Small Business Tips Learned During a Pandemic: Business Brew Work-From-Home #4

On September 3rd, 2020, Ashley and Scott Ansel were guests for the fourth Business Brew Work-From-Home Edition. The Ansels own and operate Northwest Pet Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The conversation centered around what the Ansels have learned during the pandemic and what shifts they made in their business to accommodate stay at home orders and other pandemic based requirements. Here are a few of the highlights from their conversation. 

  • Every decision they made to accommodate pandemic based requirements were made with both long-term and short-term impact considerations.
    • For example, the shift to doing curbside pet drop-off resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from their customers. In response, Scott and Ashley will continue to offer this service post-pandemic. Their customers commented that it was like valet service at a restaurant. 
    • Another shift made was to provide delivery services for the products offered in their “pet boutique”. This is another service Ashley and Scott plan to continue post-pandemic. 
    • Lastly, another decision made was in regards to billing for boarding. Typically, Northwest Pet Resort invoiced after a pet completed their stay. To ensure cash flow, invoices were sent prior to boarding and a cancellation policy was enacted. 
  • Customer engagement was a high priority for Northwest Pet Resort especially during the initial stages of the pandemic. Scott and Ashley recorded videos engaging their customers and going so far as to explain some of their decisions regarding their new operating procedures. 
  • Customer engagement largely depended on the mission of Northwest Pet Resort. The Ansels are extremely committed to their communities – both the local Coeur d’Alene Region and the broader pet owner communities. 
    • Customer engagement was focused largely on social media and through an electronic newsletter. Social media allowed them to communicate with their customers on a daily basis while the newsletter allowed them to communicate new processes in more detail. 
  • Transparency was a key aspect of the Ansel’s approach to the pandemic. Early on, they made the decision to temporarily shut down their facility despite being deemed essential. While they did receive some pushback from a few customers, most customers appreciated their stance and even applauded their efforts. The success of their transparency leaned heavily on their commitment to their mission. 
  • Northwest Pet Resort has 10 employees and Ashley and Scott were adamant about ensuring those employees felt safe at work as well as secure in their continued employment. Even while Northwest Pet Resort was temporarily closed, the Ansels made sure to communicate with their team to assure them that their jobs were secure. 
  • Lastly, Scott and Ashely were certain to continue to engage their strategic partners. Over the 10 years of running their business, the Ansels have developed relationships with like-minded organizations and local veterinarians. Having developed those relationships prior to the pandemic, it was key to maintain them even during the pandemic. 

We extend a sincere thanks to Ashley and Scott Ansel for joining us! 

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