This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue
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Tips for Pet Business Owners
If you’re an animal lover and you’re looking to turn that passion for animals into a business
opportunity, there are plenty of ways to go about it. Whether you’re looking to groom animals or open a shelter, you can start a business that caters to helping animals in one way or another.However, business ownership isn’t always the easiest journey.
Following your passion is an important first step. Small businesses can be time-consuming, so
it’s vital that your passion is there. You’ll also want to obey the laws of your small business for you, your customers, and the animals. Make sure you know the risks of working with animals and how to keep everyone safe. Day-to-day operations will control a lot of your business, so it’s important to go in with a game plan. Finally, you should make a plan to market yourself and your small business in order to be successful.
1. Follow Your Passion
Anyone who has opened a small business will tell you how time-consuming it can be, especially
in the first few years when you’re working to build your business and obtain customers. Stakes
can be high as you rely on cash flow, soyou’ll spend plenty of long hours making your business work.
This is why it’s important to go where your passion is, not just where the money is. Maybe you
want to open a rescue, train animals, sell organic dog food, offer a dog walking service, or a
boarding facility. If you’re passionate and committed to what you’re doing, it’ll be easier on you to spend so much time with your business. As the saying goes: “Love what you do and you’ll
never work a day in your life.”
2. Obey the Law
Unfortunately, a pet business isn’t all wet nose kisses and kitty purrs. Small business law requires a lot more from you than just a passion for what you do. You’ll need to register your usiness, look into licenses you need, consider requirements for employees, follow tax laws, and more. In terms of aiding animals, you’ll have to look into zoning laws and qualifications for caring for animals.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to become a non-profit, you’ll have different laws to follow in terms of your small business. Do your research for the state you’re in and the small business
qualifications that apply to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other small businesses for help. You can also find a small business lawyer in your area and they will ensure your business is following the law.
3. Remember the Risks
Any job carries some risk, and working with animals is no different, so it’s important to
understand the risks associated with your small business. Animals can be unpredictable, and
caring for them can be hard on a person, so research the risks and how to handle them. For
instance,two dog walkers in Sacramento were injured by a vehicle and the accident was fatal for the dogs. This was a situation that was hard for them to avoid, but it’s something that can happen. The same goes for aggressive dogs, transmitting sicknesses between animals, and accidental injuries.
In certain settings, you may be around dogs who are beyond help, or in heartbreaking
situations. Understand that many parts of the job may be difficult and carry risks for you, your employees, and the animals. In order to handle the risks, make sure your business has insurance, and that you and your employees are trained for what to do if something happens.
4. Day-to-Day Operations
This is a big part of your pet business and will encompass a lot of the nitty-gritty details of your everyday workflow. This includes record keeping, scheduling, payment systems, pricing,
customer service, etc. You’ll want to have a good idea of how you want your business to run and how to go about doing it. Again, it can be really beneficial to speak to other small business owners in your area, or even go to your competitors and see what their operations look like. You might consider keeping your records digital in order to reduce the carbon footprint for your business. Consider a simple sales system on an iPad with a card swiper, and allow your operations to grow from there.
5. Marketing Yourself
A big part about small business is creating a brand and marketing yourself to customers. After all, without customers, you don’t have a business. Look into the competition in your area and brainstorm ways to stand out from the crowd. Think about how you find the services you need, and promote yourself in those places. Capitalize on being local, and focus on customer service.
There are necessary steps to take to get your marketing going, which include creating and managing your online presence with a website and social media. Don’t just sell your business, sell your story and why you want to work with animals. Your customers are animal lovers as well, so it’s important to tap into that passion to connect to your customer base. Remain active in social media, network in your local animal community, and stay focused on your passion.
Business ownership is no walk in the park, and catering to animals can be another layer making
the process a little more involved. However, it can also be extremely rewarding. Though it’s
important to obey small business laws, be prepared for the risks, plan for daily operations, and market yourself, you can’t put a price on working within your passion. Even if you’re selling homemade dog collars, or working as a pet sitter, you’re making a difference in your local animal community. By utilizing these tips, your passion can also be your success.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.