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Fetching Data Insights: A Guide for Pet Care Entrepreneurs

Running a dog boarding and daycare business can be overwhelming. From employee scheduling to caring for the pets to providing excellent customer service, the daily responsibilities can feel endless. How can you focus on growing your business while staying on top of day-to-day operations? Fortunately, there is a solution that allows you to do both at the same time, while also reducing owner stress: building a data-driven business.

We will discuss how to build a data-driven business, but first, why do it at all?

Track Trends

In order to decide how to improve your business, you first need to understand how different areas are performing. For example, what service types are responsible for most of your revenue? How satisfied are your customers with the facilities? Where do you get most of your customers? How are you investing your team’s time across key areas of the business? It is impossible to track all these metrics yourself, especially while handling daily tasks. And though you can guess at what’s driving your company’s success, the only way to know for sure is through data.

As data reveals trends, you can start to make business changes based on that knowledge. The result? An ever-improving business with happier and happier customers.

Reduce Stress

Taking the unknowns out of how your business is performing works wonders for reducing stress. For example, even one slow week can spark bigger worries, such as, does this mean my business is declining overall? But if you are tracking customer spend data over time, a quick look at the charts can reveal that the particular week in question is historically slow, and business usually picks up again in the following month. Objective performance data takes the guesswork out of problem-solving and strategy. In this way, and many others, numbers create peace of mind.

Data can also increase owner freedom. If you’d like to manage your facility part time, open another location, or simply take a well-deserved vacation, data allows you to stay in the know about your business’s performance from anywhere. Simply check in and monitor your numbers, and if something is wrong, you’ll know what to fix instead of struggling to find the problem.

Getting Started

Once you’ve decided to run a more data-driven pet care business, the next step is to consider which metrics are the most important for your business. Some examples are customer satisfaction ratings, revenue by service type, daily customer count, hours worked by department, and more. Because you can’t manage what you don’t measure, you’ll want to set up data streams to track these important metrics on a regular basis. Then, you and your managers can meet regularly to discuss trends, identify ideas for business improvement, and track progress over time—all with objective data.

So, how do you set up data collection streams? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it by hand—that’s where software comes in.

Choosing Software

From reservation management to time tracking to payroll, there are types of software for nearly every aspect of your business. If you were to invest in one piece of software, we’d recommend one for reservation management. This type of software automatically tracks your facility’s revenues, customer data, occupancy, pet check ins and check outs, available services, and more.

With payroll software, you’ll no longer have to manually calculate employee’s paychecks or worry about cumbersome state tax filings. Time tracking software reduces scheduling headaches, tracks employee hours, and can help ensure that you comply with labor regulations. For more detail on software types and choosing the best one for you, check out this post.

Getting Employees on Board

Before introducing new software, it’s important to make sure your team welcomes the change—in order to improve the business through data, your staff must use the software daily. Be sure to communicate that it will make their jobs easier, saving them time by automating tasks like reservation scheduling, check out/payment collection, task tracking, and more. You can also emphasize other reasons for the change; for instance, it will help you continuously improve the business and provide a better experience for your pets, customers, and staff alike.

Analyzing Data

Depending on the scale and complexity of your business, we recommend reviewing your data daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. At Argos Partners, we review data daily and meet weekly as a team to discuss insights. This includes how many new customer sign-ups we had, how many dogs came in, what services our customers chose, how our customers heard of us, where we are investing time, and more. To efficiently view the data, we recommend exporting it to one place, such as Google Sheets, which is super simple to use. Once you’ve got a storage destination in mind, start inputting data from your software daily or weekly, use formulas to calculate ratios or growth rates, and built-in visualizations to see insights more easily.

Keep in mind that the data streams you choose to track may change over time as your business evolves. A solid data strategy should evolve over time, so it’s always tracking the right parts of your business and strategy. While it requires effort and time for both you and your team, a data-driven strategy will transform your business into the very best it can be.

About Argos

Argos Partners is a family of pet boarding and daycare facilities based in the Midwest. We invest in community-driven pet care businesses and are committed to preserving the care, relationships, and legacies that our partners have built. If you’re interested in selling your business and joining our family, or want to learn more about our best practices in the pet care industry, reach out to woof@argospartnersholdings.com or argospartnersholdings.com/valuation.