Pet Sitting Business – A Growing Business

There are over 6 million households in Canada who own a pet or two. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets, while dogs are the most favoured dogs among pet owners primarily because dogs are most affectionate.
It used to be that when pet owners go away on holiday, they would leave their pets with a neighbour, relative or friend, or with a kennel service. However, many families do not live close to each other and kennels can be quite expensive while not necessarily providing a happy atmosphere for pets. Thus, a new service business of pet sitting and pet walking is born.
Today, the pet sitting service has become a mature business. NAPPS, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters provide publications, training videos, insurance information, and other business resources for its members. Canadian equivalent of such an association is the All Canadian Pet Service Network. Typical pet sitting fees are $15 for a one-to-one 15 minute pee break, $20 for a 20 minute pee break. Group walks are also available at lower rates. Clients are not limited to pet owners on vacations. Some stay-at-home pet owners book 2 to 3 services a week for extra relief from walking their pets. Typically, the owner would leave house keys to the pet sitting service, and the sitters would come to the house and take the pets out for a walk. Reputable pet sitting services run a criminal check on their pet sitter employees and provide insurance bonding. Some pet sitting service also offer dog obedience training and puppy potty training as well.
My husband and I had the unfortunate experience of having to care for a pet while her owners went away for a holiday. The first night, we both forgot that we had the dog, and left our front door open. It was not until four hours later than we remembered we were caring for the dog, and had to have a search party. Luckily, we found the dog. She had wandered away to the neighbour’s yard, and was crying. The dog felt so lonely while staying with us, and wouldn’t eat for the first two days. After our valiant efforts in entertaining her and giving her a lot of pats and talk, she finally warmed up and felt comfortable.
After this episode, I have learned not to take care of somebody’s dog and will gladly refer them to a pet sitting service. I am sure many non-pet owners felt the same way. In fact, many pet sitting services sell gift certificates which make ideal presents for all occasions.
Dogs are social animals, and love company. They also need daily walks and exercises at least once, and preferably twice a day. Without proper attention, dogs can be destructive and manifest behavioral problems. Older arthritic dogs who are not so agile, may not adjust well to new surroundings. If you are travelling and will be away from your pet, consider giving your pets quality care by using a pet sitting service.
If you love pets and want to start your own business, consider a pet sitting service. It can be run from home, and has low startup costs. Several add-on products such as dog accessories, and dog food can also bring in additional income. Here’s another plus! This type of jobs cannot be outsourced to a third world country.

Problems Faced When Looking For Investors For Your Business Idea

Venture capital firms, business angels and investors are people who make money out of investing in upcoming or established businesses in exchange for a share of the company. Finding a good investor to back your business idea can be a great help, specially if you still control most of your business, but it’s also considerably more difficult than finding a small business bank loan and other types of finance. Investors have very clear ideas about what they expect of their investment, and you will need to be able to prove that your business idea has a high likelihood of being very profitable. If you are getting ready to raise money for your business, the following are some of the most frequent problems you may face:
Being unprepared
This is often the worst problem a new entrepreneur may find when trying to sell his business idea to investors. You may know your product and have a strong feeling that it’s going to work, but you’ll need numbers to back your intuition to prove it to any investor. Investors are often entrepreneurs themselves, and know how to recognize a great business idea and a suitable person to make a profit out of that idea. They won’t put money on a business if the management (that’s you) doesn’t seem prepared or doesn’t know the target market intimately. A solid business plan and the ability to sell that business plan to another businessman are the key requirements to get your idea considered. Make sure you can answer uncomfortable questions, such as quoting data about your competition and showing an understanding of your audience and why your product is perfect for them.
Asking for too much, or offering too little
Investors often want a quick return on their investment, so if you are asking for a lot of money to launch your idea and you don’t expect to be profitable for a long time you should expect a hard negotiation ahead. You may be offered less money than you were after, or asked for a larger percentage of your business in exchange for it. Asking for a A�20.000 investment in exchange for a 5% of a company that isn’t going to make any money the first year is just not going to work, no matter how good your idea is. An investor will think of ROI, and that means they want to own enough of your company to make a profit on your investment. Be prepared to negotiate, and remember that even if your business idea is great, the investor is also incurring a risk by trusting you and is understandable to want something in exchange for that.
Attitude, business management skills and dress codes
If the investor thinks that you are not really a good business person they may hesitate to provide you with their financial backing, no matter how good your idea is. If you come across as a great engineer but cannot show that you are also great at managing and sales you may be harming your chances of receiving funding, or you may find out that your investor actually wants to take an active part on your business instead of just letting you manage everything. Consider your meeting with the investors as a job interview, and as such aim to give an impression of security, professionalism and good business manners.
This often means wearing professional attire (yes, a suit, even if your business is an innovative ecological farm for casual artists) and being able to talk about your product in business terms, not only about its features or why it’s so great. If the investors see you as too young, too casual or too crazy they won’t invest because you’ll be seen as risky. If you can also show your experience as an entrepreneur without lying or being too obvious you may greatly increase your chances of success.

