High five with dogWe have a confession. We’ve spent less than $1000 on marketing in the 24+ years of running our businesses, and we’ve always had enough clients and income. This approach probably comes from our small town roots where successful business meant being so good at your work that people take notice and tell their friends and neighbours. 

We mention this because we’ve noticed a trend in recent years. There is way too much emphasis on marketing. Municipalities have popularity contests, number of Instagram followers has become a measure of success, annual income outweighs client satisfaction, formulas for hooking people into email lists are easily recognizable, and referral services are becoming tiresome.

Our advice? Focus on improving your business, not your presence. Here are our top 5 things to focus on:

  1. Invest in becoming exceptional at what you do.  
  2. Rely on clients who see the successful outcomes of working with you to do the marketing for you.
  3. Think networks, not clubs. Get to know the person you are referring clients to. Even “experts” neglect point #1! And remember, referrals tend to be a two-way street.
  4. Be resourceful. Don’t wait for anything to be handed to you. Figure things out for yourself!
  5. Make a good impression. Show up to be useful and supportive, not to be nosy and noisy. ;)  

Authors Julia Morton and Sylvia Currie are sisters, dog trainers, creative partners, and proud PACTA BC members.

Sylvia Currie


I’m an experienced educator, trainer, and lifelong learner. I focus on preventing and addressing problem behaviours. My goal is to make a difference in the lives of companion animals. ~Thompson-Nicola region of BC~