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Start a dog business of your own

Start a dog business series
part 1
By Andrew Ledford

To start a dog business you need a viable business idea. All business begins with an idea, an intention. It could be an original idea or more likely your business idea will be something that in some way has already been done. There is no one best dog business. Dog businesses are often chosen because of a person’s passion for dogs.

The kind of dog business you choose may involve an activity you now enjoy as a hobby, such as dog training, caring for friends dogs, or cooking and baking. There are also many new dog products coming on the market all the time. A warning to the new dog product people, even good dog products are hard to market. However, I hope our network may provide some solutions to this problem.

I really feel and alliance of honest and ethical dog business owners can facilitate building economic value while making the world a better place.

The next step of starting your own dog business. Deciding if a dog business is right for you and if you are right for a dog business.

Enjoying dogs is not a good enough reason to undergo the stress and strain of owning a business. You will need to have something more than a love of dogs to keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough. A business is work. Running a dog business that need attention on a constant daily basis is much different than having your dog activities as a loved hobby. The core activity may seem the same, but your lifestyle will be different. If you are starting a dog business such as a boarding kennel where you are caring for dogs 24 hours a day, it can be even more demanding.

When I was younger I wanted to compete with my own dogs but I was always too busy working with other people’s dogs, meeting payroll and fulfilling other obligations. Business obligations will often prevent you from doing the kind of dog activities you most enjoy.

Hobbies are about identity and doing something that brings us some kind of enjoyment, usually in the form of pleasant experiences. Business also brings a kind of enjoyment and involves core activities that we find pleasant. Some activities we find pleasant simply because we are quite good at doing them.

Just because we can do the dog oriented business activity well does not mean we should have a business. Many people are happy with a good dog job and absolutely would not be happy running a business of their own. If you are great at handling dogs and want a dog walking service, think again. Do you really want a business? I think of owning a business much like owning a guide dog. Just because someone could use a guide dog does not mean they should have one, especially if they don’t really like dogs. The question for the potential guide dog handler is, “do you want a Dog?” Do you like dogs? If you want a dog to help get around but don’t like dogs or want the responsibility of a dog, guess what? A dog will not make you happy.

Do you really like business? Do you really want a business? I know many people who say they want a business but absolutely do not. My last girlfriend had a very hard time understanding and accepting the life of a small business owner. She made running my business quite difficult. We are in the worst economy I have ever seen, the year is 2009 and things are more than tough. The current business environment is downright harsh. An interesting thing happened when I broke up with my last girlfriend, I started making money again. This could be coincidence or more likely it’s that I did not have to fight on two fronts at the same time. Sun Tzu the famous Chinese general warned that fighting on two fronts at the same time leads to disaster. I will quote Sun Tzu often as I am also working on a Sun Tzu for business series.

If you are starting a dog business make sure you get “buy-in” from those in your immediate support group such as your family and significant others. If you are single, potential mates may need to not only accept your pets but your business too.

We can never forget that in a dog business people are the key factor. In business you will be interacting and making agreements and deals with people, not dogs. You will need more than the emotional and moral support of significant people in your personal life. You will need the support of others in the business community. You will be dealing with other businesses that offer small business support services. A lot of these supporting businesses are a little on the shady side and will do everything they can to overcharge and underperform. More bluntly, they will lie and take of much of you money as they can. Their motto is “that’s business.” Are you ready to interact with these people?

I know that a lot of people who want a dog business say they like dogs better than people. Well, having a business may make you positively hate people. You will get to see the deceiving hurtful side of humanity first hand although in a very ritualized way. Be thankful it is nothing like what our combat troops see.

A dog business owner or any business owner for that matter will require a certain degree of tenacity and competitiveness. This is one reason business is often compared to war. I too will use the war metaphor as the site develops. While war is a common analogy for business I do think we can develop other business models that are more benevolent and kinder. For the moment society rewards those willing to engage in economic warfare and kill the enemy. As we have seen with the recent economic meltdown big financial companies that make loans, like banks, do not only see competitors as the enemy but when times are bad see trusting customers as the business enemy also.

I have a bit of a different take on the whole affair. I think we need to form good alliance so we don’t need to fight. This is a page taken out of Sun Tzu’s book the Art of War, “It’s best to win battles without fighting.”

Wishing you the best in dogs, in business, and in life
Andrew Ledford
The Dog Saint
Caretaker of RenChenZa®

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