Marketing Your Business or Riding a Bike?

So many would-be entrepreneurs start out with a business idea that they are passionate about, and have dreams of making a difference for others and their families. They plan to market their business on the Internet, but get discouraged because they have no idea where to start. They may spend hours researching and trying to figure it out, or they spend thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest promise for making big money online, only to become disillusioned when it doesn’t work the way they planned.
Many of them give up. Does this sound like you? It may, but you don’t have to be one of those would-be entrepreneurs who gives up. You CAN learn to market your business online. Anyone can learn, and when you do, your life and your business will be forever changed because you can harness the power of the Internet and social media to grow your list of clients, increase your sales, and leverage your time through automated systems and processes that will allow you to spend more time doing those things you love to do.
Learning to Ride a Bike…
School is out for the summer now, and day-camp doesn’t start until next week. So, my kids are home for the next two days, and my husband and I are trying to keep them busy and still manage to get a little work in too. As I sit in my driveway, laptop in hand, (having a business that allows me to work from home provides this benefit of flexibility) I watch my six-year-old ride his bike. We just went through this learning-to-ride-a bike process with our son.
Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? You were probably excited and a little scared, but you gave it a try. It was difficult to coordinate all the things you had to do: balance on two wheels; peddle; steer; watch where you were going; control your speed; use the breaks and stop without falling. And I know, if you were like me, you fell down many times and probably got a few scrapes and bruises.
Then, you finally started to have some success. Slowly, it started getting a bit easier. You peddled a few feet before falling down. And when you finally put it all together, and took off on that bike, there was no stopping no turning back. Just like my son did on his bike. He took off and went faster and faster, and became more confident on his bike. Now, it’s effortless for him. He just picks up the bike, climbs on and goes. And it’s the same for you. Decades later, you can still pick up a bike and ride it with skill.
Marketing Your Business is Like Learning to Ride a Bike
So, the way I see it, learning how to market your business online is like learning to ride a bike. There’s a learning curve and you need to coordinate your efforts, but it’s not terribly difficult, and once you do…there’s no stopping you.
There are certain core strategies and processes (especially in online marketing) that once learned and put into practice, are never forgotten and can be replicated over and over again. Often, there is a sequence of events (such as with a product launch) that can become so systematic that when followed every time will almost guarantee your success.
If you’ve been trying to grow your business online and feel overwhelmed by trying to put all the pieces together, I’ve got excellent news for you that will simplify your life, and your marketing efforts. I can simplify it down to five major steps. These five steps are part of what I call the NetMarketing Map. When you’ve mastered these five steps, you will have a successful online business.
Lets take a look at each step:
1. Get Online: attract the right visitors and draw them into your site.
2. Get Traffic: Use simple, proven methods to get ideal clients to your site.
3. Get Leads: Build a list of raving fans who trust you as an expert
4. Get Sales: Create a buzz for your products and services and close the sale.
5. Get Leverage: Maximize your sales and grow your income to greater levels.
If you work through each part of the NetMarketing Map, step-by-step, and keep it simple at first, you will learn how to market your business online. Everything you do will fall into one of these steps on the Map.
Don’t try to go it alone either. Find an accountability partner who’s working through the same challenges in their business; join a Mastermind group; or work with a consultant or coach who can walk with you as you learn to “ride the bike” called Internet marketing.
Just as I held onto the back of my son’s bike as he learned to ride, working with another who can help you stay focused and on track will shorten the learning curve, make the process more enjoyable, and accelerate your results.

