Friday, April 9, 2010

We've Switched to WordPress!

Hey there Bark Business readers and visitors! Thank you for stopping by to read about pet business launching resources, tips and tricks!

We've decided to make the Big switch to Wordpress! Let me tell you why? We've decided to give you more information, more resources, more tips and just more goodies, and on Wordpress we can do that much more easily. So come see our new digs!
But hey there may be some posts down there you wanna still read, so go right ahead, cause we're gonna keep our spot here too! :)

Thanks again,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Your Dog is....Amazing!

As loyal pet parents we all know how truly amazing our pets are in our lives. From making you feel loved when you had a rotten day, to keeping your feet warm on a cold winter morning.

And maybe just maybe you've been able to solve some of life's most complex problems, issues or dilemmas with the keen insight of your furry companion by your side. I know for me I realized what my dear sweet Orla taught me after it was too late. I learned that love is simple, and that being a good friend doesn't take rocket science it just takes you being there.

So it's no wonder that a pet parent has written a book on what our pets can teach us humans about life, love and a happiness. Sheryl Matthys founder of Leashes and Lovers shares tips and stories with dog lovers like YOU, and how our furry companions can show us the way.

As a pet parent and one that is always looking for ways to learn more about our family dog, it's refreshing to see that there is some truths to what we've all known all along. Our pets are...Amazing!

So if you can attend I recommend being a part of the Leashes & Lovers launch, and/or buying the book and find out what else you can learn from your pets...because we know there's more that we all can learn from them. :)

Among some of the things Matthys shares in her book Leashes & Lovers is how to:

-->Launch a new relationship

-->Strengthen relationships with a lover, friends, and family

----> Create deeper and more real relationships

-->Explore what’s missing from your life and make it whole

-->Make the best of a break-up and decide who gets the dog

-->Handle jealousy and your emotions when others aren’t into your dog

Wanna Go? Details below:

Tues. March 30th 7 – 9:30 PM
Blvd, 199 Bowery at Spring St, NYC
Tickets ~ $35/person • Dogs get in FREE!

Friends of American Humane Association $30 entry with coupon code: BOOK

Party Includes:

· Live Music by Toby Lightman

· Signed Leashes and Lovers book

· Raffle prizes worth $$$

· Dog Stunts by Atka, the Amazing Eskie, with Thy Cavagnaro

· Canine Catwalk Parade* $5/dog
Your dog’s 15 Seconds of Fame! Dress your dog to the K-Nine’s

· A welcome of The American Humane Association

· Goodie bags for first 300 guests

· PRIVATE mingling with dogs/dog lovers in 6 rooms

Raffle prizes include dog treats, jewelry, training books, party baskets, and more!

Party proceeds to help benefit The American Humane Association advocates for both animals and children who believe in the power of the human-animal bond.

Wed. March 31 – Order the book that day and be eligible for bonus gifts and prizes

Prizes include: website creation, jewelry, dog bed, collars, a shopping spree, coaching, and more!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Traffic Generator... A Series*

Welcome to the first installment of The Bark Business Tips Series. In a world of information overload, I've received lots of emails asking for just quick tips. So I thought it might be a bit refreshing too, to just give quick little action-based tips that you can try right away or test out.

Each little tip and trick will be real quick, and really helpful. While you may already be trying or using some of them my hope is that you'll also find some that you haven't heard of or thought to try.

Remember in the world of your pet niche business the idea is to captivate your pet parents any way you can and gain their trust, and entice them to get to know you and your products and/or services, but they need to find you in the sea of the 'WWW'!

Here's what I'll ask from you my readers and visitors. That if you find a tip or trick you think is pretty darn cool, stupid, or neat-o Tweet It, or leave a nice little comment below. Yes I said stupid, because you know what they say, even bad banter can garner attention* :)

Soo let the Series begin!

