We have a home! Yes, that’s right. After nine years of seasonally leasing space, we are moving into a year round facility, indoor/outdoor, and we’ll have a toilet!
It feels so strange to be so excited about this move, but there is something good about it, on pretty much every level!
It didn’t come easy either. When looking for a facility I faced about 50+ NO’s, weird covenants, and an unimaginable amount of messages that were simply never returned. Funny thing, in a town that is billed as dog friendly, landlords were specifically turning me down because they all felt dogs were a problem around town and didn’t want anything to do with that. For years I have said that Bozeman was not dog friendly, but dog tolerant. There are so many people in town that have become such bad ambassadors for dog ownership, that it almost crushed the possibility of us getting a great facility. Luckily I found an owner who did believe in our business to give us a shot!
When I founded my business a bit over nine years ago, I had not a clue about running a business. I wanted to train, I was fairly good at it, and I couldn’t imagine spending my days any other way. But just like any small business, if you follow your passion and neglect the business side, it’ll come and bite you in the ass. And it did.
I was happily training away, building my clientele, increasing my skills, competing in three sports, and totally avoiding my office. The paper work piles grew and took on a life force of their own, and started to walk on their own and follow me around the house. Yet I continued to avoid them. Surely the better I became at training, the more manageable the office would be? Not sure where that logic came from, but for all of you small business owners just starting out, a heads up, it didn’t work very well.
While I was making all of these business mistakes, my business continued to grow. How’s that for ya? I loved what I was doing so much, that word of mouth and some small advertising things here and there were creating a strong base. But as my bank told me, if not once than maybe a hundred times, ‘Nancy you have the tiger by the tail, you have the skills and the enthusiasm, now get your business act together’.
So I hired an accountant, who also did my book keeping, who also answered some of my business questions, and who listened, and I think was also my therapist. She inspired me to become better at business. And I did.
I found out I really liked running my business once I learned how to do it efficiently. Today after nine years I can tell you I love being a business person and a trainer.
Paws & People has a client base of over 2,600 today. That is a number that makes me smile from a very loving and grateful place. Some of our original clients are now starting their second or third dog with us, some have become my good friends over the years, and some have been invaluable with their kindness, humor, support, and random cups of coffee! That my clients trust me and keep coming back to learn more, well that does it for me. There is simply no better feeling, and no better way to say thank you.
Many of these clients have moved with us as we have moved to different locations around the valley. Some have helped fence with us, pick rocks, mow grass, and hang signs. Their belief in Paws & People inspired me. It’s kind of like I put out a ton of energy during classes and privates, and then it bounced and was given back to me. This exchange of all the right things is truly the base for all of the good that is happening. And it actually became the culture for my business before I knew businesses could have a culture.
I hope to chronicle the clean up, renovations, move in and grand opening! I’m so excited that I actually might buy a big fat ribbon, large scissors, and a bottle of champagne to christen the grand opening moment! Or we could just order in Taco Del Mar and beer and celebrate that way too?!
With gratitude and a freaking ton of happiness right now, Nancy