How Anyone Can Profit From Internet Marketing

If you can think up a concept for your business you can profit from Internet marketing. In actual fact it does not matter how old or young you are, there is something for everybody when they start an Internet business. You need to develop a successful system, stick with it and duplicate your success.
The 5 keys to success are as follows:
1. Develop a concept: your business idea or concept is very important. It is one of your key foundations of your business. It is important to like what you are doing and not just be in it for the money. Of course you want to make a profit; it is a business after all. However bear in mind you will be spending quite a bit of time to create and run your business. for this reason you should love your topic and be enthusiastic about it. In this way you will succeed because you are doing something you love to do.
2. Define your market: Understanding your market is one of the critical aspects of your business. You will need to analyze your visitors and be in tune with their wants and needs. You will also need to know where they go and what publications they are interested so you know where to market your business.
3. Set goals: setting goals is important, when you set goals and decide on timelines to complete them you will stay focused on completing them and progressing with your business.
4. Develop an action plan: you will need to set up an action plan to achieve your goals. The easiest way to do this will be to create milestones; for example 3 months, 6 months, one year and set goals for each milestone. You can then think of ways to accomplish these objectives. Put these methods into an action plan and record all your results good and bad.
5. Duplicate your successes learn from your mistakes: one of the fun things about business is that no two days are the same you will make mistakes and you will have successes. You need to learn from your mistakes and pick yourself up after catastrophes. An example if this would be Donald Trump, you may or may not like him but many people have respect for him when it comes to business. He has had spectacular crashes but has always picked himself up and risen to glory again. This is because he never let mistakes and crashes crush him.
So make your system with these five points and start enjoying the thrills and spills of Internet Marketing no matter who you are and how old you may be.

How Do I Know If My Business Idea is Viable?

How do we know if our new business idea is a viable one? Most people will do some research, write out their plan, but the critical mistake is thinking from the top down instead of the bottom up. You’ve heard it before – “If I can sell to just 1% of the population in China, I’ll be a millionaire!” – Some of us laugh, but people with ideas really do think this way! Bottom up thinking is the exact opposite – What will it take to get just one customer? How about five customers? Fifty? One hundred? And so on. You create a strategic plan on how exactly you are going to get the business off the ground, and how you’re going to get customers and make money.

Like all entrepreneurs, I come up with ideas almost daily. I write them all down in my “idea notebook” (it’s a notebook I carry with me to jot down notes and ideas when the come to me) – then later, when I am deciding if I should move forward with them, I run the through this filter to determine if it’s worth pursuing.

Create your value proposition

Why would the customer want to buy from you? What additional value can you provide them that they don’t already get? Many buyers don’t necessarily buy on price alone, so being the lowest price doesn’t guarantee business.

Figure out what your core competency is. As you are doing this, make sure it fits with #1.

What is the one thing you want to do better than anyone else? Focus the business and everything you do around this core competency (Think Southwest Airlines – every decision they make is made sure it’s consistent with their core competency – The lowest priced airline).

Figure out who the potential client is, and how the market is. Look at #1 to make sure it’s consistent and fits.

Who are you going to sell to? How does this affect your marketing efforts?

Figure out what your product or service is. Look at #1 to make sure it’s consistent and fits.

Figure out how your distribution and sales will work. Look at #1 to make sure it’s consistent and fits.

Who is going to sell? How will distribution, shipping, invoicing, etc. work?

Do you solve an existing problem? Make sure you’re not creating a problem, and then solving it

Is there a problem you see in the industry or market place that you can solve? People are always looking for solutions to their problems. Be careful not to create a problem that doesn’t exist, then trying to solve it.

This simple filter, if you stay honest to it, will help you create a solid plan for viable ideas, and weed out the ideas that aren’t worth pursuing, thus saving you time, money and effort that you can dedicate to the ones that do pass through the filter.

Read more of Josh’s business articles at his blog []