------>Traffic Generator #1<---------

Become a Featured Expert Columnist
** Article marketing. An effective way of generating traffic to your website over time. However, a much more direct way of getting your website in front of your target market is by doing something a bit more targeted than traditional article marketing. Because you're in the animal and pet industry you need to specifically target this audience.

Two of the Big ones to put articles at are:

But a more targeted approach is seeking out other pet bloggers, industry websites and blogs. Ask to be a guest blogger, or if you can submit articles and attach your website information at the end. A good place to start is by doing a search for pet bloggers, or animal bloggers, take a look at their content and see if what you've got to share is a good match.

Don't forget tip #2 will be available next week!

Paws & Wags,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Co-Op and Grooow!

I had wrote a post earlier that made a quick point about swapping marketing materials with other pet business owners to share with each others customers, and the idea keeps weighing on my mind. I've seen this particular version of sharing work wonders in another market I was a part of several years ago.

Not only did it prove to be very successful for those involved, but it was fun to boot. If you missed the concept let's review real quick:

**Petpreneur #1*** Verde Tree Organics -You're an organic pet bakery shop. You just opened up shop 6 months ago and while you're pluggin along and gaining a loyal pet parent following you'd like to expand and gain some online exposure as well.

**Petpreneur #2*** Shelby's Sweet Sweaters - You're a handcrafted pet sweater business owner. You've been in business for over 3 years and have never ventured to gain customers outside of your home town. Now you'd like to gain a following in neighboring cities.

Both business owners have business cards, or cute hand out cards that they give to all of their customers and parents. They meet at a local dog park one day and discover their common business ownership.

They decide to swap their creative cards with one another and hand them out to each others customers upon sales or generated interest.

**BINGO** new connections have been made and the potential to new business is organically fostered!

It makes perfect marvelous sense and it's a win/win situation for everyone. You share a product or service you believe in, have used or endorse and your customers grow even more fond of you and the trust factor is raised that much more.

Want to know how to get started? It's a snap and I'd love to show you just in case you need some assistance! A quick email or two should do it!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are you the Splurge or Bargain??

In today's hot market of pets and animals it seems like many new petpreneurs are coming along for the furry ride. So if you're just starting out or you've just launched have you asked yourself this question yet? Let's break down both with reasons and responses.

-->Are you the Bargain? If you're looking to sell more quantity of yourself or your products than this might be the route for you. If what you're selling is something that can be consumed quickly and will need to be bought over and over again, you might be the Bargain. If your products or services do not have a high initial cost, you might be the Bargain.

The Bargain could launch fairly quickly as well. If you're pet parents need what you offer and the price is a 'Bargain' than you could be reaping profits within weeks. Another positive to being the Bargain. The downside of the Bargain, you don't want to come off as looking cheap. Still push the benies, and what your product brings to them, and then point out your Bargain price.

Not to mention you could give away your Bargain to gain exposure as well, and everyone always loves something that is free. This way you're not out much by giving your goodies away. Word of caution with giveaways: Always have a means for your petparents to 'take you up on your offer'. Be it a business card attached, or simply your website address on a string. Give them easy access to you.

cost. Be sure to emphasize what your service or products will do for them. Will it save time, money in the long run, or give a better overall standard of life for their pets? Make sure you point out every possible feature. Anyone purchasing anything that needs thought to decide wants to know that what they're buying will be worth it say 2 months from now. Will yours be? Think of how the features will keep on givin' so to speak.

Be sure what you have to offer is truly worth the price. Are you eco conscious, are your fabrics luxurious or at least feel that way. Is everything handmade, do you personally provide the service or do equally qualified consultants. Is there a status that comes with your products or services? Believe it or not this matters with Splurge buys.

A way to get your Splurge products and services out there is to carefully select pet parents to give away to. But in doing this you have to go a little bit further in the return. While you don't have to ask them to buy anything, you should ask for some type of return. Blog post, high-profile mentions, sharing with a group, or some type of network share from them. You can't go willy nilly with a Splurge product because it's just too costly. Be smart and make sure you get something in return for your gifting.

