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Jump Ahead of the Curve

Access Continuum’s COVID response toolkit for leaders, teams and organizations

Continuum Consulting Services LLC

At Continuum, we are proud of those we can call partners, both our consultants and our clients, because of the caliber of who they are and what they are doing as leaders. Our occasional Spotlight Series celebrates those partners and the leadership practices they bring forward every day. Today, we spotlight Lesley White, Continuum consultant and business owner, inspiring us with her reflections on keeping her business, Peak City Puppy, alive during the pandemic.

Business Recovery Is an Inside Job

I’m guilty of it. Uttering the phrase, “We’re just holding on, waiting for the world to come back,” was an acceptable response in March 2020 as we watched revenues crash 90% in a week.

It was acceptable again last summer after a round of PPP funding, some initial enthusiasm around pet sitting jobs and then another sharp decline in the fall due to rising COVID rates. The last time I muttered the phrase, “We’re just waiting for the world to come back,” was in December 2020. 

But no more. 

A Shift in Perspective

At Peak City Puppy, we’re starting 2021 in a direction of growth, however incremental. We’re focused less on how the world is changing to need us again, and more on how we can change to meet the world’s needs. In essence, we’re looking within for ways to recover our business, leveraging what’s made and kept us strong all these years rather than seeking a new and improved identity.

No one (except possibly a handful of really smart scientists) saw COVID-19 becoming what it has become: a pandemic that has completely shifted our lives. It has changed our work, our health, our notions of family, our options for entertainment, our habits, our finances; the list goes on. The most strategic small business owner couldn’t have fully prepared for the ways the pandemic has removed entire markets from the economy. Ours has been one of them, with the downturn in travel crushing our pet sitting business while virtual work/school realities have kept the need for dog walking under 30% of pre-COVID business.

And so it is. Our industry demand has fallen. Our market has shrunk. We can continue to wait and dream longingly for the days of old. Or we can get to work.

The Work Ahead

For Peak City Puppy, the approach to recovery has less to do with reinvention or the now all-too-popular term “PIVOT!” Rather, I believe, our recovery lies in returning to ourselves: the guiding principles, practices and values that shaped our incredible success for the first twelve years. The market for professional pet care has shifted, for sure, but fundamentally, don’t pet owners still want the same things?

Relationship. Communication. Caring. (WHO you choose)

Fairness. Transparency. Value. (WHAT the service provides)

Honesty. Integrity. Professionalism. (HOW the work gets done)

What we give attention to, grows. It’s a law of nature as well as basic human behavior. So, in the days, weeks and months to come, here are some of the values we will continue to pursue and rekindle in our focus: 

Our Team is Our Greatest Asset and Source of Strength.

Our Clients Value Trust and Reliability Above All.

Our Services Will Set and Exceed the Bar for Quality.

Today, we introduce these concepts as our guiding principles. They are not new but newly prioritized. Over the next weeks, we’ll provide additional specific details on how we are putting these values to work. We’re excited to share this journey with you and hope it helps you to remember why we’re here.

Lesley White is Founder and Owner of a Team of 21 pet professionals who set the standard in dog walking and pet sitting in Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Fuquay Varina, Morrisville and New Hill, NC. We’re proud to say she is also a Continuum consultant.