You love animals and have been dreaming about starting your own dog grooming business. You have been practicing on your friends’ beagles, schnauzers and collies. You have enough room to start the business at home, and doing so is legal in your state. Soon, however, you would like to move the business into a separate space. You know that to lease, furnish and equip a commercial space for dog grooming, you will need outside financial help in the form of a bank loan or investment from an outside partner. To prepare for that eventuality, you must write a business plan.
Impress your reader with an executive summary that stresses your expertise as a dog groomer and your seriousness as a business owner. This section should contain the most important information about your business – what you believe will positively influence the reader. Include your strongest selling points. Write this section last – to ensure that you do not miss anything important – but place it first in your finished plan.
Describe your business. Tell how it works and how it is organized legally. Give the reader a useful summary of the working facilities, the available square footage, your main items of equipment and the tools that you and your staff use to groom dogs. Tell the reader how you use the physical plant to accommodate the dogs in your care. Tell what you have to do to comply with sanitation and other regulations. Describe the coverage of your business insurance. Discuss your staff and outline the duties of each employee.
Tell the reader about your services. If your dog grooming is limited to hygienic care and cleaning of the dogs’ skin, fur, nails and teeth, describe what you do in typical grooming sessions. If you are involved in enhancing dogs’ appearance for shows, write about that. Tell the reader what kind of grooming products you use and what choices customers have.
Tell the reader how you market your company’s services. Discuss the demand for dog grooming in your market area and identify your main competitors. If you advertise in newspapers and local television, give a summary of your program. If you have business relationships with local veterinarians and owners of pet stores, mention them as potential sources of referrals.
Include a current company financial statement showing your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement, along with a projection of the financial statement for the next three years. Show monthly figures for the first year and annual figures for years two and three. This section is particularly important if you will be seeking financing from outside sources such as a bank or an investor. Even if you decide not to seek outside funds, it will be useful for your ongoing business planning to be able to compare actual results against projections.
Place your biographical summary in the last section. Emphasize your qualifications to run this business successfully. Include information about key staff members and highlight any certifications or special training in animal care.
Contact your state’s secretary of state to establish your company’s legal structure and to learn about the requirement for a business license and a seller's permit. You will need the latter if you plan to sell products.
Contact the Internal Revenue Service to obtain an employer’s identification number (EIN). The EIN is not necessary for proprietors; your Social Security number will suffice.
Work closely with your accountants in creating the financial projections.
Check to see if you are allergic to any products that are normally used in dog grooming.
- Contact your state's secretary of state to establish your company's legal structure and to learn about the requirement for a business license and a seller's permit. You will need the latter if you plan to sell products.
- Contact the Internal Revenue Service to obtain an employer's identification number (EIN). The EIN is not necessary for proprietors; your Social Security number will suffice.
- Work closely with your accountants in creating the financial projections.
- Check to see if you are allergic to any products that are normally used in dog grooming.
Charles Crawford, a former commercial banker, has been a business writer in New York since 1990. He has produced marketing materials for an executive outplacement firm, written the quarterly newsletter of a medical nonprofit organization and created financing proposals/business plans. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in international affairs from Florida State University.