So with these quick points you should be able to define where you are, make the most of it, and finally get the customers, clients you deserve. And if you're somewhere in between a Bargain and a Splurge there's room for you too. Just define and go for it.

Got questions or need some feedback? Ask it's what I do!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do you have the bounce?

So if you're a petpreneur or you're thinking of launching a business designed around your passion of animals or your pet, there are some traits that you may or may not be aware that you need.

One trait that I've personally learned along my entrepreneurial journey is the ability to bounce. There have been days, spats, weeks where I look at my journey and wonder what in sam's garden am I doing here? Where am I going and on what train will I get there?

But then I remember that I have goals, dreams and people looking up to me (read my two boys:) and I was meant to do this and do it well. So I take the situation with a grain of salt, sometimes a minor tantrum and I Bounce back!

Because while you're launching, starting and running any business you're gonna find that some days everything will not go as planned, and unexpected 'uh oh's' are gonna happen.

The question is do you have the Bounce to get back to business the next day, or next week? Will you be able to bounce back when it feels like your business is taking over your life?
Will you have the bounce to keep going when you don't have enough customers yet?

Well if you're gonna run a business, or start a business you better make sure you have the bounce! Because it's a bumpy ride my friends...but so very worth it! :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spreading Your Word...

You know that getting the word out about you, your business or service is really important right? But what if you could take a unique approach to doing so while getting an organic endorsement at the same time? What am I talking about you ask?

Well an easy way to put it Swap Marketing. You may have done it already or are doing it and may not even know it.

The idea is pretty simple and doesn't cost you much at all but the benies can be huge.

**First: Go Searching for complimentary business models. -->Example: if you're a dog walker maybe a pet sitter is a good compliment. Or if you offer pet massage than a good compliment would be aromatherapy specialist.

**Second: Ask if you can swap marketing materials like postcards or brochures and distribute them to each others customers and clients.

If you ship goodies to your customers you can then throw in some of your Swap Marketers postcards, and organically promote your new co-op partner. Your customers get introduced to new goodies and you're spreading the love. At the same time your postcards are being shipped, displayed and put into potential new customers and clients! yay!

It's a win-win for all involved. Just think if you did this for 4 or 5 complimenting companies your customer base could grow and so could your co-op'ing friends!

You can get started on this right away and be seeing results asap!

Got questions...ask it's why I'm here and it's what I do!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Goodies for your Sweetie!

Ever so often I like to take the time and showcase some good finds that I come across during my daily web travels. I know as pet parents we're always looking for that little something special to show our furry lovelies that we love and care about them and what better way than with some extra special goodies.

I love love love finding goodness to share with my readers and visitors, it's like I get to go virtual window shopping and scavenger hunting except the goodies are fabulous. (don't forget if you have a unique, fabulous, organic or just plain kool-aid goody you want to share with our readers shoot me an email barkbusiness at yahoo dot com, I'd love to feature you!)

-->Skeledog Tee's
I love it when a tee can express a love for your pup without being obnoxious. Enter Skeledog tees. They've got lots of breeds to choose from and they're so totally original. All the pet parents will be oogling your Skeledog Tee.


-->Botique of Paws

I love it when I find something that is handmade and just pretty! Enter Boutique of Paws completely handmade sweaters for your little cupcake.


-->Wrigley's Rewards

Have you been hunting down some certified organic doggie treats to try? Why not give Wrigley's Rewards a try. Full of healthy beneficial goodness Wrigley's take great measures to make sure their treats are good for your dog, which everyone feel just that much better


-->Perfectly Pampered Pets

And finally, what if you could build your own perfect gift basket? Cool right? Bring in Perfectly Pampered Pets. They have some of the cutest basket ideas here. You can pick and choose what your lovely will like.

$ depends on your selection.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sell, Sell, Sell, Free!

