Before we get started, I want to add in a disclaimer here that a lot of this information was inspired by one of my favorite podcasts, Business Made Simple by Donald Miller (P.S. - highly, highly recommend this podcast for all things messaging and business).
In honor of getting straight to the point, here are the most common mistakes I see pet business owners (or frankly, any business owner - myself included) make when talking about what they do:
1. You don’t appeal to their hierarchy of needs
Ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in high school science class or college psychology? If not, you should look into it! In his 1943 paper, ‘A Theory of Human Motivation,’ Abraham Maslow outlined the proposed stages of growth and behavior motivation for human beings.
At the bottom of the hierarchy of needs is the most basic of needs that need to be met, which includes food, water, shelter, etc. As you head up each tier of the hierarchy, the ones below it must be met satisfactorily before you can keep progressing up to the very top, which is self-actualization (i.e. achieving your true potential).
See below for a reference on the other items on the hierarchy of needs and understand that in order for humans (or your potential clients) to make ANY decision, it needs to meet one or more of the hierarchy of needs. Otherwise, what's the point? If your business doesn’t help them achieve their physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness & love needs, esteem needs, or self-actualization needs, they will NOT purchase from you.
2. You primarily focus on your resume/your expertise
Yes, they get you’re a dog walker or pet sitter or dog trainer. But there are likely 100 other dog walkers or pet sitters or dog trainers in your area. Just saying you’re awesome at it won’t get them to commit you, because they’re all saying they’re the best!
Similarly to number 1, customers don't care about your own resume and that’s because it's not specifically appealing or helping them satisfy their hierarchy of needs.
3. You don’t focus on what will help people thrive
Don’t forget, you're not in business to just spout out your own needs or skills. You’re in business to help your client, right? So, when you talk about what you do, do you bring your client into it? Do you let them know HOW you solve their internal and external problems? How do you help your clients thrive? Focus on them, not you!
4. You cause your clients to burn too many calories in an effort to understand your offer
This one is probably the easiest one to fix and the first one to fix if all of this seems a bit overwhelming! Simplify what you do. Let them know → what you do, who you serve, and where you’re located. Bonus points if you also let them know how you change their lives for the better.
This point is essential in ALL places of your business. Whether you’re talking to someone in person, creating a business brochure, writing the copy on your website, or crafting your Instagram bio!
Make it clear what you offer, so people don’t have to try to interpret if you can help THEIR specific needs and family. If they need to work even an extra 10 seconds to figure it out, they’ll be gone!
Lastly, my final suggestion here is to have FUN with it! Make it exciting and engaging for potential clients to relate to you and want to work with you!
For more tips on how to answer the oh-so-’more complicated than you’d think’ what you do question, please consider reading Donald Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand. This book can change everything, from fixing the mistakes addressed in this blog post to clarifying your message to get people to want to do business with you, and so much more.
Get more guidance on similar topics such as messaging / branding below: