If you have a chance, please check out my staff writer post, Are You Missing The Big Picture, at Sweating the Big Stuff today! 🙂
Yesterday I posted about my “dream” small business idea, pet sitting. I quickly went over a few ideas and came to the conclusion that by charging just $20 per dog per day plus more for extras, I’d have enough business in 1 year to be making $3000-$6000 a month.
Then I remembered this post at Yahoo Finance, 10 Mistakes That Start-Up Entrepreneurs Make. I’m going to see if Crystal’s Cozy Kennels (yes, that’s my imaginary business name) would have its bases covered:
1. Going it alone.
Well, I was planning on running it by myself, but if we up the dog count to 10-15 at a time, help would be nice. Anybody want to be a co-owner? 🙂
2. Asking too many people for advice.
I have this one covered for sure. I only ask a few people for advice for any project I’m working on. Kris at Everyday Tips and Thoughts is my go to friend for blogging advice. I also ask Mr. BFS. I only ask everybody for advice when I want a quick look at a bunch of point-of-views to give me an idea of where to start.
3. Spending too much time on product development, not enough on sales.
I don’t have a perfectionist mentality, so this isn’t usually a problem for me. As you can tell from my two new blogs, I definitely don’t wait around until everything is perfect, lol. Crystal’s Cozy Kennels would just need an air conditioned living space for dogs built and I’d get to filling those spots ASAP.
4. Targeting too small of a market.
Pet sitting is already a niche business, so I wouldn’t be too picky about the residents. The dogs would need shot records and not have a history of biting, but that would be the extent of my requirements. Maybe I’d even have a specialty area for the mean ones…I don’t know…
5. Not marketing yourself well and spreading the word.
No problem here since I got some custom business cards and have been passing them out like crazy. I’m too cheap to pay for ads just yet and feel I would waste my money doing so. Being friendly in person is my main approach.
6. Overpaying for customers.
Word of mouth, flyers, and Craigslist would be my ways of advertising. If that just wasn’t enough, I might place small ads in the cheap area papers like Green Sheet and The Thrifty Nickel, but I doubt that would be necessary. When I pet sat at our house, Craigslist brought me all my clients.
7. Raising too little capital.
If Crystal’s Cozy Kennels ever is a real idea, I’d make sure to know exactly how much the land, pet building, and utilities would cost. I’d also make sure that I could cover ALL costs even if I had absolutely no business. I refuse to paint a rosy picture for myself – realism is just a good idea. I’d either have the whole cost covered with our own money in advance or make sure I could get a loan or investors that could cover at least 2 years of costs up front.
8. Raising too much capital.
I’d aim for enough capital to cover 2 years. When it comes to profit, the more money, the better. 🙂
9. Not having a business plan.
If I make sure to have enough money to cover all expenses for at least one year of absolutely no profit, that would make me feel safe. I’d probably shoot for two years just to feel extra happy. I’d have to really suck not to get any business for 2 years and then I’d need to call it quits anyway. I figure that the land would be rented unless I found somewhere to buy cheap, the air conditioned building would be a fixed expense, the utilities would be pretty stable with contracted rates, and the supplies would be a fixed expense to start with and only would need to be renewed if I actually had customers. 🙂
As far as the income projections, that would be pretty straight-forward. Based on past experience and a little research, I could come up with some predictions. Off the top of my head, we’d have 1-2 customers for a few days each the first month, 3 the second month, 4-5 the third month, and 5 or more from there on out. I would even guess that I could have every “room” full on a regular basis within 6 months but I’ll say a year to be on the safe side.
10. Over-thinking your business plan.
Again, I’m not a perfectionist, so this would not happen.
What do you think? Would Crystal’s Cozy Kennels make it? How about whatever business you mentioned yesterday or just thought about?