So you have a website you're all ready to go and now you need to be able to have a true 24/7 shop?You need a shopping cart, and you need it to be easy to use and you would like it to be free or nearly free.

In addition to using PayPal, which does charge a fee when you sell your items I've found a new code-based tool called Fat Free Cart. It's a great way to get get your site up and running with an e-commerce feature.

If you're familiar with html this is helpful, but not necessary. They do have a code generator feature that I'm personally a fan of since all you have to do is insert your information and then click a button and a code is generated for you. Not to mention if you're unsure of how it will work, you can view it after the code is generated and see. Niice!

If you have a website, utilizing the 24/7 open feature is a must. There's nothing more frustrating than finding a cool website where you're all ready to order only to find out you have to call to place an order or have to worse yet snail mail a check or money order to....uuugh! Don't lose valuable customers this way, have a shopping cart and watch how many customers you'll Gain!

Need some assistance? We're here to help...and it's what I do.

Can your customers find you?

It probably sounds like a trick questions huh? Well if you have a website then you know if they are or not? And if you thrive on your local pet parents business then you can answer this question pretty easily.

But what if you do have a website and when you 'test' it on search engines to see where you show up you're on page 4 or worse? Here's a test, at the bare minimum you should be able to type in your business name or website name and show up in first place. This is a must! If your site isn't showing up on that first page at all, then my friend we have some issues to tend to.

How about this test, when you put in common keywords that should point to you and your website do you show up on the first page before the 'fold' (you know before you have to scroll down)? Yes...Fantastic! No? Well then we have got to remedy that.

As a business owner or budding one you know that without people finding you, you may have the next greatest thing. But if no one knows does it really matter? Not really.

I've had many friends and clients ask me, "ok so what do we do about it"? Well if you have a website that's great, because you need that! But what if you could take it a step further, without a full fledged website, or all the time and money associated with it?

My team and I are working on what I like to call Mini-Site Hot Spots. What they'll do for you is provide a search engine magnet for you, all tightly put together in a simple 1-3 page site. Full of rich keywords, content, images and information about you, your business and products, only smaller. They can be made quickly, and for a lot less than a typical website. We've even seen some use this instead of their big bulky websites. But we only recommend that if you have only a few products or a service or two to offer.

The idea is to have a page or two full of good changing content, keywords and systems working for you. Bringing you traffic, and ultimately business!

There's also other ways you can accomplish this, you can blog frequently with content rich posts. You can also hire an SEO firm to help you (usually very pricey), you can also post videos regularly ( which I'm a fan of because video's are a great way to engage your audience).

So: --> Great content = Traffic and Sales

The idea with mini-sties is that in addition to your website you also have another tool out there working for you all the time and pointing back to your main site, or supplying your customers with vital information and pulling rank on those search engines!

Now go and claim your Traffic!

Want us to get to work on your mini-site for you?

Email us at info at barkbusiness dot com

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pet Niche Business Idea #4 - Massage Therapy and Accupressure

Sharing the gift of touch with your furry loved one seems like a no-brainer right? Of course it does, loving on and touching your pet has always been a source of gratification and feel goodies. But did you know that there is a whole industry out there dedicated to the art of healing and massage for your pets?

If you've ever thought, "I would love giving the gift of healing to other pets" than pet massage, or massage therapy could be your petpreneur avenue.

If you're living a healthy and balanced lifestyle ( or are trying :] ) how fabulous do you feel? Very fabulous right just think about how wonderful it would be to give this same life to aging animals, arthritic dogs, dogs recovering from injury and a host of other ailments. The business of touch is an open-wide boulevard that you can surely explore if your interests, talents and skills match up.

Here I quickly list some schools, expecting fee range, and getting certified.

Classes & Schools:

-->Tallgrass Certified Animal Acupressurists



-->Northwest School of Animal Massage

Expecting Fee/Hour:

Just from my research I've found that certified pet massage therapists and accupressure therapists can charge anywhere from $30-$100 per hour. Your fee schedule will vary depending on your location, your experience and what services you provide. And should you venture in this service, you should also consider offering 'tag along' services and products. Such as aromatherapy goodies, special holistic treats and products.

