How Award Winning Lynn Lloyd Transformed the Profitabilty of her 10 Year Old Dog Walking Business
Discover how Lynn Lloyd changed her prices, her positioning, her services, her marketing and her systems to completely revamp and revitalise Waggs and Woofs, Bristol's premier award winning 'on-lead' dog walking business.
Watch this short interview where Lynn shares her inspiring pet business story...
Full Transcript Below
Dom: Right, today I am joined by Lynn Lloyd of Waggs 'n' Woofs. Lynn, hello. Thanks for joining me today and for sharing your business story. So set the scene, first of all. Tell everybody quickly where you're from, what you do, and when you started, that kind of thing.
Lynn: Okay. So my name's Lynn Lloyd, I am based in Bristol, and I have a company called Waggs 'n' Woofs. So we're predominantly a dog walking business, but we're now a Training Trek Academy thanks to Dom. And I've been in business 15 years now, and things were ticking along fine until COVID hit, and then I just thought what we're going to do, because we had to shut down and going forward, everybody seemed to be losing their businesses. And I thought what's going to happen? Is this actually going to work? And obviously I got in touch with you and everything's hunky-dory.
Dom: So how did that happen then? Were you looking? Did you scout out a number of different mentors and stuff? Because I know sometimes it can be difficult when you've been in business a long time, you've built a fantastic reputation, you've got clients that love you.
Lynn: No, I hadn't been looking for mentors, I'll be honest with you, and I was just ticking along quite nicely. All my clients were really happy, everything was fine, there was no problems within the business, but I just think the whole COVID thing, everybody reevaluated. And when we had to close down for the three months, I did slightly start to panic a little bit because I kept seeing people saying that they've literally lost their business. Their business has just gone under because of it, and I just thought do you know what? I haven't built this up over all these years just to let it go like that. And also, I had staff members, so I felt like I had a responsibility to them. I didn't want for them to have to be put out of a job.
So I know I've said it before, but I can't actually remember how you came to be in my life to start with. It's a few years ago now and I must have signed up to something on Facebook. I can't remember if it was your 33 ideas or whatever it was, but I started receiving emails from you. And then I just ignored it. I'd never done anything with it, but I never ever deleted them. Then, I saw that you were advertising one of your workshops and it was free. And I just thought do you know what? I've got nothing better to be doing at the minute, I might as well see what all this is about.
And so I joined and it just all made complete sense.
Everything just made complete sense to me. So I started implementing some of the things that you suggested and it was working. And I remember saying to my husband I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that, and he was just like it's never going to work. It won't work, love. People around here won't want that. And I just thought well, let's just try. You don't know if you don't try. And I did and it has been an absolute game changer.
So then I joined the PBIC Gold, got a lot of value from Gold, and then I think you invited me to join Diamond. And I joined Diamond and then I just thought do you know what? I need Platinum. And I joined Platinum and then got COVID.
Dom: You did, bless you. Oh my goodness. We were so worried when you went off the radar. Not as worried as you were, obviously.
Lynn: So yeah, I got COVID and so the first month of me being in Platinum, I didn't really do anything because I just couldn't, and then got back on track and obviously we put some plans into action and had some really good calls.
Dom: So tell us about some of the things that you did to transform the already great business that you had.
Lynn: So we were the same as every other dog walker, basically. We were taking dogs and we were free running them in fields, getting really muddy, and mucky, and whatever. And it was all fine, there was no complaints, but when we were allowed out of lockdown, we had obviously regulations that we had to adhere to, and part of that was to keep dogs on lead. We weren't allowed to free run dogs because of the whole social distancing thing. So I thought okay, well this is how it's got to be so this is what we'll do, and I had done this many, many years ago when I used to do the Doberman rehabilitation stuff, so I was used to walking dogs on leads, but the dogs that I was working with at that time weren't very good on lead, so that was a challenge, but I just thought okay, let's try it. And we trialled it and it was just really beneficial, all the clients were saying this is amazing, the dogs are walking really well on lead now.
So then we started to implement different things, it wasn't just a walk. So we invented the Training Trek. So within the walk of the Trek, we implement basic training. So now the Trek is a 75 minute Trek and it's broken into three 25 minutes segments. So each segment, the dogs are doing something different. So it might be some traffic training for the first 25 minutes, then we might do some scent work, and then we might do just basic bonding things, like getting them to spin, pause, just interacting with them, walking through shopping centres and all that stuff. So as far as I'm aware, there's no-one else in Bristol working like this, but we get an awful lot of attention and the business is thriving.
