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Want to start a dog treat business? I did....here’s how I did it.
Deep down, I think most of us have an entrepreneurial streak. I do and the fact that you’re taking the time to read this, means that you do too. You’ve probably had dozens if not hundreds of ideas for starting your own business over the years but find yourself hitting the same obstacles that I did.
- Not enough money to get your business idea off the ground.
- Your working/studying/taking care of your kids etc full time and struggle to find any spare time to invest in getting your business up and running
- You don’t know HOW to start a business
In a nutshell, it comes down to three things. Money, time and lack of the right knowledge.
Well the good news is that just about every business owner out there came up against those same obstacles in the beginning. The secret is to find a business that fits in with your lifestyle.
Oh, by the way, I’m assuming that because you’re reading this article that you are also a dog lover. I hope that’s okay with you?
Early this year I had my ‘Eureka!’ moment when I was feeding my Labrador some dog treats that I’d bought at the local pet store. I won’t go into too much detail in this article, you can read about it on my website if you like. I’ll add a link at the bottom of this page. Anyway, right there and then, I realized that I’d found my perfect business and I think it’s perfect for any dog lover with a desire to start their very own business too.
Why is it perfect?
It’s the kind of business that requires very little start-up capital. From having the idea to having my very first dog treat stall at a local show, I spent around $250. A lot of that was on items that I can use over and over again such as cookie cutters and a sign for my stall. There’s not many businesses out there that can be started for that kind of money that’s for sure.
It’s also the sort of business that doesn’t take up too much of your time. Sure, in the beginning you’ll need to spend some time experimenting with dog treat recipes but it’s a lot of fun and your dog will love you for it. After all, he gets to be chief cookie taster!
This was one problem that I struggled to overcome initially. I had no knowledge of the dog treat industry and I really do mean none whatsoever. Fortunately, after a few frustrating weeks of searching online for information, I stumbled upon a very useful book on the subject. It not only rescued my dream of starting my own dog treat business but it also filled me with inspiration.
So, as far as knowledge goes, in no particular order, here is a very condensed version of what you’ll need to start and succeed in your own dog treat business.
- A name for your business
- A unique selling point - What’s so different about your treats that people will choose them over any other treat? It might be that they are made with organic ingredients or perhaps they have fancy frosting on them. Just something to make them a little different from boring, run of the mill dog treats.
- A place to bake - I bake mine at home.
- A few recipes - There’s 100’s of dog treat recipe books out there to help you get started with this. There’s also 1000’s of dog treat recipes online. You can use these for inspiration and ultimately, come up with your very own recipes. I’d suggest creating just four recipes to begin with. Perhaps a couple of savory ones and a couple of sweet ones. Once your business is up and running and you’re making money you can then expand your range.
- Test your treat recipes - This is the fun bit. Make a few batches of your treats and try them out on your own dog and friends and families’ dogs. The sense of satisfaction when you see dogs actually enjoying the treats that you have made is immense!
- Packaging - You will need to decide how you are going to package your treats. I use brown paper bags but you can also use clear cellophane bags (they cost a little less)
- Labels - You’ll need a nice looking label to stick on your bags. The design doesn’t need to be anything too fancy to begin with.
- Pricing - Do some research online to see what others are charging for handmade dog treats and charge a similar price. Don’t be tempted to undercut the competition. Remember, your treats are unique and worth the money.
- Selling - You can start off by selling your dog treats to friends and family but sooner or later, if you want to make a real success of your business, you’ll need to start selling to the public. A good way to start doing this is by having a stall at small, local dog shows. This ‘face to face’ kind of selling is also an excellent way to get feedback on your treats. I learned a lot from selling this way and I’d highly recommend it. Later on, you might also consider selling your treats online.
- Have fun!
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you’re thinking about starting your own dog treat business I say just go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?
You can read more about my pet treat business and the book that inspired me so much here.