Getting Certified:

International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork

Make sure that if you choose this field to pursue, you double check with your state's guidelines on who may practice massage on animals, as some states only allow Veterinarians to practice massage.

Also be sure to get the appropriate insurance and bonding if necessary...and most importantly enjoy yourself and you'll find your path to petpreneur success.

Got a question or need some assistance to get started? I'm here to's what I do!

(image courtesy of

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keep your biggest fans...Ecstatic!

You know how alot of articles are always telling you as a business person to 'get more customers' 'get more clients' 'get more traffic' and blah blah blah?

Well those things are true sortof but a bigger point that you should consider is keeping those devoted fans, your bread and butter happy, happy, happy! They already love you, blog about you, and ooze word of mouth joys so why not keep them that way.

And you know something else pet parents are some of the happiest, lovable folks around, so keeping them happy because of your goodies should be a no-brainer.
Let's go over some ideas
to keep those doggy lovers, cat meow-ers, and animal high-fivers coming back for more.

1) Loyalty programs: Start a loyalty program that rewards your regulars. Give them a discount every time they shop with you. This gives the 'hey I'm part of the cool club vibe' and who doesn't like to feel appreciated.

2) Keep in Touch: Letting your pet parents know of news, happenings, and special events and programs you're sponsoring or participating in. This is a nice way to keep you fresh in their mind. Word of Caution: I don't know about you, but I don't like to be bombarded with tons of stuff every day. Some people may find this ok, but I don't. Find that comfortable balance and go from there. Also do not assume if someone emails you to ask a question or get more information that they're now interested in getting your updates...because that's spam-like...and feels just forced when it happens. I've had this happen a couple of times
and just felt cheap! Ick!

3) Follow Up: Tell me, how do you feel when you buy something and then a week later you get an email from them asking you how you're doing and how your new 'wxz callit' is doing? You feel pretty darn swell huh? Yeah it feels like you're important and you're now
almost a customer for life. Well this is a good thing because you can do this for your pet parents and it's easy!

Those are just a few little things you can start doing today to help keep the customers you have, and that alone will bring in more customers, or
increase repeat sales...all good things again!

And remember if you take anything from this or any other post is: don't expect overnight results...expect results yes, but be consistent to get the most from any of your efforts!

If you have other ways you keep your customers clamoring for me, go ahead and share them...there's always creative ways to keep them ecstatic!

And if you need any help, just ask's what I do!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Marketing 1...2...Punch!

What do you think of when you hear the word 'marketing'? Do you think that maybe it's something that big box companies have the budget to do, but you don't? Or maybe you think you're doing it because you have a twitter account or are on facebook. Or maybe you think you don't have to do it because you're tweeting or facebooking.

Well you'd be right and wrong if you thought this, and as an nearly graduated(4 classes left)Marketing major :) I'm gonna tell you why.

First let's make it clear that if you are in any type of business, that you should have a strategy for marketing. It's not optional it's mandatory, and if you don't have the '1...2 punch' as I like to
call it your level of success may not reach its full potential.

What the 1...2 punch does is quite simple. It couples old-fashioned human connection with the
blazing technology of web 2.0. It's a false understanding to believe that just diving head first into social media and marketing will bring you ultimate success. You still need to be that face behind your product, service or company. Your pet parents want to trust you and get to know you, and what your motives and mission is. But they'll never know if you're just a twitter account or a facebook fan page.

So what I'd like to start seeing more of is, the integration of viral video marketing, social media and engaging conversation with your audience. Find out what you can give them that no one else is or is willing to give. The idea of under-promise and over-deliver holds true here. It's the connection that you build that will foster lasting relationships and naturally more customers for you. Good word spreads fast and if you have the media and outlets in place this occurs naturally, and this is good news for you.

