Good to Great: Take your business to new heights using your own hidden abilities


"I discovered the Good to Great: Take your business to new heights using your own hidden abilities Course at a time when I desperately needed help! This course and the homework gave me a solid foundation to build on!  Now I have a plan and know what I need to get on a better track … and keep on it!"

Maren Bruun
BC, Canada

See below for dates & times

Schedule of Meetings

This is a 9 week course and takes place over 3 months. All session are held at 11:30am Central, and will last approximately 1.5 hours. This course does include homework, and enrollees should plan on 2 hours of homework per week. in addition to the class time.

October 5, 12, 19, 2017
November 2, 9, 16, 2017
December 7, 14, 21, 2017

If you're interested in learning how to run your business more smoothly, then Good to Great: Take your business to new heights using your own hidden abilities is for you. I learned valuable information on finances, organizing, marketing, and more. Well worth the time and money.
Shari Strader, CPDT-KA,
South Paw Pet Services

I learned a lot from this seminar!  I can say I now understand how everything from reports to employees, to clients, all work to help me see how my bussiness is doing, and how to make changes to keep it successful. 

Thanks so much for all your help!

Worried you might have to pack it in and get a "day" job? Or wishing you could quit that “day” job and go full time as a trainer?

Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Are you frustrated, over-worked, and barely making it? Well, take a deep breath and relax. This course can help you turn your business into a smooth, successful operation. Whether you want to expand into a multi-facility operation or remain small and flexible, you can earn enough money to be comfortable while still having plenty of time to hang out with your family, friends, and pets!

This comprehensive small-business course will teach you the fundamentals you need to run a successful business – from understanding your financials, to marketing, to handling employees and expansion. You’ll walk away from this course with the tools you need to plan for the future and reach the success you deserve.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this course:
• Setting short- and long-term goals – then sticking with them!
– It’s easy to get distracted. By knowing what you want to achieve and not allowing yourself to get sidetracked, you’ll reach your goals much quicker than if you fly by the seat of your pants.
• Managing your time
– Time is always a problem for small business owners. With so much to do and such limited resources, we end up doing most of it ourselves! By structuring your time, you’ll be more efficient, saving those precious minutes for other things.
• Ways to actually measure those intangibles (like employee morale & customer satisfaction)
– We’re always working toward being the best we can be, but some things are difficult to measure and we judge by what we see and hear. Of course, we don’t always see and hear the truth – whether people are not telling us, or we’re deceiving ourselves. By setting actual measurable goals, you turn this endeavor into a reality instead of wishful thinking.
• Creating systems that work!
– Although systems sound boring, they go right back to time management, inefficiency, and those intangibles. Having good systems in place means everyone knows what to expect and there are no surprises. With good systems, you’re not constantly putting out fires and are able to concentrate on furthering your goals.
• How to turn frustrations into accomplishments
– Not all frustrations are resolvable – but most are! Think how much more pleasant your days will be without those distractions.
• Understanding your financial statements
– Of course, financials are the basis of any business, and understanding them to best advantage will help you attain those goals. We all look at our monthly reports, but how often do we actually take that information and make changes? Sometimes something just reaches out and slaps us in the face, but most of the time it’s too subtle to force us to pay attention. When you really understand what your financials can do for you, you’ll be amazed.
• Budgeting and planning for future expansion, growth or major expenditures
= Budgeting and planning are the keys to reaching your goals. Boring as it seems, it’s like having a checklist and being able to check off your goals as you reach them.
• The importance of cash flow
– Cash flow allows you to take advantage of opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s like the red-headed stepsister and often overlooked.
• Defining (and finding) your customer
– We all have a target market. By understanding that market, you can use your marketing resources to best advantage.
• Positioning your business and differentiating yourself from your competition
– There’s always competition – learn how you can stand apart and create a lucrative niche.
• Product development strategy and quality control
– When we develop a new product, we need to consider who will want it, the product design, the marketing strategy, where it fits in our overall business strategy, and so much more. Developing the right product can benefit us greatly; developing the wrong one can hurt us.
• Working with employees – when to hire, job descriptions, interviewing, training, & reviewing
– Ahh, employees. They can be a boon or a bane. If we handle them right, they can greatly increase our effectiveness and help us reach our goals.

If this sounds like a lot, it is! Be prepared to spend several hours each week on homework—this workload will vary from week-to-week. Each week we’ll discuss the previous week’s homework, clarifying and sharing experiences. Then we’ll discuss the current week’s topic and homework. We’ll meet the first three weeks of the month, then take the rest of the month off to catch up and take a breather; then we’ll meet again the next month. To get the most out of the course, you should do your homework so we can discuss it and resolve any problems you may have.

This course is about the fundamentals of running a small business. It is not going to give you the answers – it’s going to tell you how to get the answers. As with teaching a man to fish, if you understand the principles, you will always be able to make good business decisions.

Work smarter, not harder!

This course will not be recorded or available on-demand, however it is held yearly. You will be required to purchase one book for this course. Disclaimer: Susan Smith is not a business or marketing expert – she has no educational background in these topics. However, she has owned her own business (in one form or another) since 1983, and has taken business courses to expand her knowledge. This course addresses the principles of running a small business.
13 CEUs



Susan Smith, CPDT-KA, CDBC

In 1995 Sue sold her Mail Boxes Etc., USA business and started thinking about what she wanted to do for a living. She knew she wanted something she enjoyed and it was fairly easy to narrow it down to dogs. Once she made that decision, she apprenticed under another positive reinforcement trainer and started reading every book she could get her hands on.

After attending the San Francisco SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers, she went full-time and the rest is history. Her goal is to help dogs stay with their original human family through education, training and behavior modification.

Sue is an active, professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, graduated from the first class held at the San Francisco Academy for Dog Trainers, was in the first group of trainers certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers and is grandfathered into the International Association of Canine Behavior Counselors. Sue was named APDT Member of the Year in 2004. She belongs to several e-mail discussion groups and founded the PositiveGunDogs e-mail discussion group which promotes positive reinforcement training for bird dogs.

Sue regularly contributes to the APDT newsletter, has been published numerous times in the newspaper addressing behavioral and training issues, and has writen for The Bark magazine and other journals.

Sue was the Director of Animal Haven Acres Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center which was a dog sanctuary in upstate New York.  She started up the Sanctuary for a no-kill shelter out of New York City; bringing the dogs up, introducing them to the environment, etc. She stayed in this position for three years. Sue and her dog, Jimmy Joe, lived at the Sanctuary and the Sanctuary dogs lived in the house with her – there was a limit of 15 dogs. The permanent dogs were unadoptable for various reasons – mostly aggression.

After leaving New York, Sue returned to Austin, Texas and began developing a series of courses and marketing materials for use by professional trainers, as well as resuming her private practice in training and behavior modification. She now works full time creating educational programs for dog trainers, including an intensive, year-long course for those wanting to become professional trainers.

Refund Policy: The course fee will be refunded, in its entirety, so long as the enrollee requests a refund in writing no later than the 14th day after the course is purchased. Alternatively, the enrollee may request an