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Is It Time to Have a Business Meeting with Yourself?

by Veronica Boutelle

If you’ve ever had someone say to you, “Oh, you’re a dog trainer? It must be so fun to play with puppies all day!” and had to take a very deep breath, we get it. Running your own business, especially one that requires complex behavior work and client support, is a lot. Whether you’ve just started out in the dog world or have decades of experience, long to-do lists seem to go with the territory. The exciting thing we’ve seen in our THRIVE! group coaching program is that these lists are often full of creative and innovative ideas. The challenge is creating the space to act on them.

As you hurtle (or amble, congratulations!) towards the end of the year, have you taken a moment to call an all-staff meeting? And, yep, the question remains the same if you’re a staff of one. It can be incredibly valuable at any time of year to pause, take stock and reflect on your business. It’s often even more valuable to do this when your calendar isn’t yet full of holiday plans, end-of-year parties and the pressure of New Year’s resolutions. So why not schedule this now? Put this key meeting in your calendar, seek out your favorite beverage and place to be, and create time for you and your business.

There’s no set way to run this meeting, but starting with some reflection may help to frame your goals. What were your big achievements this year? What have you loved doing? What about challenges? Are these challenges ongoing or were they one-off experiences? Take a moment to really think about the things you’ve done and how they’ve impacted you personally and professionally. Perhaps you’ve been struggling with motivation or felt stressed financially. Or maybe you’ve loved your new puppy class format and noticed clients loving it, too. Write down the highs and lows, and identify areas of success, as well as things you’d love to change.

When setting goals for your business, get specific. If you’re looking to generate more income, how much more? If you want to expand your services, what do you want the focus to be? Is there a specific course you will need to complete, or something you will have to drop to make room for it? If your goals are about streamlining processes, what are your pain points and how do things function currently? If you want to get more clients, think about who they are and how you’d like to engage with them.

Once your goals take shape, work backwards. What are the steps you need to take to reach them? While it can feel laborious, breaking things down into smaller steps will increase your likelihood of success (just like training any new behavior, right?). It will also help to assess whether your timelines are realistic. Speaking of which … have timelines! Even if you are your own boss, timelines matter. Specific dates can help you stay on track and make hitting them feel that much more satisfying.

Effective goal-setting, as well as coaching and planning to actually achieve those goals, is a big part of the THRIVE! curriculum. It can be the difference between “good enough” and “nailed it!” Find out how the program works and join the waitlist—don’t miss your one chance to join for 2023 when we open the doors in early November:

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Veronica Boutelle MA Ed CTC is founder and co-president of dog*biz, and author of How to Run Your Dog Business and co-author of Minding Your Dog Business. dog*biz offers professionally designed positive reinforcement dog training class curricula, including Open-Enrollment Puppy, Open-Enrollment Basic Manners, and short Topics classes built for retention.

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