for Yelp reviewer Nicole B., who was excited to help native enterprise in a neighborhood dominated by chain shops. “I’ve heard wonderful issues from coworkers concerning the different Paws on Chicon location, however by no means managed to recover from there,” she stated. “Once I noticed they opened an outpost close to my home, I used to be so completely satisfied.”
Nevertheless, while you’re constructing a model, consistency between places is essential. Think about if Nicole had visited the South Austin location solely to search out out the service or choices weren’t on par with the extra established East Austin retailer. If each places can’t ship on the identical expectations, you may lose that buyer.
Keith places it this manner: “My greatest [pet peeve] after I didn’t have a retailer was going to a pet retailer and [getting] completely different solutions… I would like [my customers] to get the identical solutions. I would like them to have the ability to go to any retailer and really feel that they—regardless of which retailer they find yourself at—they may all the time exit with the very best information and the very best service.”
To make sure consistency throughout places, Keith recommends utilizing checklists and streamlining worker coaching to ensure each facet of the shop seems and feels the identical as the unique.
2. Empower your staff
Staff are on the entrance line because the face of the enterprise. They symbolize your model and tradition when you’ll be able to’t be there in individual. With two shops, Keith can’t be in two locations without delay, so he has crafted coaching for his employees to ensure they’re all sending the identical message to their clients.
“We undergo an intensive four-week coaching with our employees, which, from what I perceive, is [unusual] within the pet trade,” he stated. “We attempt to be very cautious as a result of we don’t need to make pet dad and mom really feel like they’re doing one thing unsuitable.”
At Paws on Chicon, worker coaching contains an schooling in compassion, in addition to customer support. Keith needs to ensure his staff is investing in constructing relationships, as a substitute of passing judgment. Through the use of this softer method, he’s created a protected area for pet house owners who need what’s greatest for his or her pets—even when it means shedding a sale.
“We attempt to give [customers] the instruments to coach themselves in the event that they don’t have time to speak to us within the retailer,” he stated. “For instance, if their cat or canine had bladder stones or kidney stones, and we’re like, ‘Nicely, you’re feeding [them this] meals and this is the reason,’ that doesn’t assist. You’re not there to disgrace as a result of folks don’t know. Our method is all the time, ‘Let’s see how we might help them.’”
3. Stand out from the competitors
As you increase, it’s essential to duplicate any options, choices, and values that make you distinctive in your trade. Opening a number of places doesn’t make you a monolith—Paws on Chicon is profitable as a result of it operates otherwise from its opponents. “My method just isn’t concerning the cash,” Keith stated. “It’s about therapeutic and giving the very best for the canines.”
Added options may also differentiate what you are promoting from the competitors. When Keith expanded his first retailer, he added dog-washing stations—an amenity that’s not essential to run a pet meals retailer, but it surely actually makes a troublesome, soiled job way more handy for purchasers. He additionally made positive to supply washing non-public rooms, which put anxious canines and house owners relaxed.
Keith stated: “Now we have a system that’s straightforward—it’s like a automotive wash. So the shampoo, conditioner, the whole lot comes out via the hose. We tried to make it as straightforward as potential. Now we have little hoodies for the canines, so once they get blow dried, it doesn’t harm their ears. Now we have an improve the place there’s a peanut butter lick mat that they’ll lick whereas they’re getting washed. After which the house owners get a free drink whereas they’re additionally doing their canine wash.”
For purchasers like Nicole, this bonus creates a second of shock and delight, along with placing pets relaxed within the area. In reality, the canine wash is such an enormous hit, Keith’s upped the facilities to incorporate soft-serve canine frozen yogurt with a toppings bar.
Pictures from Paws on Chicon on Yelp; interviews by Emily Washcovick and editorial contributions from Holly Hanchey
These classes come from an episode of Behind the Evaluate, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Pay attention beneath to listen to from Keith and Nicole, or go to the episode web page to learn extra, subscribe to the present, and discover different episodes.
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