What is the name of your business?
Bark Busters In Home Dog Training
Tell us about your business pre-COVID-19.
We help people deal with dog behaviours that cause stress and anxiety in the human/dog relationship. Pre-COVID, we would work with families one on one in their home. We have been conducting training like this for the past 22 years. COVID put an abrupt stop to our normal way of operating.
Tell us about the impact COVID-19 had on your business.
COVID had a an initial devastating impact on our business. We could not go into people’s homes to help them and decided it wasn’t a good idea to even try to do things outside in order to minimize risk and help flatten the curve.
Do you think your business will make it through this? How long can you hold on for?
There is no doubt we ill make it through. As an entrepreneur, this isn’t the first crisis we have weathered and it may not be the last. We simply realized we had to do whatever it takes to persevere.
What was the hardest part of temporarily closing your business? OR, if you managed to remain open, what has been the hardest part so far, for your business?
The uncertainty was difficult to deal with. We worked incredibly hard through the first couple of weeks of the lockdown to implement a “plan -b”. However, we were uncertain what the revenue stream would look like and how quickly potential customers would be willing to invest in their dog’s week being.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Initially it caused quite a bit of stress. I had to fight the urge to just to do nothing and hope we could wait it out. But, one of my favourite mottos is “Life rewards action”.
Looking at it now, I am quite proud of what we have done to get through. It is actually a confidence builder knowing you can fight through a crisis and come out the other side with a positive outlook and a view to new opportunities.
How has your business innovated or pivoted to during this time?
In the first 2 weeks of the lockdown, we worked incredibly hard. We rapidly shifted gears and developed a highly effective (even we were surprised at how effective it was) training curriculum we could deliver over Zoom. We shot videos, found the best technology to help us, continued to invest with our local web developers (Venture Web)and CPC marketing (Marwick) to help us get the message out that we are here to help clients deal with their dogs. And, instead of focussing on just our local market, doing lessons over Zoom allows us to expand our potential market to people and dogs anywhere in Canada.
We have gotten better at coaching people. We used to spend 3 hours with clients in person. Now we run shorter and more focussed Zoom lessons. There are a few innovative practices we have adopted that we will definitely continue with because they actually work better than what we had been doing. The forced innovation will be really good for our business. So..and this may sound odd…..Thank you COVID.
Do you have any tips that you can share that could help other Squamish businesses with the focus of keeping their staff and customers safe while delivering their products or services?
If you can use technology like texting, phone, video conferencing to eliminate person to person contact while still maintaining the ability to keep a good customer relationship, do it. In our case, we found it to actually be more convenient for customers.
How can the community of Squamish support you and your business as we move through this unprecedented time?
When COVID closures began, there was actually a surge in people buying puppies and adopting new dogs. It was a great time to bring in a new family member to keep you company. The community of Squamish can help us by allowing us to serve you or any friends you know (anywhere in Canada) that are having trouble getting their new dog to adjust to their new family. We want everyone to have a great relationship with their dog.
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Squamish community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. The Chamber takes a leadership role in advocating for the interest of Squamish business and provides member services such as networking and educational events, policy positions and partnerships with other organizations.