5 Things I’ve Learnt From Our Dog Archie That Help Me in Business


5 Things I’ve Learnt From Our Dog Archie That Help Me in Business

As many of our Contributors know, our animals Archie (the big greyhound cross ridgeback galoot) and Lik (who’s now past middle age in cat years but still behaves like a kitten) are an important part of our business. Lik sits on my desk all day while I work and Archie is the welcoming committee when people visit our home office. Both are responsible for inspecting the deliveries of books when they arrive, and they also perform many other valuable duties. I’ve learnt a lot from both of them.

Here are five things I’ve learnt from Archie that help me in business (next fortnight I will write on the five things I’ve learnt from Lik):

Always have fun.

Archie starts his day with a run around with his friends at the local dog park, wrestling, chasing and careening through the bushes, until he comes back to us happy and exhausted. And my day is often interrupted when he appears beside my chair with a toy in his mouth, the expression on his face saying, “Play …?”

We all know how demanding it can be running a business, and that’s the challenge we embrace. But whenever I’m feeling the heat, I only need to watch the big galoot come trotting into the office with a toy to be reminded that there’s always time for a bit of fun. A five-minute chase around the house with a dog cures all worries. He doesn’t know about deadlines, cash flow, invoices, schedules, marketing or social media.

Always have time for people.

Sometimes when we’re out for a walk and Archie sees someone behind us, he’ll sit and wait for them to catch up so he can say hello, greeting them with a tail that wags so much his whole-body wags too.

Watching Archie do this has taught me always to make time for people, no matter how busy I am. You can always greet people or answer the phone with a smile and a friendly attitude. If you really can’t talk to someone when they call but you know they need your help, make a time to call them back later.

Get some exercise.

Archie is a big dog who needs to burn off energy. If we’re ever a little bit late taking him for a walk, we hear about it.

This always reminds me how important exercise is for me as well. Many of us sit at a desk for hours a day, which is not great for our health. I know Archie will remind me at about 6.30 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. every day that it’s time for some exercise and to get out into the fresh air.

Routines are good.

Archie knows what time his walks are. He knows when it’s breakfast and dinner time. He knows if he sits quietly while we have dinner he might get some leftovers. He knows he’s not allowed in the kitchen, or to get out of the car until we say he can. He knows that if he follows these and other routines, the outcomes will be good for him.

Our business has grown significantly in the last few years, and there’s no way we could have stayed on top of everything without good routines. We have our regular meetings every Monday and Thursday morning, and we have plans, schedules and checklists to track each project. We have accounting software to monitor our numbers, and we have clearly defined roles in the business, so we know who’s doing what. We also know what routines to follow to get good outcomes.

Friends are important.

I honestly think Archie has more friends than I do. Cora, Ruby, Banjo, Max, Ralph, Dusty, Lily, Lady, Harley, Cleo, the golden retriever we call Other Archie … the list goes on and on. There is no doubt when you see these mutts together that they are genuine friends. Cora waits for Archie in the same spot every morning; Archie and Ralph run to each other to say hello; Archie, Ruby and Banjo play together and then collapse together when we go to their house, or they come to ours.

This reminds me that what truly matters most in life is the people we care about. Without the people in my life, running my business would have no purpose because I’d have no-one to share it with. No matter how busy we get, we should always make time for friends and family.

If you have a dog, I’m sure some of these are familiar. I’d love to hear your stories. Post them in the comments below!

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