And we also niched down as well as the Training Treks, but the Poodles 'n' Doodles thing is a massive thing within the business now as well.
Every day, I'm getting enquiries, so I'm lucky that I'm in the position that I can pick and choose.
Dom: Brilliant. If I remember rightly, we were able to look at what you were already really good at and, like you said, what COVID regulations dictated you had to do at the time, and we actually flipped that and turned it into this is something that you can do that nobody else is going to do and it's a unique thing. And now, this has become your thing that the clients love, nobody else is doing it, nobody else probably could do it the way that you do it as well. It's uncopyable and high demand. So tell us a bit about the changes that we made with pricing, and reducing the area, and the staff, and all that kind of thing, because people don't believe me, when I say actually there's a lot of hidden money in people's businesses and without getting any extra clients at all or even losing some, we're actually able to give you back more time, and increase your bank account, and make your life a lot less stressful, aren't we? So it was what we did with you, wasn't it?
Lynn: Yeah, massively. So actually, I gave away 30% of the business straight away just because of logistics, because the area, I just thought do you know what? It's only an extra 10 minutes down the road or whatever, but I don't need to do that. I've got enough clients on my doorstep. So really made my area very, very small indeed. So that was the first thing. I mean do you want me to give you price?
Dom:No, that's up to you. You can just give rough estimates. It doesn't bother me at all.
Lynn: Well, basically when I first came into your world, I was charging, I think it was £13 an hour. I think it was about that, but I've made several price increases since being in your world and got of some of my client base out of choice, because I could. And now, I charge £25 per 75 minutes, which we always went over on the hour anyway. So I've more than doubled. So I'm by far the most expensive dog walker in Bristol. So it's a really nice position to be in because I'm not for everybody, but that's great because they're not for me. So it's brilliant because it has proven that there are people out there that would rather pay that amount of money to get this kind of service, and that's the kind of people that I want to work with, and that's the kind of people that we work well with.
Dom: You've got this segment of the market that you're owning now. Verne Harnish talks about the businesses that scale successfully, they're usually three times more profitable than any other businesses, and this is obviously big company stuff as well, but this is what my business is like as well. I love the idea that when we're out, when Alex is out, other people have to do three times as much work as what he's doing to get the same. And yours is exactly the same thing.
So let's fast forward a bit then. So you've done a lot of work systemising, you took the numbers down and then we took them back up again. And on the calls, we decided, planning a bit further ahead really, weren't we? Planning medium, long term, what do I want to be doing in five years time and how can we re-engineer the business?
Lynn: So obviously we have five-year goals and part of my five-year goals was for me to pretty much manage the business from home. That went down to a three-year goal and then a one-year goal, and I'm actually doing it now. It wasn't supposed to happen for another year at least, and that was like fingers crossed, that was the main drive to get to that point.
I've just taken on another two staff members, which thank the Lord I did. So I actually took a tumble on a walk and managed to break my ankle and bugger up my knee, so I'm not able to walk at the minute. So it's been brilliant because I've systemised, and written manuals, and whatever for the girls so that we've got things put into place in case of emergencies and the proof's in the pudding, it works because it means that they all know exactly what they're doing. We've got our signature system, no-one else is doing it, and they just get on with it.
They've got a manual, so if at any time they were unsure, they can refer back to the manual, not that they need to because they know exactly what they're doing, but it's good for me to know that they've got that, but I'm, not out of choice at the minute, running the business from home, but it's proven to me that I absolutely 100% can.
And with that in mind, that's what I'm going to keep doing. When I get back on my feet, I will employ another girl so there's a little bit more flexibility again for holidays, and sickness, and whatever, but it's enabled me to be able to work from home and know that everything is absolutely fine.
Dom: One thing I was going to say ... A couple of things. First one is I always talk about speed, and having an idea, and following through with it, and getting something out there, and part of the coach programme as well, it's very much about speed. We fix and then we do the next thing. And the example would be Carol Clark with her Doggy Doc stuff. Carol came to me and said on her 90-day goals, over a year ago, "I want to be able to have handed over all of the classes to other people so I can do other things, other parts of the business and stuff."
And this was a five-year goal, and I said why don't we just do this now? And then a year later, lo and behold, we've done it. You're the same with this, and I think it's testament to yourself that you just got on with it, because obviously I don't do the work, you actually do the work, but I think having a clear focus plan really helps, doesn't it? Once you have a very clear idea what you want, you'd be surprised how fast you can get pulled towards it.
