As I mentioned in many articles about starting a pet business, having a detailed business plan is one of the first orders of any kind of startup and even long-established business. Any type of business that requires startup, expansion or other capital, whether it is a pet shop, pet grooming business, doggie daycare operation or any other enterprise, requires this.
The main reason why you will need a solid business plan is to get funding. Any institution through which you attempt to obtain a loan or potential investors will request this from you, to determine your qualifications for operating a business.
Even if you are not seeking a funding resource and/or have been in business for a long time, you should have a comprehensive business plan in place to keep track of the progress of your enterprise, and to determine any areas of weakness that need to be addressed. This should be reevaluated and periodically revised, as well. Furthermore, those who want to expand their pet businesses should draw up a revised business plan.
So let's get started.
What Your Business Plan Should Contain
According to Alyssa Gregory, About.com Guide to Small Business, your business plan should contain several key components:
While usually written first, this appears at the end of your plan, and should basically succinctly summarize the other aspects of your plan. This should also contain the name of your business, your location and the products and/or services your business will or does provide.
This should contain basic, precise information such as:
- Your company name
- Type of ownership (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.)
- Who will manage the business, and their qualifications
- Products and/or services you will/do provide
- The market you will service
- Number of employees
- Customers you will serve
This section should also contain a short, concise mission statement indicating your business goals.
Products and/or Services
This should be very specific about what you will sell, and who you will attempt to sell it to. For example, you may wish to launch an upscale pet boutique that specializes in natural and organic pet foods and other products in an effort to appeal to educated customers who are seeking the healthiest products for their pets.
You might include something along the lines of, "Due to rampant pet food recalls and the increase in reports of pets becoming ill or dying because of poor quality, deleterious pet foods and treats in recent years, there is a significant, growing demand for natural and holistic pet products within this market, which is being underserved in this regard."
Not only is this very specific about what you will/do offer, this also indicates how you will fulfill a particular need, offer products that competitors in your area do not provide and, hence, fill a void in your market.
This should contain detailed info about your target market and potential customer base, along with the needs you intend to fulfill, demographics and size of the market you intend to serve.
You should also include info about the pet industry, and how it is booming. Be sure to include annual pet spending statistics. (For a handy reference, check out my article U.S. Pet Spending and Ownership Statistics for 2012.)
Be sure to include as many statistics as you can to prove that your products and/or services would be in demand and successful within your given market.
This is where you will indicate such factors as how you will market and promote your brand; what advertising outlets you will utilize; how you attempt to grow your business; and what steps you will take to attract and retain customers.
This outlines who will be managing your business and your management team, or if this will be a sole proprietorship with, say, just you and your spouse or partner running the business. A small company will merely need to indicate who will be doing what, and what their qualifications are, along with their resumes.
You should estimate your business operating costs and how much funding you will need for optimal operation. You might also address potential profit and loss your business may accrue.
Appendices and Exhibits
This could contain any number of documents and data to help give your business idea maximum appeal such as:
- Demographic, research and marketing data
- Statistics (my article about pets spending and ownership would come in handy)
- Pictures of work you have done (a good selling point for pet groomers)
- Studies … etc.
A Pet Business Plan Made Easy
You can find any number of templates that you may purchase or get for free on the Internet. I found this nifty outline on the site BusinessBurrito.com that can give you some guidelines about how to construct an organized plan.
Or, if you have the resources, you may hire a professional to write your business plan for you.
No matter what, a solid, well thought out business plan will help your pet enterprise to start off on the right paw.