In dog training there are a wide range of options for meeting customer demands. Some dog trainers enjoy the benefits of being the only trainer in town or one of very few while others are in a crowded market and dog owners are faced with a wide variety of choices to fulfill their dog training needs.
The reality of the market is that there are still far more dog owners than there are dog trainers – even if it feels that your area is over-saturated and dog trainers who have high volumes of clients reaching out to them are faced with a problem that can greatly impact their service quality and working conditions within their company.
That problem is to either chase the demand or to place a limit on their capacity. The pressure to take on everything “or else” they’ll go to the wrong kind of trainer, or not get the help they need or a million other things can be overwhelming and cause us to work harder than we want to.
Let’s take look at the choose of chasing demand and the impacts on our business. If you are a single trainer business attempting to meet the demand of a fruitful market leads to an over-full schedule and an inability to help every potential client.
Many people say this is the time to raise your prices but this is always the answer as that is not how the demand of the market actually works. The market also sets the price they are willing to pay based off of internal value decisions that can be hard to predict. Raising our prices does not solve the problem of helping more people and can also work against a business as it may alienate a larger portion of that market by moving out of their value to cost range.
The next logical step is to often to train or hire another trainer but hiring can present its only challenges. That decision to bring on an employee transforms you from being the trainer offering a service into a leader, manager, sales manager, scheduler and provider for the newly acquired employee. It requires an entirely new set of skills and knowledge that can be time-consuming and not always enjoyable.
When a business owner instead decides to place a cap on their capacity, it allows for more control over certain variables. Training employees becomes more manageable, ensuring quality of work is easier to do and time is freed up to take care of other aspects of their business.
However this also limits how much revenue can be generated from one trainer and makes it harder to meet demand. This also will lead to the need of hiring additional employees which isn’t a bad thing unless the business owner is not good with people and management.
For dog trainers who are in a competitive market chasing demand is almost never an issue unless their brand is strong and above all others in that local market. The limiting capacity strategy can be used as an advantage over trainers who chase demand. When you are chasing demand, you have less time per dog and quality of attention for each client often diminishes.
When you have a set limit to your time you can provide adequate attention and more care leading to better results and more customer interaction. This can be highlighted in the trainers sales process to set them apart from the rest of the field.
Leveling capacity and not rushing into growth can help a business owner to create S.O.P’s to support controlled growth of their business which can often lead to a superior customer experience increasing word of mouth and referral business from satisfied customers.
Chasing demand and hiring recklessly can lead to more headaches and damage to a businesses reputation. The impact of demand chasing on hiring can lead to hiring the wrong people. This happens because of the pressure of meeting the demand.
Leveling capacity allows business owners to take their time to hire. Hiring the right person makes all the difference in supporting brand strength and allowing long term growth.
Having a 1,3 and 6 year plan can help you manage your own expectations and make better decisions when meeting the needs of your local market.
Decide if or when you will chase demand vs level your capacity.
For new businesses chasing demand is ideal short term. Transitioning to leveling capacity will assist in controlled growth.