Blog

BusinessPaws: 6 Tips to Grow Your Dog Training Business

by
Megan Stanley

Business growth is a challenging task, especially if you're starting from scratch. A strong focus on the basics is key to your success - these tips helped grow a 7 figure training business. Even if your goal isn't to grow to that size, these tips may help you grow a successful business as well!

Whether you are a start-up or a well-established business, not considering a growth strategy could have a catastrophic impact on your business. Dictionary.com defines growth as:

  1. the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.
  2. size or stage of development

The end goal of growth is up to you. Do you want to expand your business to be an international organization? Do you want a 7-figure+ business? Or do you want to build a company that allows you to do what you love, not have to worry about managing people, and provides you financial and personal freedom? Regardless of your growth goal, the below are 6 ways to help grow your dog training business.

Relationship Building

Clients: Building long-lasting relationships with your clients is critical for any business. Most dog trainers see many younger dogs as they are learning about expectations and how to navigate our busy human world. However, there is the potential to create programs and resources that provide additional training, fun classes and help as they age. Pair that with a focus on developing exceptional client service, and you can create rich and meaningful relationships with your clients. This can result in years of work as clients may return with new dogs they bring into the family. Focus on retaining clients vs only acquiring them. 

Other Professionals: Don’t only think of relationship-building in the terms of your clients. Consider the relationships you are building with other professionals, specifically those in the pet industry. Network and connect with other businesses and consider ways to collaborate. By focusing on developing these relationships, you will see an increase in growth from referrals or special projects.

Diversify

Offering new services or products can be a great way to grow your business. There are a variety of ways that you can diversify your business such as:

  • adding a new training program
  • adding a line of products
  • creating passive revenue streams (online training programs are excellent for this)
  • collaborating with another business to offer more comprehensive services

You want to be strategic in your approach to diversifying your business. Consider that some ideas require additional costs and labour. Do you have the current capacity to add a new service? Would these decisions require you to hire? Diversification should take careful consideration. Too often, people rush to keep adding services which can compromise the service level or cause overwhelm. Diversification doesn’t necessarily mean doing a variety of different things. Many trainers do exceptionally well by creating a niche. Think of Michael Shikashio with Aggressive Dog or Malena DiMartini who focuses on separation anxiety. They work within a niche, but both have diversified their services through books, speaking engagements, course materials, podcasts and more. The options are endless but should make sense for your business and your end goal.

Know Your Ideal Customer

By not identifying your ideal customer, you may be spending time and money on the wrong areas within your business and missing some great opportunities. By attempting to service everyone, you may struggle with an increased risk of burnout, frustration, and even conflict with your clients. When you identify your ideal client in detail, you will better understand what services and products to offer and how to best solve their problems. If you have not identified your ideal client, you can begin by taking the below steps:

  1. Identify the problem you are trying to solve.
  2. Determine key demographics such as:
    - Gender
    - Income
    - Age
    - Occupation
    - Interests
    - Location
    - Budget
    - How they view the relationship with their dog (ex: nothing is too good for my pup)
  3. Consider what you enjoy in a client and what makes them your favourite to work with.

When you identify your ideal client, you make decisions based on them. Everything from the images you use on your website and social media to the language you use in your communications. You can target them and offer services that they desire in order to drive growth.

Invest in Marketing

Too many dog trainers choose not to invest in marketing. In our industry, we have the benefit of word of mouth being incredibly powerful. However, underestimating the value of marketing can slow your growth and even leave you behind. Unless you have professional experience with design/marketing, work with a professional to develop a strong brand and create a marketing strategy. Don’t forget about social media – it is filled with opportunities for growth. You can reach customers from all over the globe, connect with other businesses, and grow your business at little to no cost. Commit time to provide consistent and valuable content your clients will love. 

Set Goals and Measure

“A goal without a plan is just a dream.” ~Unknown

Yes, you can still experience growth without clear goals, but it may not be growth that matches your vision. Goals provide clear outcomes and focus attention on achieving desirable results. Goals should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. They help you stay on track and set clear intentions. When you don’t measure progress, you aren’t aware of what is working or not working within your business. You may suddenly find yourself losing revenue or struggling to manage the workload and more. By setting and measuring your goals, you can continually evolve and make faster decisions to create growth within your business. Set yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. It does require discipline, but that discipline will help create freedom. 

You Can’t Do It All

One of the quickest ways to limit growth is by attempting to do it all within your business. This will lead to burnout. You’ll be doing a variety of things somewhat well instead of a few things really well. Consider outsourcing some of your tasks. A VA (virtual assistant) can be a great option for this. Check out a group like Virtual Gurus who have a wide range of offerings to help you focus on what you do best. Not only will this free up your time but it will allow you to focus on growing your business. Trying to do it all only limits your potential. It can be daunting to outsource or hire employees/contractors, but with the right on-boarding and training, along with effective systems, you will quickly be rewarded with the positive impact it will have on your business. Click-treat yourself for every time you choose to lighten your workload through delegation.


Growth rarely happens by accident. By ensuring you are considering these 6 key factors, you can grow your business to help create your dream life. Don’t delay, start today!


11.5.2021

BusinessPaws: 6 Tips to Grow Your Dog Training Business

Business growth is a challenging task, especially if you're starting from scratch. A strong focus on the basics is key to your success - these tips helped grow a 7 figure training business. Even if your goal isn't to grow to that size, these tips may help you grow a successful business as well!

Read Post >
10.21.2021

Release Notes: Q3 2021 - Open Enrollment

A look back at the updates made to the platform in the third quarter of 2021, including some of the most requested features for dog trainers: Open Enrollment!

Read Post >
10.13.2021

BusinessPaws: 5 Mistakes Dog Trainers Make that Lead to Burnout

Burnout is a serious issue that all business owners and working professionals should take note of and take necessary precautions and actions to stave it off. Your clients, colleagues, family, friends and most importantly, you, all benefit. What could be leading you down the path to burnout?

Read Post >