Lynn: I mean I know for a fact that had I not discovered you, I would not be where I am now. I would still be out in a field getting covered in mud, coming home, being a bit pissed off, just being the same as every other dog walker in town and working all the hours. It was fine, but I look back now and I think oh my God, what were you doing?
I definitely would not have progressed and moved forward with the business, I would have just been in exactly the same position as I was.
Lynn: I think definitely having these goals and the piece of paper thing. So important, because you just don't ever think to do that, but it's really good to take yourself off and just think what do I want to do, and who do I want to take with me, and who's holding me back, and who is helping me along the way? And for me, sometimes it can be quite hard. You have to sit down and you think what can I put for my 90-day goals?
Having the 5-year, and the 1-year, and the 90-day, because it's all working towards that big goal. And for me, it's brilliant. And you know what? I always refer back to it and think right, okay. I'm a bit stuck. What can I do? But when I look back, I think right, okay. I can do this next and that will get me further towards my goals. So yeah, it's good.
Dom: Brilliant. So how do you feel about the future now then?
Lynn: Really positive. Yeah, really, really positive. As I say, everything happens for a reason.
Dom: You haven't even mentioned your luxury wedding niche, which is just put aside, pending for now.
Lynn: Yeah, only because I'm incapacitated at the moment. But that's something, because obviously it's just a bit bonkers at the minute with the whole weddings because everybody's playing catch up, but we will get back to doing that. Thank God I don't have another wedding to do this year!
Dom: Absolutely, yeah. And we just did a call the other day, didn't we? We're now putting steps in place so that you're going to be able to grow the business if you're not there still. I mean for practicality's sake, we're taking a little bit of a breather at the moment whilst you concentrate on your immediate recovery, but the plan is to be able to grow the business without you doing all of the work, all of the training as well, isn't it, as well?
Lynn: Yeah, with the training thing, so after our call, I had a meeting with Emily and she's very happy to take on more responsibility. So she's got herself a nice little promotion and a nice wage rise because I know she's capable of it. And like I said, we'll write this training management manual together. And I know that I don't need to be there to do the training because she can do it. So yeah, it's brilliant.
Dom: What would you say to anybody, Lynn, who, like yourself, had a business for a long time, doing well, what's been a big benefit for you from the coaching and the fresh eyes type of thing, or has it just been that? You tell me.
Lynn: Well, I've completely changed the business model and it's meant that we are completely different. So we're so unique, there's no-one else like us, and that is a really, really nice position to be in because it's been so, so well received. And I think it's important to be invent yourself now and again.
Dom:I hope so, yeah. For your own self-esteem, I think, for your own interest.
Lynn: Definitely, because I know from personal experience, I was just coasting along because everything was fine, I was making my money, and it was all fine, but now I look at it and I'm always thinking what can we do next? What can we do different? And it's great to have somebody like you that we can speak every 90 days or whatever and you can bounce ideas. I mean we had a few ideas on that last call that are brilliant, so it's really good to keep being fresh and keep thinking about doing different things, and well I know for a fact I wouldn't be doing that.
So anybody that is thinking that they're a bit pissed off in their business or just thinking well, how can I make more money, or I'm working too many hours, I would wholeheartedly recommend joining because it is a complete game changer. And my staff, my husband, everybody, they're like, "I can't believe it. Fair play to you," because they would never have had the balls or the lady balls to have done it.
I can't recommend it highly enough, and certainly for anybody that's got an established business, they're massively missing a trick by not being in Dom's world because we always say it, but this shit does work.
Dom: Brilliant, Lynn. Hey Lynn, thanks so much. I'm super proud of you and I'm looking forward to getting the next update for the next part of your journey. I wish you a speedy recovery. Where can people go to find out more about you and what you do? Give us a plug for the website.
Lynn: Thank you, my love. Oh God, here we go again. I always say I wish I'd never spelt it like this. So it's www.waggs-n-woofs.co.uk. We're on Instagram, waggsnwoofs1, and we're on Facebook as well.
Dom: Fabulous, yeah. And if anybody wants to find out more about the coaching, you can check out one of the links below. But Lynn, thanks so much for your time. I'll speak to you again.
Lynn: Thank you, my love. Take care.
If you would like to join Lynn inside the world famous the Platinum Pet Business Coaching Program then click on the link below.