This month we managed to entice Sharon Moore, owner of Petcarers, away from her beloved animals to answer a few questions on how she does it. Caring for pets sounds like a job made in heaven for animal lovers. But there’s a bit more to running a successful business than you might think.
How did you start your business, and what was your professional background before Petcarers?
After a broad range of jobs in many different fields including banking, disability care work, the RSPCA and more, I bought Petcarers in 2012. I worked for Tracy the original owner of Petcarers for a year before buying it from her.
Tell us what you do at Petcarers?
We give people peace of mind when they travel, on holidays or for work, hospital stays and more. We take care of all of their pet’s needs, including dog walks, giving medication, monitoring pets for signs of illness and injury. It is so important to have a skilled carer who can recognise if your pet is off their food because they are missing you, or if it is something more serious and we can respond appropriately. We put out meals and fresh water of course, but the cuddles, play and loves are so important and our favourite part! And yes we even clean up the “messes”. It is important to our clients that we are there to keep an eye on their home while they are away.
How much of your time is spent on business operations compared to pet caring?
Too much! Like every small business owner, the behind the scenes work is a workload in itself. It’s about 50/50 at the moment, too many projects I want to do to improve the lives of animals.
Do you outsource anything in your business to enable you to spend more time on the things you love?
My area of expertise is with animals, so for outsourcing, definitely accounting! It is not my forte. Also anything tech related. We also have engaged Sally from Amicus to refill our flyers in the stores of our business supporters, and we are so pleased to have Sally working with us.
What do you find most challenging about being a small business owner?
Fatigue. I want to accomplish so much, and there are only so many hours in the day. I want Petcarers to grow and expand so we can afford to outsource more of the “tasks” and it all takes time and effort.
What is the Petcarers point of difference in your industry?
We have a team of carers, all skilled and passionate, who are able to step in should any one of us fall ill or be injured. We support our carers who want to study Companion Animals, or Vet Nursing, and encourage attaining their Pet First Aid certificate. We never stop learning and we love what we do. It is all about the animals.
How do you think social media has changed the way small business owners can engage with clients or generate business?
Social media is vital for small business. An online presence keeps you uppermost in the minds of clients and potential clients. It gives people the opportunity to interact with you in real time, engage in conversation, and share knowledge and laughter with their connections. Video and photos I think appeal to people and they are more likely to engage with you, whereas if you only email an occasional newsletter, chances are the delete button is hit more often than not. At Petcarers we share Facebook posts from our business supporters, which might be the latest from the vets on a parvo virus outbreak, or current sales at pet stores, and where puppy classes are being held. We share our knowledge, humorous posts, reminders of public holidays coming up for clients to get away and book their pet care, and more. We have blogs on our website, use Zoho CRM for our standardised client follow ups, and I did start our YouTube page …and I need to do a lot more with it!
Finally, what is your favourite animal?
I love them all. It’s like asking who your favourite child is! Impossible to answer.