AnimalSense is a Chicago-based dog training and behavior company. The company offers group classes, private lessons, behavioral consultations, an academy to teach dog training, as well as a host of special educational and dog-centered programs to enhance the lives of people and their pets.
As the owner of a dog-training and behavior company, Jamie Damato was doing what she loved to do – work with animals and with fellow dog-lovers. But, her job wasn’t all fun and games. There was the not-so-fun part – the business side – that was dragging her down. Her entrepreneurial mind was always going, making her venture into new territory without first thinking it through thoroughly. “I was doing the same thing over and over again, and didn’t like the result I was getting,” She kept starting new ventures without getting things really up and running before moving on to the next thing. Her business was good, but she felt it had the potential to be so much better. But how could she make that happen?
Jamie contacted Stacy Reynolds at Anchor Advisors for a consultation. Almost immediately, Jamie and Stacy clicked. “Stacy is a great listener, and she has the kind of personality that you want to open up to,” Jamie said. “So she listened to me and observed my business for herself, and then told me very matter-of-factly, ‘If we just make a few changes and collect a little data, we can really make your business grow’.” Jamie was excited – and said that Stacy shared her enthusiasm. Even though it would involve some work for Jamie and some “slowing down” of her high-energy, entrepreneurial mindset, she was ready for some discipline. It was time to focus on what was already in place in her business and not something new.
Stacy observed that AnimalSense needed more planning on several fronts. For instance, classes were planned just a few weeks before each new session, without any regard for whether there was an interest or need for the class. So, the AnimalSense staff started gathering data – attendance at certain classes and requests for classes – and created a yearlong class schedule based on data they gathered. They also created a corresponding marketing calendar, ensuring adequate notice and consistent messaging.
Stacy encouraged Jamie to do a budget, which many small-business owners neglect to do. “This is actually the second business that I’ve owned and I’ve had never done a budget before,” Jamie said. “I had no idea how much value it has.” It helped provide Jamie with a “big-picture” view of what money she would like to come in and out of her business vs. what money was just coming in and out of her business. The results drove her decisions.
They also worked together on human resource matters, such as creating an organizational chart and clear, concise job descriptions. This was another exercise in planning for Jamie in that they created an organizational chart of the company she is working into and what she is growing toward. This impacts staffing decisions like recruiting and hiring along with assignments given to current staff.
In just a matter of months, the financials at AnimalSense have improved drastically, Jamie said. “We are more profitable now than every before,” said Jamie. As it turned out, gathering data did turn out to have a tremendous impact on her business because the data helped guide Jamie in making sound decisions. Attendance in her classes has grown exponentially, meaning an increase in revenue, and there isn’t the last-minute scramble to schedule and promote classes as there was before. She also benefited from the organizational chart that they created. “It shows me where I’m going and what I’m working toward. I didn’t know that before.”
But equally as important to Jamie, is the “calm” that Stacy and Anchor Advisors have brought to AnimalSense, and the confidence that Jamie now feels as she leads her business. “Stacy has cut from my bad patterns, and I am so much more confident in making decisions now.”