Just how important do you think it is to be innovative in your pet sitting business?
The word innovative simply means a new way of doing something’ or ‘the creation of new ideas or things.
Dog training, for example, may not be a part of the dog walker’s job. Yet.
Many companies are starting to offer multiple services. Yes, bad personal economy usually pushes for greater innovation.
In the spirit of innovation, companies are offering a multitude of niche services: dog running, errands, dog training, waste removal, product delivery, and the list goes on.
Is this where the pet sitting industry is headed?
Can’t someone just say ‘I walk dogs’ and have that last them forever? Sadly, science says no.
Each industry goes through a lifecycle: from feminine products and laundry detergent to rubber bracelets and dog walkers.
So where are we?
Every service, product, industry, … even things you like… go through this same life cycle. In summary from random sources (mentioned below), here’s a description of general ‘industry’ lifecycles:
Stage 1: INFANCY
- Usually small businesses (owner/operator dominated market)
- Many businesses try to find a niche
- Marketing efforts explain ‘what we do and why’ – companies try to establish ‘unique quality’ for the service
- Companies may often ‘work in small groups’ to promote growth – (Georgia pet sitters, which is small group gone large, and the plethora of ‘small network’ groups that are out there.)
This is an exciting time for businesses as there is so much opportunity.
Stage 2: GROWTH
Many other ‘small businesses’ have joined and competition/threat increases.
- Companies try to separate themselves from others (competition increases greatly)
- Consumer expectations are more standardized and more likely. (Instead of ‘what do you do?’ they ask ‘how do you do xyz?’ Instead of ‘how long out is right for my dog?’ they ask ‘Do you do 20 or 30 minute visits?’)
- Industry wide efficiency is a large focus for existing organizations (standard software systems, common methods of in-home routines.’)
- Larger marketing funds needed to differentiate yourself from the noise- (The growth stage can last years or … weeks: Like ‘rubber ‘theme’ bracelets: ‘wwjd to ‘support testicular cancer/ LIVESTRONG’) to the ‘silicon valley.’
The more upgrades and innovation, the more an industry will stay alive.
Stage 3: MATURITY
Industry seen as a ‘standard.’
- Smaller companies exist, still bringing niche: but yet they are overshadowed by larger ‘standardized’ companies
- Larger companies do not offer complete differences, only ‘new’ and ‘improved’ features (The website below states ‘laundry detergents’ as a mature industry.)
- Large companies keep prices low and keep out smaller businesses
Stage 4: DECLINE
Industry becomes obsolete (People stop buying dogs or everyone buys a ‘dog treadmill’ the dogs can use themselves.’–haha)
- Mergers and consolidations are the norm
- Competition occurs through acquisition of area companies
- The industry either completely revamps itself or fades out — like disco or ska music.
Another great example is the movie rental business. Blockbuster is becoming obsolete because they did not move into the digital era. Netflix, Redbox (going digital now), and many others are beating them out because they had too little innovation, too late.
I realize that in the future it most likely will be necessary to stay innovative and offer intriguing new products and services.
How Can You Be Innovative in Your Pet Sitting Business?
So how do we do this? Teaching innovation is another blog… Basically:
Push yourself to learn: survey, converse, and ‘friend’ your clients.
Keep in touch with other sitters, pay attention to trends, and constantly talk to clients to see what type of services they like.
Get subscriptions to Pet industry (not pet sitting) magazines, like:
- Pet Product News (http://www.petproductnews.com)
- Veterinary Practice News (http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com)
- Pet Age Magazine (http://www.petage.com)
and other magazines in businesses that you can align with for growth.
(I get the above magazines and I get the Pet Edge product catalog – (http://www.petedge.com)
Introduce: Introduce new ideas to customers and try them. Don’t be afraid to ditch them if they don’t work for you. Who knows? You might find out you are the queen of pooper scooping.
Regardless of the future, innovation is attractive. New ideas make people look in your direction and that’s when you can grow your business.
Cheers & Happy Growing,
- Hitt, Michael A., R. Duane Ireland, and Robert E. Hoskisson. Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization. 4th ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing, 2001.
- Porter, M. Competitive Strategy. New York: Free Press, 1980.
- Porter, M.E. "Towards a Dynamic Theory of Strategy." Strategic Management Journal. 1991.
- Wansink, Brian, and Jennifer Marie Gilmore. "New Uses that Revitalize Old Brands." Journal of Advertising Research. March 1999.
- Image Credit: Stig Nygaard