“We fight for small businesses.” This is the first line of our mission statement at Signpost, and it greets us on a wall in our offices every morning when we walk through the door. More than just our customers, the businesses we fight for daily are run by awesome people with awesome stories. For them, running a local business is more than a science—it’s an art. In honor of Pet Services month, we thought we’d share a conversation we had with one such local business “artist” — Signpost customer Christy Seal, who owns My Best Buddy dog training studio in St. Anne Missouri.
Q: Tell us the story of how your business started.
A: Throughout my life, I have trained dogs at many doggie daycares, pet stores and even shelters. At the last pet store I worked for, my manager was very supportive of me and my techniques. She encouraged me to open my own training studio, so I took the plunge and opened My Best Buddy.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being a small business owner?
A: There are a few things, but probably my favorite is the level of personal interaction I get to have with my clients. At many places I worked before I owned my own business, the management dictated how I trained, so being able to be in control of my curriculum now is huge. I also love that I get to make my own schedule.
Q: What are you most proud of about your business?
A: We work with a varying degrees of behavioral issues, and it’s always the best when a dog does something that an owner never thought was possible, whether that be a dog walking calmly with other dogs, learning to sit and stay, or anything in between. When an owner is elated about their dog’s progress, that’s always the best feeling!
Q: What have been your biggest challenges?
A: Getting started. I have been open only a year and getting the word out there, growing business and getting new clients, was the biggest challenge. I’m so thankful to have invested in Signpost — I remember I was terrified to take the leap and sign up, but I believe it’s been a truly great investment. Being able to have access to clients not only through email but also through text messaging is so convenient. I love being able to send out promotions or coupons with one swift click or the have them scheduled so they get sent even if I am not thinking about it. All of these things keep my business and me in the forefront of people’s minds and have helped keep my doors open. Really, I just love all Signpost provides.
Q: What tips would you give to a small business owner just starting out?
A: Never underestimate the power of good marketing!
Q: What would you do with an extra hour in the day? (Besides more work!)
A: Read or sleep.
Q: What’s the craziest customer/order you’ve ever had?
A: I had a woman once want me to talk to her dog, and I mean legitimately talk to him. She thought that he needed a doggie psychologist, and if he could just come in and talk with me he would be a better dog.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Helping owners gain success with their dogs. I can make all the money in the world, but if I am not doing that one thing (helping owners connect with their dogs), then I am not successful.
Q: If your business was an animal, what animal would it be?
A: Well a dog, duh!