The executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts.
Your Executive Summary should quickly grab the reader’s attention. Tell them what kind of dog daycare you run and where it is in its development. For example, are you just starting out, do you have a doggie daycare that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of doggie daycares?
Next, give a brief summary of each part of your plan. For example, explain in a few words what the dog daycare business is all about. Talk about what kind of dog daycare you have. Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about the people you want to work with. Talk about your marketing plan in a few words. Find the key members of your team. And tell us what your plan is for your money.
In your business analysis, you will talk about what kind of dog daycare you run.
You could, for example, run one of the following:
- This kind of dog daycare doesn’t have any cages, so dogs can run around the building while a staff member watches them.
- Cage-free play: In this kind of doggie daycare, the dogs are usually kept in cages for part of the day, but they are let out of their cages to play at certain times.
- Kennel is a type of doggie daycare where the dog spends the whole time in a cage or run.
- Indoor-only doggy daycare is a type of dog daycare where the dogs only go inside to interact, play, and go to the bathroom in a certain area.
- Dogs can play in both indoor and outdoor areas at indoor and outdoor dog daycare.
- Extended-stay dog boarding is like dog daycare for dogs whose owners are going to be away for a long time.
In the “Company Analysis” section of your business plan, you should describe what kind of doggie daycare you run and give some background on the business.
Questions like these should be answered:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Some examples of milestones are reaching your sales goals or opening a new building.
- Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Tell us about your legal structure.
In your industry analysis, you need to give an overview of the dog daycare business.
Even though this seems useless, it can be used in more than one way.
First of all, learning about the business of dog daycare gives you information. It helps you understand the market better.
Second, market research can help your strategy, especially if it shows you what the market trends are. For example, if there was a trend toward dog daycare with no cages, it would be helpful to make sure that your plan includes this.
A third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the section of your business plan for a doggie daycare called “Industry Analysis,” you should answer the following questions:
- How much does the business of dog daycare make?
- Is the stock market going up or down?
- Who are your biggest competitors on the market?
- Who are the main sellers in the market?
- What are the changes in the field?
- How quickly do experts think the industry will grow in the next 5–10 years?
- What matters is how big the market is. That is, how many people do you think could use your dog daycare? You can get such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the number of people in your area.
In the section of your doggie daycare business plan called “Customer Analysis,” you should explain who you serve and/or who you hope to serve.
Some examples of customer segments are pet owners between the ages of 30 and 49, 50 to 64, etc.
As you might guess, the type of doggie daycare you run will depend a lot on the type(s) of customers you choose to serve. Baby boomers and millennials would want different atmospheres, prices, and products, and they would also react differently to marketing campaigns.
Try to figure out who your best customers are based on how they look and what they think. Talk about the ages, genders, locations, and levels of income of the people you want to serve. This kind of demographic information is easy to find on government websites because most doggie daycares mostly serve people from the same city or town.
If you want to offer long-term dog boarding, you might also want to think about how your customers will act. Marketing and advertising would focus on local dog owners who are planning a trip with their dogs. Psychographic profiles explain what your ideal customers want and need. If you can understand and define these needs well, it will be easier to get customers and keep them coming back.
In your competitive analysis, you should list both your direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
There are other businesses that offer doggie daycare that are direct competitors.
Dog walkers are an example of an indirect competitor because customers can buy them from you but they are not your direct competitors. You need to talk about this competition to show that you know that not all dog owners take their dogs to doggie daycare every day.
In terms of direct competition, you should make a list of the other dog daycare centers that you compete with directly. Most likely, your main competitors will be the dog daycares near where you live.
Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and a list of what they do well and what they could do better. You won’t know everything about your competitors unless you’ve worked for one of their companies. But you should be able to learn important things about them, like:
- Who are the clients they work with?
- What kind of dog day care services do they offer?
- What are the prices (high, low, etc.)?
- What are they really good at?