So what do you do if you do not have any of the 1...2 punch platform in place. Well let's talk about it briefly:

1) Make sure you know who your customers are. Where will they find you best? Online, offline, or at the dog park. :)

2) What's the best way to influence them? Through community efforts, giveaways (always a winner), contests, co-ops, video showcases. Find out what makes them wanna say: 'hey that looks neat..I wanna buy that, or check that out'. Ok maybe not in those words but you get the idea.

3)Act on what you find with a step by step plan, and don't just give it 1..2 gotta give it a 1...2 punch. You cannot expect results after just one 1 video, a few blog posts, a contest or two, or a giveaway.

If you take a peek into the success of some of pet industry big hitters, they've all got a thing or two in common. They're constantly plugging away at keeping their audience engaged, interested, informed and most importantly wanting more!

So now you've got the inside know how! Go make it happen!!

Got any questions I'm here to's what I do!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Are you doing what you love, love, love?

I'm convinced that finding the exact thing or two that I'm destined to do that life will be pure bliss, or at least close to it. I'll be defining my life purpose, and harnessing the power that was ever so graciously bestowed upon me.

Well if only it were that simple and easy right? For some of us the journey to bliss-dom is one that is taking years and years. While I truly believe it doesn't matter when you get there, but that you just get there, the time in between can seem like eternity.

Not to fear because I think I may have a few suggestions to really do what you love. Ready? Let's Begin:

1) Grab some paper and a pen, jot down things that when you do them you're truly, honestly happy. You know that thing you do...and when you think of it smile widely? Yeah that thing, and when you think of it again and again you think...I'd even do that if I wasn't being paid for it. There may be several 'things' so write them all down.

2) Now think of things that friends, family and people who you're around say 'hey you know you're good at that'. Now be aware that you may be good at some of these things but you may not enjoy doing them often, or at all, but they're important so make notes.

3) Go and look around you. Are there people doing something that you'd like to do or something similar? Find out more about them and what they do, find out if you can do something like they are or even volunteer to work with them to get some knowledge or a foot in.

These are just a few things you can do to be on your way to doing something that you truly love! And if you're here, most likely it's pet related, or animal related.

Which is fabulous because you're in great company. The pet industry is a great place to set up shop, because the 'customers' are some of the best people on the planet.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lights, Camera, Woof!

By now you may have either fallen into one of a few different categories when it comes to video and marketing:

You've either

A: watched a few YouTube videos and thought hmm pretty cool

B: watched a few YouTube videos and thought, this could work for me to increase website traffic

or maybe C: made a few YouTube videos, uploaded some, and sat back and waited for traffic to come parading in....

Well if you've found yourself in any one of those categories you my pet friendly friends are on the right track. According to the Web Video Marketing Council, video marketing will increase in popularity, and demand has skyrocketed for professional yet cost-effective video to maximize engagement.

It's the next wave of social involvement and interaction, it's what you should be doing, thinking of doing, or hiring someone to assist you with in 2010. And good news it's not gonna cost you thousands of dollars if you're looking for help here.

Heck if you do a viral one yourself, it'll only cost you time and energy to make, edit and upload that baby. And of course the cost of a camcorder if you don't already own one, but you're once again in luck because quality video recorders can be found for under $100!

When done right a well-done viral pet business video can do many things, very well for you.

It can showcase who you are
It can announce new products, services, or sales
It can potentially increase your website traffic, and active links
It can increase sales
It can increase your subscriber list

And the list could go on and on...if...done right!

But let's not get hung up on spending tons of cash to get a video out there and working for you, because in all honesty some of the best videos with the most views are the grainiest, craziest, non-pro looking videos around.

So what should you do now? Well assess what you'd like to get out of starting a video marketing campaign. Jot down your goals and the outcomes, and how you plan to achieve them with videos.

Have Fun and let who you are shine, while spotlighting yourself with your furry campanions! :)