Be Disruptive or Get Disrupted

The Dog Business / Pet Care Industry as a whole is going through a forced evolution, which, was long due many years ago.

The repetitive and conservative standard Dog Business model has resulted in an oversaturated market with dog walkers, dog trainers, pet sitters, dog daycares, groomers, etc. This has fueled the opportunity and growth like a wildfire in drought season for on-demand apps like Rover, Wag, Thumbtack, NextDoor, to name a few.

The rapid growth of technology-based service portals allows these companies to claim their stake of the economic growth, projected 70 + billion of the pet care industry.

Note: this is not a rant about how crappy on-demand apps are and the horror stories.

What is Disruptive Innovation?

In a nutshell: A disruptor secures a spot at the low end of their market, and initially, its a little bleep on the radar. At first, business owners blissfully ignore it hoping it goes into extinction (get the dog training joke?).

A few years back, dog walkers and sitters were stating: “We are the Bentleys in the industry, so those clients will always come crawling back, so I am not worried!”.

Fast forward to today, there is added pressure is on to outperform against these giants with equally as gigantic marketing research, data analytics backed with statistics and advertising budgets. It’s also the same school of thought with dog trainers on the traditional private lesson or group class structure.

And that’s the thing to remember about a disruptor; it’s a little blip that starts to take over the industry it’s positioned itself in.

A process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors
— Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School of Harvard University


How Can Dog Business Professionals Become Disruptors?

I can list out different business strategies and processes, but the most significant driver is going to the willingness to embrace and commit to change when it comes to your Dog Business.

The beautiful thing about change is that change is fluid, and it allows freedom to adopt new ideas around solid strategy.

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Here are a few top areas all Dog Business Owners can prioritize…

Take control of your marketing:

Remember the repetitiveness that leads to an oversaturated market? Word of mouth and referrals are a driving piece of it. Develop a marketing strategy backed by business fundamentals.

Research, understand and know your market:

Don’t just offer the standard services because that’s what you think people want. Research what are their purchase behaviors? Do they need to be driven away from pain or are they looking for novelty, pleasure, etc.?

Create solid messages that speak openly and precisely to your market:

Be bold, be authentic. Instead of consistently blasting the message of why you need a professional vs. using an on-demand app, use the market research to craft your messages.

Adopt a large scale business organizational mindset:

RUN your business as an executive officer. Business always comes first. Your services rendered (dog training, dog walking, daycare) is your product.

While you might not be a publicly traded company with the IPO and VC funding, you can still be a dominant force in the industry. And have massive success.

Kristen Lee