- Why do they mess up?
Try to answer the last two questions from the customer’s point of view. Don’t be afraid to stand outside of your competitors’ stores and ask customers who are leaving what they like and don’t like about them.
In the last part of your competitive analysis, you should list the ways you are better than your competitors. For instance:
- Will you provide superior dog daycare services?
- Will your doggie daycare offer something that your competitors don’t?
- Will you make it easier or faster for your customers to use your services, like by letting them make reservations through a mobile app?
- Will you be nicer to your customers?
- Will you make better prices?
In this part of your plan, you should think about how you will do better than your competitors and write those ideas down. This might mean adding services like grooming, boarding, services that work on mobile devices, or other pet care services. Also, think about working with local animal shelters to get the word out about your dog daycare and gain support from the community.
Usually, a marketing plan includes four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your business plan for a dog daycare should include the following in its marketing plan:
Product: In the product section, you should again describe the type of dog daycare you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, give a detailed description of what services you will be offering. In addition to normal dog daycare, do you offer things like premium food, a water park, one-on-one care from staff, grooming, etc.?
Price: Write down what you’ll be charging and how it compares to what your competitors are charging. The product and price sections of your marketing plan are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.
The place where your dog spends the day. Write down where you are and how it will affect your success. For example, is your doggie daycare close to a gym, a building with a lot of people working there, etc.? Talk about how people could keep coming to your location.
Promotions: The section on promotions is the last part of your dog daycare’s marketing plan. Here, you’ll list how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are a few ways you could promote your business:
- You can get more people to come to your dog daycare if the front store is more appealing.
- Putting ads in local newspapers and magazines
- Trying to reach out to local bloggers and websites
- Partnerships with local groups, like giving a free day of dog daycare to customers who spend $100 or more at a pet store.
- Using social media for marketing
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
You wrote about your goals in other parts of your business plan. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach these goals. Your operations plan should have two different parts.
Short-term tasks that happen every day include checking in dogs, getting supplies, keeping the daycare clean, and so on.
Long-term goals are the things you want to accomplish in the future. These dates could be when you hope to have served your 1,000th customer or made X dollars in sales. It could also be when you plan to hire your Xth employee or open a new store.
If you want to show that your dog daycare can work as a business, you need a strong management team. Show off your key players’ backgrounds, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a business grow.
You or someone on your team should have worked in the dog daycare business before, if at all possible. If so, talk about what you’ve done and what you know. But you should also talk about any experience you have that you think will help your business do well.
If you think your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. Your business would benefit from a two-to-eight-person advisory board in the same way that a mentor would. They would answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have run dog daycares or small businesses in the past.
Your 5-year financial plan should start with a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then switch to an annual breakdown for the next four years. Your financial statements include your income statement, your balance sheet, and your cash flow statement.
A more common name for an income statement is a P&L, which stands for “Profit and Loss.” It shows how much money you made and then subtracts how much you spent to show if you made a profit.
Income statement: You need to make some assumptions. For example, how many people will you serve every day: 50 or 100? And will sales grow each year by 2% or 10%? As you might expect, the assumptions you choose will have a big impact on the financial forecasts for your business. Try to find out as much as you can about your assumptions to see if they are true.
Balance Sheets: Balance sheets have a lot of information on them, but the most important things to know are your assets and your debts. For example, if you spend $100,000 to build a dog daycare, you won’t start making money right away. Instead, it is an asset you can use to make money for years to come. If a bank gives you a $100,000 check, you do not have to pay it back right away. You will have to pay that back slowly instead.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure that you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money and still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
Make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a dog daycare on your Income Statement and Balance Sheet.
- Location build-out, which includes construction, design costs, etc.
- Cost of equipment like kennels, dog beds, activity centers, etc.
- The cost of food and treats and making sure there are enough supplies
- Payroll or salaries that are given to workers
- Business insurance Taxes and licenses
- Legal expenses