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Pet Store Business Plan

Running a retail pet store is no walk in the park — it requires passion, commitment, and a solid plan.

And while owning and operating a pet store business is quite rewarding, it can also become overwhelming when challenges arise. There are a variety of challenges that pet store owners encounter as they run their business: competition, inventory management, and customer acquisition, to name a few. 

So, it’s important to have a business plan in place to help you navigate these challenges.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the essential steps of creating a pet store business plan that sets your pet store up for success.


Why Do You Need a Pet Store Business Plan?

First things first: What is a business plan?

Simply put, a business plan is a document that guides you through managing your day-to-day business operations. Your plan will guide you through the stages of starting and managing your business, helping you set goals, establish timelines, allocate resources, and plan for the future.

This plan not only serves as a roadmap for you — it’s also essential as you look for financial support or funding for your pet store. As you include the necessary vision for your pet store, along with your understanding of your market, potential investors can easily visualize and understand your plans to achieve growth. 

Your pet store business plan is also a great tool to help you make informed decisions and assess the viability of new products, services, and market expansions.

Here’s the bottom line: The main reason you need a business plan is to help you navigate the challenges that come with running a pet store — because you want to provide the best experience and products for your customers and pets. 


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Step #1: Establish Your Business Concept

Your first step is to establish your business concept. This is where you write your executive summary and company description. 

An executive summary is simply a quick overview of your business. It includes basic background information about your pet store so others understand what you do, what you want to achieve, and how you plan to do it. 

Make sure to include the following components:

  • Business name
  • Location
  • Products/services
  • Mission statement
  • Business structure

The company description includes information on your target market and the type of business and work you’re engaged in. In this section, it’s important to address the problems that your business solves for your customers.

Once you’ve established your business concept, you can dive into your target market and provide more valuable information to your plan.


Related Read: Educating Customers on the Benefits of Shopping at Your Small Pet Store


Step #2: Understand Your Target Market

The next step is to understand your target market. This is where you perform a thorough market analysis — you’ll identify competitors in your market, explore industry trends, and discover the demographics of your customers. 

As you identify competitors, be sure to include both direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are the businesses that sell similar products and services. Indirect competitors are businesses where you do not perfectly align but still compete in the industry. For example,  Chewy offers home delivery pet products at competitive prices, and may be seen as an indirect competitor. 

You can identify your competitors by researching online, visiting stores in the area, or by attending industry events. 

Stay informed on the latest pet industry trends, too. Industry reports, trade publications, and online forums are great resources. There’s a lot you can learn from these trends to help you better understand your market.

Customer personas are extremely helpful when gathering information on the customer demographics. Personas include important information about:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Location
  • Lifestyle
  • Preferences
  • Needs
  • Behaviors

The data you gather on your target market will help you make better business decisions. Include your target market research in your business plan and always have it top of mind.


Step #3: Structure Your Business

Make sure to include the organization and management of your business. This step is where you include information about the team structure. Be sure to include the ownership information and details on the organizational structure, including the management team.

A typical team structure for a retail pet store owner includes:

  • Owner/manager (you!)
  • Store supervisor
  • Customer service representatives
  • Sales associates
  • Groomers (if you offer pet services)
  • Inventory manager
  • Marketing and promotions coordinator
  • Accountant
  • Maintenance and cleaning staff

Include your team structure in this section of your pet store business plan. The next step is the overview of what you offer at your store.


Step #4: Decide Your Product Mix

Your product mix is your bread and butter. This step is where you explain what you offer to your customers. Make sure you clearly define the products and/or services that your store offers — and highlight the benefits they have to your customers and pets.

A product mix for a pet store may include:

  • Pet food
  • Treats and chews
  • Toys
  • Collars, leashes, and harnesses
  • Bedding and housing
  • Grooming supplies
  • Health and wellness products
  • Training and behavior aids
  • Apparel and accessories
  • Pet care supplies

If your pet store offers pet services, include those in this section, too. Pet services include:

  • Grooming
  • Pet training
  • Dog walkers
  • Pet bakeries
  • Pet sitters
  • Pet massage

The products and services you offer are an important part of your vision for your business. The quality and benefits of pet products are an essential part of pet store businesses, so you want to provide the best quality products to your customers. You know that your customers care very much about their pets and how they are able to care for them.

This information is essential to include this in your business plan, so that other investors, lenders, or partners understand the passion and vision behind your pet store.


Related Read: Best Practices for Stocking Pet Food: Ensuring Freshness and Rotation


Step #5: Reach Your Customers

How do you plan to reach your customers? In this section of your pet business plan, you explain how you’ll attract and retain customers. This section should include your marketing and sales strategy. Your strategy should include what you plan on doing, as well as your hypothesis on the outcome of your efforts.

This section is also an important aspect for those outside of your business, like investors, to understand. A clear, well-thought-out marketing plan is important for them to understand when making important business decisions. Your marketing and sales efforts directly correlate to your overall revenue.


Step #6: Finance Your Business

This is where the numbers come into play. In this section of the plan, you will include financial projections. Provide clear projections, so that investors easily understand that your business is sustainable.

When applicable, this section will also include any funding requests. You can outline your funding needs here in addition to your projections. Your financial projections will help support investors and lenders when reviewing any funding requests.


Step #7: Support Your Plan

The last part of your pet store business plan is the appendix. The documentation provided in this section provides supplemental information that supports the main sections of your plan.

The appendix includes detailed data and information on some of the sections mentioned above:

  • Market research data
  • Competitor analysis
  • Marketing materials
  • Financial projections
  • Supplier agreements and contracts
  • Lease or rental agreements
  • Licenses and permits
  • Employee handbook and training materials

Although this section is optional, it allows you to provide any additional information about each part of your business plan. Consider which documentation would make the most sense to consider, and add it to your appendix.


Prepare Your Pet Store Business Plan Today

These steps will help you create a comprehensive business plan for your pet store. The time you spend planning for your business will greatly benefit you as potential challenges arise. These seven simple steps will help you craft your strategy and assist you with upcoming business decisions with partners, lenders, and investors. 

We’re here to help you with all your business needs. eTailPet is an all-in-one pet store point of sale (POS) system that has all the features you need to successfully run your business: inventory management, automated marketing tools, memberships/subscriptions, and online/offline synchronization. 

Schedule a demo today to learn how eTailPet can help take your pet store business to the next level.