petsmart.jpgpetsmart.jpgpetsmart.jpgpetsmart.jpgpetsmart.jpgpetsmart.jpgA recent story about PETSMART’S financial turnaround has many lessons for the small petrepreneur.

As we already reported in March of this year, since the PetSmart stock price dropped to a low point of $2.50 a share in 2000, the company has driven the stock back up to over $30 a share by riding the back of the service wave.

As many pet sitters, dog walkers, groomers and pooper scoopers have figured out:  providing services to pet owners is where the profits and the profit margins are.

PetSmarts plan to continue to add boarding and daycare services will have implications for the solo practitioner, of course.  It means a corporate giant with a lot of resources, financial and otherwise, is gunning for your customers.

This presents both a danger and an opportunity for all the small owner-operated businesses out there.  Number one, let’s talk about the danger:  you’ll need to be aware of what PetSmart is doing so you can adjust accordingly.  Learn their strengths and weaknesses and figure out where you can offer something they don’t in a manner that they can’t or offer something they offer but better.  The phrase “adapt or perish” comes to mind.

Number two, is to use this as an opportunity.  See how they’re marketing to their prospective customers.  Go to PetSmart or PetSmart.com and sign up for any email or newsletters they offer and get a million dollar marketing education for free!

See what they’re doing and try to copy it.  Borrow from the best ideas and make them your own.  See what messaging they send you as a prospective customer and incorporate aspects that you like and can afford into your own marketing efforts. 

As a small business based in the community, you have an advantage in knowing your neighborhood and surrounding areas.  Use it. 

But know that by PetSmart persuing the service side of the pet business, they’re also validating what you’ve known all along — that people are willing to pay for the care of their beloved pets.  Just make sure that they’re paying you!

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