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Every business needs a business plan if it is to grow and prosper. Without a sound business plan backed by an effective management system, a business cannot survive, let alone make substantial profits. A business plan is so important, your banker will require one before giving you a loan to open your pet grooming business. Though you have the total collateral required to back a business loan, your banker will almost certainly require a business plan. The bank wants you to be successful, and not to foreclose on your collateral and business. What do they know then? Success is derived from advance planning (having a business plan), and the management team managing the business plan.

Even if you do not need a business plan to apply for a business loan to open or expand your pet grooming business, having one is a tremendously helpful tool for success. We strongly encourage you to obtain or write a business plan not because a bank requires one, but because you understand the benefits of having one.

Creating a business plan forces you to think ahead, and plot a strategy to build and expand your pet grooming business in detailed stages. Instead of proceeding haphazardly without a map you have a compass and guide to a well-planned course. Should seas get rough or out-of-hand, go back and refer to the compass that is your business plan and steady your accurate course once again. It is not uncommon for pet grooming business owners to lose their heading. Sometimes mature businesses stop growing because they have gone off course and problems arise, one after another. A well-written business plan anticipates problems before they happen.

Business plans should state milestones for achievement and describe stages of development for several years ahead. These milestones are usually stated in numbers. For example, by the end of Year 2 in business my plan states that:

  1. We will have 250 regular clients.

  2. The average appointment frequency between grooming appointments will be 6 weeks.

  3. My average service fee will be $39.00.

  4. The business will earn approximately $78,000 gross revenue from sales of grooming services.

  5. The business loan will be 40% repaid.

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The quality of planning and management is the difference between the very prosperous grooming business and one without a stable growing and loyal clientele, a well-teamed staff of professional employees, and the profitability to fund its owner's comfortable lifestyle and eventual retirement. There are thousands of very hard-working and caring pet groomers and business owners, but very few of them are prosperous. They can certainly take pride in their work, and they enjoy what they do, but why should they not also enjoy profitability. Unfortunately, the stereotypical view of a pet grooming business by the public and business world is not prosperity. Ironically, the market for pet grooming is fantastic. Ask veteran pet grooming business owners how much they were affected by economic downturns in the past and you will find that most suffered very little in comparison to other businesses. In fact, our California business increased every year during the 8-year California recession. Pets are family members, and that means they must be clean. What we love we care for, especially our children and animals. So how does this industry eliminate its poor stereotypical image? We need the majority of pet grooming business owners to add effective management to their pet grooming excellence, and for them to form and manage their business plans.

Whether you are a new career seeker first entering the industry, or you're expanding and revitalizing an existing pet grooming business, your business plan should chart a course that you can follow for many years, even until the day you choose to sell your business, and perhaps retire.

Decisions made about your business now affect your lifestyle many years from now.

By reading a business plan, I learn about the overall goals the business owner has set for the business, usually in stages over a period of years. I learn about the background of the business owner. I learn their strategy to set up and build out the business, and how they intend to market the business to its local community. I learn of the business' competitive advantages, but also how it will attract pet owners to their first visit at a professional pet groomer. There are plans for expansion in the years ahead, and plans to acquire and manage a team of employees as the business grows. Most importantly, there are plans for the owner and management to evaluate their progress, such as monthly, quarterly and yearly reviews of the business' financials prepared by a bookkeeper or CPA (certified public accountant). There are plans for how the data will be collected from the business, such as daily reports of services including types of services, how many cats versus dogs, how many complete trims and baths versus bath-only and much more. Then, there financial projections for the income expected to be earned on a monthly and annual basis for the first 5 years of business and the related expenses required to earn the projected income. I learn about your present financial status whether it be poor, average or great, and a complete "shopping list" of how you will spend the business loan.

Don't get turned off! There are many sources for personal help with your business plan.

It's about this time that most pet grooming business owners, new or veteran, turn off. "I just want to groom pets! That's what I love!" Of course you do, and so do we. To be self-employed requires not only your character and desire to learn management, but you must be in business to create profit. The Internal Revenue Service has made that very clear. If after a period of time (usually 3 years) you don't uplift yourself from a chain of business losses you may be declared a "hobbyist." It's been our experience for decades that learning what it takes to make a profit and increase business growth each year is a small price to pay in order to enjoy the rewards of a successful business. In fact, it can be fun if that is your attitude. Further, you can involve your eventual team of employees to work toward joint goals of the business. Your bent on operating a successful and growing pet grooming business is also a great service to pet owners and pets because you will be able to offer the finest in pet grooming supplies, equipment and tools and the best in lodging cages, and to maintain a beautiful, modern and ambient work environment. You're also creating jobs for your community, in fact, pet grooming businesses are a very important part of community life and you can gain that recognition and professional reputation through community involvement. It only requires you create and manage an effective business plan as well as pet care excellence.

Map and chart your course, and learn to navigate with effective management.

Don't get turned off! Business plans and effective management are the foundation of those very successful pet grooming businesses you may know of, or will as you become active in this industry. Indeed, there are pet grooming businesses earning $100,000 to $750,000 annual gross income. However, net income is where it is at because it is not always what you earn, but what you keep. Well, there are pet groomers "keeping" $50,000 to $250,000" a year (before taxes) and at one time they were just starting out too. In fact, we personally know pet groomers that once made $9,000 a year and today make six-figure personal incomes from their businesses (before taxes). These businesses are in very rural areas, but they don't have to be in the "Big City" either and charging top dollar, most aren't and don't. They all started small, and grew a business. You can too. Even if you are planning to go to pet grooming school, now is the time to prepare your plan and make your education part of the plan.

Now we are ready to take a closer look at a the formal structure of business plan on the next page.



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