Episode 192: 7 Day Pet Business COVID-19 Grand Re-Opening Challenge


7 Day Pet Business COVID-19 Grand Re-Opening Challenge

By now, most of us are in the “acceptance” phase when it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic. That means it’s time to start thinking about how we are going to JUMP back into full-force once everything clears up. We have to be honest with ourselves and realize that not every client and staff member is going to come back. Some businesses themselves may not even be able to come back – and I want to make sure that’s not you.

That’s why Liz Illg, Erika Godwin, & myself have created the 7-Day Pet Business COVID-19 Grand Re-Opening Challenge to make sure you are fully equipped with everything you need to bring your business back to life!





Show Highlights

  • [2:00] Bella & Liz’s Big Announcement!
  • [5:30] – Why are we hosting this 7-Day Challenge Group?
  • [15:00] – How do we fight through all of the ups and downs?
  • [21:00] – What is “back-office” prep?




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Bella Vasta, pet business coach

Episode 188: Things To Consider Before You Close Your Business (Temporarily)


Things To Consider Before You Close Your Business (Temporarily)

Lately, I’ve been having A LOT of conversations with pet business owners around whether or not they should close their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to be clear – I am NOT advocating one way or the other, but simply here to provide all of the different angles you should consider in order to make the best choice for you, your business, your staff, and your clients.

At the end of the day, every business is different. We all have unique situations, circumstances, and experiences that make us all different in our own ways. It is not our place to judge someone else’s business and tell them they need to close or not close. We are all in this together, and we need to support each other now more than ever.


Things To Consider Before You Close Your Business

Show Highlights

  • [2:25] – Consider your area. Different parts of the country (and the world) are undergoing different levels of isolation and social distancing. Check with your local governments for guidance as to how your business operations fit into the current climate. Pay extra special attention if your local area has a “shelter-in-place” directive.
  • [5:00] – Consider the effect on your staff. There are a few different options businesses have in regards to dealing with staff. You can furlough them, lay them off, or continue business as usual. As with everything, there are pros and cons to each route.
  • [6:45] – Consider the type of messaging coming from your business. Internal and external messaging is critical. The worst thing you can do as a business right now is not to stand up as a thought leader. Keep your audience informed and keep it honest. And please, do not say you are closing up shop without making it clear that it’s a temporary closure.

  • [10:00] – If you have to close your business… do not give up. This is the time to feed your mind so that when the world goes back to normal, we can come back bigger and better than ever.


COVID Pet Industry


things to consider before temporarily closing your business

Things To Consider Before Temporarily Closing Your Business

Things to Consider before Temporarily Closing Your Business 

As the outbreak of COVID-19 spreads worldwide, business owners are forced to make tough decisions. Considerations must be made not only for yourself but for your colleagues, employees, family, friends, and – of course – your pets. I understand that many of you reading this may be considering closing your business temporarily – perhaps some of you already have.

This is a NO JUDGEMENT zone. I’m here for you either way. We must do what we have to to survive in this current climate. 

Before you make any decisions though, I urge you to consider your resources and take your time to consider fact and fate – not fear! 

I’m not encouraging you to close your business. I understand that every area is different and you may even decide to keep your doors open despite everything. Again, NO judgment. 

Let’s jump right in and talk about what’s important right now:


Where You Live

Life in the middle of Manhattan is much different than life in rural Nebraska right now. While some states are mandating that people stay in their homes and all nonessential businesses must close, other less-populated areas may not have the same restrictions as of yet. 

Listen to your local government and consider what is best for you, your business, and your employees. If there IS a shelter order and you’re still sending pet sitters and dog walkers out for business, you need to understand the consequences and potential liabilities you may face. 



Your Staff

When considering whether or not to close your business temporarily, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Not only do you have to think about you and your own family, but you must do the same for your staff. Here are three main options you have right now:

  • Offer a furlough – A furlough, or leave of absence, can be a great option for employees during this time. It allows them to stay on your books so they’re still eligible for PTO… however, they’re not actually fired and you’ll still have to pay for their benefits as well. They may be able to claim unemployment as long as they have had zero earnings in the prior week and were not offered any hours.

  • Consider layoffs– While no business owner wants to layoff their employees, these are extremely difficult times. The silver lining with layoffs is that your employees will be eligible for unemployment. Of course, be mindful of your staff if you decide to go down this path. Consider yourself a resource for employees if they still need anything; don’t leave anyone in the dust.

  • Do nothing – By this, I mean that some companies are still very cash positive. In this case, you may want to consider giving your employees loans – and being very clear about that – or advances for salaries. 


COVID Pet Industry


Your Messaging

Whether your business remains open or closed, it’s crucial to continue engaging with your clients, colleagues, etc. The public wants to know what’s going on with you and the business. How are you handling everything amidst COVID-19?  

Stand up and keep talking to both your internal and external communities. Be honest with everyone about the situation; if you don’t know the answer to something, admit it! 

One of the BIGGEST THINGS I will tell you is this: If you do decide to close your business temporarily, then say so. Do not just say you’re “closing the business.” Tell your staff and clients that you are going to reevaluate the situation at a later date and get back to them. Be in constant contact and keep lines of communication open. 

Engage, engage, engage during this time!! Your clients not only want to keep seeing those cute pups and kittens, but they want to know what’s going on behind the scenes too. 

There is nothing to be ashamed of if you decide to close temporarily. NO JUDGEMENT HERE! Everyone’s situation is different but we’re all in this together.

Send updates via email and across all social media platforms. Remember, this WILL PASS and people are going to need your services again. That’s why it’s so important to support each other right now. 


Next Steps…

I know that your business is your lifeblood. It’s your blood, sweat, tears. Trust me, I get it. And my heart goes out to all of you struggling with the hard decisions right now. 

If you need to, use this time to press the reset button. Start working on your business SOPs and processes for your employees so that when the tide begins to turn for the better, you’ll be right on track to start hiring again.

Take this time to sharpen the proverbial sword; listen to experts, go out for a walk and listen to an audiobook, create great habits for yourself and get into a routine that drives you each and every day. Keep creating goals to work towards – this is NOT the end!

I’ll also be hosting a two-week pop-up group called Pet Industry COVID-19 Survival Group which will run from Monday, March 23rd to April 6th in an effort to help educate you on the most pressing topics of the current climate. 

Join in and have NINE experts at your fingertips to help you make the BEST decisions in your business during this crisis. We’ll talk about finances, loans, unemployment, marketing, social, and more. By joining my pop-up group, you can:

  • Talk to lawyers and attorneys on the latest legislation in Congress.
  • Consult industry-leading from HR experts on sick time policy and paid leave.
  • Learn from social media and website marketers who are at the top of their game and ready to help YOU get to the top of yours.

I’m celebrating with you. I’m crying with you. I’m doing everything I know how to provide you with the most up-to-date information. If you need me, I’m here. Thanks so much for sticking with me!