The Australian pet care market is a billion-dollar industry, however tapping into it is easier said than done. Here’s a look at some key tips for pet business start-ups.

There are approximately 8 billion pet owners in Australia who, according to reports, spend more than $12 billion a year on food, grooming, vet bills and the like. Indeed, two thirds of pet owners regard their dog or cat as a member of the family.

Thinking up an in-demand pet product or service sounds like a sure-fire way to make a killing, right? If only setting up a new pet business were that easy. Plenty of start-up businesses sadly fail, so it pays to do your research first.

Is your pet business idea feasible?

Firstly, according to the Small Business Development Corporation, it’s essential to be critical and assess whether your business idea is worth the time and investment. Will your pet business idea actually work?

Certainly, market research is key to finding the answer to this all-important question. The following are some key questions to answer:

  • Will you be offering a product or service for which there is demand?
  • How big is the demand for your product or service?
  • Who is your potential customer?
  • How will you attract and reach your customers?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What sets your product or service apart?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business plan?
  • What are the key barriers and how will you address these?

man using laptop for market research | business plan

How much will it cost to launch and run your business?

Once you’re confident you can address all the questions above and the answers are favourable, you need to consider the cost to launch your pet business start up. You should consider the following:

  • How much will it cost to fund the start-up phase of your business?
  • How much money do you need to live off?
  • How long before you can expect your first sale?
  • At what point will you break even?
  • What are your sales forecasts?
  • How much money do you need to maintain operations?
  • What insurance do you need?
  • Have you considered regulatory and/or legal requirements?

Develop a business plan

Starting a pet business (or any business, for that matter) is exciting, but it can also be challenging. The more planning you do beforehand, the better. Indeed, while there’s no golden rule as to what your business plan should include, the more detail you include, the less likelihood of unexpected worries.

The Small Business Development Corporation, suggests including the following information in your business plan:

  • An overview. This should give people an immediate feel for what your pet business is about and what you are aiming to achieve.
  • Mission statement and key business goals
  • Market research you’ve conducted
  • Strategy, detailing how you will reach your objectives and operate the business
  • Details of the products and/or services, including unique selling points (USPs)
  • A marketing plan
  • Financial strategy

men business planning

Your business structure and the nitty gritty

First, you need to decide what type of business you are. Will you operate as a sole trader, a partnership or a company? Do you intend to hire staff and will they work as employees of your company or contractors? How will this affect your tax?

Working out what structure your business will take is paramount, as it will affect tax obligations, admin duties, ongoing costs, insurance needs and perhaps even your legal requirements.

For more information on choosing your business structure, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

Next up, you’ll need to come up with a business or brand name and register your new pet business. It’s pretty simple (and free) to obtain an Australian Business Name (ABN), simply visit the Australian Business Registration Service..

Before you do so though, it’s worth checking to make sure the business name you’ve chosen and wish to register in not already taken. To do this, head over to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website. Select the ‘Check name availability’ button, type in your proposed business name and search.

Once you’ve got your ABN sorted, make sure you look into whether you need any special permits or licenses to operate your business.

Additionally, if you’re planning on setting up a website, be sure to register your domain name.

pet business website

What next?

Providing you have your finances sorted, you can start putting your business plan into action. Don’t forget to think carefully about branding and marketing your pet business. After all, coming up with a great product or service is one thing but people need to know about it.

Starting a new business is an exciting time and while this is not a comprehensive guide on how to begin your new pet business, it will point you in the right direction and offer a few important factors to think about.

Also, assuming you’re not trying to keep your pet business ideas under wraps, the more discussions you can have with different people, the more advice you’ll receive.

Indeed, some advice you’ll hang onto, some you won’t. However, taking on board people’s questions and different viewpoints might just help you think outside the box and assist you to achieve the success you desire.

If you are considering starting a new venture, best of luck!

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