I opened my second cattery six months ago. I left my first in the capable hands of my staff while I created, built and grew the second in Caroline Springs.
I was being creative again every day with the set up and developing marketing activities to promote the new location. My staff called whenever there was a question or a problem, and I would drop in on the way home at least three times a week to say hi to the cats and check on supplies.
Being my first business, and not having a mentor, I have always just done what I felt was right. So here I was thinking that everything was under control and running smoothly without me physically being there every day, when slowly I started to see cracks appearing.
Procedures and guidelines that I had set in place were starting to be forgotten, altered and ignored. Bitchiness was starting between the staff, which broke my heart. I never wanted to create a team that bitched and didn’t respect each other, like I had witnessed in my previous career.
I also noticed my clients were missing me and wondering where I had gone. Three years ago, it was just my parents and I running the business. My regular clients got to know us who knew it was a small family-ran business.
So I had to start working back there again in my first location – Hoppers Crossing. I had to be back on the ground and observing what was happening. I soon realised that I dearly missed the place – this was my baby. I had grown this business from an empty warehouse with no cats and clients, to a cattery that averages 40 cats a night with amazing and loyal clients.
With my second cattery, I know that if I want to continue to expand the business, I need to be less attached. I am distancing myself, trying not to have such a close relationship with my clients to prevent this problem arising.
It has been six weeks since I have been back three days a week at Hoppers Crossing and I can see my team improving. Being physically out of the business for four months, it has also allowed me to see the business with a fresh set of eyes. I can now see what needs replacing, cleaned or altered.
With both locations now running smoothly and the memories of stress and almost running out of money starting to fade, I find myself scouting for my third location.